MATCH PREVIEW: Chippenham Town vs Farnborough | National League South | Tuesday 7th November 2023
Simon Lawrence previews our National League South game against Farnborough.
The Bluebirds are back in action Tuesday night in the Vanarama National League South under the lights of the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium when Farnborough FC are the visitors to Hardenhuish Park.
Last Time Out
Chippenham will be coming into the game riding on the crest of a wave that saw them put FOUR goals past their opponents Eastbourne on Saturday afternoon in a much needed home win for the Bluebirds. A fairly open game in the opening exchanges, Chippenham were left bemoaning a lack of bravery when Caine Bradbury twice had a chance to let one go from the edge of the box. Matt McClure nearly snuck in front of the Borough stopper at the front post as well before Chippenham found themselves one down. A long ball down the left found Fletcher Holman who got the better of Luke Haines for pace before slotting past Will Henry in the Chippenham net.
Chippenham searched for the equaliser and when another half chance for Bradbury went begging it looked like it just wasn’t going to be his day. How wrong we were. A quick restart from the throw in saw Ed Williams play the ball to Bradbury who was fouled right on the edge of the D. A trademark Caine Bradbury special was to follow as he placed an excellent free kick past the outstretched Foulkes in the Eastbourne net. After half time, that was when the Bluebirds really took over. Tyreke Johnson who had already spent 45 minutes tormenting the Eastbourne right side exploded onto a throw ball from Mal Nicholls before beating his man and driving inside, he beat one more and the recovering Carter could do nothing but put Johnson on the deck and the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Matt McClure to bury his demons of his last spot kick at the LIT Community Stand End and smash the ball down the middle for a 2-1 lead. At this point it was all Chippenham and rightly gave themselves a cushion when Bradbury latched on to a delicate throw ball from Ed Williams after a beautiful diagonal pass from Dan Ellison. Bradbury took the ball in stride and flashed past Foulkes at the near post to get his second of the game and seemingly put the Bluebirds out of sight.
Chippenham then considered themselves unlucky not to get something wrong Fasanmade was brought down on his way to goal but perhaps feeling a little for the visitors, the referee waved it away. It was to make for a nervy finish as Eastbourne struck back with another deflected strike after Leone Gravatas shot looked destined for safety but a little nick of Dan Ellisons outstretched leg took it past Henry and set up a grandstand finish. But in truth, in their search for an equaliser it was all the home side in the final ten minutes or so with Johnson going close with a long range effort. Neat play by Spokes and Bradbury saw Fasanmade in on goal with just the keeper to beat, after rounding Foulkes his tame shot was cleared off the line by Carter. Horgan then introduced Tom Mehew following his return from Havant & Waterlooville and the Bristolian was beaming twice as hard when his through ball saw Fasanmade have the exact same opportunity as before. Showing real courage to keep his cool and round the keeper once more, this time there was no mistake and Fasanmade slotted in front of the home fans to cap off a brilliant 4-2 win for the Bluebirds.
After the game, Gary Horgan was rightly very happy with his team after showing great character to come from 1-0 down to win so emphatically and stressed it could and maybe should have been more based on the chances they had whilst paying full respect to our visitors for this Tuesday’s fixture Farnborough FC calling them a ‘good, physical side that will be expecting to be a strong test’
Farnborough FC, the Boro or the Yellows were formed in 1967 and play their football in the town of Farnborough at Cherrywood Road a 6,500 capacity stadium boasting a very impressive stand behind the goal that forms a large part of their 1700+ seats. Managed by Spencer Day, the Boro have been back in the National League South since the 2022/2023 season after they came up via the playoffs, finishing 3rd in the Southern Premier Division and seeing off Metropolitan Police and Hayes and Yeading to punch their ticket to promotion. A good first season back for the Yellows saw them finish just outside the playoff picture after seeming dead certs all season to be there and an FA Cup Second Round appearance like the Bluebirds, disposing of League opposition in Sutton United before falling at the hands of the Wrexham juggernaut.
