Stanley (A) | Aldershot
Town (H) | Exeter
City (H) | Shrewsbury
Town (A) | Scarborough
(H) | Hereford
United (A) | Testimonial
9 May 2004
Chester City 4 Chester City
All Stars 5
Wayne Brown Testimonial
Attendance: 1,658 Half-Time 1-3
Chester City (from): Wayne Brown,
Phil Bolland, Scott Guyett, Andy Harris, Ben Davis, Darryn Stamp, Jamie
Heard, Kevin Rapley, Bob Delgado, Tony Durkin, Steve Brodie, Ted Hinnigan.
Chester City All Stars (from): Grenville
Millington, Gary Bennett, Ross Davidson, Iain Jenkins, Nick Richardson,
Shaun Reid, Nigel Edwards, Joe Hinnigan, Chris Priest, Kevin Ratcliffe,
Neil Fisher, John Murphy, James Barrow (Graham’s son, who looked
a useful player), and next season’s sponsor Stuart Murphy.
City stars turned out in force as Wayne Brown’s testimonial
year got off to a successful start with a match that attracted a
crowd of over 1,600 to Deva Stadium. The game itself was played in
a fun spirit with former hero Bob Delgado lining up in defence for
City with Tony Durkin, who bid £400 for his place in the match,
also running out for the Whites. For the opposition, Grenville Millington
and Nigel Edwards rolled back the years playing in defence alsongside
each other once again. Iain Jenkins and Ross Davidson but it was
Chris Priest who caught the eye with a great goal from 20 yards to
give his side a 3-1 half-time lead.
Substitutes rolled on and off during
the second half that saw Steve Brodie reduce the
arrears before Wayne himself took the field to a
standing ovation for the last 15 minutes or so. Priest
couldn’t resist the opportunity to put one
past him and did so with another curling long-range
effort. Tony Durkin was named man-of-the-match and
obliged with goal before Wayne had the last word
scoring direct from a free-kick after Jamie Heard
had relieved him of his goalkeeping duties.
So all-in-all a memorable day at
the Deva with the championship trophy on show to
24 April 2004
Hereford United 2 Chester City
Attendance: 7,240 Half Time 1-0
Booked: Foster, Guyett, Harris, Heard, Twiss.
Hereford United: Baker, James, Tretton, Smith, Green,
Pitman, Purdie, Betts (Williams 69), Rose, Carey-Bertram (Cozic 83), Brown
(Beesley 60). Subs not used: MacKenzie, Wells.
Chester City: Turner (Woods 49), Bolland, Harris, Guyett,
Heard, Davies, Lane, Carey (Foster 14), Twiss, Rapley (Stamp 80), Elam.
Subs not used: Clare.
Referee: K.Stroud (Bournemouth).
glorious day full of sunshine marked Chester’s swansong in
the Conference. The Herefordshire countryside was in full bloom,
making the journey to Edgar Street very enjoyable. City fans were
also decked out in an array of summer shirts – first team colours
from this season and virtually every other one since 1980 were on
display, along with newly minted Champions tee shirts and even the
The atmosphere was pure carnival from start to finish. The chanting never
ceased – even when Hereford forged ahead – first via David
Brown’s volley and later with Mark Beesley’s wickedly deflected
shot – City fans continued to samba. “You’ve scored!
And it doesn’t matter at all!” was the gist of one of the more
original songs. It was all very provocative for the Hereford fans penned
into the adjacent compartment. But in the end even they joined in the celebrations
and during the laps of honour after the game both teams were applauded
by both sets of supporters.
For the record, a makeshift City side were second best to their hosts who
had looked forward to this encounter for weeks hoping it would be the occasion
when they could at last overhaul Mark Wright’s blue army. But thanks
to City’s win last Saturday this fixture was rendered meaningless.
