Chippenham Town are the visitors to the EMG Inspire Stadium this Saturday for our latest Vanarama National League South tie.
The Clarets go into the game without a win in three league matches, although having just seen a seven-game unbeaten run come to an end.
Over three outings in the space of eight days, Robbie Simpson’s side picked up two points following draws against Welling United and St Albans City before a defeat to Hungerford Town.
The loss at the hands of the Berkshire outfit was City’s first loss in the National League South since mid-November.
Over the run, the Clarets managed to pick up 13 points after winning three and drawing four.
Meanwhile, Mike Cook’s side goes into the fixture at the EMG Inspire Stadium off the back of an impressive midweek victory against St Albans.
The Bluebirds saw themselves soar up to seventh in the table after seeing off the Saints in a 3-1 win at Hardenhuish Park.
Last time out…
As mentioned above, the Clarets travelled to Bulpit Lane last weekend and suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Hungerford.
City were dealt a blow just seconds into the tie in Berkshire, with Club Captain Dave Winfield picking up a hamstring injury from kick-off and needing to be stretchered off.
Despite the early change, Robbie Simpson’s side started well as early chances came and went for Simeon Jackson, Dara Dada and Tom Blackwell.
With the pressure mounting, the Clarets made it count through 18-year-old debutant Zak Bradshaw, who arrived on loan from Ipswich Town during the previous week.
The defensive-minded player was presented with a chance from a corner and made no mistake in hammering into the far top corner from close range.
Dada was a whisker away from making it two later in the half, seeing his effort go agonisingly close to crossing the line off the post after skipping past a couple of Hungerford challenges.
With the chance having gone begging, the Crusaders drew level with little of the first half left to play as Ryan Seager latched onto a short back pass and acrobatically finished.
As the first half became the second, a cagier affair was settled by Seager, who met a long ball forward before rounding Jacob Marsden and finishing off the post.
Despite the late introduction of Simpson as a final throw of the dice, the Clarets couldn’t find an equaliser and left Bulpit Lane with nothing.
Having played more matches than any other side in the division up to this point in the campaign, Chippenham sit in the play-offs.
Of their 24 outings, the Bluebirds have managed to win nine and draw seven, losing eight games.
The resulting 34 points which they have accrued have left Mike Cook’s side seventh, level on points with sixth-placed Dulwich Hamlet and two points ahead of Hungerford in eighth.
In recent weeks, Town have shown their might with a 6-1 mauling of Slough Town and a 3-1 win over St Albans, however, have suffered defeats against teams lower down the table.
Two matches ago Chippenham lost 1-0 to 18th-placed Tonbridge Angels and four games ago were beaten 2-0 by 16th-placed Bath City.
In the cup competitions, the Hardenhuish Park side was only able to reach the third qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup and the second round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.
In the former, a 1-0 defeat at home to Hastings United saw them out before Uxbridge knocked the Bluebirds out of the FA Trophy by the same scoreline.
Forward Dan Griffiths has not been amongst the goals all that often this season, however, could still present some danger on Saturday.
The 21-year-old Welshman mainly made appearances for the Bluebirds off the bench during the opening months of the season before becoming a regular starter.
Between the beginning of November and the end of December, Griffiths made six appearances and scored three goals.
Despite his good form though, the frontman saw a three-game suspension following a red card in their 2-0 victory over Hemel Hempstead.
The Welshman has returned to the side since his suspension but is yet to find the back of the net again for Chippenham.
Our last meeting…
Chippenham Town 2-3 Clarets, 11th September 2021
The Clarets picked up a second victory of the season the last time the two sides met, with a Charlie Sheringham brace helping City to a 3-2 win.
With both teams grappling for dominance in the opening phase of the game, it was Robbie Simpson’s side that got it not long after the 10-minute mark.
Sheringham was adjudged to have been fouled in the box and the frontman stepped up to the spot-kick before slotting in.
Five minutes later Sheringham made it two after linking up with Simeon Jackson before dinking over the onrushing Will Henry.
Despite chances for a third, Joe Hanks pulled a goal back for Chippenham during first-half stoppage time to tee up a closely fought second 45.
The Bluebirds began with intensity but went without reward before Jackson restored the two-goal advantage 15 minutes into the second half.
Despite a late Harry Warwick consolation following a saved Marlon Jackson penalty, the Clarets claimed three points to bring back to Essex.
Where to follow the game…
The Club will be providing live minute-by-minute coverage of the game on Twitter (@OfficialClarets) using the hashtag #CCFC.
There will also be live audio commentary from Radio Clarets.
Post-match reports, highlights and interviews will be found on the club website, social media and ClaretsTV following the game.
For those attending the game, ticket details can be found here.