This season Farnborough have gone off very well currently sitting in 6th place in the National League South with 24 points and are unbeaten in the league since the 5th of September, their last loss coming at the hands of Torquay United at Plainmoor. Since then an impressive 3 wins and 4 draws have seen Boro climb the table however, will be disappointed with early exits in the Hampshire Cup and the FA Cup respectively and of course, losing prolific marksman, Alfie Pavey to Woking after the striker made an electric start to the campaign scoring 8 goals in the National League South.
Countdown to kick-off
One 2 Watch
Tricky this week as Farnborough are blessed with quality throughout. Ricky Holmes is a former Portsmouth and Charlton winger that will still have that killer bit of magic given the space. Taylor Maloney and Oliver Pendlebury have been picking up the goalscoring slack left by Alfie Pavey’s departure and former Chelmsford man, Michael Folivi will prove a handful up top.
But, we have decided this week it’s the former Slough Town GK, Jack Turner that we will be keeping an eye on. Hopefully because he will be busy but Turner has proven himself time and again to be one of the best long distributors of the ball in the league able to find a man anywhere on the pitch from the confines of his 18 yard box! He’s not a bad stopper either so Chippenham will need to be at their very best to put the ball past Jack Turner and for those of you who stand behind the goal, he’s always a good laugh in terms of the banter you can have at this level. Keep an eye out for those long kicks, danger is never far away when the ball is in his hands!
Again some really fun ones here this week with plenty of fun little links. Lots of EFL players that have come through the club such as Jed Wallace, and Ricky Holmes (who is still at Farnborough now), that Marek Rodek again, Fulham’s GK who keeps popping up on these searches spent a bit of time on loan at the club. Tom Broadbent, a name no Swindon fan will ever forget spent a bit of time with the Boro as well and Paul Parker, the former Manchester United defender, ended his career at Cherrywood Road after spending years calling Old Trafford his home.
However, the one we have gone for really is one for the younger fan. Andy Ansah is a former EFL player with countless appearances and clubs to his name across a long career that saw him twice called up to the Ghana National Team as well. But it was perhaps after his playing days were done, Ansah became synonymous with some of the most used phrases and actions in football today! Whilst working on Wayne Rooney’s Street Striker, Ansah coined the phrase “Tekkers” and it sparked Soccer AM do to a whole segment about it, the F2 Freestylers would have a forever catchphrase and kids up and down the country would have a word that they would over use for even the most basic of controlled first touches for many a year to come! Ansah also joined up with the South African National Team in 2010 as is credited with choreographing the famous celebration that has shown up on countless FIFA games since, with Tshbalala running and dancing in unison with his teammates. Of course, nowadays Andy Ansah can be seen on YouTube as he is the Chairman of the SE DONS football club which has shot to fame on the YouTube platform as being the Elite of Sunday League Football!
This was a fun one this week. Let’s start with those that were on loan. Zaid Al Husseini who played for Chippenham at the back end of the famed playoff season. He came to Chippenham, ripped Maidstone to shreds, got injured and became just the nicest person to have around the club, attending every game despite his injury and rightly getting to celebrate with the lads when they beat Havant to get into the playoffs and sharing in that famous penalty shootout win against Dartford.
Zaid was with Farnborough last season alongside another ex Chippenham loanee, former Swindon and current Maidenhead United striker, Harry Parsons. H scored plenty of goals for both sides in his time with the two clubs but perhaps none more iconic than that goal in response to Burton Albion in Chippenham’s history making Second Round of the FA Cup exploits.
Matt Jones, the former Chippenham left back who had THREE spells with the club including being part of the Championship winning squad in 2016/2017 also had two spells at Boro with his first coming in 2014 before signing their permanently in 2017/2018 making 20 appearances for the Yellows.
Serial club collector Danny Bailey also had a spell with Boro as did former Chippenham midfielders Scott Donnelly and Harry Grant.