There were some good individual performances – Bolland and Guyett
were their usual imperious selves at the back. Lee Elam showed flashes
of brilliance. In general it was a very disjointed performance in which
City gave away possession too readily, were slow to mark and harry players
on the ball but no-one minded very much. Not even an over officious referee
could spoil the occasion.
A draw would have been nice and for a while, as the second half began,
City penned Hereford back and they began to get jittery. This was when
the blues equalised, courtesy of an own goal by James from a corner after
Rapley had flicked a header across goal at the near post. James couldn’t
get out of the way in time and his header cannoned into the net. But no-one
could begrudge Hereford the win they deserved as the celebrations continued
after the whistle.
“Ciampiones!” rang out again and again – what a great feeling.
In true Italian Seria A scudetto fashion, Bolland stripped his shorts off and
threw them into the crowd. His shinpads were flung to the back of the terracing – their
new owner offered to allow people to sniff them for a pound. Daryl Clare flung
his golden boot but just failed to reach the crowd – a steward helped it
over the fence into the hands of the adoring fans. The chairman and several of
the City wounded players had joined the fans on the terraces for what was one
big happy family. Much of the hurting of the last four years has begun to be
healed. There’s nothing like winning something to draw everyone together
and City have been nothing like winning something as significant as this for
a very long time. Here’s to a long hot enjoyable summer with little to
fret about until the Football League (Doesn’t that sound good) fixtures
17 April 2004
Chester City 1 Scarborough 0
Attendance: 5,987 Half Time 1-0
Chester City: Turner, Bolland, Guyett, Heard, Carden,
Davies, McIntyre, Collins (Elam 57), Clare (Rapley 71), Stamp, Twiss (Harris
45). Subs not used: Lane, Woods.
Scarborough: Walker, Hotte, Nicholson, Lyth, Downey,
Kelly, Gilroy, Kerr, Gill (Senior 84), Hackworth, Rose (Marcelle 75). Subs
not used: Sollitt, Quayle, Capper.
Referee: G.Turner (Derbyshire).
goal in the first half by Darryn Stamp, his 20th of the season, secured
the three points against Scarborough that gave City the Nationwide Championship
after a pulsating battle with Hereford united for the title.
Deva Stadium was packed to the rafters for
the historic occasion, fans were locked out before kick-off
as the carnival atmosphere built up from early in the afternoon.
The usual end-of-season awards were, for the second year running,
postponed. Nothing was going to distract the management and
players from the importance of the occasion.
Prior to the kick-off a good luck message
from ex-manager Iain Atkins was read out. Atkins was manager
when City lost their league status four years ago, after almost
pulling off a miracle escape in the closing weeks.
Around 150 fans from Scarborough made the
trip across the Pennines and found themselves tucked in the
corner of the west stand as Blues fans packed both terraces.
The game was to prove a scrappy tense affair
played in a tricky wind that swirled around the stadium. Seadogs ‘keeper
Leigh Walker was first in the action saving a close range effort
by Daryl Clare as City looked for an early goal to ease their
nerves. The nerves were beginning to show however and some
slack defending almost cost the Blues an early goal as Iain
Turner was forced to clear a Tony Hackworth shot at full stretch
on the ground. Danny Collins had to be alert to clear a Kevin
Nicholson cross as the visitors made their intentions clear – they
weren’t just here to make up the numbers.
Scarborough missed another chance as a shot
through a ruck of players fizzed wide before the Blues broke
the deadlock on 19 minutes. Good work by Clare down the right
resulted in a near post cross, Stamp nipped in to beat Glen
Downey to the ball and turned to send a shot into the opposite
corner from a narrow angle and the crowd erupted.
Six minutes later and they were almost silenced
as Wayne Gill burst through only to shoot wide when well placed.
The visitors forced a couple of corners, Phil Bolland clearing
well from one, and a few heart-stopping moments before half-time
brought 15 minutes respite.
