MATCH PREVIEW: Chippenham Town vs Hemel Hempstead Town | National League South, Tue 25th Oct 2022
Simon Lawrence previews our upcoming National League South home game against Hemel Hempstead Town
Chippenham Town are back under the lights at the TS Stadium on Tuesday as they seek to return to winning ways against Hemel Hempstead in the Vanarama National League South.
Last Time Out
After all the excitement of the FA Cup with a home tie against Lincoln City confirmed for the 5th November, the Bluebirds travelled to Kent on Saturday to take on Tonbridge Angels in a game that could see Gary Horgan and his troops go level on points with those occupying the play-off spots.
Sadly, for the boys from Wiltshire, it never quite looked on and despite plenty of chances to win the game, in the end it was the Angels that ran out 2-0 winners in front of nearly a thousand supporters.
The early exchanges were even with corners and half chances being exchanged between the two sides.
However, it was Tonbridge that pressed well to win the ball before a sweeping move down the left side saw Ruben Soares-Junior the grateful recipient of a ball across the box and he powered his strike past Will Henry in the Chippenham goal to give his side a 1-0 lead.
A couple of chances for Bristol Rovers loanee, Harvey Greenslade before a brilliant passing move starting and ending with Tom Mehew just couldn’t be turned past Henly but Chippenham were looking good going into the break.
Chippenham started the second half brightly but just couldn’t force a way past Henly until the 60th minute where Tonbridge against, nicked the ball on the halfway line and a classic two pass counter attack down the right this time saw Lewis Gard finish excellently at the back post following a great cross. 2-0 to the Angels and with chances in the game still to come, Gary Horgan rang the changes with Jordan Young being subbed on for Alefe Santos to add to the earlier introduction of the returning Harrison Minturn. The young defender coming in from Swindon to add valuable cover for the likes of Tizzard, Richards, Hamilton and Co at the back.
In the end, it was in vain as Chippenham despite all the huffing and puffing, couldn’t find their way back and the Angels repeated the feat of last season in beating the Bluebirds, 2-0.
We love a Tuesday night under the lights at the TS. And with the league having 4 extra teams this year, a disrupted start to the season and of course the terrific cup run, it’s a good thing we do as once again we head up Bristol Road for the visit of Hemel Hempstead. Hemel, they are a
side that need little introduction to Chippenham spending good amounts of time in the same league as the Tudors in both the Southern Premier League and National League South.
The Tudors are managed by former Oxford City manager, Mark Jones and currently sit 17th in the National League South level on points but a couple of goals ahead of Chippenham who following Saturdays defeat, sit 18th.
However, due to an exit in the FA Cup against Peterborough Sports, have played one more game in the league than their Wiltshire rivals. The last time out against Hemel Hempstead was a 2-0 win at their place with goals from Dan Griffiths before being sent off and a late winner from Alefe Santos seeing the Bluebirds get revenge for an early 2-1 Hemel win at the TS Stadium during a poor run of form in an excellent season overall for the Blues.
Since the last time we played each other, a transfer has occurred between these two sides adding a little spice to the fixture particularly for Craig Fasanmade who left Hemel earlier in the season to join the Bluebirds and he will be hoping to be available against his old club following injury.
Also, for Aaron Simpson who I am sure will be faced with mixed feelings in the stands as he faces his old side for the first time since making the switch to the Bluebirds pre-season from Hemel.
Familiar faces this year is definitely one for the older supporter. In the 90’s Chelsea had a goalkeeper with a very unique look, ditching the shorts and opting for the leggings in a career that saw him play 118 games in the top flight for Chelsea before moving to Celtic under Kenny Dalglish at the turn of the millennium. He also played internationally for USSR, CIS and Russia gathering 40 caps at l international level. That man is Dmitri Kharine and he is now the GK coach at Hemel Hempstead!
For Chippenham, as mentioned in the interview with Gary, this game is going to come too soon for at least one of the former Hemel players with Aaron Simpson being a couple of weeks or so away. Also set to miss out is Will King who has not recovered from his hamstring injury. Jordan Young was rested from the starting XI on Saturday to protect a tight groin and Craig Fasanmade was named on the bench but not 100% following an ankle injury against Hendon. Chippenham of course will be delighted with the addition of Harrison Minturn as I believe Will Tizzard will miss out through suspension but don’t quote me on this. Chippenham will be looking to get back to winning ways here as despite our low league standing at the moment, it’s a matter of points between us and the play-off spots. Contrastingly however, it is a slippery slope to the dog fight if we put together a run of bad results so this is a very important time for Chippenham and will certainly need your support for this one!
Get yourself down to the TS Stadium and don’t forget also to listen out for announcements regarding the upcoming FA Cup game against Lincoln. Come and cheer the lads on in the league and make coming to Chippenham a real habit, we need you more than ever!