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Chippenham Town vs Hastings United – FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round – Preview

As the league games continue for most of the other teams, United instead move from their FA Trophy win last Saturday back to their concern in the FA Cup this coming Saturday, 2nd October.

The ‘U’s should have been playing Ashford United in the league on Tuesday evening but apparently there’s a fuel shortage and the league committee considered this sufficient reason to give everyone the night off. Hopefully our players and management will have been able to train and rest up this week in readiness for the long journey to meet Chippenham Town.

United’s six-game form – WWWWWW

Three league, two FA Cup and one FA Trophy victory means United have racked up six consecutive wins scoring 19 goals and conceding just five along the way. Indeed, we’ve scored at least three goals in each of the last five games with seven for Ben Pope and six for Sam Hasler being the leading scorers. (They have seven each in total this season).

After three away FA Cup ties against Step 5 opposition United now face the more significant challenge of another away tie and this time at Step 2 club, Chippenham Town.

United have already bettered last year’s FA Cup run where the journey ended in the second qualifying round with a penalty shoot-out defeat to National League South outfit Ebbsfleet United.

Who are Chippenham Town and what’s their six-game form? DLDWWL

Chippenham Town FC are based in Chippenham, Wiltshire. Like Ebbsfleet, they play in the National League South, the sixth highest tier or Step 2. They are nicknamed the Bluebirds and play their home matches at Hardenhuish Park. They are most noted as being the oldest football club in the South West of England. Hurrah for them. Also prepare yourself for the fact the pitch at Hardenhuish Park has a noticeable slope.

The Bluebirds are fourth in the early league table after playing seven games, having won three, drawn two and lost two. Last Saturday they travelled to Concord Rangers (who were third in the table at the time) and won 3 – 0. However on a rainy Tuesday evening they entertained our erstwhile competitors Ebbsfleet United and were given a bit of a schooling, losing 2 – 5.

It’s a 300-mile round trip from Ebbsfleet to Chippenham and back. How on earth did they manage such a long journey in these times? It’s a mere 54-mile round trip from Ashford to Hastings and back! Ah well. It is what it is!

Chippenham joined the FA Cup trail in the second qualifying round and progressed with a 1 – 0 midweek replay win over Poole Town (Step 3), following an initial 1 – 1 draw on the Saturday.

Last year in the FA Cup Chippenham faced none other than United’s vanquishers Ebbsfleet in the third qualifying round and won through 9 – 8 on penalties after a 1 – 1 draw. However they fell at the next hurdle, beaten 2 – 1 by Concord Rangers.

Any recent previous meetings?

We go all the way back to the 2002/03 season when both sides played in the (Dr Martens) Southern League Premier Division. United’s away fixture was in the November, a scoreless draw, while the home fixture in the April saw the ‘U’s triumph 2 – 1.

Bottom line

No better incentive than a place in the Fourth Qualifying Round to ramp up the excitement. The winner on Saturday will be just one game away from the First Round Proper. Plus there’s reasonable prize money to be won as well, this time its £5,625 for the winners and £1,875 for the losers. If the match is drawn after 90 minutes, there will be a replay.

Match information

Saturday 2nd October, 3pm kick off at The Thornbury Surfacing Stadium, Bristol Road, Chippenham SN14 6LR.

Ticket information

£13.50 Adult, £9.50 Senior, £3.50 Junior (U18)

Can’t attend? You can follow live game updates via Twitter: @hastingsufc

Bob Quinn
Twitter: @BobJQuinn