MATCH PREVIEW: Burton Albion vs Chippenham Town | Emirates FA Cup Second Round | Sun 27th Nov 2022
Simon Lawrence previews our Emirates FA Cup clash away to Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.
“The biggest game in the club’s history”.
It’s a title reserved for only the biggest of games. The FA Vase final at Wembley Stadium, countless playoff games over the years. But there is something special about the Emirates FA Cup. For non-League clubs, it provides an opportunity to put yourself on the map, accumulate supporters in your area, the prestige of scalping a bigger side in the football pyramid and arguably for most clubs, the chance to secure a serious financial windfall that can change the landscape of not just your season, but the immediate future of the football club. This weekend, following an already record-breaking FA Cup campaign, following nearly 150 years of history, Chippenham will take to the Pirelli Stadium, home of Burton Albion to kick off in the Emirates FA Cup Second Round for the FIRST time ever.
The FA Cup is the oldest and most prestigious domestic cup competition in the world of football. The Bluebirds first took part in this great competition in the year 1945. The winners that year were Derby County and the losing finalists, Charlton Athletic. The irony is that these two sides, once at the very top of the English game, now find themselves already having played a part in the FA Cup this season. Chippenham that season found themselves exiting the competition in the Second Qualifying Round and now, some 77 attempts later, find themselves in the Second Round Proper for the first time in the clubs’ history.
They reached this stage in the most fantastic and dramatic fashion, breaking another record in the process by beating the highest ranked side they have ever faced in Lincoln City. The Imps came into the game occupying thirteenth spot in League One. Having been huge favourites to do well in the league again this season, Chippenham ruthlessly put them to the sword with a Herculean defensive effort and a superb goal on the stroke of half-time from Joe Hanks. The scenes afterward were something that many a supporter had waited a lifetime for, with players bounding from one stand to the next, celebrating the most amazing of wins with a packed-out Thornbury Surfacing Stadium.
On Monday, supporters, staff, players and management joined the CTFC Board of Directors and all manner of local media crew in the Bluebirds Bar to learn our fate and who we would be facing in the Second Round Proper. Hoping for a plum tie, the Bluebirds eyes were glued to the various television screens, and then it happened, out came ball number 16 and little Chippenham Town of the National League South were off on the road to League One, Burton Albion.
Burton Albion, the Brewers were formed in 1950 and like Chippenham, spent many years in the Southern Premier League trying to climb the non-League ladder. After bouncing between the Southern and Northern Premier Leagues for most of their time, in the early 2000s, Burton were promoted to the Conference as Champions of the Northern Premier Division. During their time in the Conference, the club appointed Nigel Clough, a legendary football player in his own right but quite famously, the son of arguably the most revered manager in English Football, Brian Clough to the role of player/manager.
In 2008, Nigel Clough saw his Burton Albion side promoted to the Football League as Champions of the Conference. Their biggest FA Cup story came in this era as well, with Burton, then of the Conference, getting through to the FA Cup Third Round and drawing 11-time winners, Manchester United at the Pirelli Stadium. Nobody gave them a prayer, but Burton knew something that nobody else did and held the most dominant side in modern English football to a 0—0 draw, securing their place in the draw for the next round and more importantly, a trip to Old Trafford for the replay. They lost the replay 5-0, but Burton Albion had tasted the bright lights of the FA Cup dream and were sure to have many more big FA Cup moments as they progressed through the pyramid. In 2014-15, with Clough now at Derby County, the Brewers now managed by former Leeds and Chelsea legend, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, won promotion into League One. This caught the attention of QPR, who took Hasselbaink to Loftus Road and the return of Nigel Clough in 2015. This clearly inspired Burton in a big way and the club that only a few years earlier was managed by Clough in the Conference, was now finishing 2nd in League One and heading to the Championship. It was a fleeting stay however, and Burton now find themselves back in League one under the management of Dino Maamria. Struggling a little bit in the League this season, however, this will provide Burton with arguably one of the best opportunities they have had in years to head back to the Third Round of the FA Cup and collide with one of the big boys of football once more.
Ones to watch and familiar faces are going to be a tricky one this week. Mostly because every single player in a League One outfit should be capable of being that person, but we have picked out a few. Cameron Borthwick Jackson, a defender that made 10 appearances for Manchester United in 2015 now plays for the Brewers at the back. Another with Premier League experience to his name is former Chelsea and QPR defender, Michael Mancienne, a regular for England at under-21 level, Mancienne adds a wealth of high-level experience to this Burton side. However, the stand-out player for me is capped 64 times internationally by Jamaica with over 300 appearances in the Premier League and Championship, Adrian Mariappa. He is also our stretch at a familiar face as he made 30 of those appearances down the road at Bristol City (sorry guys, this was as close as the link got).
Last Time Out
Chippenham will come into this game fresh from a win against Hastings United at the weekend. A 2-1 win over the team from Sussex saw Chippenham advance to an FA Trophy Third Round tie away at Torquay United, a side that Chippenham will remember fondly from a few years back as they walked away with the National League South title albeit dropping both games to Chippenham that season. Also, encouragingly for manager, Gary Horgan is the return to fitness of both Jordan Young and Craig Fasnamade. With the two forwards included in the game at Hastings and now both declared fit as a fiddle for this all-important tie with the Brewers. Whilst this is great news for Chippenham, sadly it sometimes comes at a cost. Joe Hanks and Aaron Simpson both left Hastings on Saturday doubtful to make the squad this weekend through injury, particularly crushing for Hanks whose goal against Lincoln rightly saw him take all the plaudits and leaving the stadium on crutches Saturday, it looks like Hanks’ involvement in this game will be nothing more than a vocal one from the Chippenham bench. We wish all our players the best of luck in getting fit for this game and hope they can all play a part in what will be a huge day for the club.
Don’t forget tickets are still on sale at the Bluebirds Bar until the end of the England vs USA game being shown on Friday night in the Bar.
The club shop will also be open on Saturday to grab all your merchandise ahead of the big day on Sunday! This promises to be a big day for the Bluebirds and another chapter in Chippenham Town history. We cannot guarantee a result, we will be the underdogs of course and nobody will give us much of a chance. But, what if? Just what if?