MATCH PREVIEW: Hampton & Richmond Borough vs Chippenham Town | National League South | Saturday 9th March 2024

Published: at 7:32pm

Simon Lawrence previews our trip to Hampton & Richmond Borough.

It’s back to the road this weekend in the Vanarama National League South, specifically the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames where Gary Horgan and his men will be looking to bounce back from midweek disappointment when they take on Hampton & Richmond Borough FC.

Last Time Out

Last time out for the Bluebirds was the rearranged fixture against Weston-super-Mare after Saturday’s inclement weather saw the Bluebirds having to call off the original fixture for being under several inches of snow!

On Tuesday night, we did it all again and when the smoke had cleared, sadly for the Bluebirds it was the away side left celebrating. A solitary goal from Rex Mannings the difference between the two sides.

For a full recap on the Weston game and the reaction of Chippenham gaffer Gary Horgan, head on over to our YouTube channel Blue Army TV and don’t forget to drop us a like and subscribe for more Bluebirds News and Video’s.

You can also catch up on all the action from Chippenham Town 0-1 Weston-super-Mare, visit our match centre below.

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The Opposition

So, Hampton & Richmond Borough. Formed in 1921, the Beavers are playing their football in the National League South and have been almost a permanent fixture since 2007 after successfully winning the Isthmian Premier League to claim their place in what was then the Conference South. At the first attempt, the Beavers nearly made it to the Conference National (National League) but after a 3rd place finish they agonisingly lost in the playoff final to Eastbourne Borough. The Beavers would do it all again the following season finishing runners up to the rising phoenix of AFC Wimbledon and losing out in the playoff final at home to Hayes & Yeading. In 2012, then manager Alan Devonshire took the job at National League, Braintree and sadly for the Beavers, their season ended in a final day relegation to the Isthmian Premier League.

They would be back in 2015/16 however with another title win to their name and have remained in the National League South ever since. During that time the club have had some real highlights including a 4th place finish in the league, embarking on a playoff run which was halted in the final on penalties against Braintree Town giving Hampton the unfortunate record of 3 final defeats and not a solitary win.

Of course nowadays, the Beavers are looking to put that right and are currently on course for a finish in the playoffs with a stunning run of form in the early to mid season leaving Mel Gwinnets side sat currently in 5th position in the National League South and with a best ever performance in the FA Trophy which saw them reach Round 5 where they were eliminated from the competition by Macclesfield. Coming into this game, Hampton are on a good run of form with victories against Eastbourne, Havant & Waterlooville and Weymouth being coupled with a draw against Farnborough and a defeat to Aveley to give them 10 from their last possible 15

Countdown to kick-off





Head to Head

Our Head to Head record against the Beavers is one we will certainly be looking to improve upon. In the ELEVEN games played against Hampton & Richmond, the Bluebirds have only tasted victory TWICE with H&R winning 6 and the other 3 games ending in a draw. This gives Chippenham a very meagre Win Percentage of 18.2% compared to that of Hampton with 54.5%. One thing that it does look like is this game does not produce that many goals with the Bluebirds averaging exactly 1 GPG across the 11 fixtures and Hampton not much better with 1.55 GPG scoring 17 times in 11 attempts against their Wiltshire counterparts.

Last time out against the Beavers it was the home fixture in this season’s campaign where Hampton were the beneficiaries of a bad start by the Bluebirds with two goals gift wrapped and handed to the Beavers. A spirited second half saw Chippenham get one back through Dan Ellison but sadly it was all too little too late and Hampton & Richmond won the day with goals from Mason Bloomfield and Jordan Thomas.

So with it all to do this weekend against a formidable opponent, Chippenham will have to be at their very best and at the peak of their away form prowess to get a result here. However, if they do pick up the 3 points at the Beveree Stadium this weekend, Chippenham manager Gary Horgan will add yet another little record to his growing collection in being the first Chippenham manager to ever guide his side to a win at the home of Hampton & Richmond Borough!

