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MATCH PREVIEW: Chippenham Town vs Taunton Town | National League South | Tuesday 14th March 2023

Published: at 9:03pm

Simon Lawrence previews our upcoming home game against Taunton Town.

It’s back to the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium again on Tuesday, where Chippenham will be once again looking to extend their unbeaten run when they take on Taunton Town in the Vanarama National League South.

Last Time Out

Chippenham will be hoping to pick up where they left off on Saturday following a tremendous victory against Dover Athletic putting the exclamation point on a midweek win against Weymouth.

Kicking down the slope in the first half, Chippenham went about their business of breaking down Dover and asserting themselves as the dominant side on their own patch. An attacking side containing both McClure and Fasanmade with Windsor returning from injury to take a spot on the bench didn’t take long to find its feet in the game with the first real chance coming when Mehew broke through the midfield and found McClure, but his shot was dragged wide. Will Henry then started an attack which bought the best chance of the early exchanges, his throw to Joe Parker saw the returning Joey P turn on the burners and go around Alfie Paxman with ease, his pace was frightening to watch as he burst down the right side before delivering a perfect cross to Fasanmade who’s header was flying for the top corner when Stuart Nelson pulled off a brilliant save to deny Fas.

Chippenham then opened the scoring with a brilliant free flowing move. Starting once again with Mehew driving forward his pass found Fasanmade on the right, Fas then moved the ball to Luke Russe via Eddie Jones and Russe found Will Richards, a sharp pass through the heart of the midfield to Mehew was then helped on to McClure, his clever spot found Bray bursting forward and his shot was across goal just evading the fingers of Nelson and allowing for Joe Parker on his return to the starting line-up to fire home from close range. More first half chances followed for both sides with Dover keeping Will Henry honest in the Chippenham net with Luke Wanadio, Noah Carney and Lee Martin all going close but found Henry in no mood to be beaten. Chippenham went close with a long-range drive from Tom Mehew following a corner, but his shot was always just rising over the bar. Quick feet down the right side from Parker, Fas, McClure and Santos finally saw the latter get into the box but unfortunately for Alfie, his shot was too tame to trouble Nelson. Chippenham were playing some amazing one, two touch stuff and forcing corners and half chances galore and in the end, Dover were breathing a sigh of relief when the referee bought the half to a close.

After a series of chances in the first half but watching their side play arguably the best football they had all season, Chippenham supporters were filled with a nervous energy in the second half hoping that a couple of great chances not taken wouldn’t come back to haunt the Bluebirds. So, it was to the shock of nobody when straight from kick off, Dover made their way down the right side, a controversial corner was awarded after it appeared Tizzard had played the ball off Myles Judd but the linesman awarded the corner. Lee Martin’s quick thinking saw the corner taken quickly and nobody could pick up Judd on the edge of the box rushing it to finish expertly off the underside of the crossbar and level the score at 1-1. A little bit of pressure was then applied by the visitors as they looked to capitalise on the famed ‘slope’ but Chippenham were having none of it.

Changes were made with McClure struggling on the ankle and Alefe Santos cramping up. Owen Windsor and Caine Bradbury were thrown into the mix, and it almost paid dividends immediately with another flowing move resulting in a corner and Tom Mehew again from the edge of the box striking from range only to find Nelson pulling off a great save to deny Tom a spectacular goal. Chippenham regained the lead once again with another slick passing move. Eddie Jones tossed the ball into Mehew who’s sharp pass found Caine Bradbury, what followed was a carbon copy of the equaliser against Concord with Parker picking the ball up out wide, beating his man and swinging a delicious ball onto the head of Craig Fasanmade who put a little extra sauce on this one to make sure it hit the back of the net. 70 minutes gone and Chippenham back in the lead the one hope for all of us that bleed blue is that we could find another one to give us the luxury of not sitting back and holding on. The boys in Blue did not disappoint. Bray cut out a pass and Tizzard then released Bray down the left side with room to gallop, with the goal in his sights, Alex Bray unselfishly splits the defence and keeper with an inch perfect pass to Owen Windsor who completed a perfect afternoon for Bluebirds by sealing the game with a winning goal.

The following 10 minutes were uneventful with only the injury to Will Tizzard really blotting the Chippenham copybook and we hope we will be alright as we prepare to face our old rivals, Western League nemesis and home of several ex-players in Taunton Town.

The Opposition

Taunton Town nicknamed the Peacocks are a side that will require little to no introduction to any Chippenham supporter of 20+ years.

