Despite goalkeeper Seny Dieng scoring for the Hawks, it proved too little too late away at Chippenham Town on Saturday.
Matt Smith and David Pratt goals put the Bluebirds in control at Hardenhuish Park on Saturday, with Dieng’s great header proving a consolation for Steve King’s side.
The hosts started on the front foot with a series of corners, which including Josh Smile’s delivery bouncing off the top of the bar, before Matt Smith sliced well wide from 20 yards.
Andy Sandell then went close for the hosts after turning well, but his curling strike dipped just over the bar from 25 yards.
Chippenham then should have gone ahead midway through the first half. James Guthrie’s corner in picked out Will Richards who should have done better than head over from eight yards, before Sandell tested Seny Dieng with a free-kick that the Hawks keeper held on to well.
The Hawks then had half a chance on the half hour mark with Tom Cadman’s delivery picking out Pape Gueye, but stooping low he couldn’t direct his header on target.
King’s men then had Dieng to thank for keeping the hosts out with two great saves in as many minutes. Smile’s ball in eventually fell to Sandell at the far post, and his low drive from the edge of the area was superbly turned around the post by the Hawks keeper.
Then, from the resulting corner, the on-loan QPR stopper produced another fine save to turn Alex Ferguson’s header bound for the top corner away from danger.
Chippenham continued to be in the driving seat after the break. Dave Pratt played a great ball in from the left and picked out Matt Smith at the far post, but his powerful volley whistled just over the bar.
The Hawks made a double change just before the hour in a bid to get a foothold on the game, with Nassim L’Ghoul and debutant Hafeez Sanusi coming on and with that a change of formation.
However, the visitors’ resistance was broken midway through the second half when Smile wasn’t closed down and his ball in found Richards, who in turn teed up Smith and his low drive found the bottom corner from 15 yards.
And things soon went from bad to worse for the Hawks. Sandell’s ball into the box six minutes from time found Dan Bowman, and the full-back’s sliced shot fell kindly to Pratt who made no mistake from close range.
The travelling Hawks fans did have something to cheer about having made the almost 300-mile round trip in added time. Ermal Hajdari whipped in a corner – only the Hawks’ third of the game in comparison to the hosts’ 17 – and picked out the run of goalkeeper Dieng, who produced a fine header to find the far corner.