MATCH PREVIEW: Maidstone United vs Chippenham Town | National League South | Saturday 23rd December 2023

Published: at 10:50pm

The Bluebirds conclude their Away days for the final time in 2023 as we make the trip down to Kent to face Maidstone United in National League South action.

Last Time Out

The Bluebirds come into the game off a back of a 1-1 draw last Saturday against Weymouth at home before our trip to Weston-super-Mare scheduled for this past Tuesday was postponed for the second time this season due to a waterlogged pitch.

Chippenham started the game out on Saturday out the starting block with a flurry of chances in the opening twenty minutes before took the lead on twenty minutes when Dan Ellison’s crunching but fair tackle left Dan Roberts needing medical attention but prior to that the ball shot forward where Ed Williams found Tom Mehew who fired past Gerard Benfield with a sweetly struck low-driven effort. On the half hour mark, Freddie Grant’s cross saw Caine Bradbury’s shot blocked followed by Will Henry then saving Dan Roberts’s diving header whilst another cross from Teddy Howe was headed wide by Charlie Rowan, Weymouth continued to press Dan Roberts again headed a cross wide, A defensive mistake from Chippenham Town presented Roberts with another opportunity but Will Henry saved well before half time break.

After the break, Weymouth got one back on 52 minutes when Harry Parsons, who once featured for Chippenham Town while on loan from Swindon Town, but now on loan at Weymouth from Maidenhead United, ran on to a through ball to shoot past Will Henry. The Bluebirds look to capitalise after conceeding the goal with a shot from Ed Williams that was saved by Benfield whilst a Luke Spokes corner was dropped by the keeper but cleared to safety. Chippenham looked to get a last-minute with in stoppage time with Spokes again shooting from distance, however his shot went wide and Saturday’s game came to an end with both sides sharing the points in Wiltshire and Chippenham moving up to 14th place in the table with 29 points at the time of writing.

The Opposition

Onto our Opponents for this weekend Maidstone United, currently sit in 4th place of the National League South table on 39 points with 11 wins. 6 draws and 5 defeats with 22 games played so far. Maidstone returned to the National League South after being relegated this past season from the Premier at rock bottom winning only 5 times throughout their campaign.

The club are currently managed by George Elokobi who retired from his playing career last year, having featured for the likes of Leyton Orient, Dulwich Hamlet, Bristol City and Oldham Athletic, Following the departure of Hakan Hayrettin in January 2023, Elokobi was appointed caretaker manager of before being named as Permanent manager in March 2023

Both sides have already met this season at #TheTSStadium with Maidstone winning 2-0 on a very hot day in September 2023 with Sol Wanjau-Smith and Conor Kelly scoring both goals.

Countdown to kick-off





Ones 2 Watch

We’ve picked four names to look out for on Saturday who’ve had plenty of experience not just in National League action but also in both Premier League and EFL notably.

Our first pick is Gavin Hoyte, the 33 year old defender is an Arsenal academy graduate, who despite featured only once for the Gunners between 2007 to 2012, has played for the likes of Gillingham, Eastleigh, Barnet, Dagenham & Redbridge before moving to Maidstone in 2019, he’s featured 74 times scoring 3 goals during his stay in Kent.

Our next one is Bivesh Gurung, the 21 year old midfielder was born and raised in Maidstone,  moved back to the Stones in 2021 after featuring for the likes of Margate and Sweden 4th Division side Ytterhogdals FK, and also featured on-loan at Tonbridge while under his current side. Bivesh was in the news recently for his stunning strike outside the box to get Maidstone United in the 3rd Round of the Emirates FA Cup with a last-minute goal to knock EFL League 2 side Barrow out the competition.

Up next is Timmy Abraham, who’s notable brother Tammy is a former Chelsea youth and First team player before moving to Italy and currently plays for AS Roma. Timmy joined Maidstone on-loan from Boreham Wood recently, and his notable clubs include Fulham, Walsall, Bristol Rovers and Plymouth Argyle

Our final pick is Michael Petrasso, the 28 year old Canadian born winger is currently on-loan from CPL side York United this season, he’s also featured for MLS side Montreal Impact (now called CF Montreal) and also Queens Park Rangers were he started out as a Youth Academy player.

Honorable mentions also include, Lamar Reynolds, Razzaq Coleman De-Graft, Chi Ezennolim and Sol Wanjau-Smith

Famous & Familiar Faces

The Stones boast a load of Famous Faces who have dawned the Yellow & Black of Maidstone throughout the years, and the most notable name that may or may not be familar with supporters is the former Manchester United and current AS Roma defender Chris Smalling, the 34 year old defender has been with The Giallorossi since 2020, but before that he spent over 10 years at United, appearing 206 times with 12 goals to his name. Chris is a former Maidstone United academy graduate and started his professional career with them during 2007/08 before moving to Fulham

Another name to mention is 28 year old Gambian midfielder Saidou Khan, he featured for Maidstone for two years between 2019 to 2021 featuring 32 times before moving to Chesterfield for a season, eventually signing for current employers Swindon Town last season.

A final mention and this one is a Familiar face to some is Levi Amantchi who currently plays for National League Premier side Bromley FC, who we of course face in a few weeks time in FA Trophy action, but prior to that he played for Maidstone, scoring an impressive 13 goals in 20 games just this season before moving up to the league above only this week.

Bluebirds News

You would’ve seen this in our last preview at Weston-super-Mare which was ultimately postponed, but it’s too good to mention again, you would’ve been familar with the news that Dan Ellison signed contract terms with Chippenham for 18 months, after attracting interest and notably on trial with EFL side Sheffield Wednesday recently, the academy graduate has scored 3 times so far this season and now with Dan tied down to contract,
The squad have a hugely talented defender at their ranks, and another player who’s made the jump from the Academy to the First team setup along with the likes of current players Mal Nicholls, Will King and Caine Bradbury, and former Chippenham players Ola Lawal who now plays for Falkirk and Ben Hughes playing for Swansea City’s academy setup.

We of course look forward to seeing you all join us on the road this weekend, a reminder that Tickets can be purchased in-advance here via Maidstone United’s Ticket portal, we recommend you buy ahead so you’ve got your tickets before you set off.

If you’re unable to join us at Maidstone, then be sure to tune into BlueArmy TV & Radio’s LIVE Commentary with Jamie Oleszynski and Dan Blake bringing you all the action via our Mixlr account, so be sure to listen LIVE to stay up-to-date.

Let’s see as many of you join us at The Gallagher Stadium on Saturday, and as ever COME ON CHIPPENHAM!! 

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