By Ben Reggione,
As 3rd placed Concord were facing 9th placed Chippenham with only 3 points to split the sides, it would prove to be a ‘must win’ game for each. Both sides had previously won two of their past four and dropped 5 points each. Regaining form was vital for both, but with Concord losing 2-0 during the week meant their FA Cup run was stopped early on it was fundamental they were to turn a corner.
The game had begun very balanced with concord coming close on various occasions. Chippenham showed clear intent with them firing a shot over the bar in the third minute. It was clear from the off how Concord would shape up, their defence was fundamental in creating chances which had came close with the ball being transferred across to the left and right flank. After shots and corners coming early from the visitors, it was vital that Concord were to be the first to place the ball into the back of the net; and with a cross coming in from Opo in the 15th minute it looked as if the scoreline could soon change in Concords favour but the ball had unfortunately found its way to the keeper. The games atmospherics had heightened – but this would all seem to change after a free-kick from the visitors would lead to a volleyed shot deflecting past the keeper and into Concords net. From here the tension had risen and scoring a goal for Concord had now been made ten times more important. With a chance coming off of the back of Chippenham’s first, many were still to come for Concord but none of these made their way into the net to level the scores. For the last 5-10 minutes of the first half of the game, it had become cagey in parts with many second balls finding their way to the Chippenham’s players. The whistle had gone to bring the first half of the game to a close leaving it 1-0 to the visitors.
With the second half beginning, it was clear what was needed for either side and with Concord gaining a corner from the off, it was evident what they were intending to do; leading onto Pollock’s header hitting the post. From Concords viewpoint it was difficult to work out how the visitors were shaping up, with the formation in constant circulation changing often.
Reynolds was becoming a player in the game that was providing hope for the home fans at the Aspect Arena – a goal could be on the horizon. Following two substitutions in quick succession in the 65th and 67th minute, a ball played over the top by Peck (who had only just made his way on) led to Lamar almost placing the ball in the net only led to his touch being stuck in his feet and the ball coming off of the post. After a large chunk of high tempo and rhythm from Concord, a towering header left Gunner injured and a Chippenham free-kick followed and a second had made its way past Roberts. Then progressing into the last 15 minutes, Concord had split into two groups, with there being a player or two to piece the ball between defence and attack whilst the visitors polluted the middle third of the pitch leaving a few players on Concords backline. With shots from Payne and Reynolds going anywhere but in the net for Concord, no matter how hard they tried to work out how to unlock Chippenham’s defence. It was as if there was nothing more the Concord players could do to get one goal back. To add further to the problem of making a dent in the visitors lead, a penalty fell to Chippenham making it 3-0 and the final whistle soon followed.