Manager Mark Wright was forces to make changes
as Michael Twiss was replaced by Andy Harris after suffering
a head injury and Danny Collins was forced to limp off after
57 minutes after suffering a foot injury later diagnosed as
a broken bone. Lee Elam deputised for the England defender.
A foul by ex-City player Jimmy Kelly on Ben
Davies gave City a chance with a free-kick but McIntyre sent
his wind assisted shot over the bar. Indeed City’s nearest
efforts were coming from set pieces, Walker tipping one effort
from Davies over the bar.
Striker Daryl Clare received an emotional
ovation as he was replaced by Kevin Rapley. With ten minutes
remaining the visitors were awarded a free-kick just outside
the box as Harris was penalised for a foul on Gill. Kelly stepped
up but saw his shot fly wide of the left hand post to the relief
of the vast majority of the crowd. Ben davies almost sealed
things three minutes from time. Lee Elam went on a jinking
run down the left before passing to the midfielder who forces
his way to the edge of the box before unleashing a drive that
flew inches wide.
City negotiated three anxious minutes of
added time before referee Turner blew the final whistle to
signal a pitch invasion by hoards of delighted City fans to
swamp their heroes.
13 April 2004
Shrewsbury Town 0 Chester City
Attendance: 5,827 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Davies, Guyett.
Shrewsbury Town: Howie, Moss, Tinson, Ridler, Aiston,
Edwards, Street, Tolley, Challis, Darby, Rodgers. Subs not used: Cramb,
Lowe, Sedgemore, Hart, Lawrence.
Chester City: Turner, Bolland, Guyett. Heard, McIntyre,
Collins, Carey (Davies 14), Twiss, Stamp, Rapley, Carden. Subs not used:
Lane, Harris, Elam, Woods.
Referee: D.Richardson (Halifax).
Blues battled for a crucial point at Gay Meadow in a game neither
side probably deserved to, or could afford to, lose. City manager
Mark Wright was forced to make one change from Saturday’s side
with top scorer Daryl Clare having to miss the game following illness
to his newly born son, Kevin Rapley deputising for the striker.
The match, played in front of up to
2,000 City fans was a nervous scrappy affair of few chances.
Iain Turner was first in the action saving a Luke Rodgers
shot after just three minutes and repeating the feat
a few minutes later.
On 13 minutes City were forced into
a change bringing on for Ben Davies for Shaun Carey,
with Davies in the action immediately testing Howie in
the home goal from 25 yards. Duane Darby has the next
chance for the Shrews shooting over from the edge of
the box before City forced the first corner of the night
on 26 minutes, however McIntyre’s inswinging delivery
was cleared by Howie.
Minutes later Darby worked a great
chance for the Shrews, turning a City defender on the
edge of the box his shot screwed wide of the right hand
post, much to City’s relief.
Just before the break it was the Blues
ruing a miss as Rapley shot across goal and wide from
six yards as defender Tinson failed to clear.
Five minutes after the break Ben Davies
found himself in the referee’s notebook following
a challenge on Tolley. From the resulting free-kick Turner
made the first of two crucial saves on the night this
time catching a piledriver of a free-kick by Luke Rodgers.
Minutes later Rogers shot wide as the home side pressed
for the opening goal.
City had their half chances too with
Michael Twiss turning in the box and shooting wide from
12 yards and Jamie Heard having two crosses dealt with
by Howie before Darryn Stamp could get on the end of
them in front of the City fans.
Turner was on hand again to make another
save at full stretch to deny Kevin Street’s long-range
At the other end as the game drew to
a conclusion, Davies sent a dipping shot over the bar
following a knock-down from a corner and Scott Guyett
planted a header straight at Howie following a McIntyre
cross for a quick short corner.
