CHIPPENHAM TOWN 1
WEYMOUTH missed the opportunity to go top of the Vanarama National League South table, as they went down to a 1-0 defeat to Chippenham Town at Hardenhuish Park.
The Terras would have leapfrogged Wealdstone to go top after just five games had they beaten Chippenham at Hardenhuish Park and Wealdstone dropped points, but Chris Zebroski’s 40th-minute strike sealed the three points for the home side to condemn the Terras to their first defeat of the season.
Terras’ boss Mark Molesley opted to make four changes to the side that won 3-1 at home to Dartford last time out, with Ashley Wells, Jordan Ngalo, Cameron Murray and Brett Williams coming in for Josh Wakefield, Ben Thomson, Calvin Brooks and Yemi Odubade.
Much-travelled Zebroski, who spent time at the likes of Plymouth Argyle, Millwall and Bristol Rovers during his time in the Football League, finished a routine chance to give Chippenham the lead five minutes before the half-time break.
It was a first half of few chances with the blisteringly hot weather in Wiltshire, that forced a water break midway through the half, perhaps taking its toll on the quality of attacking play.
Weymouth did have the first opportunity of the match though as after just two minutes, Williams sent a looping header into the arms of Chippenham keeper Will Puddy, although it would have dropped wide had Puddy not decide to claim it.
Both sides threatened to take a fifth-minute lead.
First, Weymouth put pressure on their hosts when Andy Robinson had a side-footed effort blocked and the ball landed to Stephane Zubar whose shot from 25 yards was also blocked.
From the counter, Chippenham broke with pace and after Weymouth failed to clear their lines, Elias Youssef’s shot with the outside of his foot was saved by Callum Ward.
George Rigg tried to test Ward himself with a long-range strike, but that harmlessly drifted wide of the far post before Abdulai Baggie shot straight at Puddy from just inside the box at the other end a matter of moments later.
Weymouth did have the ball in the back of the net on the 32-minute mark when Zubar bundled in from close range following a corner routine, but the ex-Bournemouth defender had his goal chalked off for offside.
Luke Haines, on loan from League Two outfit Swindon Town, went close for Chippenham two minutes later with a well controlled half volley from 30 yards that only narrowly drifted over the bar.
Zebroski did give Chippenham the lead though with a composed finish from inside the box.
There was a flashpoint at the beginning of the first half with an off-the-ball incident involving a number of players leading to calls for a red card from the Chippenham supporters. Instead, a yellow sufficed for Wells of Weymouth and Chippenham’s Haines.
Weymouth thought they were level in the 63rd minute when Jake McCarthy wound up from just outside the box, however, his effort came back off the bottom of the post, across the face of goal and away.
Soon after, Sam Sherring headed a left-sided free-kick over the bar as Weymouth kept plugging away trying to find that all-important equaliser.
Chippenham were not resting on their laurels though and kept pushing for the second to kill the game off as a contest.
In the 71st minute, the Bluebirds had a flurry of chances to get a two-goal cushion and were left aghast that the score remained 1-0.
Jay Foulston crossed in from the right-hand side and found the net of substitute Dave Pratt whose header from point-blank range came back off the post, but only as far as Haines who saw a volley blocked and then Pratt again was denied by the resolute Weymouth defence.
Unbelievably, Pratt hit the post again with a half-volley as the game edged towards its final quarter hour, and the Terras were thanking their lucky stars again when goalscorer Zebroski headed wide.
Pratt kept pressing to get the goal he deserved with a turn and shot in the box that ended in him firing over, as Weymouth increasingly felt fortunate to only be losing by the one goal.
The Terras did keep pushing for the point, and Zubar headed over late on, but Chippenham held on for the much-deserved three points.
Weymouth, who drop to 6th, host table-topping Wealdstone on tomorrow (3pm).
Chippenham: Puddy, Tyler, Foulston, Rigg (Gunner 67), Zebroski, Jarvis (Pratt 67), Parselle, Youssef, McDonald, Chambers (Evans 81), Haines. Subs not used: Hopper, Klukowski
Terras: Ward, Wells (Brooks 62), Harfield, Zubar, Ngalo (Hoey 72), McCarthy (Wakefield ’77), Baggie, Murray, Robinson, Williams, Sherring. Subs not used: Childs, Buckley