Familiar Faces

Familiar Faces was a nice easy one this week with only 2 players that we could find spending time at both clubs. Zaid Al Hassaini some will remember as the winger that came in on loan, got injured against Maidstone and then spent the whole end of the season, hobbling around celebrating as Chippenham made it to the Play-Off Semi-Finals against Ebbsfleet United. Well before Zaid was the Bluebirds biggest fan, he was signed with the Beavers in 2019 although we couldn’t find a record of him playing a game for Hampton & Richmond.

The year before Zaid may or may not have played for Hampton, one person we know did make 4 appearances for the Beavers is the man, the myth, the legend, Mr Will Henry! Before he was the best goalkeeper in the National League South, swatting balls away like an angry fly swatting person for the Bluebirds, he was with Swindon Town and whilst we got familiar with Will during that time with a couple of loan spells, he also went on loan to Hampton & Richmond in 2018. Ironically this was also the year that we would first see Hen Doggy Dog in a Chippenham shirt when after his recall to Swindon, he made 8 starts for the Bluebirds in a loan spell he would enjoy so much, he would sign permanently in 2021.

Famous Faces

You can’t really talk about Hampton & Richmond without this particular story coming up. In 2015/16, the Beavers came into the National League South boasting a tandem of two of the most talented players to ever play at this level. Their goals and assists were noticed by clubs up and down the country and in the end, the duo made the move to Fratton Park, home of Portsmouth FC and that duo. Jamal Lowe and Nicke Kabamba.

Of course, their careers went on a different trajectory after leaving the Beveree with Lowe becoming a cult hero at Fratton Park and moving up the league with transfers to Wigan, Swansea and now is playing for Premier League Bournemouth. However, Lowe is currently back in the Championship on loan for former club Swansea City. Kabamba didn’t quite cut the mustard at Fratton Park and signed for Havant & Waterlooville upon leaving Portsmouth. He would then sign for Hartlepool where he caught the attention of Scottish side Kilmarnock. After a good return in Scotland, Northampton Town took a punt on Kabamba but with 21 games and 0 goals, he soon found himself looking for new employers. Barnet would be his destination and safe to say either Kabamba has really found his level or he is really enjoying his time at Barnet as in just 73 games he has a whopping 38 National League goals to his name and he doesn’t look like he is stopping at that.

As always, I am sure there are lots of fun little links to clubs so if you feel like scouring the internet and posting them in the comments section, it will be a fun little discussion I am sure.

Ones to Watch

A good couple could catch the eye this weekend with Hampton & Richmond, a team in good form with plenty of exciting players. The young RB Jordan Thomas has been described by many this season as one of the best they have come against and with his goal earlier in the season against the Bluebirds, Horgs will be sure to alert his players to the dangers of letting him maraud forward in search of another.

Speaking of goals, Hampton & Richmond have a fair few in their front line with Ben Seymour (12) and Mason Bloomfield (10) looking to add to their respective tallies. Other names that jump out are that of Luis Fernandes, a big centre back that loves to win headers and pump balls into areas for others to chase down and Ruidh Donaldson, a full back in every sense of the word, loves a tackle, loves getting forward and is pretty handy from a dead ball if given the chance! So with lots to look out for Chippenham will need to have eyes everywhere if they are to come home with the victory this weekend.

Bluebirds News

Apart from some tired legs and hurt pride. Chippenham appeared to come through the game on Tuesday unscathed against Weston with all 3 substitutions appearing to be more tactical than precautionary. This will give Horgs hopefully a good pool of players to pick from this weekend. Eddie Jones is a noticeable absence as he continues his return from injury and Nat Williams will now be available following a two game suspension. Alex Bray was fit enough for the bench Tuesday and hopefully this will signify his return to fitness as well.

So, for the Bluebirds it’s another tricky game as they seek to add a few more points to the tally against a side that will no doubt be expecting and expected to pick up the result here based on league standings and home advantage. However, we have seen on several occasions this year that Chippenham are a force to be reckoned with on the road and that’s in no small part down to the wonderful support we receive on the road with appreciative travelling support always offering encouragement and inspiration and we need you again this weekend.

With back to back away games it is always quite difficult unless you are travelling to feel a part of the action so if you cannot make the game this Saturday, please jump onto our Mixlr coverage where Blue Army Radio will be bringing you all the action, as it happens and reporting (hopefully) another great away result for the mighty Chippenham Town.

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