The closing minutes were played out
in and around the City goalmouth as the Shrews pressed
for the winner, but City’s defence, with Danny
Collins outstanding all night held firm for a point that
leaves them one win away from a return to the Football
10 April 2004
Chester City 3 Exeter City
Attendance: 4,046 Half Time 0-0
Chester City: Turner, Bolland, Guyett. Heard, McIntyre,
Collins, Carey (Davies 90), Twiss, Clare (Elam 84), Carden, Stamp (Rapley
90). Subs not used: Lane, Woods.
Exeter City: Bittner, Hiley, Todd, Jeannin, Gaia
(Moxey 75), Cronin, Sheldon, Ampadu (Afful 79), Devine, Flack (Canham 68),
Coppinger. Subs not used: Rice, Thomas.
Referee: A.Green (Leicester).
as Michael Twiss’s wonder goal against Woking
was being judged for the best Conference goal seen
on Sky TV this season, then he proved it wasn’t
a one-off with a brace of top quality goals to help
earn Chester three vital points.
Twiss was rightly voted man-of-the-match,
but everyone in blue at the Deva Stadium – including
banner-waving fans on every side of the ground, played
their part in taking Chester within striking distance
of the Conference championship.
The Blues made a nervy start to
the televised game, allowing Exeter’s Gareth
Sheldon to have a strike on goal within the first
few minutes. But Chester soon found their feet – exuding
confidence at almost every turn.
Twiss, now favoured for every starting
XI by manager Mark Wright, was soon making his presence
felt with his trademark runs at the Grecian defenders.
Striker Daryl Clare was tightly-marked
in the first half and although he made his presence
felt around the box, he didn’t come close to
scoring. But Twiss and Darryn Stamp both had attempts
on target saved by Exeter ‘keeper James Bittner.
At the other end, pint-sized Jamie
Coppinger had Exeter's best chance to score in the
first half when he found himself clear on goal. However
his shot went wide of the target.
The game fizzed into life in the
second half, as both teams set about proving themselves – Chester
as champions elect and Exeter as play-off candidates.
It was Chester who had the first
opportunity to stake their claim when Darryn Stamp
had a one-on-one chance against Bittner in the 52nd
minute. But instead of slotting it home he shot straight
at the ‘keeper.
Just seven minutes later, and it
was the Grecians who had the upper hand when defender
Danny Collins made a rare blunder. His headed clearance
went straight to Exeter’s Sean Devine and his
daisy-cutting strike hit the post and then the back
of the net.
But Chester, watched by 4,046 at
a buzzing Deva Stadium, continued to play with confidence.
Shaun Carey seemed determined to win every ball in
midfield and Phil Bolland confirmed he was back to
his old form.
Clare also came alive in the second
half – dropping back into midfield to pick
up any loose ball and doing his best to tempt Exeter’s
defenders to foul him in the penalty box.
Indeed, it was Clare’s determination
that helped Chester level the game on the 63rd minute.
He turned an Exeter defender and fed an excellent
ball to Twiss. He then beat his marker and scored
Chester, spurred on by the Deva
faithful, were soon on top of the game – thanks
to another Twiss and Clare combination. First Twiss
was fouled as he ran towards the goal, earning the
Blues a free kick on the edge of the area. Then Clare
stepped up to take it. He made no mistake and his
superb shot went straight in the net.
Clare’s TV goal celebration
involved three press-ups. But most of the ecstatic
Chester fans were too busy jumping for joy to notice: “Are
you watching Hereford?” they sung to Sky’s
microphones as the match re-started. It was soon
Twiss’s opportunity to turn on the style for
the TV cameras. Lee Elam, an 84th minute substitute,
passed to him and he twisted around two Exeter defenders
before curling the ball into the goal. It was a strike
to match his wonder goal at Woking and it left Chester
well and truly in the driving seat.
Just three minutes later Exeter
earned themselves a consolation goal when Chester’s
defence fell asleep and Sean Canham scored the Grecians’ second.
It left Chester facing a nerve-jangling last few
minutes as Exeter pressed for an equaliser. They
were awarded a corner, but the ball was thwacked
clear and the Blues were soon celebrating another
classic three points.
