MATCH PREVIEW: Chippenham Town vs Hendon | Emirates FA Cup 4QR Replay, Tue 18th Oct 2022
Simon Lawrence previews our upcoming Emirates FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round replay at home to Hendon FC
Following an absolute rollercoaster of a game in the shadow of the Wembley arch on Saturday, Chippenham return to The Thornbury Surfacing Stadium earlier than expected this month to take on Hendon FC in the Emirates FA Cup 4QR Replay on Tuesday night at 7:45pm.
Last Time Out
Chippenham went to Hendon full of expectation and a small helping of nervous energy as they emerged from the tunnel to the roar of around 100 of their own supporters. Manager Gary Horgan spoke before the game of the importance of a strong showing against their Southern League counterparts, and he couldn’t have asked for a better one.
The introduction of Craig Fasanmade to the side has given a huge lift to both the squad and the terraces, with the pacey striker exactly the kind of player that can make crowds come to life, and it was the new Bluebird that gave the travelling supporters their first celebration of the day. Following great work down the left-hand side from Jordan Young, he delivered an inch perfect cross onto the head of Fasanmade who made no mistake and headed past the Hendon goalkeeper before heading into the Blue Army to celebrate his first goal on his full debut for Chippenham.
Shortly after, good work from Young again down the right, this time saw him make a break between two Hendon defenders and into the penalty area. Jordan was sandwiched between the two and the referee gave the free kick to the surprise of nobody. However, to the surprise of at least the Hendon goalie, Jordan whipped the free kick in hard and low across the penalty area and made its way all the way through to double the Bluebirds advantage and give them a 2-0 lead.
At half-time, Chippenham supporters made their way to the other end and passing a very complimentary group of Hendon supporters coupled with how comfortable the boys looked on the pitch, were dreaming of Round One, the prize money and prestige and more importantly, who the Bluebirds would draw in the holy grail of non-League football. And then…
Going through on goal, Luke Russe has made a challenge following a little mix-up between the Chippenham back line. From our viewpoint behind the goal, it looked as if Russe had cynically taken his man whilst through on goal and with the awarding of the penalty, the attention shifted to whether the midfield maestro would be removed for the rest of the game. A relieved Chippenham contingent saw the referee brandish a yellow card. Sadly, the joy was short-lived as the Hendon striker stepped up to slot the ball past Will Henry as his dive to the right saw him only narrowly avoid contact on a well struck penalty, 2-1.
The nerves starting to swell a little, momentum was with the home side and a good move again saw them in on goal. A little pirouette on the edge of the area saw Russe again the man in the referee’s bad books. The resulting free kick was struck excellently and looked destined for the net until it stuck the post and flew back out to the only man in green within 18 yards. The finish was exquisite, fit to grace any cup tie, and sent the home crowd into delirium as his volley hit the top corner of the Chippenham net for 2-2. Enough drama for an entire cup run already in the bag, Chippenham laid siege to the Hendon goal once again, striking the post through Young, the bar though Santos and a handful of chances that should have seen the travelling supporters through to the end of the game singing songs and celebrating. Instead, the Blue Army had to settle for nerves and, right at the death, heartbreak. A clipped ball into the danger zone saw a Hendon player round Will Richards. Instinct saw the defender wrap his arms around his man to avoid him going through, and the inevitable happened. He hit the deck, the ref pointed to the spot and the red card was brandished. 2-2, 95 minutes on the clock and the same man steps up to send Hendon through, Chippenham out and disappointment for the travelling support. SAVED! WILL HENRY HAS SAVED THE PENALTY, the scream coming from our commentary team in the media area.
The final whistle blew and manager Gary Horgan reflected on an opportunity missed, relief at getting another chance to go again at home and excitement at the prospect of being in the hat for Monday’s draw on BBC TWO.
For supporters now, the attention of course is going to turn to Monday evening and the prospect of the “Dream Draw” for the Bluebirds. But we first have to navigate our way through Hendon first. Chippenham may have to do this without a couple of crucial players as well. Will King missed the game with a hamstring injury and according to Horgs, will not be fit enough for the game on Tuesday night and with Aaron Simpson still on the injury list also, it seems almost certain that Eddie Jones will continue at left back for the Blues after only just recovering himself from a hip flexor injury. Craig Fasanmade was also writhing in agony on the surface Saturday and left the ground of his own accord but hobbling very slowly towards the coach, hopefully Fas can make the game on Tuesday as he has already proven himself a vital player in his first couple of games with the Blues. Of course, the draw is not to be missed by anyone and should you fancy a drink with your fellow supporters, the Blues Bar will be open this evening from 6pm to take the draw in amongst friends.
This is perhaps the most vital game of the season so far for Chippenham Town F.C. Statistics dictate the lower ranked side in this situation will fall away with a whimper, however after watching the spirit of Hendon as a football club, we can guarantee this is not going to be the case. They are going into this tie now the lowest ranked side in the FA Cup, this is going to be another free hit for Hendon against higher league opponents, and they will be absolutely up for this. The boys will be as well you can bet your bottom dollar on that however, your extra support to get them over the line is going to be vital.
Chippenham supporters will be hoping for a repeat performance of our first half against Hendon and of course our only other meeting at home with the Dons which resulted in a 4-1 win for the Bluebirds and you can help be a part of hopefully another chapter in club history as we bid to reach the First Round Proper for only the FOURTH time in our history!
Hope to see as many of you as possible here for this big game and as always…
COME ON YOU BLUEBIRDS!