Friday, 19 October 2012

Chippenham Town vs Swindon Supermarine (29/09/12)

Match 170

Ground #: 131

Ground: Hardenhuish Park 

Competition: FA Trophy 1st Round Qualifying

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: £9

Programme: £2

Attendance: 280

Chippenham Town 4 

Griffin 4’, 67’, Griffiths 23’, 47’

Swindon Supermarine 0

Bohane s/off 87’


As part of this season, I intended to visit the “places that I used to know” and catch up on the grounds I missed when I lived in those places. Little did I know, the song “Someone That I Used To Know” would ring so true when I made the first trip like this for the season. With those words in my mind, I made the journey west, to the “rock and roll” town of Chippenham. An old haunt of mine in the mid naughties.


Chippenham is a market town near the Western boarder of Wiltshire and is only 13 miles away from Bath. There are believed to have been settlements in the Chippenham region since before Roman times and remains of Romano-British settlements are visible throughout the town. The town proper was believed to have been founded by Anglo Saxons around 600 and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records the town as Cippanhamme which could refer to Cippa who had his Hamm, an enclosure in a river meadow. An alternative theory suggests that the name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word Ceap, meaning market. In AD 853, Ethelswitha (sister to Alfred the Great) married the King of Mercia in Chippenham. Alfred was at that time, a boy of four. Chippenham was successfully besieged by Danish Vikings in 878, though Alfred escaped. Later that year Alfred decisively defeated the Danes at the Battle of Ethandun, whose forces then surrendered to Alfred at Chippenham, ushering in the establishment of the Danelaw. The wool industry took off in the 16th century due, in part, to the river before the plague caused a recession in the woollen industry. In 1747 a bribery and corruption scandal (involving two members of parliament for Chippenham) led to the downfall of Sir Robert Walpole's government. The last major event in Chippenham’s history was the arrival of The Great Western Railway in 1841 which in turn attracted many new businesses to Chippenham. The arrival of these businesses required new housing which led to the expansion of Chippenham into the land north of the railway line, which in turn led to the growth of further industries to support the building work.


Chippenham Town were formed back in Victoria times in 1873 but didn’t join the Western League until 1904 when they would play against Western giants such as Trowbridge and Radstock. However after a bottom place finish in 1905 and 3rd bottom finish the next season, they withdrew to play more local Wiltshire football. After moving into Hardenhuish Park in December 1919 (more on the ground later) they picked up some Wiltshire League success before rejoining the Western League in 1930. After the War, they won the Western League for the only time in their history in the 1951/52 season. Yet again however they had to drop down to Wiltshire League football in 1964, but yet again rose back to Western League in 1973 before being promoted to the Western Premier in 1981. After years of standard finishes, Chippenham then finished as runners up in the FA Vase in 2000 before finally being promoted to the Southern League in 2001. Their first season at the Southern League 1st Division saw them surprisingly promoted at the first attempt where they have stayed ever since, missing out on promotion to the Blue Square South on several occasions.


Hardenhuish Park is located just outside the centre of the town, next to Chippenham Sports Club. A compact ground, helped by the trees surrounding it, which would easily cut it in the Blue Square South should the club ever get there. A main stand dominates down one of the sides of the pitch while opposite this is a full covered standing area. Behind both goals are raised terrace areas with the uncovered one being a classic old school standing area that provided some excellent views of the pitch. Having been to a couple of Southern League grounds, this easily equals Tiverton as one of the best ones I had been to in this league.


Chippenham’s main aim every season is promotion to the Blue Square South and at this early stage they were slap in mid-table in 11th place. They were only 6 points off the play-offs so at this early stage of the season, it was pointless to write them off, especially as they had won 2 in a row in the league following successes over Banbury Utd and Bashley. Just down the road is the Wiltshire town of Swindon and while most will have heard of the Robins (Town), few will have heard of Swindon’s 2nd team, Supermarine. Based in the north of the town, they are on my list to visit at some point this season, so it was nice to see them in the flesh for the first time. Supermarine play in the Southern League 1st Division S&W after being relegated from the Premier last season. They had managed to get through a feisty FA Trophy Preliminary Round game against Yate Town in a replay. The replay finished 3-2 to Marine but there were 5 red cards shown in the game, 2 of which were Marine players. With this being a local derby, a quiet afternoon was probably not an option.


The game hadn’t even settled down when Chippenham took the lead after just 4 minutes. Dean Griffiths managed to get away down the left hand side and floated a ball into the box. There was ex Supermarine striker Alan Griffin who looped his header up and over Marine goalie Kent Kauppinen to make it 1-0. Supermarine couldn’t relax as Chippenham constantly poured forward against a fragile looking away defence and Tyrone Mings had a header cleared off the line as Marine struggled to hang on. When the away team did actually manage to get the ball forward, the home defence marshalled by Mings and Iain Harvey looked comfortable. Only one team were going to score in the first half and Chippenham added a 2nd on 23 minutes when Griffin sent Griffiths through who lobbed Kauppinen and Marine looked out already. The game did get scrappy towards the end of the first half as scuffles broke out over late challenges just like a proper derby should. Chippenham after 45 minutes looked home and hosed already though.


