MATCH PREVIEW: Slough Town vs Chippenham Town | National League South | Saturday 17th February 2024

Published: at 11:23am

Simon Lawrence previews our visit to Slough Town

The Bluebirds continue their hectic Vanarama National League South schedule for this month with the 2nd of 3 consecutive away games and will be hoping to make it another day to remember at Arbour Park, home of the Rebels, Slough Town.

Last Time Out

Chippenham will be heading to Slough full of confidence after a Tuesday night victory against Dartford, saw the Bluebirds propel themselves into 15th place and crucially take all three points back to Wiltshire on a night that looked like it was going to be a disaster for the travelling Blue Army! After a 2.45PM departure, with ZERO stops, the team coach finally arrived at Princes Park at 7.15PM for a 7.45PM kick off. With barely enough time to change and get warmed up, it was reminiscent of the FA Cup last season away to Metropolitan Police.

However, there would be no slow start from the Bluebirds this time around with them dominating the early exchanges. Half chances for McClure and Fasanmade set the tone that Chippenham were going to be looking for all three points this evening. Dartford of course, weren’t without their chances and likely should have opened the scoring when a cross from Coulson wasn’t dealt with by Freddie Grant, a shot came in from Romain which was blocked by Darts striker, Alex Wall. The ball bounced in the box and Will Henry was forced into a brilliant save down to his left before another shot came in only for this one to be blocked by Aaron Amadi-Holloway. A corner for the Darts saw another frantic scramble with Henry punching the ball into Romain before making a smart reaction stop at the near post and Chippenham were safe again.

Matt McClure reminded Dartford, Chippenham were here to play when he got down the left hand side winning a corner. That corner almost proved to decisive as Ellison headed back across goal, McClure challenged Billy Terrell in the box and when the ball broke loose, Aaron Amadi-Holloway tapped home but in truth, the whistle had gone before even the most arduous of Chippenham supporter could celebrate for the tangle between the skipper and the Dartford stopper. Matt McClure then had a really good shout for a penalty when he wriggled through 3 Dartford defenders and it seemed rather obvious that Maxwell Statham had tripped McClure but for the second successive week, Chippenham were left perplexed with the decision. Into the second half level, but it wouldn’t be that way for long. When Will King intercepted a loose Dartford pass and sent Fasanmade away down the left hand side, Fas burst past his marker with ease, driving into the penalty area before lifting the ball brilliantly over the onrushing Billy Terrell. Celebrating with a trademark Cristiano Ronaldo ‘SUI’ two things were guaranteed. Fas had just scored a worldie and he was absolutely, undoubtedly going to be fined.

This began a real spell for the Bluebirds where if we could have one complaint from the night, we maybe should have put the game to bed. A quick throw down the right hand side saw Evans cut to the byline and pull back for Tom Mehew who must have been already wheeling away in celebration when his left foot shot was headed for goal with the keeper beaten. But no one, especially Tom, was counting on Maxwell Statham managing to head the ball onto the underside of the crossbar in what was an incredible piece of goal-line defending. Fasanmade then had a brilliant chance to double his tally when Amadi-Holloway and Evans combined to set Eddie Jones free down the right hand side but Fas just couldn’t connect properly with the cross with goal at his mercy. McClure then shot from distance but his effort sailed wide. Henry was called into action again with a smart save low to his right hand side to deny Taylor Maloney. Henry again made a smart stop to deny Maloney again after good work from Dartford down the right hand side. Chippenham then expertly saw the game out with great game management to pick up a much needed three points on a night where the game itself probably caused the travelling Bluebirds less stress than the trip itself.

After the game, Horgs stressed the importance of the result, the importance of the character shown in responding to the adversity of the weekend and the conditions of which the Bluebirds arrived at Princes Park with far from ideal preparation but was mindful of the fact that we likely ‘made it harder than we needed to have’ with a couple of chances going begging but as always in football, results are key and a 1-0 win, away from home is always going to draw a smile in the camp.

Our away form is one of the best in the league, 6th in the table away from home this season and this is going to be something that no doubt we will strive to improve when we head on the road again this Saturday to Slough Town, a place which will hold some brilliant, and not so brilliant memories for the Bluebirds in recent years!

The Opposition

Slough Town, the Rebels play out of Arbour Park with a 2,000 capacity in the town of Slough, Berkshire. Formed in 1890, Slough Town FC are going strong this year after a start to the season that looked like they were going to be condemned to a relegation scrap the Rebels have done brilliantly under manager Scott Davies going on a fantastic run and propelling themselves to 9th in the National League South table alongside another solid outing in the FA Cup where they reached the First Round Proper and held League 2 Grimsby to a 1-1 draw at Arbour Park before going down valiantly at Blundell Park by a score of 7-2 which many agreed, flattered the home side.

In their last 5, Slough have LOST 2, DRAWN 1 and will mostly be focused on their last two games which saw them WIN both against Weston Super-mare and a late comeback win away at Torquay which will no doubt still have them flying on the crest of a wave. With Chippenham returning to winning ways against Dartford on Tuesday, Gary Horgan and his men will need to once again be at their best away from home to continue this run against a side that over the years, have shared a lot of great games with the Bluebirds.

Countdown to kick-off






The Head to Head record tells a story of two sides that have spent a lot of time in the same league together over the years with the Rebels a former sparring partner in the Southern Premier League as well as the National League South over the years. In all competitions, the two sides have met a staggering 19 times with the Bluebirds winning on 8 occasions, Slough 4 and the remaining 7 games ending in a draw. This gives Chippenham a whopping 42.1% win record against the Rebels and in the process scoring 37 goals which works out at 1.95 GPG for the Bluebirds.

