MATCH PREVIEW: Hendon vs Chippenham Town | Emirates FA Cup 4QR, Sat 15th Oct 2022
Simon Lawrence previews our upcoming Emirates FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round game against Hendon FC
We have arrived at the Fourth Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup again and for the Bluebirds, they once again have to take flight and descend on hostile territory with an away draw against Southern Premier League South opponents, Hendon FC.
After ‘DISPATCHING’ the Metropolitan Police (don’t worry I won’t do this again) we are now facing Hendon FC for a place in the First-Round Proper of the Emirates FA Cup and the stakes are high with the EFL sides waiting in the next round.
Last Time Out
After a long trip to Hertfordshire at the weekend, Gary Horgan spoke of his ‘disappointment’ that the travelling Blue Army didn’t return to Wiltshire with all three points following his sides 1-1 draw with St Albans. Another proverbial game of two halves saw the home side go ahead after a period of pressure resulted in a corner for the Saints. As the ball was delivered high to the edge of the 18-yard box, Callum Adebiyi rose highest to head the ball towards goal where Shaun Jeffers (who else) was on hand to guide the ball past Will Henry in the Chippenham net and give the majority of the 1000+ crowd reason to cheer.
In the second half, Chippenham were much the livelier of the two sides with the introduction of new signing, Craig Fasanmade a really injection of energy and pace into the attack which saw the Bluebirds knocking on the door for the equalizing goal and the referee with some big decisions to make. Firstly, Fas ran down a loose ball and nudged it through the legs of Michael Johnson with it being destined to be the perfect start for the young striker. However, Johnson dropped to his knees and the ball got caught underneath him for a great save he knew nothing about. Big shouts from the Chippenham players that Johnson had handled outside the box before Craig knocked it through and the referee had a difficult call to make and he ruled in favour of the home side. However, minutes later, the referee had a much easier decision to make and proceeded to baffle everyone inside Clarence Park with his decision. Joe Hanks picked up the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box. After clever footwork from the midfielder, he popped the ball through the legs of the St Albans defender before lining up what would have been a fairly routine 1v1 on the Saints goalkeeper. No sooner had he popped the ball through the legs of the defender, one of those legs stretched out to take away the shooting foot of Hanks. It was one of those moments where the outcome was so obvious that even the goalkeeper threw his arms up in frustration at the mistake of his defender and one of those that were so stonewall even the crowd behind the goal skipped the usual appeal and celebration of the penalty and went straight to the nerves of putting it away. However, everyone was stunned when the referee decided Hanksy had initiated the contact with the goal at his mercy and after Alefe Santos picked up the loose ball and couldn’t put it past Johnson. It looked destined to be one of those days where our luck was out.
Enter Will King.
The young midfielder turned left back has been a revelation of sorts for the Bluebirds this season, turning out performance after performance in a position new to him but with Caine and Noah scoring the goals and stealing the plaudits, these performances have often gone under the radar to the untrained eye. With 5 minutes of added time on the clock, heading into the very last one, Luke Russe pumped the ball into the box from deep. Craig Fasanmade leapt to get his head on it and just about contested the aerial battle enough to see the ball break left. Harvey Greenslade was then on hand to flick the ball into the path of Will King who arrived just inside the box to smash home with his left foot and give Chippenham a deserved share of the points following somewhat of an injustice early on.
Chippenham have become somewhat of an expert in recent times at leaving things late snatching vital wins and crucial draws in the most dramatic of fashion several times of late. With the return to action in the Emirates FA Cup and at the Fourth Qualifying Round no less, Chippenham supporters will be hoping for a less dramatic outcome against their Southern Premier League opponents Hendon FC. Unfamiliar territory for the Bluebirds as over the years, this is the round where we will have been nailed on underdogs for progression but such is the ascension over the years, Chippenham go into this game against Hendon as the favourites by virtue of their higher standing in the non-league pyramid but Hendon by no means is going to be an easy task as they seek to deliver another ‘cupset’ in a competition famed for its giant killing exploits.
Formed in 1906, our opponents for this all-important Emirates FA Cup fixture, Hendon FC. Hendon are managed by Lee Allinson and play out of Silver Jubilee Park in Kingsbury. I have received several messages this week as well from amused supporters that their chairman is one Mr. Simon Lawrence although I think we can all agree that will be the only likeness we share this weekend with both Simon’s respectively pulling for their side to reach the First Round Proper!
