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Saturday 5 May
Lincoln City 2 Chester City 0
League Two
Attendance: 5,267 (152 Chester) Half Time 0-0
Booked: Hessey, Bennett.

Lincoln City:
Marriott, Eaden, Morgan, Brown, Green (Mendes 84), Frecklington (Amoo 86), Beevers, Kerr, Hughes, Stallard, Forrester. Subs not used: Rayner, Mayo, Warlow.
Chester City: Danby, Linwood, J.Vaughan, Artell, Sandwith, Bennett (Cronin 83), Hessey, Hand, Rutherford, Steele, Holroyd (Yeo 72). Subs not used: Bolland, Meechan, Roberts.
Referee: K.Friend (Leicestershire).

City’s season came to an end at Sincil Bank with another defeat, this time at the hands of Lincoln City whose two goal win cemented a play-off place against Bristol Rovers.

Caretaker manager Simon Davies made a couple of changes to the side that drew with Peterborough last week, dropping Phil Bolland to the bench along with ex-Imp Simon Yeo. Kevin Sandwith and Lee Steele deputised.

With the home side needing a point to guarantee a play-off spot they raced away from the start to force a corner in the opening 20 seconds that the Chester defence cleared. The home side attacked straight back and Mark Stallard shot wide when well placed.

On 20 minutes Chester were given a golden chance to take the lead. The Blues broke quickly and Chris Holroyd’s burst of pace brought a rash challenge from Scott Kerr that sent the young forward sprawling in the box. He picked himself up and placed the ball on the spot himself. However, with a first senior goal in his sights, Holroyd placed a weak penalty to the left of Alan Marriott who saved with ease after initially pushing the ball up in the air.

At the other end John Danby was called into action to save again from the dangerous Stallard as the Imps forced a series of corners.

The Blues still looked dangerous on the break and saw Dave Artell head wide and Shaun Hessey put a long range effort just wide of Marriott’s post.

The last action of the half saw Lincoln attacking as Nat Brown volleyed over.

Chester continued to press after the break with Jamie Hand trying his luck from outside the box but just after the hour mark a slip by Dave Artell on the left outside the box led to the opening goal. Forrester pounced on the loose ball and squared for Stallard to score with ease and no doubt settle the home fans’ nerves.

Simon Yeo, no stranger to Sincil Bank, came off the bench for Holroyd and immediately forced a corner as the Blues looked to strike back. The flag-kick was easily cleared though by the home rearguard.

Ten minutes from time Steele put Yeo through but the striker failed to control his chance.

Glenn Cronin replaced Dean Bennett and with a few minutes remaining Yeo thought he’d leveled the score as he turned the ball home from lose range after Marriott had failed to hold a Hessey drive. Referee Friend ruled out the effort for offside and awarded a free-kick.

With the game entering stoppage time Lincoln sealed matters with a second goal. Hughes sent in a cross from the right that struck Sandwith on the arm and Forrester converted the spot kick past the outstretched arm of Dandy.

Final League Two table

Pictures © Evening Leader

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Saturday 28 April
Chester City 1 Peterborough United 1
League Two
Attendance: 1,905 (364 Peterborough) Half Time 1-0
Booked: Cronin, Hand, Linwood, Meechan, Yeo.

Chester City:
Danby, Linwood, Bolland, Artell, Hessey, Hand, Rutherford (Meechan 84), Cronin, Wilson, Steele (Holroyd 58), Yeo. Subs not used: Palethorpe, J.Vaughan, Bennett.
Peterborough United:
Tyler, White (Blanchett 71), Morgan, Blackett, Newton, Hyde, Strachan (Butcher 45), Gain, Low, Mackail-Smith, Boyd. Subs not used: Jalal, Richards, Futcher.
Referee: D.McDermid (London).

In what would turn out to be his last game in charge, manager Mark Wright saw his City side hold his former club Peterborough United at Deva Stadium and in doing so prevent the London Road side claiming a play-off place in the process.

Wright, and his assistant Graham Barrow, departed Deva Stadium 36 hours later after a string of poor results that has seen the side slip to 18th in League Two after just three wins in 20 matches.

Prior to the game goalkeeper John Danby was presented with his well-deserved official Player of the Year trophy with defender Dave Artell picking up the second prize. Both have turned in consistent performances in what has proved to be a disappointing campaign.

