MATCH PREVIEW: Oxford City vs Chippenham Town, Sat 11th Dec 2021
Simon Lawrence previews our upcoming league game against Oxford City
Well, at the time of writing, I am not entirely confident that I have recovered from the weekend. However, with the thrills and spills of Dorking Wanderers, I am certainly not complaining that an extended stay involving several pints of the good stuff in the “Blues Bar” left me travelling the many anonymous railroads of 3 counties in order to finally arrive back safely (albeit a little spangled) in Portsmouth just shy of midnight!
It’s those kinds of days that make being a supporter of Chippenham Town FC so special for us all. Coming into the ground, I greeted many with looks of concern and almost a silent resignation to the inevitable ahead. Dorking came into the game as one of, if not the pre-season favourite for the Vanarama National League South title. With a fantastic squad, a colourful and controversial manager and their aspirations of continuing the success story in Surrey, they ran into a Chippenham side of which no one predicted would stand so tall in the face of the daunting opposition they faced.
90 minutes and 4 goals, yes 4 goals later, Chippenham were 4-1 winners over the Wanderers and the celebrations could begin. It was fantastic for all of us to hear our ground rocking a little more than usual, the dull and flat atmosphere of the last week against Uxbridge in the FA Trophy a mere memory as some 500+ supporters got their practise in early for the Christmas Carols with renditions of “Blue Army” and several other chants coming from around the ground.
We thank each and every single one of you for your attendance and that’s 2 in 2 now! Making the TSS a fortress has always been built around a 12th man and you guys were there in force on Saturday.
Now, we take the “Blue Army” on the road once more for a trip to Marston in Oxfordshire, specifically Marsh Lane, home to “The Hoops”, Oxford City FC. Oxford City have become familiar opponents for “The Bluebirds” in recent years and to the credit of CTFC they have a good record against the Oxford outfit however, this is a very different season.
Oxford City have not only recruited well to add to an already competitive outfit at this level, but they are also being managed excellently by David Oldfield and currently lie 2nd in the Vanarama National League South and only 1 point behind leaders Dartford, they will have no intention of taking their foot off the gas during an extraordinary season which has only seen Oxford lose ONCE in their league campaign.
A defeat way back at the start of September against Maidstone currently stands as the only “L” against the Oxfordshire side.
Oxford of course boast talent throughout their ranks however, we have chosen the “One to Watch” this weekend as Joe Laciafano. The former St Albans and Havant hitman is proving to be quite a firm favourite at Marsh Lane already with 7 goals in 12 appearances for the Hoops this term. However, Harry Parsons scored his first as my coffee arrived on Saturday and was on a “Hat-Trick” by the time I had stirred in the sugar so goalscoring will certainly be something to look out for on Saturday afternoon.
Other familiar names in the Oxford City ranks are Alfie Potter, who for the “Non-League” aficionado will recognise him as part of Havant & Waterlooville’s famed 07/08 side that qualified for the FA Cup 3rd Round and played in the 5-2 defeat at Anfield to the 6-time European Cup winners, Liverpool! Potter scored the second goal of the game for Havant that afternoon at a game I was lucky enough to be at and was named the “Player of the Round” for his achievement, something that has not been done by a Non-League player at that stage of the competition since. Well-travelled former EFL striker Elliot Benyon also turns out for Oxford City these days as well Harvey Bradbury (The son of former Portsmouth and Bournemouth striker, Lee Bradbury).
Chippenham come into the game with much to celebrate after the win against Dorking on Saturday. Firstly, the big returns of Alex Bray and Danny Greenslade were pivotal to our success that afternoon and with the unknown status of both Will Richards (Knee) and Spencer Hamilton (Ankle) will provide manager Mike Cook with much needed experience in the back line. One departure from that back line will be Callum Rowe.
The LB/CM on loan from Exeter has been recalled to Exeter City for the foreseeable and all of us at Chippenham Town would like to thank Cal for his first-rate performances whilst with the club. You have been a total credit to Exeter and to yourself and we look forward to seeing how you progress in football, we are sure you will have an excellent career. With no further injuries or suspensions to report. Chippenham fans will be excited once against to see how the Bluebirds line up in particular with Parsons, Aguiar and Lawal who excited the home supporters all afternoon Saturday and petrified the experienced Dorking defence. With Russe and Hargreaves in behind doing the dirty work, Chippenham are bound to once again find themselves playing expressive attacking football on the 4G surface at Marsh Lane.
Chippenham have a fantastic record on the road, only being defeated once away from home all season against Maidstone United. As mentioned, Oxford have only been defeated once in the entire league all season (ironically against Maidstone also). All signs point to this game being very close with Oxford looking to continue their good form but also Chippenham looking to push towards the top ten with another big result. With games coming thick and fast in December for both sides, this will be a game where Oxford will no doubt start as favourites, however, write Chippenham off at your peril as Dorking found out on Saturday.
If you are hoping to join us at Marsh Lane on Saturday, Adults can take advantage of the cheapest tickets in the National League South at £12 if they are bought in advance online. All tickets are £2 dearer on the day so if you are planning to make the trip, it might be worth blowing the dust off the mouse and keyboard and heading over to the Oxford City website and grabbing your ticket ahead of the game. Under 18’s gets in for free by the looks of it so a perfect chance to grab the kids and drag them along for some fresh air on a crisp December weekend. Senior Citizens go for £6 in advance and again £2 dearer on the day at £8 so if you know of a SC making the trip, give them a shout and let them know of this little saver. We are heading down to Christmas and every little helps.
The boys have really earned your support over the last few weeks. Facing down adversity and doubt and a few tricky results to come out the other side swinging and putting a huge win on the board last week should only see us head to Oxford full of confidence and enthusiasm in getting another big result on the road. So. let’s get down there in our numbers, let’s cheer the lads on and let’s have a great party in the bar afterwards as we continue our December schedule with a blockbuster against Oxford City FC at Marsh Lane.
COME ON YOU BLUES