Brakes began 2016 as they had ended 2015, with a defeat, but were unfortunate not to snatch a late point to end their recent dismal run at a rain-lashed Hardenhuish Park, writes Paul Edwards.
With the weather putting paid to their opening two fixtures of the New Year there had been a gap of two weeks since the reverse at Bedworth United and, as in that game, Leamington almost got off to the perfect start inside the opening couple of minutes.
Ben Mackey angled a pass behind the Chippenham defence for Rob Ogleby to run on to, but his shot lacked the power to trouble Bluebirds keeper Kent Kauppinen.
Alan Griffin fired over the bar and wide, while Ogleby and Joe Halsall saw shots blocked as the game opened up.
Chippenham dangerman Andy Sandell came close to opening the scoring when he struck the outside the post.
Tony Breeden made a good block soon afterwards, but was powerless to prevent Sandell from opening the scoring when he got across Jamie Hood to head into the bottom corner in the 36th minute.
With half-time approaching, the home side appeared to have taken control as they added a second, Griffin taking advantage of a fortunate ricochet off Jamie Tank to poke the ball under the advancing Breeden.
Ogleby was off target again as he cut inside to fire across goal following good work from Mackey, but Breeden kept Brakes in touch as he prevented what could have been a killer third goal on the stroke of half-time, parrying a shot from James Guthrie before gathering the ball at the second attempt.
Playing down the slope in the second half, Leamington came out with renewed vigour.
Joe Magunda fired over the bar from a half-clearance and Richard Taundry tried his luck from distance, directing his shot straight at the keeper.
A Chippenham break saw Griffin fire over the bar from the edge of the box, but a double substitution by Paul Holleran helped the game swing briefly in Leamington’s favour. Lee Moore, one of those introduced, saw a shot deflected behind for a corner, from which the ball was played back in by Taundry for Jack Edwards to thump home a close range header.
Within two minutes the scores were level, the other substitute Ross Oulton darting down the right from midfield to find Ben Mackey in the centre, who swivelled to fire right-footed into the bottom corner.
The turnaround was almost complete minutes later when Moore broke upfield again, finding Mackey at the far post with a great cross, but Kauppinen somehow managed to push the striker’s header on to the frame of the goal with a defender completing the clearance off the line.
After all their endeavour to get back into the game Leamington were soon behind again, Alex Ferguson stabbing home from in front of goal after a scramble following a Chippenham corner.
Griffin then notched his second of the game, slamming in from another blocked shot to restore his side’s two-goal cushion.
To their credit, Brakes refused to throw in the towel, Tank looping in a header following a long throw to make the closing stages more interesting.
Edwards came agonisingly close to levelling things up again when his downward header from a left-wing cross beat Kauppinen but struck the post, leaving Leamington to contemplate a fourth straight league defeat.
Chippenham Town: Kent Kauppinen, Luke Ballinger, Harry Grant, Michael Pook, Greg Tindl,, Mark Preece, Alex Ferguson, Matt Smith (Matt Jones, 79), Alan Griffin, Andy Sandell, James Guthrie (Ollie Taylor, 79). Subs not used: Omar Simpson, Ryan Campbell, Scott Bevan.
Brakes: Tony Breeden, James Fry, Richard Taundry, Joe Magunda (Lee Moore, 58), Jamie Hood, Jamie Tank, Rob Ogleby (Ross Oulton, 58), Joe Halsall (Ben George, 86), Ben Mackey, Jack Edwards, Lee Chilton. Subs not used: Will Green, Connor Gudger.