If they looked comfortable after 45 minutes then after 47 minutes it was cigars and brandy time as Marine went missing again at a corner as Griffin flicked on into the 6 yard box where Griffiths reacted first for an easy header and for 3-0. The rest of the game was sadly for Marine, could they keep it at 3-0 as I can’t remember home goalie Conor Thompson being tested at all. They lasted until 67 minutes when Josh Egan fired a low cross from the right which was missed by the defenders to allow Griffin in for his 2nd and goal #4. Chippenham late on brought on Lee Philips, the ex Plymouth, Exeter and Torquay striker and his presence in the box caused carnage as the ‘Nam had chances for a 5th, but Marine held out to keep the score at 4-0 as Chippenham cruised through to the next round. Marine even had a striker sent off late on as it really wasn’t their day.


Chippenham have a fairly winnable 2nd Qualifying Round tie against Sholing coming up as they try and continue their impressive cup runs this season. They also have an FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round tie against Gloucester City coming up, which looks extremely difficult but a place in the 1st Round proper awaits the winners. In the league, the Bluebirds are actually heading towards the relegation zone as the cup runs have clearly had an effect on league form with a defeat to Bedford Town and a draw with Arlesey Town. Marine’s only league game since this defeat and me writing this has been a 2-1 win over Cinderford Town to leave them 11th, but only 4 points off the play-offs. I had heard some negative comments surrounding Town before I came here, but I can’t understand why. A friendly club, with a decent ground makes this worth a visit. I’m sure I’ll see the Bluebirds again soon, it’s somewhere I used to know.

Photos from Chippenham Town vs Swindon Supermarine


Match Ratings:

- Match: 7/10 (entertaining, unless you were a Marine fan)

- Value for money: 5/10 (Southern League is not value for money)

- Ground: 8/10 (great place to watch football)

- Atmosphere: 6/10 (home fans got behind their team)

- Food: N/A – did not eat at ground

- Programme: 5/10 (a lot of adverts for £2)

- Referee: David Ricketts – 6/10 (not helped by linesmen, but did ok)

CT vs SS prog

CT vs SS stub

Monday, 8 October 2012

Camberley Town vs Colliers Wood United (15/09/12)

Match 169

Ground #: 130

Ground: Krooner Park

Competition: FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: £6

Programme: £1

Attendance: 36

Camberley Town 1

Girling 88’, Cannon m/pen 51’, Webb s/off 54’

Colliers Wood United 4

Gregson 17’, 81’, Turner 33’, 65’, Embalo s/off 54’


The FA Vase trail was back in town and after seeing Colliers Wood manage to keep their cool in the last round, they were rewarded with an away tie to fellow Combined Counties League side, Camberley Town. This was the better of the possible outcomes when I planned my early Road to Wembley run as I could have been looking at going to a shared ground if Epsom Athletic had managed to knock out the Cams.


Camberley is a town in Surrey, situated 31 miles southwest of central London, between the M3 and M4. The town lies close to the borders of both Hampshire and Berkshire; the boundaries intersect on the western edge of the town where all three counties converge. Before the 19th century, the area now occupied by Camberley was referred to as Bagshot Heath, which was known as a haunt of Highwaymen such as William Davies and Claude Duval. The land remained largely undeveloped due to a sandy topsoil making it unsuitable for farming. In A tour thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain, written around 1724, Daniel Defoe described the area as barren and sterile; "a mark of the just resentment shew’d by Heaven upon the Englishmen’s pride... horrid and frightful to look on, not only good for little, but good for nothing". The town as it now stands has its roots in the building of The Royal Military College, which later became the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in 1812. A settlement known as "New Town" grew in the area around the college which in 1831 was renamed Yorktown, after Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. Later, the Staff College was established to the east of the Academy, and a property speculator built the nearby Cambridge Hotel. The surrounding area became known as Cambridge Town, but was renamed "Camberley" in January 1877. Camberley grew in the 19th Century with the arrival of the railway station in 1878 and is still a reasonable sized town today with the excellent railway routes still in place.