Slough will of course be encouraged by the fact that they themselves have posted 32 in response with a GPG of 1.68 so by all signs, we should be expecting an exciting encounter. This of course won’t come as a surprise to Town fans who have been experiencing exciting games between these two sides for some time now. Who can forget the 3-3 home draw in the FA Cup with Ryan Bird equalising with the last action of the game only for the Bluebirds to go and win 3-2 at Arbour Park on their way to a First Round Tie with Northampton in 2019.

The two sides have also traded 6-1 wins in their time together in the National League South, a scoreline that would draw the attention of any football fan and of course, our last outing against the Rebels earlier this season which saw the Bluebirds take a 2-1 win at the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium courtesy of goals from Owen Windsor and Matt McClure either side of a Josh Jackman goal for the Rebels saw Chippenham take all three points on that occasion.

Familiar Faces.

It was a tricky one this week with none of the current playing squad spending any time at Slough that we could find on the internet and when looking at the Slough Town squad, it was the exact same situation. In fact, on viewing we could only find one player that ever shared the two kits of Chippenham and Slough.

Back in 2019, Mark Collier managing a Chippenham side containing current Chippenham gaffer, Gary Horgan signed a young Antiguan from Mansfield by the name of Adriel ‘AJ’ George and George would make 11 appearances for the Bluebirds before departing for Oxford City. After 2 years at City, AJ George would bring this connection full circle by being named as unused substitute for the Rebels in a game against Hungerford before departing for Rushden and Diamonds without ever kicking a ball for Slough. But, it counts!

Famous Faces.

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Steve Book spent the majortity of his career at Cheltenham Town but had a brief spell at Slough Town in the early 90’s

A few really cool ones on here this weekend starting with a bit of a local legend Steve ‘Kim’ Book. With a resume that reads like a league table of clubs in and around Chippenham such as Bristol Rovers, Swindon, Cheltenham, FGR, Bath, Weston, Paulton, Mangotsfield, Welton, Frome (honestly, I could have named more) but when he was a young whipper snapper at Brighton & Hove Albion, Book spent two games out on loan at Slough Town in 1993. Would he have had the same success without those two games? Who knows. One thing we do know is Steve Book had quite the career and if you speak to most people around the Wiltshire and Somerset fraternity, they could tell you a story about Kim Book.

A bit more recently, Tyler Goodrham has been ripping up trees at Oxford United in League One making 60 games already and scoring 8 goals. Before he was a first choice in the EFL, Goodrham had some 17 games for Slough and notched 3 goals in the 2021/22 campaign.

But this week, we have had to go with Matt Murray for our Famous Face. Making his way these days as a pundit on Sky Sports and also having a starring role on Soccer AM and various charity football matches, Murray originally was a goalkeeper for Wolverhampton Wanderers making 87 starts for Wolves and 5 games for England Under 21’s! Of course, Murray like Booker wouldn’t have made it without those 2 games for Slough in the early years with Murray playing 2 games for Slough in the year 2000.

Ones to Watch

Another tricky one this weekend because Slough tend to win a lot of games by committee with a team spirit, driven by the management including the player/gaffer, Scott Davies who leads by example and can hit a sweet free kick given half a chance.

But a couple of names to watch out for. Midfielders Johnny Goddard and Matt Lench will do everything they can to pull strings from deep with passes being sprayed around the pitch and an eye for the goal from distance, we will have to keep an eye on them. Josh Jackman who always seems to pop up with a goal against Chippenham apparently has this habit against other sides as well scoring 4 this season from defence as has centre back Dan Bayliss so keep an eye out from set pieces.

Nathan Minhas, a signing from Beaconsfield in the Summer has 9 goals this season as well so with so many ways to hurt you, Slough have got more than a few to keep an eye out for this weekend.

Bluebirds News

After coming through 70 odd minutes on Tuesday, Aaron Amadi-Holloway is a welcome return to the squad after his injury. Another 90 minutes in the tank for Dan Ellison signifies a return to full strength for the Chippenham back line for much of the season and with Haines return supposed to be quite soon, the Bluebirds are going to be blessed with options as we look to add more clean sheets to back up the 2 claimed in recent weeks.

Alex Bray is also creeping ever closer to fitness and this will be great news for Gary Horgan as he readies his squad for a tough couple of weeks going Tuesday Saturday, lots of trips away and plenty to play for.

I will confess myself in awe of Chippenham Town Football Club on Tuesday. After a tough weekend with the loss to Braintree. To leave at 2.45, not to arrive until 7.15, no stops, no real preparation, a quick warm up and with barely enough time to stick your boots on. The boys on the pitch went out and did the business in a very tricky game against a very tricky opponent in Dartford.

But not just in awe of our players and management. I was in awe of our fantastic team of Media Staff who brought the action to those who couldn’t make the trip, our incredible Board of Directors and their compatriots that once again, got on the coach to get behind the team on a cold Tuesday night in Kent but most of all. Our amazing supporters. To travel the distance and stay in great spirit all the way through, cheering on the lads and offering that extra encouragement as we saw a game out that gave us a brilliant three points and a clean sheet on the road. I look forward to seeing you all again at Slough for another (hopefully) great performance, three points and a great day with the Bluebirds making memories!


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