MATCH PREVIEW: Chippenham Town vs Bath City, Sun 26th Dec 2021
Simon Lawrence previews our upcoming #A4Derby league clash against Bath City.
Well, here we are fans, the big one. Bath City at home. The annual affair where once a season, as stuffed as the previous days turkey, we make our way to #TheTSStadium for Part 1 of the A4 derby against Jerry Gill and his Bath City side.
Cast your minds back to this time last year, as we prepared to take on Saturday’s opponents, there was an ominous uncertainty as to whether we would see much more in the way of football in the early parts of the new year that was dawning. 365 days on and we seem to be in that same grasp of uncertainty however, we stay hopeful that we will continue to play football in front of our supporters and carry on the fantastic run of form that we are currently experiencing.
Last time out against Hemel was one of the more complete performances that I have witnessed. Comfortable from start to finish, we opened the game bright and energetic with Griffiths and Lawal getting plenty of the ball at the top of the park.
The goal was inevitable and arguably justified that it should come from the tackle on the left by Greenslade (Who has been incredible in recent weeks), Lawal picked up the ball, head up and spotted Dan Griffiths through on goal and in that situation, there was only going to be one winner as Griff slotted the ball under Nick Hayes for 1-0 to Chippenham. An unfortunate flash of rage from Dan on the halfway line condemned the Bluebirds to see out the game with 10 men however, undeterred by the numerical disadvantage, Chippenham continued to assert their dominance and got their reward when Alefe Santos carried the ball from the edge of the centre circle, past 2 or 3 red shirts and popped the ball through the legs of Hayes to spark big celebration in the corner with even Will Henry making it down to join in with his teammates.
This win (for the statisticians among us) sees us taking into the game against Bath the very best form in the league for the last 6 games, unbeaten in the month of December and most importantly, performances being of an exciting standard, attacking football resulting in 7 goals in the last 3 games for the Bluebirds, defence looking tough and resilient again only conceding twice in those 3 games. This fantastic run of form has left Chippenham sitting 10th in the Vanarama National League South table and with 2 more games left in December and 6 points to play for, could see Chippenham end 2021 in the playoff spots should results go the way of Mike Cook and his men.
Standing in our way however, Bath City! A team that will require no introduction to any Chippenham supporter. In recent times, Bath City have come into this fixture flying high in the league, worryingly for Chippenham supporters not wanting to see their local rivals put one over on them. This year however, Bath have struggled for form and despite a big drive pre-season from their loyal fanbase to provide Jerry Gill with a very competitive playing budget, some huge signings coming into Twerton Park such as Elliot Frear (Who was playing in the Scottish Cup Final and the Scottish Premier League before arriving at Bath!), Omar Holness, Cody Cooke, Mo Touray of Salford fame and most noticeably Eddie Jones who was tempted by a little more money down the A4 and left Chippenham after arguably being the Bluebirds player of the season for the derailed 2020/21 season.
Bath sit 16th currently and interestingly haven’t drawn a single game this season going down to 11 losses with 6 wins and haven’t shared the points once with opponents this season. Of course, last time out it was a 1-1 draw between the two sides with Chippenham opening the scoring via Eddie Jones wicked cross, finding Jack Batten undecided in the middle and his attempt at a clearance left Will Henry of all people stranded in the Bath City goal (A combination that we definitely don’t want to see at all this Boxing Day) before Freddie Grant leapt highest in the area to draw the game level for the Romans. Both sides saw red that afternoon with Klaidi Lolos getting his orders for a bad challenge on Ryan Harley and Donovan Wilson for a stamp of Will Puddy’s arm. This promises once again to be a feisty affair for Chippenham.
Chippenham come into the game with no new injuries to report and following the isolation periods of Aguiar and Parsons we should see them make a return to the squad in time for the game on Boxing Day. Of course, subject to how quick the league has acted we should be without Dan Griffiths following his straight red for violent conduct against Hemel, this should give Mike a bit of a decision with Parsons coming back from injury into a seemingly free spot or will they be able to find someone to come in as he alluded to in his interview post-match at Vauxhall Road.
Now the #BlueArmy will look a little different than usual this Boxing Day. Our traditional Blue and White is set to be replaced by a new kit, a new colour and a new meaning with our charity partners Shelter and particularly Doorway as we support the #NoHomeKit campaign the raise money and awareness for homelessness across the UK. CTFC are very proud to get behind this campaign and you too can contribute by wearing your away colours proudly. The 3rd kit will be on sale in the Club Shop for those who simply need to have it, stocks are limited for Boxing Day so act quick to avoid disappointment.
So here we go Bluebirds, this is the one, pack the park, raise your voices, drink and be merry in the Blues Bar and please welcome our visitors from Bath City warmly! There are bigger things in the world than football and last season, I think we can all admit their absence took away from the occasion both in terms of atmosphere and banter on the terraces and the glamour of the fixture. Hope to see as many of you supporters both Chippenham and Bath on Boxing Day and for now wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas.