2005/06 season ended in anti-climax as Shrewsbury
completed the double over the Blues with a single
goal victory at Deva Stadium. The breakthrough came
early and although City had a couple of good chances
to equalise after the break couldn’t find
a way past Joe Hart in the Shrews goal.
With the City
squad carrying injuries manager Mark Wright recalled
Craig Dove from his loan spell at Forest Green
Rovers to sit on the bench.
There were no Player of the
Season presentations made before the start of
play, the latest recipient Stewart Drummond will
be plying his trade elsewhere next season after
turning down the contract offered to him, it was
disappointing that his efforts weren’t acknowledged
in public though.
Kicking towards a packed away
terrace City had the first effort, Derek Asamoah
shooting over from 20 yards as City looked for
the breakthrough but it was to be the visitors
who opened the scoring.
The goal came on nine minutes
as Kelvin Langmead stooped to send a header past
Chris MacKenzie from an outswinging left wing
corner from Neil Sorvel, the ball appearing to
take a deflection off a City defender on its way
into the net.
Moments later Sagi Burton almost
added a second as his free kick sailed over the
City wall and just wide of the post as City struggled
to get a foothold in the game with the midfield
being controlled by Shrewsbury.
Despite the early setback City
tried to push the ball around to set either Asamoah
or strike partners Gregg Blundell and Jake Edwards
free but, as in the last home match against Barnet,
the offside flag appeared all too often.
Asamoah was proving his tricky
self and before the break he saw a shot deflected
wide by Ashton after he’d made a penetrating
run and cut inside on the right wing.
Five minutes after the interval
City should have drawn level. Ben Davies raced
through on goal, the linesman’s flag stayed
down. As the midfielder tried to round ‘keeper
Joe Hart he hesitated briefly allowing Ben Herd
to make a last ditch tackle.
At the other end McMenamin and
Tolley combined well to set the former through
on goal only for man of the match Sean Hessey
to block his shot for a corner.
Jake Edwards flicked a header
over from a near post corner and headed over again
from 12 yards after a teasing cross by the hard
working Davies and Tom Curtis shot over from 30
yards as City came more into the game.
City had one last chance to
draw level as Blundell was put through on the
left but he saw his los shot across goal asved
well low down by Hart. Try as they might, the
equaliser wasn’t going to come though in
fact Mackenzie had to produce a brilliant save
to deny Langmead a second goal
At the final whistle the
players trooped off to the applause of the home
fans left in the stadium. Ben Davies hung around
the centre circle until the others had left before
running over to the north terrace to give his
shirt away to a fan in the corner then running
off alone to an ovation from those remaining.
Was this to be a last goodbye from the popular
midfielder? Only time will tell.
single goal from Scott McGleish was enough to give
Northampton the three points they needed for automatic
promotion to League One as City failed to spoil
the Sixfields promotion party. Early on it had looked
like the occasion was getting to the home side,
with City rarely troubled, but the goal on 26 minutes
settled the Cobblers nerves.
manager Mark Wright stayed away, opting to watch
the Wrexham v Oxford United match so his coaching
assistant Kelham O’Hanlon took charge of
As expected Stewart
Drummond and David Artell both missed the game
through injury, Stephen Vaughan and Justin Walker
deputised while Abdel El Kholti replaced Derek
Asamoah who started on the bench.
After just five minutes City
were awarded a dangerous free-kick just outside
of the box after Gregg Blundell had been fouled
by Jason Crowe. Ben Davies took the kick but his
shot was blocked by the wall and the danger cleared.
With such a lot at stake it
was a full 15 minutes before City ‘keeper
Chris MacKenzie, who was born in Northampton,
had anything to do, comfortably saving a header
from Smith following a quick right wing break.
Minutes later he had to come out smartly to save
at the feet of McGleish but couldn’t prevent
the striker from opening the scoring on 26 minutes.
The Cobblers were awarded a throw-in, David Hunt
launched it into the area where McGleish out jumped
the City defence to head home from eight yards
To their credit though City
didn’t lie down and Jake Edwards saw an
effort fly high and wide and Vaughan brought out
a save from Harper in the home goal just before
If the opening period had been
a close affair the second wasn’t. Asamoah
replaced Walker but it was Northampton who upped
the tempo and attacked City for long periods throughout.
MacKenzie pulled off a tremendous
save back peddling quickly to Deny Andy Kirk who
tried to lob the City keeper from the edge of
the box after spotting Macca off this line. Minutes
later Mackenzie, having an excellent match, saved
with his feet to deny what looked to be a certain
second goal from Low after he’d intercepted
a poor pass out of the City defence.
Urged on by a noisy home following,
Northampton pressed again. Smith saw a shot saved
and Vaughan was well placed to head full length
off the line to deny David Rowson who’d
headed goalwards from a corner.
At the other end City tried
to feed Asamoah and although he got free on a
couple of occasions he was well marshaled by the
home defence. Edwards headed just over on a rare
attack and was replaced ten minutes from time
by Paul Tait, though the on-loan striker hardly
had a touch of the ball.
As the game moved into injury
time Davies received the ball breaking through
on the left and unleashed a great shot from 20
yards that flew unfortunately straight into the
hands of Harper.
Seconds later it was all over
as referee Armstrong’s final whistle was
cue for a pitch invasion from the ecstatic home
22 April Chester
City 0 Barnet 0
Attendance: 2,367 Half Time 0-0
MacKenzie, Artell (S.Vaughan 45), Dimech, Hessey,
Curtis, Drummond (El Kholti 26), Blundell, Davies,
Regan, Edwards, Asamoah. Subs not used: Harrison,
Tait, Walker. Barnet:
Flitney, Hendon, Warhurst, Clist, King, Fuller,
Kandol, Hessenthaler, Sinclair, Bailey, Hatch (Strevens
90). Subs not used: Reed, Roache, Vernazza, Gross.
City secured the point that should eventually guarantee
another season of League Two football, but they
were made to fight all the way by a Barnet side
who will consider themselves unfortunate not to
take all three after a spirited second half showing.
The Blues have extended their unbeaten run now to
seven games as Chris MacKenzie kept four clean sheets
in the past five games.
Blues cause was not helped by first half injuries
to Stewart Drummond who limped off with a knee
injury midway through the first half and David
Artell who suffered a broken nose and a depressed
fracture of the cheekbone on the stroke of half-time.
As early as the fifth minute
Jake Edwards was guilty of spurning what would
prove be City’s only clear-cut chance of
the game as he hooked over the bar from six yards
after a delightful cross from the left by Gregg
Blundell that was deflected straight to the big
Just a minute earlier MacKenzie
had to move smartly out to smother a chance for
Nicky Bailey as the Barnet midfielder hesitated
after being put through.
Edwards fired straight at Ross
Flitney ten minutes later as City looked for an
As the half wore on though it
was the Bees who started to create. Hatch headed
over from close range following an inswinging
corner and Mackenzie was called into action twice
after some hesitancy in the home defence. A last
man tackle by Luke Dimech prevented Fuller bearing
down on goal.
On 27 minutes came the first
forced change with Abdel El Kholti replacing Drummond
and he was soon in the action chasing in midfield
but City, who were enjoying the greater possession,
were being increasingly frustrated by the linesman’s
flag as the forward line, Blundell in particular,
were caught constantly offside. Several times
balls were played through only for the flag to
be raised, late on a couple of occasions.
Artell was involved in a goalmouth
scramble just before the interval and after receiving
several minutes of treatment on the pitch from
Joe Hinnigan slowly walked off holding a towel
to his face not to return. He was replaced at
the break by Stephen Vaughan.
It was Barnet, themselves looking
for points to ease their relegation worries, who
had much the better of the game after the break.
Blundell though had the first
effort as he met a floating cross from Derek Asamoah
at the far post only to head down and straight
into the hands of a relieved Flitney from six
Just over the hour mark Tresor
Kandol should have given the Bees the lead but
he headed wide when unmarked in front of the travelling
The City defence was stretched
as the Bees enjoyed a 20 minute spell of domination.
Dimech twice cleared the danger as City’s
defence rocked under pressure.
Towards the end the visitors
had a great chance to open the scoring as Bailey
went through alone on a one-on-one with Mackenzie,
he placed his shot towards the bottom corner but
Macca just managed to deflect the ball wide for
And when MacKenzie was finally beaten from the
resulting flag-kick, Tom Curtis was on the line
to clear the danger for the Blues as Fuller’s
shot looked goalbound.
The home fans were treated
to a bit of Asamoah magic late on as the tricky
winger intercepted a ball being marshalled out for
a goal-kick, took it to the corner and bamboozled
two markers with some nifty footwork before crossing,
– worth the admission money alone, minutes
later he just failed to meet a teasing cross with
a diving header.
17 April Bury
0 Chester City 0
Attendance: 3,421 Half Time 0-0
points were shared at Gigg Lane as both sides
looked to pull clear of the relegation scrap at
the foot of League Two that is going to go right
to the wire.
With Scott McNiven injuring
a shoulder on Saturday defender Carl Regan was
called into the same starting X1 that beat Wycombe
Wanderers while Paul Rutherford was added to the
16 man squad.
Over 1,000 City supporters made
the trip to Lancashire and they say their side
make a nervy start before settling down.
The Blues conceded a dangerous
free-kick on three minutes after a foul by David
Artell on Marc Pugh, but the quickly taken effort
was headed wide of the left hand post by John
Fitzgerald, though he was penalised for being
offside. Two minutes later Brian Barry-Murphy’s
inswinging corner had to be punched clear by Chris
MacKenzie under pressure.
Barry-Murphy showed a good turn
of pace on ten minutes as he took control of the
ball on halfway, carried forward through the City
defence before unleashing a dipping shot from
20 that just cleared MacKenzie’s crossbar.
At the other end Derek Asamoah
was in the action with a spectacular overhead
kick from long range after a through ball from
Luke Dimech, but the striker’s shot was
caught in the Shakers goal by Kasper Schmeichel.
Former City favourite Dave Flitcroft
was well placed to dispossess striker Gregg Blundell
as he latched on to a Asamoah through ball, and
Stewart Drummond shot wide as City came more into
Bury forced a couple of corners
and from the second of these Flitcroft shot high
and wide when well placed at the far post.
Ben Davies picked up a yellow
card for a foul on Dwayne Mattis whilst former
player Colin Woodthorpe also found himself in
the referee’s notebook on the stroke of
half-time after he was adjudged to have fouled
Regan after a mazy run upfield.
Just before the break City were
forced to make a change as Tom Curtis limped off
with a groin strain to be replaced by Abdel El
Five minutes after the break
the Blues had a good chance to open the scoring
as Blundell raced through on goal down the left,
however he could only find the side netting after
good defensive work from Fitzgerald.
The home side enjoyed a good
spell of pressure but were finding the City offside
trap well marshalled. Barry-Murphy was forced
to shoot from long distance though his effort
was blocked and cleared by Drummond. Paul Tait
replaced Jake Edwards midway through the half
Drummond saw a shot blocked
by Fitzgerald and Asamoah had an angled shot cleared
off the line by Chris Brass as Chester pressured
without success for the closing ten minutes.
15 April Chester
City 1 Wycombe Wanderers 0
Attendance: 2,797 Half Time 0-0
Blues notched a fifth successive victory and at
the same time dented the play-off hopes of Wycombe
Wanderers. The visitors lost a fifth game on the
run creating an unwanted League record for the
Chairboys. The game was a tight struggle and it
took City’s new found resolve and determination
to grind out the three points. A few weeks ago
City simply would have got nothing from this match
but the newly-found confidence that a winning
run has brought went a long way to securing victory.
They did so without defender
Mark Albrighton, the defender was allowed to return
to Doncaster Rovers despite there being no clause-back
agreement in his extended loan arrangement. His
departure meant a recall for Luke Dimech who played
alongside David Artell and Sean Hessey in defence.
It was the visitors who started
brighter with Jermaine Easter unable to control
a decent chance early on as City’s back
line struggled to cope with a penetrating through
ball. All City could muster at the other end was
a Stewart Drummond header from a free-kick.
Manager Mark Wright was forced
into a change on 28 minutes when Scott McNiven
fell awkwardly on a shoulder and after several
minutes treatment from physio Joe Hinnigan left
the field to be replaced by Carl Regan.
Chances were at a premium in
this game, indeed it was 40 minutes before the
game’s first corner! Man-of-the-moment Derek
Asamoah was as expected in the thick of what action
there was, twice he was set up by Drummond and
Jake Edwards but couldn’t force a save from
Talia in the Wycombe goal as his cross-shot flew
just wide of the far post.
The only other chance of note
came when Chris MacKenzie was well positioned
to save a header from Johnson.
Following the break it was Wycombe
who started well and almost took the lead. Easter
made a powerful run and crossed for Kevin Betsy
whose shot flew over the bar, and the noisy Wycombe
fans, from close range. Mooney sent in a shot
that MacKenzie was equal to as the Chairboys’
quick breaking were causing City problems at the
Hessey almost opened the scoring
for City when, out of the blue, he sent in a thunderous
volley from outside the box that Talia did well
to parry wide for a corner.
City continued to press and
on 64 minutes took the lead. Ben Davies delivered
an outswinging corner from the right, Artell rose
head and shoulders above the Wycombe defence to
head the ball goalwards and Drummond was on hand
to flick the ball home from close range.
From then on it was the visitors
who came closest to scoring the next goal. MacKenzie
made a tremendous one handed save low down to
deny Mooney. Drummond almost sent a looping header
into his own net, and a Wycombe free-kick from
substitute Stefan Oakes sailed over the wall,
past a statuesque MacKenzie and fortunately inches
wide of the post.