Speaking of Chippenham midfielders, Tom Mehew returned to CTFC this week causing great celebrations amongst the fans and it was also nice to see his father David Mehew who had a great career in the non-League game following his 222 appearances for Bristol Rovers. A career that took him via Farnborough where last season we spoke fondly of his time at Cherrywood Road and no doubt he will be looking forward to Tuesday seeing friends both old and new.
However, there is one man who will be preparing to face his former employers this Tuesday (Or he would have had it not been for a cruel hamstring injury). Jake Evans, signed for the Bluebirds this year from Hungerford and has two goals to his name. Whilst at Swindon Town, Evans played 4 games for Farnborough in the Southern Premier League and upon his release from Town, signed for Boro in 2017/2018 playing 16 games and scoring 2 goals. He would leave to join Cardiff City at the end of his time there but no doubt will also be looking forward to seeing old faces when Farnborough come to Town!
Head to Head
In terms of a Head to Head between these two sides, you couldn’t really get much closer if you tried! In fact, In the SEVEN games between these two sides Chippenham have run out the winner THREE times, Farnborough THREE times and ONE draw giving a both sides a Win Percentage of 42.9% and in doing so the only recognisable split between the two sides, Chippenham scoring 7 times and Farnborough scoring 8 giving the Bluebirds a mathematically friendly 1 goal per game however, giving the Boro a slight edge with 1.14 GPG. However, the tale of the tape won’t tell the whole story.
Chippenham have NEVER been beaten by Farnborough at this level winning twice last season in a 1-0 victory at Cherrywood Road with a goal from Matt McClure and a 2-1 win at the TS Stadium with goals from Ollie Tomlinson and Joe Parker either side of a Jack Ball goal for the Yellows. In fact, Farnborough’s last win against the Bluebirds came in 2010 in the FA Cup and you have to go back to 2009 for their last league win against Chippenham of course when Chippenham were in the Southern League with their Hampshire counterparts.
Chippenham come into this game about as even as you can be in terms of results in their last 15 games, the Bluebirds have WON 5, LOST 5 and DRAWN 5 and for those who like a good omen before the game, Farnborough have only won ONCE away from home in their last 15 games and have NEVER won at the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium in LEAGUE competition.
For Chippenham this week the boys no doubt will be flying after the way they handled Eastbourne Borough and will be boosted of course by the resigning of Tom Mehew, the potential that Will Richards is now going to be around the squad and also Aaron Amadi-Holloway and Tom Owen-Evans taking part in training will come as a huge relief to all that bleed blue! Chippenham are almost certainly going to be without Nat Williams after he rolled his ankle on Saturday and of course Jake Evans (Hamstring), Will King (Knee) and Sam Heal (Viral) are all expected to miss out. There is no update currently available on if any fatigue or niggles crept in Saturday but with a schedule coming thick and fast, Horgan certainly will have to draw on his squad to pick up minutes where needed and with the couple of additions and returning players, it looks bright for the Bluebirds!
In closing, after a great win on Saturday it was fantastic to see and hear fans happy on the way to the exits and even a little boost throughout the game with the vocal support almost creeping back to the terraces! Also, the Guard of Honour, what a fantastic little bunch sat in the corner cheering on the team, it is so refreshing to hear supporters enjoying football, that’s what it’s all about! We hope to see as many of you as possible on Tuesday night and over the coming months when your support will be invaluable.
Remember as well Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bluebirds Bar is open after the games to come and celebrate with your team, debrief over a few cold ones and generally socialise with supporters, management, staff and players. We would love to see you there with us grabbing a drink and raising a glass. It’s a huge week for the Bluebirds with 4 points from 6 in the bag from the last two games, the same again could conceivably see us head towards the summit ahead of a difficult Christmas period and of course, the visits of Yeovil, Bath and many more. So get yourself down to the TS Stadium, Pack the Park and get behind your team and your town!
COME ON YOU BLUEBIRDS!!