Hendon have started this season rather indifferently, with their league form seeing them sitting in 21st in the league out of 22 with only 5 points this season. Similarly disappointing in the FA Trophy, Hendon have gone out of that competition following a 0-0 draw with Binfield, the Dons lost the resulting penalty shootout and saw them exit the Trophy at their first hurdle. However, the Dons seem to have picked up a little form, following league defeats to Yate, Swindon Supermarine, Hayes & Yeading, North Leigh, Truro City and the Met Police, Hendon have found themselves a friendly stomping ground in the Emirates FA Cup picking up wins over Potton United and Wingate & Finchley. Three games undefeated in the League have followed with a win over Harrow Borough and two draws against Winchester and Chesham giving them a 5-game unbeaten run before dispatching of Herne Bay to book their place against Chippenham in the Fourth Qualifying Round.
You don’t have to look far back for the one and only meeting between these two sides. Chippenham and Hendon have played each other in this competition before.
In 2018/19, Chippenham drew Hendon in the 3rd Qualifying Round at home and with goals from Nat Jarvis, Nick McCootie and a stunner from George Rigg, Chippenham saw off Hendon, 4-1. Chippenham manager Gary Horgan was then the number two to Mark Collier and progression from this round saw Chippenham into the Fourth Qualifying Round against National League, Maidenhead. After a draw at home, Chippenham went to Maidenhead on Tuesday knowing a win would see them at home to Portsmouth in the First Round Proper and after a disappointing night Chippenham would once again go home the bridesmaids! This however is not our only experience of the Fourth Qualifying Round and we are going to take a look at some memorable moments from this stage of the Emirates FA Cup.
Chippenham’s first ever attempt at this stage of the competition came all the way back in 1951 when the Bluebirds had to play an astonishing SEVEN games to reach the 4QR before they beat Newport IOW 3-0 at home to secure a First-Round tie with Leyton. In 1953 and 1956 Chippenham were beaten at this stage by Weymouth and would have to wait until 1984 before seeing the 4QR again where they were sadly beaten by Farnborough. A 2-1 victory at home enough to see the Bluebirds off. The next time the Bluebirds would reach the 4QR they would come up against Basingstoke where a solitary goal from Chippenham legend, Ian Harvey booked Chippenham a First-Round Proper date with Worcester City in 2005. The Bluebirds fought valiantly over two ties but unfortunately just came up short in their attempt to see the Second Round for the first time ever, losing 1-0 to Worcester.
Disappointment at the 4QR stage was to become a recurring theme for the Bluebirds losing out in 2007 to Horsham and most notably to Paulton Rovers in 2009. In the round before, Lewis Powell put away a free kick to send Havant & Waterlooville crashing out only one year after they played Liverpool at Anfield. However, with the prize of high-flying Norwich City on the line, the Bluebirds lost 3-0 to Paulton and we were forced to watch as another side took the spotlight and more importantly the lucrative television rights which offer huge financial reward. Further 4QR defeats to Gloucester, Maidstone and Maidenhead were to be endured before a 3-0 win at Whyteleafe in 2019 saw Chippenham reach the First Round Proper for only the third time in their history where Northampton Town were the team to end Chippenham dreams of the Second Round with a 3-0 win in front of 2500+ at the TS Stadium.
A late goal from Concord’s Danny Green cost us a First-Round date with Stevenage in 2020 and now it’s the turn of Gary Horgan and his men to write their own chapter in our near 135-year history.
Chippenham come into the game buoyed by the return of Alex Bray from injury however, Eddie Jones will possibly find this a game too soon following his injury in the last round to his hip flexor. With Craig Fasanmade eligible to play in the Emirates FA Cup and no fresh injury news to report, it would seem Horgan has near on a full complement to select from for this all-important game at Hendon.
A fantastic effort from all involved at the club to arrange a Supporters Coach for this game, even more so given no home game to promote the coach and having to reach out to people without the assistance of seeing them at the ground so well done to all and most importantly, well done to those who are travelling to join us at Hendon to support the lads. There really is nothing more magic than the Emirates FA Cup, landing on someone else’s ground and getting in the trenches together. The lads comment all the time what an unbelievable difference it makes to see the Blue Army behind the goal willing them over the line and fingers crossed that we can add another chapter to our Emirates FA Cup story this time out.
So safe travel to all, I hope to see as many of you as possible at Silver Jubilee Park and let’s get into that First Round Proper and start dreaming of the EFL team we want to see come out in the draw!
Yours in Sport,
Simon Lawrence (Not the Hendon Chairman)