MATCH PREVIEW: Chippenham Town vs Weymouth | National League South | Saturday 16th December 2023

Published: at 8:30am

Buoyed by a 5 * Performance in the FA Trophy, the Bluebirds return to both the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium and the Vanarama National League South when they take on Weymouth FC this Saturday.

Last Time Out

As mentioned, last time out for the Bluebirds was an absolute barnstormer of a cup tie when Chippenham welcomed back a whole host of former management and players as they arrived with their new Gloucester City colours. Chippenham ran into an early lead when Tom Mehews’ through ball was dispatched by Matt McClure. Another chance for McClure went into the Sheldon End before Craig Fasanmade had an effort cleared off the line with the keeper beaten. Gloucester reminded Chippenham that they were in the tie as well when Brandon Smalley blazed over from close range but it was the Bluebirds that would strike again when Luke Haines took Luke Spokes’ effort in his control before swivelling and striking past Jeacock in the Tigers net to give Chippenham a 2-0 lead. After the half, 2 became 3 when Freddie Grant popped a ball over the back on the Gloucester back line and Craig Fasanmade burst onto the ball and dinked over to onrushing Jeacock.

The game then descended into absolute madness. Comfortably leading 3-0, the ball was struck goalwards by Gloucester before striking the back of Matt McClure. Incorrectly, the referee then pointed to the spot and Joe Hanks was given his moment on his return to the TS Stadium when he dispatched his spot kick high and hard past Will Henry kicking off a frenetic spell in the game like nothing in recent memory. Gloucester had the ball in the back of the net again when Ben Beresford turned home a deep cross from the left hand side to make it 3-2 and ignite the Gloucester fans behind the goal. However, no sooner had they shouted ‘Come on City’ they were 4-2 down, Caine Bradbury set up Matt McClure who turned quickly to shoot, Jeacock saved down to his right but Tom Owen-Evans was on hand to tap the ball home and restore the Bluebirds advantage. Liam Cross was next to send the Gloucester fans into delirium when he struck from distance past Will Henry to make it 4-3. A nervy ending was in store until Craig Fasanmade chased down the goalkeeper Jeacock and the on loan Birmingham City man had a moment to forget when he stepped on the ball sending it sliding behind him with Fasanamade the recipient of his bad fortune and he walked the ball over the line to put the tie out of reach in a crazy 10-15 minutes of football that saw all inside get bang for their buck.

The ironic cheers came when former Chippenham manager, Mike Cook was dismissed with minutes to go in the game for remonstrating with the referee but in truth, by that time the game was truly done as Chippenham calmed proceedings down and eased to a 5-3 victory that saw them take their place in Round 4. In the draw, Chippenham learned their fate and they now travel to Bromley of the National League and with them sitting 2nd in the League above, there literally couldn’t be a more tricky tie to navigate if Chippenham are to advance again on the Road to Wembley. But before Wembley, it’s Weymouth, a far more familiar opponent this weekend in the National League South.

The Opposition

Weymouth FC, the Terras play out of the 6,600 capacity Bob Lucas Stadium in Weymouth, Dorset and were formed in 1890. In their earlier years, the Terras were founder members of the Dorset League before switching to the Western League after the First World War. In their early years they made their way up the Western League to the Southern League and then the Southern Premier League before once again finding football disrupted by global conflict.

In 1987, the Terras moved to the Wessex Stadium, opening the ground with a 1-0 victory against Manchester United in an exhibition match. In the early 2000’s Weymouth began their love affair with yo-yoing between the Southern Premier League and the Conference when Ian Ridley took over alongside Steve Claridge in 2003 and following a carnival style few seasons, Weymouth reached the Conference in 2005. Between 2007 and 2011 after years of success, the Terras suffered huge financial problems and in 2011, found themselves looking at being relegated from the Southern Premier League sitting rock bottom and facing a 3rd relegation in a row but this was saved by Rolls and Rogers before a takeover from the Weymouth Trust promised better times for the Terras. In 2018, Weymouth won the Southern Premier League before going straight back up again with a playoffs victory in 2019/2020.

A couple of seasons in the National League followed before relegation beckoned once more and nowadays, Weymouth ply their trade in the National League South, securing their place here this season with a last gasp run late last season after it looked all but certain that Bobby Wilkinsons men were for the drop spending much of the season in the relegation spots but under Wilkinson and being fired forward by former Bluebird, Brad Ash. Weymouth survived! This season, Weymouth are faring a little better, but not much as they currently sit in 18th spot in the NLS only 3 points outside of the drop zone but such is the tightness of this division, 3 points the other way could see them begin a climb up the table that would ease much of the pressures of being such a big club with a rich history struggling at the foot of the table once more.