Back in the days of the Western League, this was THE side to beat without question and frequently dominated the league and of course, famously reaching Wembley not once but TWICE in the FA Vase, with the second time resulting in a famous win for the Peacocks against Berkhamsted Town in 2001. With a strike force of Ellis Laight and Anthony Lynch, Taunton were feared across the Western League and won three successive titles in 1998-99, 1999-2000 and 2000-2001. During this time, Chippenham took advantage of Taunton Town’s lack of urgency to go up a level and this culminated of course in Chippenham going up into the National League South in 2016. Since those good old Western League days, Taunton had always been a step below the Bluebirds and during that period, Chippenham wouldn’t see their old rivals again until last season, a 2-1 win for the Peacocks over eventual playoff Champions, Farnborough would see the two tangle again in the National League South. Nowadays, Taunton are managed by Rob Dray and have had strange start to life in the National League South (they find themselves in 19th place only one above Chippenham) albeit it, only on goal difference with the added stipend of course that Taunton have 3 games in hand over the Bluebirds and as many as 6 games in hand over other sides.

Taunton are on a little bit of a blip at the moment following a good start to the season they have only won twice in their last ten matches. Another FA Cup First Round appearance for Taunton this season with them travelling to MK Dons before crashing out to their EFL opponents saw Taunton doing well on the cup front as well but the number of games re-arranged in the league due to those exploits and the weather has now left Rob Dray’s squad playing Tuesday/Saturday for the remainder of the season with very little rest in between. Could this be a factor when Taunton come to Town on Tuesday night.

Previous Meeting

Of course, these two sides have already met in the league this year at Wordsworth Drive. Chippenham were on the receiving end of a 3-1 defeat that day with Caine Bradbury’s wonder strike the only real moment of celebration on an otherwise forgettable day for the Bluebirds. As we said earlier, before that game, we hadn’t faced Taunton since the old days in the Western League however, Chippenham always fared well in those games, and they will have to once again draw on that spirit if they are going to do so again this Tuesday with so much at stake between the two sides as they both desperately seek three points to help lift them away from the threat of relegation.

Familiar Faces

jarvis goals
Nat Jarvis goals compilation

Familiar faces will be a pretty difficult task this weekend with not too many players in the Taunton side ever spending anytime with Chippenham Town. I joke of course, it’s basically a who’s who of former players at Taunton these days with Jay Foulston, Jake Wannell, Ross Stearn, Nat Jarvis and Nick McCootie all coming up against their old employers on Tuesday night. Supporters will remember fondly the strike partnership of Jarvis and McCootie with the former scoring some 20 goals for Chippenham in the National League South and of course, Pops scoring a double against Bath City and celebrating in front of their dugout is always a way to write yourself into Chippenham folklore. We will be looking forward to seeing all these lads back at the TS Stadium and I am sure a few drinks will be had after the game but before and during, in the immortal words of Luke Russe “There are no friends in football”.

Bluebirds News

Chippenham come into the game off the back of an unbeaten SEVEN game with run with 5 draws and 2 wins. We currently sit in 20th place in the league, one place above the drop zone but with a lot of the sides at the bottom end playing each other this weekend, a win on Tuesday could prove crucial. An interesting read in the programme earlier in the week with the predicted National League South table via FootballWebPages saw Chippenham comfortably staying in the league with 50 points in 17th position and a win on Tuesday coupled with results elsewhere could see Chippenham reach 40 points and 17th place in the league. Of course, games aren’t decided by algorithms and the Bluebirds will have to be at their best to see away the threat of Taunton who need these points badly themselves to pull away from the drop zone.

Horgan will certainly be without Spencer Hamilton for the game through suspension and will certainly need to assess the fitness of Matt McClure and Will Tizzard who both had to leave the pitch injured on Saturday afternoon. With Horgan stating in his post-match interview that Chippenham may need a few new faces to help get through this period, I am sure all eyes will be glued to the dirt sheets.

So, another game at home for Chippenham under the lights and your support as is always going to be crucial. Especially in games where the other side won’t bring a huge number of bodies, we can swell the crowd, dominate the terraces and make the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium a real fortress. In recent weeks, much has been said of the crowd and the impact it can have let’s make it a real night to remember, get behind the boys and get those three points.


Ticket Information

We of course look forward to seeing you all turn out to #TheTSStadium for what promises to be a big test for Gary’s side.

Tickets can be purchased on the gate, priced at:

  • £14 for adults
  • £10 for concessions, including armed forces personnel along with students who have valid ID.
  • £3 for under-18’s
  • U16’s get FREE entry when accompanied by a paying adult.

Cash and contactless card payments are accepted at the gate.

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