MATCH PREVIEW: Chippenham Town vs Uxbridge, Sat 27th Nov 2021
Simon Lawrence previews our upcoming FA Trophy 2nd Round clash against Uxbridge.
The Vanarama National League South can prove a tough mistress at times! Never more evident than the previous weekend where the boys arrived in Kent for a difficult fixture away from home against Maidstone and found more than they bargained for in terms of how difficult a place the Gallagher tends to be. A buoyant, vocal home crowd not only got behind their troops but also seemingly had a big impact on the officials as Chippenham lost their unbeaten away run and succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of “The Stones”, a Joan Luque penalty being the only difference on a cold day in Maidstone.
A lot was said after about the referee Mr Walchester, his decision making and his apparent lack of want to give absolutely anything for the boys from Wiltshire but a spirited fight from the Bluebirds on another day would have seen us take something from the game, but a few chances went begging, a few decisions weren’t given and ultimately, we left from our trip proud, but somewhat disappointed.
This weekend gives us a chance to get away from the League, we leave it currently sat in 13th position, which interestingly for all you “Stat” lovers out there, is the position Chippenham have spent the most time occupying since their time in the National League South began. The FA Trophy in recent years has almost felt like a bit of a “B Cup” with the excitement of the FA Cup behind us and the significant difference in Prize Money in the 2 competitions, many would be forgiven for feeling that way.
However, this year is very different. With our early exit in the FA Cup at the hands of Hastings, and the financial implications this game is as big as any in recent memory and although our opponents coming from a lower league will give us the moniker of “favourites” Chippenham will have to be at their best to see off the challenge of Uxbridge FC from the Isthmian South-Central League.
Not a great deal is known of our opponents Saturday. This can be perceived as both good and bad, but no doubt Mike and the Staff would have got the video, done their homework and created a game plan for our opponents. Playing as mentioned out of the Isthmian South-Central League, Uxbridge currently sit 2nd in the League behind leaders Bracknell however, with a win in their game in hand, The Reds will find themselves only a point off the top of the table so make no mistake, this team know how to get it done.
Uxbridge are based in the London Borough of Hillingdon, so without meaning to profile too much, as per experience against sides from the area we can expect a tough, physical group of good athletes and some very tricky players on the ball. The London clubs have a big advantage over most with a lot more players to choose from in their local pool so no doubt Danny Edwards’ men will provide a tough task for Mike Cook and his Chippenham side.
Only one previous meeting between the two sides. An FA Cup fixture in 2015 away at Uxbridge. Chippenham ran out victorious that afternoon with goals from Ashan Holgate, Alex Ferguson and Andy Sandell securing Chippenham’s place in the 4th qualifying round of the FA Cup against ironically, our last opponents.
Maidstone United! Of course, Maidstone would continue in the competition that year and lose in the First Round to Yeovil, Chippenham turned their focus to the league and strengthening for a push for promotion and managed it the following year in 2016. Both clubs have come a long way since their last meeting, and this should be no indicator of Saturday’s game as to who may come out on top.
For the Bluebirds, scans in the week have confirmed that Zain Walker will miss the next 3-4 weeks of action and hopefully will be targeting a return around Christmas time. Alex Bray is still on the fence it would seem and without an update, we can assume for the time being he is not in the squad for Saturday’s game.
However, Chippenham supporters of recent weeks will have been somewhat enthused by the injection of youth into the side with not only the loan signings who have bedded in fantastically well, but our own academy players will Ola Lawal, Ethan Hill and Joel Smedley all travelling to Maidstone with Ola and Ethan actually seeing time on the pitch.
Should Cook decide, this will prove a fantastic opportunity for the young academy lads to stamp their claim to featuring in the League more regularly and I am sure they will grab any opportunity with both hands!
For those who are planning on joining us at The Thornbury Surfacing Stadium for this FA Trophy fixture. Supporters are reminded, The FA Trophy is ALL PAY. Turnstiles 1&2 will be open and advanced tickets can be purchased online by simply following the link from the website! This is a big game fans, make no mistake. A place in the 3rd Round is on offer as well as the best part of £4,000 on offer for the winners! So come on down to the TSS, cheer the boys on and let’s take our place in the next round of the FA Trophy, together!