MATCH PREVIEW: Melksham Town vs Chippenham Town | Ian Monnery Trophy, Sat 30th July 2022
Simon Lawrence previews our final Pre-Season friendly, against Melksham Town
Sir Alex Ferguson once said of winning the Charity Shield, “There is no such thing as a pointless trophy” and those words have never been more apt as we close our pre-season schedule with a short trip to our friends at Melksham Town FC to take part in the first ever ‘Ian Monnery Trophy’ at Oakfield Stadium.
Ian Monnery (Mono) was nothing short of a legend for both Chippenham Town and Melksham Town respectively making over 800 appearances for the two Wiltshire sides and setting a record that will likely never be broken (such is the modern game) of being Chippenham Town’s all time appearance record holder. Ian was the much loved husband of Sue Monnery who we are absolutely honoured will be in attendance to present the trophy to the winners of the game and we wish her all the very best as well as Ian’s daughters Carly and Lindsay. For supporters it will come as another opportunity to fondly remember Mono. Perhaps one of the biggest compliments to the former Bluebird is that when asking long serving supporters about Ian for his memorial at the football club, he was described by many as “the best that ever played here”. Win or lose, taking part in occasions like this and being asked to honour a great man like Ian Monnery is a tremendous honour and from all of us at Chippenham Town FC, it would be amazing to carve our names onto the trophy for the first time and bring a small piece of Mono back to the #TheTSStadium Trophy Cabinet that is already littered with his prizes over his career.
Chippenham come into the game off of the back of a credible draw against Cardiff City U21’s on Wednesday evening. A youthful and vibrant Cardiff side provided Gary Horgan and his men with a solid test at the #TheTSStadium. A penalty for the visitors provided Cardiff with their first chance following Joe Hanks’s trip in the penalty area. Penalty merchant Will Henry went the right way but the strike was too pure and the Welsh side went ahead in Wiltshire. A smooth move down the left hand side saw Matt Jones slide a ball into Alefe Santos. The Brazilian played the ball into the feet of Caine Bradbury who’s clever backheel found the continued run of Jones who slotted the ball home to finish a neat Bluebirds move and notch his second goal in as many games to pull Chippenham level. Changes came thick and fast in the second half and once again, Horgan’s persistence with the academy paid off as Keelan Byrne threw the ball into Ola Lawal, Lawal found Caine Bradbury who poked the ball through to Noah Coppin who’s technique was on point as his half volley found the back of the net to give Chippenham a 2-1 lead and left Horgan lavishing praise on his young players in the post match interview. Sadly for Chippenham, the win was snatched away from them following a slick move from Cardiff. Alex Bray pulled up with a hamstring injury allowing Cardiff to work the ball into the box with little resistance and the ball was slotted home from close range to end the game 2-2 and send both sides home with many positives and unfortunately for Chippenham seeing Alex Bray likely to miss the start of the season after several impressive displays over the last two months.
Melksham are a side that need little introduction to Chippenham. Now plying their trade in the Southern League Division One South. Melksham are littered with connections to the Bluebirds right the way through the club. The chairman of Melksham Town is former Chippenham Town manager, Darren Perrin who led the Bluebirds to the First Round of the FA Cup in 2005 and taking the Bluebirds to a playoff final in the Southern Premier League before his departure in 2007. Darren has remained a constant at the TS Stadium quite often coming back to see his old friends at the club and watching the lads when Melksham are not in action and it will be fantastic to see him again.
Melksham are managed by Richard Fey who alongside Nathan Rudge shared many great times at Chippenham as a management team. Some former players amongst the playing squad as well with former Bluebirds Luke Ballinger and Chris Zebroski amongst others now turning out for Melksham. Also in the squad following his signing earlier in the week is James Guthrie. The former Chippenham man spent the best part of 10 seasons with the Bluebirds including the Southern Premier League winning 2016-17 season and 3 further seasons in the National League South. For many supporters, they will have fond memories of James and his left foot in a Chippenham shirt and this will be to my knowledge the first time Guthrie has lined up against his former side and will be looking to stop his former club claiming their first silverware since they hoisted the Southern Premier League shield above their heads 5 years ago.
This is the final pre-season fixture for the Bluebirds as they prepare for the upcoming Vanarama National League South opener against familiar foes Ebbsfleet United on the 6th of August so we are hoping to see a strong line up from manager Horgan who has stated his own intentions of making sure the trophy comes home with them and honouring Ian’s legacy with a strong showing. Tickets for this fixture are fairly priced at £8 for an Adult, Concessions £5 and all Under 15’s going in for FREE so please make sure you turn out in numbers to cheer the lads on and hopefully enjoy another fantastic day at the Oakfield facility in Melksham. It is worth reminding supporters that the game kicks off at 2pm as opposed to the traditional 3pm and for those who cannot make the fixture. BlueArmy Radio will be providing official Radio Commentary, available via Mixlr (Please follow the links on Social Media to tune in). Either way you choose to support, we hope you will be involved in a fantastic occasion, honouring a fantastic man and a tremendous player. Let’s bring the trophy home and as always..
COME ON YOU BLUEBIRDS