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Chippenham Town 1
2 Tonbridge Angels
Payne (15'), Gard (81' pen)

Angels win in Wiltshire

The Angels travelled to the south-west to face Chippenham in their second away trip of the 23/24 season. They returned, with three points. 

The Angels, draped in their mint green away kit, kick started the game and from the beginning showed encouraging signs. Early chances came in the form of a Ruben Soares-Junior shot which fell wide and a few corners to add to the already high tally which Tonbridge have acquired this campaign.

Jordan Higgs was the first player to enter the book. His caution shown after a tackle that the referee deemed late. 

Chippenham’s first chance was an inviting cross from their left wing-back, Tyreke Johnson. No one pounced in the box and Angels cleared it away. Ibby Akanbi, up the other end delivered a cross which, unfortunately, was easily claimed by the opposition keeper.

Not long after, a second chance for Soares-Junior came but it couldn’t be converted. Higgs, Gard and Meade combined well to create the cross which was headed into the keeper’s hands by the Portuguese winger. Soares-Junior was frequently involved throughout the first half but couldn’t put his name on the scoresheet.

It was a header though that would change the score line. On the fifteenth minute, Ibby Akanbi floating a ball towards Stefan Payne who re-directed it across the goalkeeper and into the net at the far post. 

Despite Angels looking comfortably the better side, Chippenham did have moments of positivity. From a corner, the home side shot twice, both times deflected away but certainly putting the away defence under pressure. Chippenham captain McClure also fired wide on the stroke of half time after the Bluebirds had broken into the final third in the closing moments. 

Half time - Chippenham 0, Tonbridge 1.

Chippenham came out of the break looking to equalise. Their right wing-back testing Jonny Henly’s reactions within a minute. 

The home side were nearly punished whilst playing out from the back but Tonbridge winger Ibby Akanbi couldn’t make anything of it.

Chippenham’s Alex Bray and Jake Evans worked past Jernade Meade on the 52nd minute but couldn’t equalise with the resulting shot thumped wide. However, after a nervous moment at the back for Angels and some extended possession for the home side, the Bluebirds did get back into the game courtesy of a Matt McClure goal which came from a low driven free kick, in from wide right and a smart flick from the number 9 to beat Henly. 

74mins played. The score 1-1.

Just 7 minutes later, Tonbridge responded. A corner forced by substitute Nathan Wood (who had replaced Akanbi) and left back Meade resulted in a penalty as the referee saw a pull on Jamie Fielding which he felt was illegal. Lewis Gard stepped up to the spot-kick and converted convincingly. 

 81 minutes played. Tonbridge led again. 1-2.

The action didn’t stop there. The referee’s book was already holding an entry for substitute Tommie Fagg and a second yellow card fell his way after a tussle off the ball and on the ground with an opposition player. The referee conducted long conversations with both players and finally the linesman before reaching his decision. Confusingly though, it was only Fagg who was booked and consequently sent down the tunnel only 20 minutes after entering the pitch.

Now down to ten and with seven minutes of added time, the Angels had to dig deep and weather the storm. And, despite numerous close calls, the defence held on admirably and secured the first win on the road this season.  

The full time score in Wiltshire - Chippenham Town 1, Tonbridge Angels 2.

Published Saturday 19th August 2023 (last updated Sunday 20th August 2023)