MATCH PREVIEW: Worthing vs Chippenham Town | National League South, Sat 20th Aug 2022
Simon Lawrence takes a look ahead to Saturday’s league clash away to Worthing.
Chippenham Town FC return to action in the Vanarama National League South this weekend with a trip to Woodside Road, the home of Worthing FC. The “Mackerel Men” are new to the Vanarama National League South this season and enter the league as Champions of the Isthmian Premier League by a huge margin accumulating 97 points across the season. Whilst strangers to the league, they will by no means be coming just to make up the numbers and will pose a big challenge for the Bluebirds as we head back on the road in search of our first points of the new season.
At the time of writing, Chippenham come into the game following one of the most challenging and distressing weeks in history of the Bluebirds following the events that unfolded at the Chippenham Town vs Chelmsford City fixture at #TheTSStadium. I am of course referring to the horrific incident which saw Chippenham defender, Pablo Martinez collapse to the ground midway through the first half. Pablo was initially non-responsive and the quick actions of both Chippenham and Chelmsford staff, players and supporters were to thank for saving the life of Pablo as CPR was administered alongside the use of the defibrillator to resuscitate ‘Pabs’.
The events that followed that moment will I am sure live with everyone in attendance forever and whilst horrific at the time, it is with great relief and immeasurable happiness that Pablo was not only saved on the pitch but following his transfer to Bristol Hospital is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries and has since taken to social media to thank in person the heroic actions of the people that came to his aid.
We as a club, as a town and indeed as a football community would like to wish Pablo Martinez a speedy recovery to full health and hope to see our man back at the TS Stadium very soon.
Where the football is concerned, Chippenham manager Gary Horgan stated after the game on Saturday that “Football was the furthest thing from his mind” when asked when the Bluebirds would return to action and the club has since acted with the permission of the National League to postpone what would have been Tuesday nights fixture against Pablo’s former club, Oxford City. I believe as many would that this is the correct decision as we establish the condition of our players who experienced something they should never have to go through and we would like to register our thanks to the National League and our friends at Oxford for understanding and allowing us to put welfare ahead of football.
And so, onto happier notes. Pablo is recovering, Chippenham Town as they have many times in the face of adversity will bounce back stronger and we take the boys on the road this weekend to Worthing for our first meeting with one of the ‘new boys’ at Woodside Road. Worthing come into the game after making a positive start to National League South life with an opening day draw against Dover Athletic being followed by a 4-2 victory against Welling to maintain an unbeaten start to the campaign at the time of writing. Unlike the Bluebirds, Worthing will have a game on Tuesday night against another tough side in Weymouth FC. Regardless of the result against the Terras, Worthing manager Andy Hinshelwood will be happy with the start his side have made in their new surroundings.
Whilst our opponents are new to us, they have some players in the squad that will be familiar to Gary and his men after time in the National League South. Former Dorking Wanderers players Kane Willis and Callum Kealy are now playing their trade with the club joining up with last season’s Isthmian Premier League top goal scorer, Ollie Pearce who netted 35 times last term. Perhaps the most noteworthy of the Worthing squad is the addition of prolific National League South marksman, Jake Robinson. Jake has notched over 100 goals at the level most notably for Whitehawk, Billericay and Dartford and will prove a constant threat.
Chippenham of course will be without Pablo Martinez who joins Alex Bray on the sidelines as the winger continues his recovery from a hamstring injury. The encouraging news for Chippenham is prolific forward, Jordan Young was on the bench for the first time this season against Chelmsford and will be hoping to feature for the first time since a brief cameo during the pre-season friendly against Melksham Town where the talisman striker came off the bench to net a penalty in the 5-4 shootout win to secure the Ian Monnery Trophy for Chippenham Town.
Head to Heads between the two sides as you can imagine have been few and far between. Before arriving in the National League South, Chippenham have only played Worthing twice, both coming in the 1999-2000 FA Cup Qualifying Round 3. The Bluebirds managed to hold their then higher league opponents to a 1-1 draw at the TS Stadium before tasting defeat in the replay at Worthing a few days later 3-1. Links between the clubs again are a bit hard to find however, many will recall with fondness the loan spell of Swindon Town’s Ricky Aguiar as the talented youngster lit up the TS Stadium with his performances in his short time with the club. Before arriving at Swindon, Ricky was smashing it at, you guessed it. Worthing FC.
Chippenham Town would love to remind all supporters that there will be a Supporters Coach for this game with tickets fairly priced at £18 per seat. Chairman Neil Blackmore has urged supporters to fill this to the best of their ability with the recent events leaving our side in need of support now more than ever from its fans. If you are interested in making the trip to Worthing and adding to the fantastic away travel memories of recent games then you are able to pay on the day or to reserve your seat, please contact either Jonny Garraway or Tina Hemmings and they will be able to assist you.
COME ON YOU BLUEBIRDS