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MATCH PREVIEW: Chippenham Town vs Weston-super-Mare AFC | National League South | Tuesday 5th March 2024

Published: at 10:00am

Simon Lawrence previews our home tie against Weston-super-Mare.


Another Vanarama National League South game is in store at the TS Stadium this week as Chippenham seek to make it 4 unbeaten when Weston Super-Mare are the visitors to Hardenhuish Park on Tuesday, the game was set to be played on Saturday 2nd March but the pitch was deemed unplayable after a bout of snow which then resulted in a waterlogged pitch.

Gary Horgan and his men will be brimming with confidence after posting back to back wins at the TS Stadium with Havant & Waterlooville and Dover Athletic put to the sword at home either side of a 2-2 draw away against Slough Town. A game that saw the Bluebirds leading 2-0 before a huge decision from the man in the middle gave Slough a route back to claim a point. This gives the Bluebirds 7 points from their last 9 available and will need to draw upon the character shown at the weekend to deliver another 3 to the tally.

Last Time Out

Last time out for the Bluebirds was the classic cliched game of two halves for the Bluebirds when they took on a Dover side sitting 24th in the table. With Dover clinging to National League South status by the skin of their teeth, one could be forgiven for thinking this was going to be a walk in the park.

To catch up on all the action from Chippenham Town 2-1 Dover Athletic, visit our match centre below.

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The Opposition

Standing in the way of keeping that run going are local(ish) rivals Weston-super-Mare AFC and after only recently doing the work on Weston before a washout at the Woodspring Stadium a few short weeks ago, Horgan and his men should be as prepared as we are here at Blue Army Towers for the visit of the Seagulls. Managed by Scott Bartlett and doing well in their first season back in the National League South, the Seagulls claimed their spot in the league by winning the Southern Premier League at a canter last season. Shocking more than a few in the opening weeks of the league, Weston have arguably got consistency to blame for their current spot of 16th in the league, 4 places below the Bluebirds who sit in 12th but importantly for all to remember, that is only a 3 point gap so it’s all to play for.

In the last 5 games for the Seagulls, it’s been 2 wins, 2 losses and a draw really hammering home that consistency aspect making it tricky to know what kind of Weston team are turning up any given week but overall, a solid team that will no doubt be another strong test for Gary Horgan and his Bluebirds as they look to claim a win that could bring them within 9 points of the playoffs and leapfrog Torquay United into 11th place.

Contrastingly, a win for the visitors could see them rise 4 places into 12th so this will no doubt be a game both sides will be really gunning for the 3 points required to further their ambitions. W-S-M, a long time rival of the Bluebirds from back in the days of the Southern Premier League as well as the National League South, you would think would give us a whole host of games to look at over the years between the two sides but with Chippenham and Weston only ever sharing 2 seasons in the same division before this campaign it gives us a really easy Head to Head for this weekend.

Countdown to kick-off

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Head to Head

The Bluebirds and the Seagulls have played only 4 fixtures in recent history with Chippenham taking 2 victories and Weston winning 1, the other game between the two sides ended in a draw giving Chippenham a 50% win record against Weston-super-Mare. All games have been tight with Chippenham scoring 6 goals to Weston’s 5 and average of 1.5 GPG for the Bluebirds and 1.25 for the Seagulls, one would expect a tight game based on these stats. The last time out between these two sides was all the way back in 2019 when a Nat Jarvis goal gave Chippenham all three points at the Woodspring Stadium and partly condemned Weston to relegation from the National League South.

The last game at Hardenhuish Park between these two sides saw Weston take the spoils in a 3-1 win, a rare 3 points in a season that ultimately saw them slip through the trapdoor so this is a side that will not fear playing away from home I am sure and will be a really good game as always between these two local(ish) rivals.

Famous Faces

More than just a few Familiar Faces this weekend with the two sides sharing a geographic pool where a lot of current Chippenham and Weston-super-Mare will be going up against their former employers.

Although sadly likely to miss out, Alex Bray spent time on loan at Weston-super-Mare in his earlier career and was a well loved player whilst at the Optima and of course now, spends his time flying up and down the wing for the Bluebirds.

Nathaniel Williams will know his way around as well after a loan spell at Weston whilst with Bristol City and I am sure he will be looking forward to seeing old friends.