It took seven minutes for the visitors to have their first effort on goal, a shot from Peter Gain that flew by Danby and the City goal from 20 yards out. Chester replied with an effort from Glen Cronin, making his first start in a City shirt, held well by Mark Tyler in the Posh goal.

The Blues took the lead on 13 minutes through a mistake from the visitors as Simon Yeo intercepted a poor header back to the ‘keeper from Adam Newton to lob Tyler. The Blues almost doubled their lead with Yeo again in the action. A great ball by Paul Rutherford was met by Yeo who beat Tyler but clipped a shot off the outside of the post.

The Posh enjoyed plenty of possession for the rest of the half but clear-cut chances were few and far between, a shot from Newton against the outside of the post was all they really threatened.

The visitors brought on Richard Butcher for Gavin Strachan at the interval and he was quickly in the action setting up Boyd who blasted a shot straight at Danby. Danby produced a good save to deny Mackail-Smith the resulting rebound being skied over the bar by Butcher as the visitors began to take control.

Hyde wasted a good opportunity, like Butcher, blazing high and wide while Boyd also wasted a similar chance.

City were pinned in their own half but did hit the side-netting with a Jamie Hand free-kick.

Artell blocked a Mackail-Smith effort before the unfortunate defender handed Posh the equaliser as he sliced a Mackail-Smith cross-shot into his own net giving Danby no chance with 20 minutes remaining.

Peterborough continued to press but the City defended in numbers and continued to frustrate their opponents. Chris Holroyd, introduced earlier for Lee Steele, was creating problems with his pace however and saw an effort blocked by Newton. Three minutes from time City broke away and Yeo planted a header wide, while Newton was on hand again to block a Paul Linwood effort.

Four minutes of added time were played but the City defence held firm, the frustrations showed on the Posh bench as manager Darren Ferguson was sent to the stands for the final minutes by referee McDermid for dissent.

Pictures © Evening Leader

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Saturday 21 April
Boston United 1 Chester City 0
League Two
Attendance: 1,753 (est 80 Chester) Half Time 0-0
Booked: J.Vaughan, Bennett, Linwood. Sent-off: Sandwith.

Boston United:
Marriott, Stevens, Cryan, Greaves, Maylett, Galbraith, Clarke, Cooksey, Farrell, Green, Ellender. Subs not used: Rowntree, Joyce, Nunn.
Chester City:
Danby, Linwood, Hessey, Artell, J.Vaughan (Kelly 66), Bennett, Rutherford (Cronin 74), Hand, Sandwith, Yeo, Holroyd (Wilson 46). Subs not used: Meechan, Steele.
Referee: J.Moss.

City travelled to Boston with the same starting X1 that featured in last Sunday’s home game against Shrewsbury Town. Due to a chronic injury list, the Pilgrims could only field ten professional players and name three youth team substitutes on the bench as they looked for a win that would be vital in their chances of escaping the relegation trapdoor back to the Conference after five years in the Football League.

Despite their precarious position it was the home side who started brightly and Clarke saw a free-kick curl over John Danby’s bar after five minutes. David Galbraith shot wide soon after from long distance before a controversial moment on 18 minutes.

City defender Kevin Sandwith was adjudged to have handled on the line to prevent a Paul Ellender header hitting the net. Sandwith was given a straight red card and Jamie Clarke took the responsibility of the spot-kick. Danby, a favourite to pick op Saturday’s Player of the Season award, guessed right though and dived at full stretch to divert the penalty wide for a corner.

The home side continued to have the better of things for the rest of the half with Ellender, taking on an unfamiliar strikers role, in the thick of the action.

At the other end Chris Holroyd and Simon Yeo, despite a lot of running, failed to test Andy Marriott in the home goal.

The Blues brought on Laurence Wilson for Holroyd at the break and forced an early corner met by a header from Paul Linwood that was cleared.

Just before the hour mark the home side almost took the lead as a dangerous free-kick evaded three onrushing players, Jamie Stevens, Francis Green and mark Greaves, and out to safety. Moments later Green missed another great opportunity as he slid Farrell’s cross wide of Danby and the post.

However, with seven minutes remaining Boston grabbed the goal their second half pressure had threatened.

Referee Moss awarded United a corner, though City players appealed for a goal-kick, and Galbraith crossed for Stevens to head home unchallenged at the far post.

Brad Maylett who spent a short loan spell at City recently should have wrapped up the points in the dying minutes but shot high and wide when well placed.