Countdown to kick-off





One 2 Watch

We’ve picked these three, who will be ones to watch on Saturday, many will be familiar with Ezio Touray, the 19-year-old who joined Weymouth in the summer has broken into the squad, appearing 12 times, scoring 4 goals with 692 minutes of football played at the time of writing.

Another is Ben Thompson, the 33-year-old forward has been with Weymouth for several years now, has contributed 3 goals in 14 appearances, playing 701 minutes of football. Our final pic is 25-year-old Dan Roberts, again another forward. The former Dartford man, has scored 4 goals in 18 appearances, featuring in 1464 minutes this season.

Famous & Familiar Faces

The Terras have boasted plenty of Famous Faces throughout the years and many will be familiar with Steve Claridge, the 57-year-old former Portsmouth, Millwall, Leicester City striker has had a well-documented career starting in the early 80’s with Fareham Town and applying his trait for over 30 years, he’s featured for Weymouth over three stints during his career, appearing 158 times and scoring a total of 53 during his time. He’s also managed Weymouth as a player-manager during the 03-04 season. Steve came out of retirement in September 2009 to play unpaid for Weymouth who at the time were in severe financial difficulties. Another one to name is James Coutts, the 36-year-old midfielder is a former player for Weymouth featuring on two occasions, originally on loan from Bournemouth in 2007 before joining the Terras for two seasons, contributing 9 goals in 73 appearances before moving to Australia in 2015 featuring for several sides around the second division before becoming a manager, he most recently managed North Geelong Warriors up until 2019.

We do have a familiar face that many of you will remember, that being Jared Thompson. The 24-year-old former Swindon Town Youth goalkeeper has featured for the Bluebirds on-loan while on the books at Chelsea FC during 2018, the first season when we joined the National League South, Jared has also had loan spells at Warrenpoint in the NIFL Premiership, Exeter City, Brentford B and over two years in Denmark, playing for FC Midtjylland and Vendsyssel FF before joining the Terras on a short-term contract until January 2024

Head to Head

A good read for Chippenham fans this one, in the 20 games recorded across both the Southern Premier League and National League South between the two sides and one FA Cup and FA Trophy fixture respectively, Chippenham have won 9 times with 5 draws between the two sides and 6 losses. Giving Chippenham a huge advantage in terms of win percentage with a whopping 45% against the Terras 25%. Chippenham scoring 1.5 GPG during this time and Weymouth posting 1.25 GPG in response indicating tight affairs between the two sides in every meeting. In terms of the league, Chippenham fans will be VERY confident going into this one with 2 of Weymouth’s 6 overall wins coming in the cup meaning they have only ever won 4 games against Chippenham in the League and you haveto go back as far as 2014 to find it with goals from Greg Tindle and Luke Ballinger not being enough on that day to deny the Terras victory.

Since then Chippenham have dominated the fixture winning 6 and drawing 3 and boast the enviable record of NEVER being beaten by Weymouth in theNational League South. In the last meeting between the two sides this season, Weymouth picked up their first National League South point against the Bluebirds when Ezio Touray cancelled out an early penalty from Matt McClure to share the spoils at the Bob Lucas despite being down to 10 men for much of the second half. Wilkinson will be calling on this kind of performance again as they look to bounce back from a disappointing loss in the FA Trophy to lower league, Hendon FC.

Bluebirds News

Many Bluebirds supporters will be delighted at the goal scored by Tom Owen-Evans, who’s been out with a serious injury since the start of Pre-Season, has been featured in the last few games, playing a full-90 minutes on Saturday’s win against Gloucester City. We may also see the return of Jake Evans and Alex Bray, who both have been out with injury sustained recently in the league, but both will be getting back to full fitness, ahead of a potential return on the cards, especially with a busy period of football coming up during the festive period.

We of course, look forward to seeing you all joining us at The Thornbury Surfacing Stadium for another big game ahead, as we look forward to continuing a good run of form with a busy period of football coming up. Tickets can be purchased on the gate, with Cash/Card accepted on the turnstiles.

Stay tuned to our Social Media as we’ll be posting additional Match Day information ahead of time. Be LOUD AND PROUD this weekend, get behind Gary, Matt, Sharples and the lads, and as always COME ON YOU BLUEBIRDS!

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