Despite the small geographical size of Camberley, the town’s football team is a good mile away from the train station but its a pleasant enough walk down to Krooner Park on the Southern edge of town. Despite being on an industrial estate, Krooner Park is a reasonable enough ground, dominated on one side by a medium sized stand and the clubhouse while behind one goal is a shallow covered standing area. The rest of the ground is uncovered hard standing which can give the impression on the far side of being miles away from anything but I would still come back here to watch football again. The club were founded in in 1895 as St. Michael's, Camberley F.C before in 1900 St Michaels looked set to fold and Camberley & Yorktown was formed by members of the St Michaels committee to maintain a footballing presence in the town. Camberley & Yorktown initially competed in the East & West Surrey League and then the Ascot & District League which they won four times in 6 seasons. They moved on in 1922 to become founder members of the Surrey Senior League and moved into their Krooner Park ground at this time too. After the success of the 1930s where they won the league three times in a row, they struggled after this and by 1967, Camberley FC (having dropped the Yorktown suffix) and Camberley Wanderers merged to become Camberley Town FC. Success returned and they joined the Isthmian League in 1977 before returning back in 1985 (after they were relegated from it in 1982). They stayed there until 2006 when the 2nd Division was disbanded where they joined the Combined Counties League. A league they continue to play in today.


Coming into this game, there were a few signs showing that Camberley may be struggling slightly on the field as well as off it. Going into this game, they had struggled past Combined Counties 1st Division side Epsom Athletic in the previous round of the Vase, winning 4-3 with a last minute goal. They were also down in 14th place with only two wins before this game, although they were against promotion favourites Guernsey and Colliers Wood. CW had played two games since their Vase win I saw against Badshot Lea, with a 0-3 defeat to Horley Town before being hammered 5-1 at Croydon FC. Fantastic form. Made this one a tight one to call and I really had no idea which way it would go when it kicked off.


Colliers Wood were easily the sharper side out of the blocks and were beginning to put the Camberley defence under pressure from an early stage. After creating a couple of half chances, Colliers Wood took a deserved lead on 17 minutes when a cross from the right hand side went all the way to the far post where Chris Gregson waited. He controlled the ball brilliantly and showed all the calm in the world to take it past the defender before lashing the ball in the top corner, giving Liam Stone no chance. Camberley did push forward a little bit but never caused Dan Burnett any trouble in the away goal and then found themselves 0-2 down after 33 minutes. Camberley’s defence went anonymous from a free kick and Nathan Turner easily slotted home. It’s not often that I see a game over by half-time but after only 45 minutes, Camberley had no threat going forward and looked ropey at the back. Colliers Wood looked home and hosed already.


To their credit though, Camberley came out for the 2nd half and began a lot better, actually creating a little more than half chances. They were given a chance to get back into the game on 51 minutes when they won a needless penalty after a late time challenge. Up stepped Ricardo Cannon but his penalty was dreadful and Gregson made an easy save. The follow up was wildly off target and Camberley looked a beaten team then. It managed to get worse just a couple of minutes later when yet again I saw a match get nasty. An off the ball clash saw a pile of players launch into each other and the aftermath saw both Camberley’s Dale Webb and CWU’s Mario Embalo both sent off. CWU managed to react to 10 men better as Turner added a brilliant 3rd on 65 minutes. A low pass was given to him on the edge of the area and his touch took the ball away from the defender and put him through on goal where he easily dispatched it past Stone. A class goal. CW now wanted more and Gregson added a 4th late on when Camberley’s defence didn’t react to a cross and he lobbed the keeper to put them through to the next round. Camberley did add a consolation late on when Gregson ballsed up a clearance to give Martin Girling an open goal. A disappointing end to the game for CWU, but they were easily the winners here.


Colliers Wood now meet Sussex County League side, Lingfield in the 1st Round, a game I’ll be at. Even though it looks like it really is in the middle of nowhere. Camberley since this game have had a management change as Ronnie Wilson stepped down after a 5-3 home defeat to Cobham. Dan Turkington is now in charge and needs to stop the rot as the Cambs try to avoid a relegation battle and the “right” to play such footballing powerhouses as Mole Valley SCR and South Kilburn. Colliers Wood have also gone off the boil since this game, but as they appear to be a cup side this season, I reckon they have every chance to dispatch of Lingfield. Camberley are a nice club and I had an excellent time in the sun, hopefully they can recover from this poor start to kick on for the rest of 2012/13.

Photos from Camberley Town vs Colliers Wood United


Match Ratings:

- Match: 7/10 (reasonable stuff)

- Value for money: 6/10 (appears to be the norm for this area)

- Ground: 6/10 (not inspiring, but good enough)

- Atmosphere: 3/10 (not much)

- Food: 7/10 (ultimate burger (can’t remember full name) served by some totty)

- Programme: 6.5/10 (ok read)

- Referee: Mervyn Fernandez – 7/10 (can’t remember him much, must have been fine)

CT vs CWU prog

CT vs CWU stub

ROAD TO WEMBLEY 2012/2013:

1ST QUALIFYING ROUND: Colliers Wood United 3-1 Badshot Lea (Wibbandune Sports Ground, Att: 37)

2ND QUALIFYING ROUND: Camberley Town 1-4 Colliers Wood United (Krooner Park, Att: 36)