As the 2003/4 Conference season
draws to a conclusion, Chester have just seen off
Exeter and now face Shrewsbury, Scarborough and Hereford.
The closing fixtures have a familiar Division Three
ring to them and it’s looking increasingly
likely that Chester will be back there in 2004/5.
Wednesday 7 April 2004
Chester City Reserves 0 Accrington
Stanley Reserves 0
Lancashire League Division One
Chester City: Ryan Brookfield,
Darren Jones, Ian Lathom, Matty Cook, Peter Owens,
Danny Ventre, Adam Hunter, James Salkeld, Tommy Leonard,
Darren Byers, Matt Phillips (Kenny Rollinson).
6 April 2004
Chester City 4 Aldershot Town 2
Attendance: 3,432 Half Time 2-1
Booked: Bolland, Guyett. Sent-off: McIntyre (Violent conduct).
Chester City: Turner, Bolland, Guyett, Heard (Elam
90), McIntyre, Collins, Carey (Lane 90), Twiss, Clare, Carden, Stamp (Davies
90). Subs: Rapley, Woods.
Aldershot Town: Bull, Warburton, Hooper, Sterling,
Antwi, Downer (Chewins 69), Miller, Challinor (Charles 71), Gosling, D’Sane,
Sills. Subs: Nutter, McLean, Barnard.
Referee: R.Booth (Nottingham).
blistering start by City saw them take a two goal lead against fellow
promotion contenders Aldershot Town and set them on their way to
securing three more precious points.
Unsurprisingly, Manager Mark Wright elected
to field the same starting X1 that won at Accrington on
Saturday against a Shots side still smarting from an FA
Trophy semi-final exit on Saturday.
There was hardly time to take your seat
before the Blues opened the scoring as Phil Bolland rose
to head home a Jamie Heard cross following a short corner
routine that also paid dividends on Saturday. Minutes later
City almost doubled their lead as Shots keeper Nikki Bull
made his first of many good saves on the night to keep
out a powerful header from Michael Twiss after he’d
been set-up by Daryl Clare.
The Blues were causing the visitors defence
all kinds of problems with some quality crossed raining
into the box, and after nine minutes the second goal that
City’s early pressure had promised duly arrived.
This time it was leading scorer Daryl Clare’s turn
to find the net with a quality finish after good work by
strike partner Darryn Stamp for his 21st goal in 15 games,
a remarkable achievement.
The action was end to end as Bolland
was in just the right place to clear a Warburton effort
off his line and at the other end Twiss his the post and
Shaun Carey saw a superb shot well saved by the overworked
Against the run of play Adam Miller,
who had been the visitors best player, scored direct from
a corner on 37 minutes, the ball going in waist-high at
the near post.
The Shots started the second half brightly kicking towards their 150
supporters. Dangerman Roscoe D’Sane twice having shots saved and
Warburton headed a Miller cross over before City restored their two goal
lead on 58 minutes. Once again defender Phil Bolland found himself in
the right place as he shot from 15 yards after Stamp’s shot had
rebounded to him from the post.
Two minutes later and City wrapped up
the points. Jamie Heard was fouled in the box by Jon Challinor
and Clare stepped up to send Bull the wrong way from the
spot scoring with his third penalty in as many games, this
time high to the ‘keeper’s left.
Lee Charles pulls a goal back for the
visitors after being set up by Miller before both sides
were reduced to ten men on 78 minutes. Kevin McIntyre was
fouled by Dean Hooper who received a second yellow card
and was sent off. McIntyre was adjudged to have put his
head in the face of the Aldershot defender and received
a straight red card.
The Blues held on comfortably in the
closing minutes for their ninth win in ten games, and there
was even time, just, for a debut by Lee Elam.
