Chelmsford City FC V Chippenham Town FC
National League South, Melbourne Community Stadium, Saturday 11th November 2023, 3:00pm kick-off.
Following two trips across the Dartford Bridge to Kent in the past week, Chelmsford City are back in home action in Essex this Saturday against Chippenham Town.
Both teams arrive into this weekend’s game on the back of successful midweek excursions, with City picking up three points again at Princes Park against Dartford to climb to 7th in the National League South table, whilst the Bluebirds beat Farnborough 2-1 to rise up to 12th. These results ensured the gap between the Clarets and Chippenham in the table remained at two points in City’s favour, once again highlighting the closeness of the league at present.
Chippenham Town FC have been a National League South club since 2017/18. After sixteen seasons in the Southern League, fifteen in the Premier Division, the Bluebirds earned promotion to the second tier of Non-League Football as Southern League Premier Division Champions in 2017.
The Wiltshire-based side finished 13th in the National League South during their first two seasons in the division, and after a few years of steady consolidation, the Bluebirds secured a play-off place in the 21/22 campaign. Chippenham impressively finished 7th, securing the club’s highest ever league finish and a play-off quarter final clash against Dartford, which Gary Horgan’s side won 3-2 on penalties. After being eliminated by Ebbsfleet in the semi-finals, the Bluebirds were caged to another season of National League South football in 2022/23, in which they finished 13th again.
Chippenham have experienced an inconsistent 23/24 campaign so far. The Bluebirds endured a barren spell between August 15th and September 23rd, when they picked up only one win from eight league games played during this period. Horgan’s team also experienced a frustrating October after going winless in this month, but they have made up some lost ground in the table so far in November, by collecting two wins from their two league games this month.
The Bluebirds’ main goal threat so far this season has come from forward Matthew McClure, who joined Chippenham from Gloucester City in January this year. Wycombe Wanderers academy graduate McClure previously had been impressing in the National League North before making the move to Wiltshire, having been the division’s top scorer in 2021/22 before the season was declared null and void. The 31-year-old has discovered his goalscoring form again this campaign, having found the back of the net seven times so far.
One name in the Chippenham squad who Clarets fans will be familiar with is left-sided player Tyreke Johnson. Johnson arrived at the Melbourne Community Stadium on loan from Woking last season, and scored twice for the Clarets in 14 league matches. The 25-year-old joined Chippenham in the summer and has registered one National League South goal for his new club so far.
At the back, Chippenham have defender Aaron Amadi-Holloway amongst their ranks, after completing the signing of the Welshman this summer. Amadi-Holloway has a wealth of footballing experience having previously played in League One, League Two, The Indian Super League, and in the Australian A-League. Amadi-Holloway has recently returned to training after a spell out injured, but has still been able to impress this season; he was named in the National League South team of the week following Chippenham’s 1-1 draw against Weymouth during September.
Most recent meeting:
City and Chippenham last faced each other early this year in January, with the visitors earning an important three points in Essex to help them move out of the National League South relegation zone.
The Bluebirds started the game the strongest out of the two sides with Tom Mehew and Alex Bray having early shots, the latter of whom forced a good save out of Clarets keeper Ovie Ejeheri. Gary Horgan’s side made their positive start count in the 31st minute, when Joe Hanks fired his shot into the top corner after displaying sharp feet on the edge of the Clarets penalty area, which allowed him the space to unleash his powerful effort.
Four minutes later, Simpson’s side had their best chance of the game to equalise, when the referee awarded a penalty after Harry Lodovica was brought down in the penalty box following a City corner. Simeon Jackson stepped up from 12-yards, but the Canadian’s spot kick hit the post.
Jackson went close on two more occasions before half time, first mis-hitting Eduino Vaz’s cross which bounced off Lodovica and into his path for an effort which missed the target. Jackson then headed Tom Blackwell’s free-kick towards goal, but Chippenham keeper Will Henry produced an impressive save which left Jackson frustrated again.
In the second half, City probed and pushed for an equaliser but couldn’t find one, with the best chance of the half arguably falling to the visitors when Harry Parsons weaved past four City defenders, leaving him with only Ejeheri to beat from close range. The Arsenal loanee produced another impressive stop to keep his side’s hopes of finding an equaliser alive, but the Clarets were left frustrated as the organised Bluebirds returned to Wiltshire with maximum points.
Defender Ben Brookes will hope to be back in the match day squad after missing Tuesday’s game at Dartford due to a precautionary measure.
Dave Winfield continues to push closer to making a return, the defender could be seen working with his teammates prior to the match at Princes Park. Mohammed Bettamer was also alongside Winfield prior to kick off, suggesting the forward also missed Tuesday’s game due to a precautionary measure.
Adult – £14Concession/Senior (65+) – £9 Student (17-24 with valid ID) – £4 Youth (12-17) – £4 Under-12s – Free
Supporters can also buy tickets on the day at the Melbourne Community Stadium. Matchday turnstile prices on the day:
Adult – £17.00Concession/Senior (65+) – £12.00 Student (17-24 with valid ID) – £6.50 Youth (12-17) – £6.50 Under-12s – Free
How to follow the game:
Clarets fans can find pre-match coverage of Saturday’s game, and live updates of proceedings at the Melbourne Community Stadium by following the club’s X (formerly known as Twitter) page: @OfficialClarets and Instagram page: chelmsfordcityfc.
Radio Clarets will be providing live audio commentary of Saturday’s proceedings at the Melbourne Community Stadium.
Post-match reaction will be found on the club’s website, official social media channels and on ClaretsTV following the game.
Words by Jake Dixon