Chippenham Town (0) 1 Bath City (0) 2 – Tuesday 26 December 2023 – Vanarama National League South – Thornbury Surfacing Stadium
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Late goals from Scott Wilson and Cody Cooke saw Bath City secure a derby Boxing Day win at Chippenham.
The front men netted late with Cooke converting his ninth penalty out of 10 this season having won the kick himself.
Dan Ellison defender nodded in soon after Cooke appeared to have made the game safe.
City also survived a late scare when Aaron Amadi-Holloway’s header was ruled out for a push on Kieran Parselle.
Chippenham arrived on the back of a fine 1-0 win at Maidstone but hadn’t kept a clean sheet at home since the opening day.
As a result they played conservatively from the start, taking few risks and with City well-organised, it led to a stalemate early.
Dan Hayfield saw his strike deflected wide from Dan Greenslade’s pull-back and Tom Smith guided a half volley over as Jerry Gill’s men began to assert authority, sending in a plethora of testing crosses for the home backline.
Hayfield scuffed wide when well-placed before his former Romans midfield partner Luke Spokes saw a long-ranger well gathered by Will Buse when Jordan Dyer appeared to be fouled in the build-up, with Wilson cautioned for taking his protests too far.
Wilson nearly broke the deadlock on 33 minutes when set clear by Smith but shot too close to Will Henry.
Shooting up the slope in the second half, Chippenham showed more attacking intent with Tom Mehew bursting away before his cross flew wildly off target when he should have gone for broke.
Hayfield’s 30-yarder was smartly blocked by Henry and Parselle headed Frear’s inswinging corner over, denying him a goal against his former employers.
Chippenham substitute Jake Evans went close twice soon after coming on, placing wide from 20 yards and curling too close to Buse from Fasanmade’s chest down.
It was substitutions by City which turned the game in their favour.
Ewan Clark replaced Elliott Frear, switching Jordan Thomas to the left, and Cooke replaced Smith to partner Wilson up front.
The tweaks came together when Dyer’s crossfield ball was headed inside by Cooke to Thomas, who pulled back for Wilson. The forward did enough to poke across Henry from six yards, his 16th goal of the season and 32nd in 2023 – the highest in a calendar year for a Bath City player since Paul Randall’s 37 in 1990.
The substitutes were involved in winning a spot-kick for City’s second. Clark’s delicate ball down the right was half-volleyed into the penalty area by Wilson and Cooke was carelessly pushed over by Amadi-Holloway near the penalty spot. Following a lengthy delay, Cooke effortlessly sent Henry the wrong way to appear to make the game safe.
Jack Batten replaced Wilson straight afterwards to tighten up the defence but surprisingly it had the adverse effect, through no fault of the replacement.
There were just 140 seconds before Cooke’s penalty and Chippenham’s lifeline when Spokes’ corner was superbly headed home by Ellison from 14 yards into the top corner.
In the first minute of added time, the Bluebirds looked to have snatched a leveller. Freddie Grant’s pinpoint cross saw Amadi-Holloway bundle in. The referee’s whistle cut short any celebrations as the former City loanee was penalised for a shove, much to the ire of the home bench where assistant Matt Coupe, another former Bath man, was cautioned.
In contrast, Jerry Gill had a broad smile at full-time as his unbeaten run at the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium moved to seven.
City’s Line-Up: Buse, Raynes, Greenslade, Dyer, Parselle (c), Hayfield, Smith (Cooke 67), Frear (Clark 63), Thomas, Wilson (Batten 85), Russe. Subs not used: Lines, Thorn.
Scorers: City – Wilson (74), Cooke (pen 82); Chippenham – Ellison (85)
City Bookings: Wilson (27), Cooke (83)
Officials: R Ablitt, M Langdon, C Hubbard