For City, who had threatened little all afternoon, there was no coming back as they crashed to their sixth successive away defeat.

Pictures © Evening Leader

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Sunday 15 April
Chester City 0 Shrewsbury Town 0
League Two
Attendance: 3,266 (1,798 Shrewsbury) Half Time 0-0
Booked: Linwood.

Chester City:
Danby, Linwood (Kelly 75), Hessey, Artell, J.Vaughan, Hand, Rutherford, Bennett, Sandwith, Holroyd, Yeo (Meechan 87). Subs not used: Steele, Wilson, Cronin.
Shrewsbury Town:
Shearer, Canoville, Langmead, Hope, Tierney, M.Jones (Cooke 63), Edwards (Hall 85), Drummond, Ashton, Asamoah, Symes (Fortune-West 84). Subs not used: MacKenzie, L.Jones.
Referee: P.Taylor (Hertfordshire).

Against promotion chasing Shrewsbury Town, City started with Paul Rutherford, Chris Holroyd and James Vaughan and gave another youngster Shaun Kelly a first place on the bench at a sunny Deva Stadium.

With the visitors making up over half of the all-ticket crowd the there was a scrappy opening period to the game, the first effort of note coming the Shrews way. A foul on ex-City player Derek Asamoah saw a free-kick swung over only for Dave Edwards to glance his header wide of John Danby and the post.

Edwards was soon in the action again getting on the end of a piercing through ball and shooting low and hard but Danby was well placed to make a smart save.

Chris Holroyd was causing problems down the left and former City defender Richard Hope was forced to concede a free-kick after one promising run. The ball was crossed and partially cleared to Jamie Hand who sent an effort wide from 20 yards after it appeared to deflect off Simon Yeo on the way.

On 35 minutes mix-up in the City defence almost let in Asamoah, Danby and Dave Artell seemed to get in each other’s way while trying to clear a through pass, the ball fell to Asamoah but Artell was well placed to block his effort. As the half drew to a close Yeo flashed a shot over.

The City defence came under pressure straight after the break as Shrewsbury forced a series of corners without bringing a save from Danby. With neither side gaining control Rutherford played a delightful through ball to Holroyd but the pacy striker was closed down as he ran through on goal.

A foul by Sean Hessey on Andrew Cooke gave Asamoah an opportunity and his curling free-kick was parried wide for a corner by Danby at the foot of the post. Asamoah’s resulting flag-kick drifted harmlessly out.

Neil Ashton shot over from 20 yards and the visitors continued to press. They did have the ball in the net after Langmead headed home only for referee Taylor to adjudge that Richard Hope had obstructed Danby in the build up.

With the Blues under pressure at the back Linwood, who’d picked up a first-half booking, was replaced by Shaun Kelly.

With minutes remaining the woodwork came to City’s rescue twice. First Cooke met a drifting free-kick at the far post, chipped Danby only to see his effort hit the bar. Moments later Ashton’s corner was met by Asamoah who sent an overhead kick crashing against the bar though the linesman’s flag ruled out his spectacular effort for offside.

Pictures © Evening Leader

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Monday 9 April
Stockport County 2 Chester City 0
League Two
Attendance: 5,719 Half Time 1-0
Booked: -.

Stockport County:
Lewis, Clare, Williams, Owen, Griffin, Poole (Proudlock 67), Dinning, Taylor, Pilkington, Elding, Dickinson (Nolan 85). Subs not used: Spencer, Tansey, Rowe.
Chester City:
Danby, Linwood, Artell, Bolland, Hessey (J.Vaughan 37), Sandwith, Hand, Bennett, Wilson (Rutherford 72), Yeo, Steele (Holroyd 36). Subs not used: Cronin, Meechan.
Referee: U.Rennie (South Yorkshire).

Having praised the young players who performed so well on Good Friday manager Mark Wright opted for experience at Edgeley Park, dropping all three fledglings to the bench for this Cheshire derby against a Stockport side without a win in seven matches.

It was the home side, beaten 7-2 by Rochdale in their last Edgeley outing, who started strongest with Kevin Pilkington having a shot charged down by Kevin Sandwith and John Danby having to save an overhead effort from the edge of the box by Liam Dickinson in the opening five minutes.

Danby was in action again soon after gathering an effort from Anthony Elding who attempted to back heel an effort in. Phil Bolland, back from suspension, did well to block another effort from Elding.

