MATCH PREVIEW: Chippenham Town vs Eastbourne Borough | National League South | Saturday 4th November 2023
Simon Lawrence previews our National League South game against Eastbourne Borough.
The Bluebirds return to the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium this weekend as they take on Eastbourne Borough in the Vanarama National League South.
Last Time Out
They will come into this game hot off the heels of a hard earned point away at Welling United on Saturday at Park View Road. Clearly subject to a lot of rain over the last month, the surface at Welling was heavy and unforgiving to all as both teams would share the spoils. In the early exchanges, it was the Bluebirds who started much the brighter of the two sides. Good work from the back to the front saw Eddie Jones cross to the head of Matt McClure who couldn’t direct his header towards the goal. Jones would go close himself following a pass from Spokes saw him test the hands of the Welling keeper before McClure blazed over from 25 yards following quick feet and slick passing down the left hand side.
Perhaps Chippenham’s biggest chance came when Luke Spokes and Alex Bray combined to dispossess Welling down his left hand side before playing in Ed Williams who’s quick feet and tidy lay off fell at the left foot of Jake Evans who’s shot sailed wide from the edge of the box. It would be Jake Evans last involvement in the game as he played a pass to Ed Williams and went down clutching his leg in pain, we just knew something had happened and Evans was stretchered out of the game and we wish Jake all the very best as we await the outcome of his injury. Welling then showed that they were in the game as well after their goalkeeper did brilliantly to not only beat McClure to the ball but also to retain possession miles from home under pressure from Williams. A ball was played forward to Abrahams who’s quick flick saw Tanga bearing down 1v1 with Will Henry but the Chippenham stopper produced a wonderful save to his right hand when it looked certain Tanga would give Welling the lead. Chippenham made a substitution at half time with Tyreke Johnson coming on for Alex Bray and the tricky winger almost made an instant impact, hanging up a cross for Matt McClure who once again just couldn’t quite get the angle to direct his header into the back of the net. Welling would be next to threaten as a slick move down the left resulted in Abrahams pinging one off the crossbar from close range.
Another good Chippenham move saw Eddie Jones with the chance to cross but once again for the Bluebirds, the final ball just wasn’t there. Fasanmade was introduced for McClure and jumping with the Welling keeper, it almost led to a chance for a real storied moment however, with the keeper backpedalling, Luke Spokes just didn’t quite get the purchase on his strike and the effort sailed wide. Henry then stopped from Abrahams from close range before tipping a speculative effort from 25 yards over. It would bring an end to proceedings at Park View Road where both teams had their moments and a draw was likely a fair outcome in what was a very exciting game for the most part.
Gary Horgan was full of praise afterwards for his side picking up a point on the road and with the collective effort of the team yielding a clean sheet, it was always going to be pleasing to the manager. Looking ahead to Eastbourne, every team in this league pose their unique problems and we will now prepare for the tests that Eastbourne will bring them as they look to build upon the point away from home.
Eastbourne Borough, the Sports were formed in 1964 only 59 short years ago as Langley Sports (so named after the estate they continue to play on) at Priory Lane. In recent times, Eastbourne’s fortune has literally taken a turn with owner of INK, Simon Leslie purchasing the club and immediately installing former Dorking Wanderers coach, Mark Beard as the manager at the club and an influx of players arriving at Priory Lane.
However despite heading into this season with a renewed hope of success, the Sports have found the National League South a hard graft this season with only 4 wins this campaign and currently sitting in 20th position hanging just above the drop zone and only posting ONE win in their last SEVEN fixtures in the National League South.
The Bluebirds currently sit in 17th and are one point above their Sussex counterparts however, the Sports have played one more game than Chippenham this season and a win for either side will come as perfect tonic for the two clubs as they look to pull away from the bottom half of the table.
Countdown to kick-off
One 2 Watch
Unsurprisingly this season, there are a lot of new faces at Eastbourne with the takeover and lots of players that could stake a claim for this spot. Ben Dudzinski the former Oxford City and Dartford stopper has made the move down south as have former Ebbsfleet title winners, Alex Finney and Jack Paxman. Dan Quick, Archie Proctor and Jay Beckford have joined their old coach from Dorking and Maltese international Alfie Bridgman is now at Eastbourne following his release from Portsmouth.
Perhaps the threat will come from up top? Callum Kealy has signed from Havant & Waterlooville and Football Manager Loan Legend Zak Emmerson is in from Blackpool however, this week we have gone for the dazzling feet of Decarrey Sherriff as the one to keep an eye on. The lightning quick winger is as tricky as he is speedy however, he isn’t just about that, he also has a keen eye for goal with 5 goals this season making him the Sports top scorer for the season just ahead of Emmerson on 4. The former Colchester United man has a wealth of experience at this level with spells at Dulwich, Concord, Kettering and Peterborough Sports and will no doubt prove a thorn in the side of Chippenham at the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium.
A handful of talented lads have come through Priory Lane from former EFL player Sergio Torres to current Nottingham Forest striker Lyle Taylor but we have decided (and in no part because it was a tremendous bit of of digging) to throw the spotlight on a former England International (albeit one cap) and former Premier League defender, Carl Jenkinson. Still playing for Newcastle Jets in Australia the defender has clocked over 100 appearances in the Premier League for Arsenal and West Ham but before all of that, Jenks was a young player at Charlton Athletic finding his way in the game and in 2010, made 4 appearances for our weekend opponents, Eastbourne Borough.
After last week not being able to find a player only to be able to find one the following day, I scoured much further afield this time checking all of the archival footage, the entirety of our Wikipedia pages and ringing around the lads to see if any of them ever had a trial at Priory Lane. After all this, we could not find a single player that has ever shared the shirt of Chippenham and Eastbourne Borough so once again, it’s over to you guys!
Head to Head
For Chippenham fans of a nervous disposition, you may wish to look away now. The Bluebirds and the Sports have gone Head 2 Head 9 times in the National League South and Chippenham have only tasted victory ONCE! Drawing 3 times and being defeated 5 times. Giving Chippenham a win percentage of 11.1%. However, two things that are encouraging, Chippenham have scored an average of 1.67 with the Sports only slightly better at 1.89 over their meetings and in the last two seasons, Chippenham have drawn 3 and only lost one of the 4 meetings with two Shiloh Remy penalties giving Eastbourne their only victory in a game Chippenham will feel aggrieved to have lost after they spurned a handful of chances to win the game.
For Chippenham it’s a case of more bad news where the injury list is concerned with Jake Evans joining Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Leighton Tuodolo, Will King and Sam Heal on the roster. Encouraging signs saw Tom Owen-Evans warming up with the Bluebirds squad on Saturday so we will assume that he is not a million miles away following his injury pre-season. It did not go unnoticed, the support at Welling last weekend. Although not a large amount of people made the trip, your support and positive vibes were felt all the way through by the lads and it really is a testament to the power of positivity. We need to bring that back to the TS Stadium this weekend. Building a fortress is only done on the strength of the whole village. The players are merely a group of 15/16 on the day that have the important job of getting it done where it matters but you as the fans are just as important to provide us with encouragement, support and bring our attendances up to try and be competitive once again at Hardenhuish Park. So come on down, bring your family, bring your friends and let’s get this run of games at home really making a huge difference to both our club and our league standing!
COME ON YOU BLUEBIRDS!