With time running out Davies
almost added a second as he drove a shot that
went just past the far post following good work
by substitute Abdel El Kholti.
13 April Chester
City Reserves 0 Bury Reserves 1
Pontins Holiday League
Attendance: 22 Half Time 0-1
Brookfield, Wade, Potter (Jack Rowlands 78) Kelly,
Marsh-Evans, Scales, Rutherford, James Gregory
(Kieren Morrin 60), Cadwallader, Holroyd, Newton
(James Owen 72). Subs not used: Phil Clarke, Craig
Grundy, Parrish, Peatfield, Mattis (Quigley 46),
Bentley, Clarkson, Adams, Buchanan (Stephens 67),
Tipton (Worrell 80), Seddon, Burns. Subs not used:
Holmes, Stepien. Referee:
a hectic Easter fixture programme coming up Chester
fielded a weakened team, with Paul Rutherford
being the most experienced player in their line
up. The rest of the squad was made up from youth
team players and six under sixteen’s. Against
a Bury team that contained five first team players,
they would need a miracle if they were to maintain
the five game unbeaten run built up in recent
Chester starting with a 4-4-2
formation, got of to a decent start in the very
1st minute, when Gregory was put through 1-on-1.
However, Grundy in the Bury goal quickly snubbed
out any danger, and despite this early chance,
they only ever threatened Grundy’s goal
on two more occasions in the 59th and 62nd minute.
Starting off with a strong wind
behind them Chester failed dismally in their game
plan, and continually over-hit the ball, resulting
in kicking practice for Grundy. The words ‘teeth’
and ‘pulled’ would be an understatement.
However, more disbelieving was the fact that it
took Bury a good twenty minutes to get going!
Having spent the opening 20
minutes with matchsticks propping up my eyelids,
Nicky Adams brought the game to life when starting
of in his own half, he ghosted past Newton, Gregory
and Scales where he then slipped the ball to Tipton,
whose shot was deflected behind for a corner.
From the corner, Adams set the ball back to Parrish
on the right wing, and his cross to the back of
the box was headed down to the feet of Tipton
who smashed the ball home to make it 1-0.
From the restart, Chester continued
to just punt the ball long, and time after time
the ball just went out for a goal kick. Chester
were so poor that it took them until ten minutes
from the half to play some decent stuff, when
Rutherford instigated a spell of short passing
that resulting in the ball falling to Cadwallader
who had wondered offside. And, so it was, that
the half just dwindled away, and spectators alike
where left wandering what the second half would
Unfortunately, in regards to
football, the crowd of 25 where left wondering
just why they had even bothered! The first chance
went to Bury after five minutes, when they got
a free kick in a central position. Having lined
up his wall, Brookfield made a comfortable save
down to his left. From the clearance, the ball
was worked up field and across the Bury penalty
area resulting in Wade’s shot going wide
of Grundy’s goal.
Just before the hour mark, Chester worked a short
corner between Newton and Rutherford, with Newton
finally crossing the ball towards the far post.
With Cadwallader miss kicking, the ball fell to
Marsh-Evans whose shot was deflected onto the
bar and over.
Shortly after the corner Chester
made a tactical change, with Morrin replacing
Gregory and Rutherford moving to centre midfield
alongside Scales. The effect was immediate, with
Morrin playing the ball up the right wing to Holroyd
who whipped in a good cross to Cadwallader on
the far post. However, just when you where expecting
to be celebrating he glanced his header wide of
the Bury goal. It was a golden opportunity that
should have ended up in the back of the net! Nonetheless,
worse was to come, when in a moment of recklessness,
Scales got himself sent off for a sickening challenge
on his opposite number, Buchanan.
With Kelly and Buchanan challenging
for the ball, both players went to ground and
with Buchanan prostrate on the ground Scales stormed
in with a two- footed challenge stamping down
onto Buchanan’s leg. Thankfully, due to
the rapid intervention of referee Hodgson Scales
was quickly segregated from the irate Bury players,
and was immediately dismissed from the field of
play. After some lengthy treatment Buchanan returned
to the fold, but was withdrawn a couple of minutes
later, unable to continue.