3 April 2004
Accrington Stanley 0 Chester City
Attendance: 2,561 Half Time 0-1
Accrington Stanley: Kennedy, Fitzgerald (Durnin 86),
Kempson, Hollis (Calcutt 38), Brannan, Proctor, Mullin, Williams, Cook
(S.Flitcroft 76), James, Cavanagh. Subs not used: Speare, Smith.
Chester City: Turner, Bolland, Guyett, Heard, McIntyre,
Collins, Carey, Twiss, Clare, Carden, Stamp (Lane 63). Subs not used: Rapley,
Davies, Woods, Elam.
Referee: C.Oliver (Northumberland).
the second time in a week over 1,500 City fans traveled away
to support the team and they weren’t disappointed with
another hard working 2-0 victory against an Accrington side
looking to reach the play-off’s at their first attempt.
City manager Mark Wright recalled Iain Turner in goal and
gave a start to Michael Twiss for the injured Alex Smith.
City started the brighter of the two sides
with wingers Twiss and Jamie Heard in particular seeing plenty
of the ball in the early stages. Twiss’ trickery was
causing all sorts of trouble down the left and one particular
run resulted in a corner on 13 minutes. Heard, who appears
to be growing in confidence with every match, played a short
one-two with Clare from the corner and his accurate far post
cross was met by Scott Guyett who headed powerfully home
from close range.
The Blues pushed forward looking for a
second, Kevin McIntyre sent in a dangerous cross after good
build-up work but there was no-one in the middle to convert
the effort while Heard also delivered some telling balls
into the box for Darryn Stamp and Daryl Clare to create half-chances.
Stanley made a tactical change bringing
on Dean Calcutt for Steve Hollis who had been on the receiving
end of Twiss’ first-half runs. A minute after coming
on Calcutt created Accrington’s best chance of the
half when he slipped a defender on the edge of the box and
sent a curling 20-yarder then was heading for just inside
the post before Turner dived full length to his left to save,
indeed catch, the ball at waist height.
City began the second half in bullish style
creating a chance just after the break that saw Shaun Carey
chest the ball down inside the box following a corner only
to shoot tamely at ‘keeper Kennedy. At the other end
both Danny Collins and Phil Bolland got themselves in the
way of shots as Stanley, and Lutel James in particular, looked
lively at times.
Top scorer Clare was guilty of missing
to great chances to extend City’s lead in as many minutes.
A fine one-touch move that began in their own half set Heard
away on the right his pinpoint cross was chested down by
Clare who swiveled to turn the last defender and blazed the
ball over from 12 yards, minutes later another Heard cross
was headed wide by City’s top scorer from a similar
Wright brought on Chris Lane at right back
at the expense of Darryn Stamp. The Blues missed an easier
chance soon after as Kennedy dropped McIntyre’s inswinging
left-wing corner under pressure, the ball fell to Guyett
four yards out who lifted his shot over the bar into the
City crowd when it seemed impossible to miss the target.
Michael Twiss though he’d added
City’s second burst through on the right and saw his
low shot beat Kennedy, hit the foot of the right hand post,
and spin across the line and out past the other post to be
cleared. The striker was booked minutes later after being
adjudged to have dived in the box by referee Oliver. You
couldn't help but feel that City were going to pay for these
wasted chances and they almost did as Brannan shot over the
bar after meeting Calcutt’s corner at the far post.
At the other end Twiss had two more chances.
First he was sent through one-on-one on goal, as Kennedy
came out to narrow the angle Twiss lobbed the ball over the
keeper and the bar. Minutes later McIntyre made a surging
run down the left, cut inside and pulled the ball back from
the byline only to see Twiss’ low shot from six yards
well saved by Kennedy at the near post.
Nerves were settled in the final minute
with the award of a penalty after Clare was fouled by Robbie
Williams, who, to add insult to injury was dismissed for
his efforts. Clare stepped up to send Kennedy the wrong way
from the spot and seal three more vital points for Chester’s
quest for a return to the Football League.