Marlon Jackson will no doubt be looking forward to returning to his former club after departing for the Seagulls only a few short seasons ago and becoming a bit of a cult hero at Woodspring Stadium.

With many a player over the years playing for both clubs, to name a few Danny Bailey, Marvin Brown, Ross Stearn, Jack Compton, Matt Groves, Dave Gilroy, Ashan Holgate and even Vincent Harper, the two clubs share a rich tapestry of players and management and will surely prove to be a fantastic local(ish) derby.

Familiar Faces

We decided here at Blue Army Towers to cause a little friction. With many supporters having affinity for either Bristol City or Bristol Rovers across both Chippenham and Weston, it makes perfect sense to highlight two former legends of each club that played at Weston and see if we can’t start a mini debate between the Gas and the Ciderheads. Starting with the blue half of Bristol.

Former Rovers legend David ‘Boris’ Mehew played 222 games for the Gas in a career that lasted from 1985 to 1994! After he left Rovers, he went on a magical mystery tour of the non-League game in the area with spells at Bath City, Yate, Brislington, Forest Green, Paulton, Bitton, Clevedon and Bristol Manor Farm just to name a few! Of course, these days Boris can be spotted at most Chippenham games as among his lesser achievements, he is also the father of Chippenham midfielder, Tom Mehew (Only joking Tommy!) and his brother Olly who himself plays at Merthyr after ironically spending last season with Weston-super-Mare the trio’s hometown!

For the red half of the City, Brian Tinnion is a name that will need little to no introduction. Making a whopping 458 appearances for the Cider Army between 1993 and 2005. A former Newcastle United and Bradford City player, Tinnion would be an icon at Ashton Gate being club captain, interim manager and a memorable player for many years and in 2005 after hanging up his boots at the top level, played a season for Weston-super-Mare until 2006 when he retired from playing. Nowadays, Tinnion is responsible for the next generation of young talent at Bristol City as head of academy at Ashton Gate. Making him a very good person to give a hat tip to if you’re a club like Chippenham Town so if you’re reading Mr Tinnion, we think you’re great!

Ones to Watch

There are more than a few lads at Weston that could turn a game on its head and several that could be considered for this coveted One 2 Watch spot. But, we have decided that 9 league goals cannot be ignored and we are selecting striker Reuben Reid as our man.

With a decorated league career behind him that has taken him to places such as Plymouth, Wycombe, West Brom and Brentford to name a few, Reid has taken to life at Weston brilliantly as mentioned, scoring 9 times in the league this season and will no doubt require a careful eye from the Chippenham defenders if they are to stop it becoming more. A big physical presence up top he will also bring other players into the game and with midfielders like Opi Edwards, Jacob Jagger Cane and Rex Mannings all happy to take shots from distance, Chippenham won’t have much room to sit and allow Weston the ball.

Bluebirds News

Gary Horgan did say on Saturday that injuries are one of those things in football and once again, they are impactful for the Bluebirds with Eddie Jones and Alex Bray both a doubt for this game. Nat Williams will serve a second match of his suspension against his former side and Freddie Grant will certainly miss out after injuring his ankle away to Slough a few weeks ago.

Although if Saturday is anything to go by, Freddie will be just as influential in the stands after joining the Blue Army behind the drum and singing his heart out for the boys. Freddie, not content with just being a top bloke, has made himself a bit of a Chippenham legend this week by declaring on his Twitter that ANY Bluebird fan who joins him at the bar at 2.45 for an afternoon of vocal support for the lads, the first drink is on him!

For Chippenham, this game is a chance to add another 3 points to the tally against a side they will be full of respect for but ultimately will want to be beating as the odd unlucky moment over the season against other sides will need to be balanced out with positive results now.

Looking at the table with how long is left, you would say the playoffs are probably a stretch too far now for the Bluebirds with 12 points currently separating us from the final spot but we know something that the rest of the league are surely aware of at this point. ‘We’ve got Super Gary Horgan, he knows exactly what we need’ and currently on a 3 game unbeaten run, if Chippenham can keep this going as we know they have been inclined to do in Horgan’s tenure, JUST MAYBE!

COME ON YOU BLUEBIRDS!

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