Being a player short, Chester
adopted a 3-4-2 formation with Wade now moving
into centre midfield. However, up against an experienced
team and one player light Chester struggled for
the remaining 26 minutes, and Bury failed to increase
their lead on at least three occasions, with Brookfield
denying Seddon on two occasions in the 77th and
All in all, this was a dismal
performance by both teams, Bury failing to take
the upper hand against a much younger and less experienced
Chester team. The thought of the day was with ‘Big
Si’ and one wonders, whether or not he won
his battle with his better half, and if so was it
really worth all the hassle?Wednesday
12 April Chester
City 2 Wrexham 1
Attendance: 4,801 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Albrighton, Regan, Hesey.
half goals from Ben Davies and Derek Asamoah gave
Chester a first League win over their arch rivals
for 20 years and lifted City three more points
clear of the relegation zone. For the first time
this season the Blues notched a fourth successive
victory and the run couldn’t have come at
a more crucial time.
Kicking towards their own fans
City started well. Jake Edwards set up Gregg Blundell
who forced a corner in the opening minutes, though
referee Scott Mathieson blew for a push by David
Artell from the resulting Davies flag-kick.
The visitors created their first
real chance of the night on ten minutes as Spender
broke down the right and pulled a cross back for
Matt Derbyshire who was inches away from connecting
with it at the back post.
Stewart Drummond did well to
head away a Darren Ferguson corner from the near
post, the midfielder was called upon to do the
same again ten minutes later.
Midway through the half Edwards
had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring
but the ex-Wrexham striker dragged his shot wide
from 18 yards after good approach work from Blundell.
City were looking to set Asamoah
away at every opportunity and the pacy forward
made two quick-fire breakaways but Shaun Pejic
matched him for pace and cleared the danger on
With the atmosphere highly charged
it came as no surprise when on the stroke of half-time
Mark Albrighton and Dennis Lawrence found themselves
in the referee’s notebook after an off the
Eight minutes after the restart
the Blues were head in controversial circumstances.
Blundell racing through on the right following
an Asamoah through ball, appeared to have his
heels clipped by Danny Williams racing back. The
referee pointed to the spot and Davies stepped
up to smash the ball into the top left giving
‘keeper Ingram no chance.
Ingram was called into the action
ten minutes later when he produced a great one
handed save low down to deny Asamoah who had pounced
on a stray pass. That save looked to be crucial
as just sixty seconds later the scores were level.
Ferguson crossed from the left
and Lee McEvilly lost his marker at the back post
to head the ball down and past Chris MacKenzie.
Manager Mark Wright reshuffled
the pack and introduced Carl Regan for Blundell.
Two minutes later Regan found himself in the notebook
following a robust challenge on Andrew Holt.
With the game swinging from
end to end the Blues scored a second, and decisive
goal, on 75 minutes. Stewart Drummond, who had
an excellent game throughout, intercepted a mis-placed
pass from Matt Crowell. He looked up and played
an inch perfect ball for Asamoah to run on to.
The striker bore down on goal ahead of two chasing
defenders, as Ingram came out to narrow the angle
he slipped the ball under him into the far corner
with a clinical finish in front of the massed
Wrexham made two changes in
an effort to keep alive their play-off aspirations
but the City back line, with Albrighton outstanding,
held firm for the remainder of the match to record
a historic win and more importantly, three vital
Pictures by David Jones.
8 April Oxford
United 0 Chester City 1
Attendance: 5,754 Half Time 0-1
Booked: Regan, Albrighton.
Asamoah kept up his inspired run of goalscoring
with the only goal of the game to secure three
precious points against another of the division’s
strugglers Oxford United in front of 421 traveling
fans at the impressive Kassam Stadium.
Indeed, such was City’s
dominance in a game made difficult by a swirling
wind, that goalkeeper Chris MacKenzie hardly had
to make a save all afternoon.
With the exception of Torquay
United all the other sides near the bottom picked
up points on Saturday, so tight is the division
that this win lifted the Blues to 18th position
as it looks certain that over 50 points will be
needed to avoid the drop to the Nationwide Conference.
Once again there was no sign
of former captain Michael Branch, as man-of-the-moment
Asamoah lined up with Jake Edwards in City’s
attack while Tom Curtis, now recovered from injury
took a place on the bench.
The Blues thought they’d
taken the lead on 14 minutes. Ben Davies took
a corner that found David Artell at the back post
his effort appeared to be well over the line before
home ‘keeper Guatelli clawed the ball back,
City turned away in celebration only for referee
Probert to wave play-on after the linesman West
refused to flag.
Four minutes later though the
Blues did open the scoring. Edwards knocked the
ball down following a Hessey free kick into the
path of Asamoah, the striker looked to be offside
but without hesitation turned and slid the ball
home at the far post for this sixth goal in three
Stewart Drummond headed over
the bar as City, kicking into the wind, looked
comfortable. With Hessey, Artell and ex-United
player Scott Mcniven in control at the back chances
were few and far between for the home side.