The Hatters took the lead midway through the half. Anthony Pilkington’s long range shot hit the post and bounced in off the back of the unfortunate diving Danby.

Another long-range Pilkington effort was pushed round the post by Danby and the overworked ‘keeper was on hand to save a spectacular Elding volley as the home side dominated the proceedings.

Wright rang the changes and brought on James Vaughan and Chris Holroyd in place of Sean Hessey and Lee Steele with eight minutes of the opening period remaining.

The Blues found themselves two down just after the restart. The Blues conceded a free kick on the right after a foul on
Dickinson. Adam Griffin swept a cross in that was met at the far post by Tony Dinning who converted with ease.

As an attacking force City were non-existent and it took until the 72nd minute before home ‘keeper Joe Lewis was called into serious action when he blocked an effort from Simon Yeo with his legs and Laurence Wilson was unable to convert the follow-up.

Paul Rutherford replaced Wilson soon after and continued the good form he showed against Darlington with a header over from Yeo’s cross and a shot just wide.

But it was the home side creating all the chances with Pilkington seeing another effort zip wide and Elding saw a volley dip just over Danby’s bar before referee Uriah Rennie brought a halt to the proceedings.

League Two table

Pictures © Evening Leader

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Friday 6 April
Chester City 1 Darlington 1
League Two
Attendance: 1,942 (239 Darlington) Half Time 0-0
Booked: -.

Chester City:
Danby, Linwood, Artell, Sandwith, Hessey, Hand, Yeo (Wilson 75), Bennett, J.Vaughan, Holroyd (Steele 77), Rutherford. Subs not used: Cronin, Meechan, Kelly.
Russell, Phillips, Collins, Cummins, Blundell, Smith (Prendergast 66), Wiseman, Armstrong (Joachim 58), Rowson, Horwood, Ravenhill (Wainwright 46). Subs not used: Stockdale, Burgess.
Referee: J.Singh (Middlesex).

For the second home match running, manager Mark Wright recalled the three youngsters Paul Rutherford, Chris Holroyd and James Vaughan to the starting X1 and youth team player Shaun Kelly on the bench as the Blues looked to bounce back from the disappointing defeat at Hartlepool United. The visitors fielder two ex-City players in striker Gregg Blundell and Ricky Ravenhill who spent a short period on loan from Doncaster Rovers at the start of the season.

Both sides struggled to make inroads during the first period that ran along at a similar pace to a pre-season friendly in the warm Deva sunshine. The visitors did have the ball in the net following Martin Smith’s near post corner but referee Singh ruled the effort out for a push on John Danby. Smith was in the action again soon later forcing a full stretch save from Danby.

Despite forcing several corners, City had to wait until just after the half hour mark before they tested Russell in the Darlo goal as he gathered a long ranger effort from Jamie Hand.

Just before the break Blundell was sent clear of the City rearguard but with Danby advancing the former City forward shinned his effort wide of the post when it looked like he was going lob the keeper.

Just after the break it was City’s turn to have an effort ruled out as Simon Yeo was adjudged to have strayed offside before finding the net. But the Blues faithful didn’t have to wait long before the opening goal.

The Quakers defence seemed to hesitate in clearing their lines on half-way and Holroyd sent Yeo through with a clear run on goal, he took the ball wide of Russell before turning to shoot into the net from a narrow angle to the delight of the fans on the sparsely populated home terrace behind.

A rejuvenated City went looking for a second goal. Holroyd almost doubled City’s lead but he saw an acrobatic overhead kick palmed away by Russell from point blank range and Kevin Sandwith sent a header over the bar when well placed.

The visitors introduced the former Aston Villa forward Julian Jochim as they looked to get back into the game and he immediately set up Neil Wainwright who saw his shot on goal blocked by Danby. The visitors continued to press and forced a series of corners, with a series of poor clearances by the City rearguard only adding to the pressure.

With just four minutes remaining though the Blues squandered a golden effort to seal the game as Rutherford broke away and raced through on the right, just as it looked like he would shoot he squared the ball for substitute Lee Steele who failed to control it properly and the chance was gone.

Three minute’s later the Blues were left to rue that wasted opportunity as Blundell, sent free on the left was brought down by Laurence Wilson on the edge of the box. Singh pointed to the spot as the City defence claimed that the incident took place just outside the area. Blundell dusted himself down to convert the spot-kick and rescue a point for his side.

Pictures © Evening Leader

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