Hemel Town 2 Chippenham Town 1
Hemel Town manager Dean Brennan got off to a winning start as he saw his side pick up all three points against Chippenham Town at Vauxhall Road.
Dave Pearce put the Tudors ahead after just five minutes, and Alex Campana bagged the winner four minutes into the second half.
“Starting off with three points is what Saturday was all about,” said Brennan. “I’m trying to stabilise the club and I think the lads did well against a team who are going to be tough to beat this season.
“We gave a good account of ourselves, without being outstanding, and the players gave 100 per cent.”
Hemel got off to a flying start against Chippenham, with livewire Dave Pearce shooting across Chippenham keeper Josh Dempsey after some fine work by Victor Osobu.
Hemel continued to dominate proceedings for the next 25 minutes, but when nippy winger Osubu was forced off injured, Chippenham began to find a foothold in the game.
Target man Alan Griffin’s shot was deflected just wide by Danny May, and Luke Ballinger was unlucky to see his free-kick skim off the wall and onto the Hemel bar.
The equaliser eventually arrived four minutes before the break as Griffin turned his marker before slipping a low effort inside the post.
Hemel came out strongly after the interval, however, and regained the lead as substitute Campana clipped the ball over Dempsey to make it 2-1.
Clearly buoyed by the goal, Hemel pushed forward and Stephen O’Leary should have added a third from close range following good work on the flank by Campana – but the midfielder contrived to side-foot the ball wide.
O’leary then saw his 25-yard free-kick well-saved at the foot of his post by Dempsey, before Chippenham’s task was made more difficult as player-manager Nathan Rudge received a straight red card for an apparent stamp on Matt Nolan.
Following the sending off, however, the visitors upped their game and Hemel keeper Mark Osborn was forced into a good save to deny James Guthrie.
The Bluebirds’ best opportunity of the match arrived on 90 minutes as Campana slipped, allowing substitute Toby Osman a clear shot at goal – but he could only fire his effort into the side netting.
There was still time for Pearce to force Dempsey into a fine save, as Hemel ran out deserved winners.
Tudors boss Brennan was, however, keeping tight-lipped over his hopes for the season.
“We’ve set targets but we like to keep them in-house,” he said. “Talk is cheap in football and we have to do the business on the field.”