On a rare home attack Chris
Hargreaves, who had been booked minutes earlier,
headed wide and two minutes before the break MacKenzie
was called into action to save a header from John
Home manager Jim Smith made
a double substitution at the break but If anyone
looked like scoring after the restart it was City.
Just three minutes in, Asamoah chased down some
hesitant defending by Dempster to rush though
on goal. He draw Guatelli and slipped an angled
shot past him but agonisingly a foot wide of the
Edwards, holding the ball up
well, shot wide and Gregg Blundell almost got
onto the end of a teasing cross as City pressed
for a second.
Manager Wright replaced Blundell
with Curtis and seven minutes from time Edwards
left to a standing ovation to be replaced with
During the final minutes the
home side pressed in vain. Burgess saw an effort
to straight into the hands of the underworked
MacKenzie while two other home efforts sailed
his and wide into the wind and City saw the game
out for three well deserved points.
5 April Chester
City Reserves 1 Carlisle United Reserves 0
Pontins Holiday League
Attendance: 22 Half Time 0-0
Harrison, Wade, Potter (Kelly 87), Cadwallader,
Marsh-Evans, Dimech, S. Vaughan, Rutherford, Roberts,
Holroyd, Newton. Subs not used: Brookfield, N.Humphreys,
Philip Clarke, Kris Jones. Carlisle
Williams, Combe, Blake (Hoban 79), Joyce, Kirkup,
Grand, Ferris (Vipond 61), McGill, Murray, Rivers,
Hackney. Subs not used: Hardman, Baker, Bradley. Referee:
being their second game in three days, City rode
their luck at times with the woodwork coming to
their rescue on three occasions. Starting with
a 3-4-3 formation, it soon became apparent that
they missed the height of Tait up front, with
Cadwallader being the main target man. In fairness,
he was up against two big central defenders and
at times he found it nigh impossible to hold the
ball up for the likes of 19-year-old Holroyd and
18-year-old Rutherford playing along side him.
Despite a promising start that
saw a couple of half chances go wide and over,
it was Carlisle who had the first real opportunity
in the 5th minute. With Marsh-Evans conceding
a free kick, the ball was curled in from the right
wing, where it fell to Murray on the edge of the
six-yard box. Keeping it low he placed it with
precision towards Harrison’s bottom right
corner, but Harrison produced a fine save, palming
the ball only back towards him. With a scramble
occurring in the six-yard box, Harrison and Dimech
blocked the follow up, and the ball went behind
for a corner.
From that moment on the game
turned into a dour affair, with neither team taking
the initiative. Albeit Chester at times squandered
possession rather cheaply, Carlisle lacked that
killer instinct and failed to capitalise. One
such incident came in the 20th minute when Holroyd,
then Marsh-Evans made schoolboy errors in their
own half, only for the opposition to squander
After half an hour it was obvious
that the weary legs of Chester where making hard
work of it, the front three failing to win anything
in the air from the long balls out of defence,
and Vaughan and Wade getting overran in the middle
of the park; and for the remaining quarter of
an hour Carlisle had the better of the play. With
twelve minutes remaining in the first half, Hackney
broke free on the left wing and glided past Potter
and Roberts with ease. His cross being too deep
was headed back into the middle of the six-yard
box, where Rivers headed the ball goal-bound,
Harrison again producing a fine save to his right.
After the ball bobbled around for a few seconds
it was hooked away up field by Rutherford, to
Holroyd who ran into trouble. In dispossessing
him, Joyce drove through the middle of the park,
until Roberts tackled him just outside the area.
With the ball squirming away, it fell kind for
Murray, whose resulting shot cannoned of the crossbar.
With Chester now on the defensive,
Carlisle started to turn the screw and where unlucky
not to go ahead in injury time, when a corner
from the right hand side landed inside the six-yard
box, where it hit Murray on the hip and fell straight
into the welcoming arms of Harrison.
Due to the somewhat lack lustre
performance of the first half, it was evident
that the Blues would have to make changes, and
so it came as no surprise to see Rutherford move
to centre mid along side Vaughan and Wade, now
playing a 3-5-2 formation. Despite the change,
Carlisle, for a short while carried on where they
had left off, and went close two minutes into
the half. From the Harrison goal kick, the ball
was intercepted and eventually played to Hackney,
who then found himself one-on-one with Harrison.
Having seen his first shot saved, he then hit
the side netting with his follow up. If anything
this served as a wake up call for the weary looking
home side, and in the 49th minute after some good
possession play and short sharp passing, they
managed to force a corner.
