MATCH PREVIEW: Chippenham Town vs Dorking Wanderers – Sat 4th Dec 2021
Simon Lawrence previews our upcoming National League South clash against Dorking Wanderers.
Well, it’s been a couple of weeks now since we played a league fixture at the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium, since that emphatic win at home to Billericay we have gone away to Maidstone in the League, played against Uxbridge in the FA Trophy and against Salisbury FC in the Wiltshire Premier Shield with all of those games ending in 1-0 defeats for Mike Cook and his Bluebirds. Naturally, no one enjoys losing and particularly in cup competition where it is safe to say that Chippenham have not pulled any trees up this season.
Our exits to Uxbridge and Salisbury respectively end all involvement in any cup competition for the Blue Army this season and all of our exits have come at the expense of being “scalped” by a team from the lower levels of the pyramid. However, if we are looking for the silver lining, the youthful side that took the field at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium on Tuesday night showed a lot of promise and that a few of those young players are going to prove very valuable heading into the latter half of this season and hopefully for many years to come at CTFC.
As mentioned, being out of all cup competition now gives us a chance to exercise that most famous of cliché “Now to concentrate on the League” and concentrate we must ahead of a very difficult festive period for the Bluebirds kicking off with a very tough visitor to the TSS in Dorking Wanderers.
Dorking Wanderers will need little to no introduction at this level now. They came into the Vanarama National League South in 2019 after winning the Isthmian Premier Divisions by a staggering 22 clear points and taking their place in the NLS for the 19-20 season. Dorking quickly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the League with an excellent facility at Meadowbank, now a permanent home for the well-travelled Wanderers. Dorking are an exceptional non-league story. Only forming in 1999, Dorking have been chaired and managed by Marc White as they have climbed from the Crawley and Sussex District League, all 4 divisions of the West Sussex League, 3 divisions of the Sussex County League, and both Isthmian Divisions for a staggering 10 promotions since their inception in 99!
Since their time in the Vanarama National League, Dorking have always been in the conversation due to a very healthy playing budget and a really first class set up, it’s an attractive place for players to play their football at this level. Dorking finished 7th in their first attempt in the National League South and made it to the playoffs in the season that was curtailed due to the COVID pandemic.
However, the” Promote 2” campaign of which they were a large part of spearheading, saw Wanderers playing away at Twerton Park where the claimed a 2-1 victory before succumbing to eventual playoff winners Weymouth in a thrilling 3-2 game at the Bob Lucas with Weymouth beating Dorking with the very last kick of the game. The following season was against ravished by the pandemic and whilst many teams managed to fulfil fixtures, the decision was in the end taken for the season to come to it’s climax with the 20/21 season expunged from history.
This will stick in the craw of Dorking Wanderers and their supporters as when the decision was taken to finish the season with a null and void outcome, they were sat at the top of the division after 18 games and 5 points clear of Dartford.
So far games between the sides have not ended well for Chippenham, a 1-0 defeat away at Meadowbank on a cold Tuesday night where captain Kieran Parselle saw red for a challenge in the penalty area, the resulting penalty saved by Puddy only for Matt Briggs to break away late on and dash the Bluebirds hopes of a result. And later that season, a 2-0 win for the Wanderers at The Thornbury Surfacing Stadium ensured the double over Chippenham despite the fixture at home being dominated by the Bluebirds, they just couldn’t find a way through Dorking and their resilient back line.
Chippenham come into this game now sat in 13th position after recent defeats to Maidstone and results around have seen us topple from 11th. Dorking come into the game sat in 10th and a win for them on Saturday will see them ascend to the playoff spots again should results go their way. For Chippenham, this game sparks a run of tricky December games against Dorking, Oxford, Hemel, Hungerford and Bath and a result here for Cook’s side will be a real statement of intent for the month ahead with arguably the only game where Chippenham will start as favourites will be the fixture against Hemel and most recently, the came to town and upset that form book so there are no given’s in football!
Chippenham will be buoyed by the performances of their young academy lads on Tuesday, and I am sure we will continue to see them through the month as well at the return of Danny Greenslade and Alex Bray both of which are now on the verge of fitness, as will be Joe Hanks following his injury sustained at home to Billericay. Dorking have a great squad at their disposal including former Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Yeovil midfielder Wes Fogden who has joined up with many former Havant & Waterlooville teammates at Meadowbank including Jason Prior, Alfie Rutherford and Josh Taylor. This is a very experienced squad and will no doubt prove a difficult task for Mike and Chippenham to overcome.
Don’t forget to head along to our club shop as well situation directly in front of you as you enter the ground to have a browse and see if there is anything in there for you or a loved one this Christmas, with all items available to order from replica shirts, polo shirts, coats, jackets and all sorts of club memorabilia I am sure there is something for everyone at the Club Shop, just pop along and see Kirsty and she will be happy to help.
Also not forgetting tickets are available for pre-order this evening and until around 11am tomorrow so if you want to beat the queue don’t forget to book your ticket online and we will see all of you tomorrow for another Chippenham Town FC home fixture in the National League South!
COME ON YOU BLUES