Professional Cobblers too good for Chippenham as they cruise through in FA Cup
Cobblers avoided a potential banana skin and strolled into round two of the FA Cup with a routine 3-0 victory over non-league Chippenham Town at Hardenhuish Park on Sunday.
Town gave a lesson in how to avoid a cup upset as they had simply too much speed, strength and nous for their non-league opponents and never looked in danger of suffering a shock at the hands of the National League South outfit.
The visitors stamped their authority on the tie with goals from Harry Smith and Vadaine Oliver inside the first 25 minutes before the latter effectively killed off Chippenham with his second in first-half stoppage-time.
The class of the League Two outfit, and in particular Nicky Adams who was involved in all three goals, continued to shine through in the second-half when stepped off the gas and managed the game well to ensure their place in the next round didn't come under threat.
Keith Curle's side will be ball 13 in Monday's second-round draw.
Curle took no chances with his team selection and made only two changes from last week's draw at Oldham Athletic as goalkeeper Steve Arnold came in for just his second start of the season and Oliver replaced Sam Hoskins in attack.
The small ground and tight pitch at Hardenhuish Park made this tie ripe for an upset but Cobblers showed they were up for the battle from minute one, almost ahead within 90 seconds when Will Puddy kept out Adams and Oliver headed the rebound against the crossbar.
Chippenham had nothing to lose and they too had an early opportunity, Karnell Chambers volleying over the crossbar after Scott Wharton was robbed on the halfway line.
But the better and more frequent chances fell to the Cobblers as Puddy smothered another effort from Oliver, Paul Anderson lacked power after gathering Matty Warburton's cute pass and Adams wasted a fine chance on the counter-attack.
Puddy needed two attempts to save Alan McCormack's venomous effort but from the subsequent corner, Adams delivered a pinpoint cross that left Smith with a simple header at the near post.
That handed Cobblers the lead midway through the first-half and they almost doubled it within a minute when Warburton drove into the box and shot straight at Puddy, who was a busy man in the Chippenham net.
Nat Jarvis headed over at the other end but the visitors continued to dominate and it wasn't long until they bagged a second. Adams again provided the assist, putting his right-wing cross on a plate for Oliver to nod home his first Cobblers goal.
Jarvis glanced wide at the front post but the chances just kept coming for Town, Charlie Goode's 30-yard thunderbolt was pushed onto the bar by the finger-tips of Puddy, Scott Wharton headed wide and Warburton saw a shot beaten away.
Eventually a third goal arrived and it came with virtually the last kick of the first-half as Adams - again involved - sent in a deep cross and Anderson volleyed it back across goal for Oliver to apply an improvised finish.
Although Cobblers threatened to pick up from where they left off in the early moments of the second-half with Warburton kept out by Puddy for a third time, the second-half was a less frenetic and far more even affair.
Chippenham had their moments with Chris Zebroski curling just wide but a grand comeback was never on the cards and Town themselves nearly added to their lead, Puddy pushing Adams' shot behind for a corner.
The visitors were happy to take the sting out of the game and allow Chippenham to huff and puff without overly testing Arnold, whose first save came from Chambers in the 85th minute.
The final few minutes passed by without alarm and Town safely booked their spot in round two of the competition.
Chippenham: Puddy, Tyler, Foulston, Rigg (Youseff 79), Richards, Whelan, Jarvis (Hopper 68), McDonald, Chambers, Haines (Gunner 55), Zebroski
Subs not used: George, Pratt, Warre, Thompson
Cobblers: Arnold, Goode (c), Turnbull (Harriman 63), Wharton, McCormack (Waters 68), Lines, Anderson, Adams, Warburton (Pollock 62), Smith, Oliver
Subs not used: Cornell, Hall-Johnson, Hoskins, Williams
Referee: Chris Pollard
Cobblers fans: 750