Now feeling a little more confident
Chester started to get into the game and five
minutes later Holroyd made good progress on the
left wing, unfortunately on breaking into the
penalty area he lost his footing and the resulting
danger was cleared effectively up field to Joyce,
where his long range effort produce a finger tip
save from Harrison. From the resulting corner,
Carlisle looked to have broken the deadlock, however,
referee Fletcher deemed that Dimech had cleared
the ball off the line, and not from behind it.
With Rutherford now bolstering
up the middle of the park, Chester where able
to enjoy a good spell of possession, which took
the sting out of visitors’ game plan and
for the next ten minutes or so Chester played
some good football, with chances falling to Holroyd,
and Cadwallader. Nevertheless, if Chester thought
they had weathered the storm, Carlisle reminded
them of the dangers of becoming complacent, when
Murray’s shot rattled of the crossbar in
the 70th minute. If anything, this let off seemed
to give the home side a lift, and after some good
passing, Rutherford produced some delightful footwork
out on the left wing culminating in his cross
being whipped in across the face of the six-yard
box, where Cadwallader headed home from point
The goal was like a kick in
the proverbial(s) for Carlisle, and it was them,
who now resorted to kicking the ball long and
aimlessly. From one such ball, Harrison kicked
the ball long up field, where Rutherford took
it in full flight on his chest, unfortunately
his reverse pass intended for Cadwallader was
intercepted and the ball was put out for a throw-in
on the left wing. From the throw-in Sean Newton
delivered a wonderful ball into the penalty area,
where an unmarked Holroyd headed agonisingly wide.
In the 87th minute Chester nearly
doubled their lead, when Rutherford forced an
error out of goalkeeper Williams and centre half
Grand. However, Rutherford’s left footer
was blocked by a combination of both players.
Shortly afterwards Vaughan had a free kick go
Overall, this was a tenacious
performance by Jim Hackett’s team, and when
the ‘Chips’ where down they dug in and
weathered the storm. With obstinate performances
all around, the unbeaten run is extended to five
3 April Chester
City Reserves 2 Wrexham Reserves 1
Pontins Holiday League
Attendance: 96 Half Time 1-0
Saturday’s game, and Asamoah’s winner
still fresh in everyone’s memory, there
was an air of anticipation around the SHS last
night, and those present witnessed a magnificent
strike from James Scales that clinched all three
points for Chester.
Chester started the game with
a 3-4-3 formation, consisting of a back three
of Cadwallader, Dimech and Marsh-Evans and a front
three of Rutherford, Tait and Holroyd.
The game got off to a bright
start, with both teams looking to take the initiative,
and in fairness, Wrexham looked the more dangerous,
with Evans at centre-mid spreading the ball freely
out to Done on the left, and Gray on the right,
both players putting in decent crosses that came
to nothing. In realising that Wrexham where orchestrating
the play in midfield, the shout came from MW in
the stands for Jim Hackett to change the system,
so in the 13th minute Rutherford was pulled back
into midfield to do a man-to-man marking job on
Evans. Although Rutherford’s usual style
of play suffered because of this, the danger in
midfield was cancelled out and Chester soon started
to get a grip of things. With Wrexham’s
build up play now stubbed out, they resorted to
long balls, and the dominance of Dimech, Marsh-Evans
and Cadwallader quickly extinguished any aerial
With Chester now on top, and
passing the ball with good effect it wasn’t
long before they had their first real chance,
which came in the 21st minute, unfortunately Holroyd
was adjudged to be offside and his effort was
cancelled out. In a spell of good pressure, Wrexham
started to concede silly free kicks, and in particular
singled out Potter who was causing problems on
the left flank with some good crosses. On the
26 minute mark, Wade headed one such cross into
the arms of Jones, and with a poor clearance up
field Wade cut the ball back to Rutherford on
the right angle of the penalty area, where his
cross/shot went narrowly over.
The good spell continued for
Chester, with Vaughan delivering some menacing
long passes and dead-balls that caused some concern
for Wrexham, and equally Holroyd done well in
the 33rd minute when he turned inside the area
and crossed the ball into the six yard box, where
Jones flapped at it, only managing to smother
the ball at the second time of asking.
With Chester in full control
it wouldn’t be long before they took the
lead, and with Potter the victim of yet another
foul, Vaughan delivered a wonderful ball from
the left flank into the far post, where it was
met by Cadwallader who volleyed the ball past
Jones with the instep of his right foot.
With Chester continuing to dominate,
they had two more half chances before the break,
one from a Tait header down to Holroyd, whose
effort was snubbed out on the edge of the area,
and the other when Rutherford flicked on Harrison’s
goal kick into the path of Holroyd, whose shot
It was inevitable that the Dragons
would come out after the break with fire in their
bellies, and they started the half of well with
a corner in the first minute and some early half
chances going over and wide. Such was the pressure
that Scales gave away a silly free kick in the
55th minute, more amazingly however, was the fact
he wasn’t reprimanded for his two-footed
challenge. Nonetheless, Chester where caught knapping
when the ball was delivered into the penalty area
from some thirty yards out, dropping by the penalty
spot, Marsh-Evans, ball-watching, let the ball
run past him and into the path of McEvilly who
drilled the ball into Harrison’s bottom
right hand corner. With Wrexham now on a high
they continued with their good spell for another
five minutes, and went close on a couple of occasions.
However, the killer blow was just around the corner.
On the hour mark, Chester got
a throw-in on the left wing, which Potter delivered
to Tait, who in turn squared the ball out to Rutherford
on the left touchline. Jinking past two challenges,
he nipped infield and squared the ball into the
path of Scales, who from twenty-five yards out,
unleashed a first time shot straight into the
keeper’s top left hand corner.
Although there was still half
an hour left to play, Wrexham looked well and
truly beaten, Scales’ body blow had left
them seriously winded, and if there were a towel
to be had, it would have been thrown in! From
that moment on it was all Chester, and it didn’t
go unnoticed that Wrexham had three players cautioned
in quick succession, in the 61st, 63rd, and 69th
minute. With Chester now a constant threat, Wrexham
where lucky not to have their right back, Evans
sent off in the 77th minute when he deliberately
scythed down Rutherford with a malicious foul.
Having latched onto a wonderful through ball by
Vaughan, Rutherford flicked it past Evans, and
was clean through when Evans deliberately took
him out in full flight. Miraculously, Evans escaped
without any kind of punishment! A few minutes
later, and Chester went close to adding to their
tally, with Holroyd and Rutherford coming close
to finding the mark.
In the last ten minutes, Wrexham
had a couple of attacks that came to nothing,
with Done providing a couple of crosses and Roche
heading over on one occasion. Being over-committed
in the dying minutes they nearly came unstuck,
when Tait laid the ball back to Scales, whose
curling effort was saved by Jones.
With their recent run of
results, the reserves look to have turned a corner,
and having not won a game before his appointment,
Jim Hackett’s ‘Mean Machine’ now
remain unbeaten in their last four games.Saturday
1 April Chester
City 2 Macclesfield Town 1
Attendance: 2,939 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Davies, Asamoah.
hero Derek Asamoah struck again for the second
game running to score two vital goals to help
City to a second win in four days and help ease
their relegation worries.
Manager Mark Wright made just
one change from the side that won in on Wednesday
at Boston United bringing in Gregg Blundell for
Abdel El Kholti as his City side looked for their
first back-to-back wins for four months.
With the game starting in windy
conditions at the Deva both sides found it difficult
to get going early on. Chris MacKenzie was called
into action coming out to catch a Paul Harsley
cross while at the other end Asamoah had the first
shot on target that Tommy Lee in the visitors
goal dealt with on eight minutes. The in-form
striker was soon again in the action, controlling
Sean Hessey’s cross before turning and shooting
just wide of the right hand post.
As City pressed Ben Davies tried
a shot from 20 yards that flew over the bar and
the midfielder saw an inswinging corner cleared
by the Macc defence after Asamoah had his crossed
blocked for a flag-kick.
The Blues earned a free-kick
after former defender Kevin McIntyre fouled Stewart
Drummond but City were unable to take advantage.
At the other end the Silkmen
saw their first shot on goal as MacKenzie was
well positioned to hold a long range effort from
Asamoah’s probing runs
were causing all sorts of problems in the Macc
defence. Jake Edwards dragged a shot wide and
Drummond almost gave the Blues a half time lead
but he headed wide from 12 yards in first-half
Five minutes after the break
City took a deserved lead as Blundell knocked
down Hessey’s cross for Asamoah to tuck
the ball away from six yards. The Blues almost
added a second as Davies’ near post corner
his the woodwork, and Edwards should have hit
the target after being put through by Drummond.
Fifteen minutes from time the
visitors drew level as substitute Kevin Townson,
left unmarked at the back post, stooped to head
home a Matty McNeil left wing cross from close
City responded and Edwards volleyed
wide following a Davies corner, and Davies and
Hessey saw late efforts saved by the overworked
As the game draw to a close
Navarro shot over the bar from long range and
that looked to be the last action of the afternoon.
With the game deep into injury
time however, and City pushing up for one last
effort, Asamoah picked the ball up on the edge
of the box, with his back to goal he turned and
curled a great effort into the top corner past
the stranded lee to send the home fans wild behind