played well and lead twice in their final game of the
campaign but were pegged back by ten-man Alfreton Town
to end the season in ninth place.
The Blues should have come away with all three points,
but this performance and their ability not to make their
dominance count, perhaps sums up why they have missed
out on the play-off’s by just three points.
Chester took the lead on the quarter hour after Craig
Mahon had won a free kick. The Blues took advantage and
Gary Roberts and Anthony Dudley combined to set up Akwasi
Asante who slotted home his ninth goal of the season.
Minutes later George Waring forced a fine save from Ben
Nicholson in the home goal as the visitors pressed for
a second goal.
Nicholson was called into action again just before the
interval making a smart save from a deflected Mahon shot
The home side were reduced to ten men midway through the
second period as Tom Allan saw red from referee Scott
Simpson. Despite this the home side were level just two
minutes later as Josh Wilde who forced the ball home from
close range following a Danny O’Brien cross from
In a frantic period of play Chester regained the lead
two minutes later as Waring met Scott Burton’s headed
pass to head past Nicholson.
minutes from time Wilde chested the ball down before
sending an unstoppable 25-yard volley past Grant Shenton
for the home equaliser.
Chester pressed for a winner and were unlucky when Waring
saw an effort hit the post before referee Simpson blew
the final whistle to end the season.
home campaign concluded with a blank scoresheet against
play-off bound Brackley Town. The visitors impressed in
the first half especially as they dominated the Blues
who were fortunate to reach the interval with their goal
Howson and Grand partnered one another in central defence
after Livesey was injured in the warm up and struggled
at times to cope with the immense physical challenge of
Ndlovu. The Brackley forward turned his man and got through
to shoot fiercely at Shenton who did well to parry the
effort to safety. The visitors won a number of corners
and seemed to be trying out several training ground manoeuvres
which City did well to repel.
Panic stations ensued when referee Elliot Swallow awarded
an indirect free kick on the edge of Chester’s six-yard
box for dangerous play. It was all bodies on the goal
line as Chester’s wall stood firm after Brackley’s
first attempt was disallowed as a false start.
The Saints had an even better chance to break the deadlock
when Mahon clipped Shepherd Murombedzi’s heels in
the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot.
To rub salt into Mahon’s wounds, aggrieved at conceding
such a soft penalty, he was booked as well. Byrne stepped
up confidently and then scooped the ball over the bar
– much to the delighted approval of those in the
Harry Mac. Should their play-offs have to be decided on
sport kicks the thought of this one might come back to
Somehow City escaped until half time but Brackley had
been quicker of mind and body all over the pitch. Although
City looked a little bit more resilient at the start of
the second half they were still decidedly lacking in pace
and continued to make negligible impact on an assured
On the hour mark, however, three subs were introduced
all at once and City’s tempo began to lift. McKenna
and Green began to run purposefully across the park, with
the ball at their feet and the Blues attacking ideas livened
up. Howson blazed a howitzer well wide from distance after
one of McKenna’s mazy runs. Green left his marker
behind with a Cruyff turn and crossed to the far post,
just beyond the head of Waring. Dudley’s drag back
just failed to come off on the edge of the area which
would have capped a great move.
Green lost his way on one foray into the box but with
the full-time whistle approaching launched a venomous
effort at the end of a good move with McKenna which Lewis
partially saved. Howson failed to connect with the rebound
before Waring was given offside. The Exiles, match sponsors
today, chose Gary Roberts as their man of the match –
he worked tirelessly in the midfield battle. Shenton could
not have been far behind, though, he had one of his best
days in the Chester goal.
City’s outside chance of making the play-offs evaporated
with that Green effort but at least they had given a livelier
account against very solid opposition for the last half
an hour of the match. Their efforts were reflected in
the warm applause the players received at the end of the
match. The appreciation showed by those who stayed no
doubt a reflection that, after the traumas of last season,
some sense of stability had been restored this time –
and the though they may have fallen short of the play-offs
this season, some foundations have been laid for the future.
from man of the match Iwan Murray, Danny Livesey and George
Waring bring a comfortable victory at relegation threatened
Ashton United, Chester’s third successive away victory.
The Blues made three changes to the side that drew with
York City with Iwan Murray, Anthony Dudley and Steve Howson
making the starting X1 at the expense of Craig Mahon,
Matthew Thompson and George Green who all started on the
Chester started well with Gary Roberts
shooting over from long distance and George Waring forcing
a save from George McMahon in the home goal following
a header from a pinpoint Murray cross.
Murray was involved in much of Chester’s
attacking play and he gave the Blues the lead with his
first league goal on 32 minutes as he pounced on a loose
ball outside the box before advancing and shooting past
Simon Grand headed over a Murray corner
as Chester looked to double their lead their dominance
warranted. The second goal duly came just after half-time
as Danny Livesey rose to head home a Roberts free-kick.
The points were wrapped up with
half an hour to go as man of the match Murray swung
in another corner that was met by Waring at the far
post who game McMahon no chance with his powerful header.
13 April Chester
2 York City 2 Conference
Attendance: 1,772 Half Time: 0-1
Booked: Waters, Waring, Roberts.
Chester: Shenton, Thomson, Grand, Livesey,
Waters, Jackson, Roberts, Burton (Murray 62), Mahon (Crawford
80), Green (Dudley 62), Waring: Subs not used: Howson,
McKenna. York City: Whitley, Griffiths, Ferguson,
Newton, Moon, Moke, Langstaff, McLaughlin, Burrow (Wright
89), Burgess, Kempster (Parkin 80). Subs not used: York,
Bencherif, Bartlett. Referee: Aaron Bannister.
reaction was looked for after Tuesday night’s drubbing
by Stockport County but for the first forty-five minutes
of this encounter it looked as though Chester were still
punch-drunk. York seemed the more organised and cohesive
as they had the lion’s share of possession. Langstaff
was put through on goal but his shot was well saved by
Former Wrexham player Adriano Moke opened the scoring
when he suddenly found himself with ample room on the
edge of the City penalty area, giving him plenty of time
to curl a shot just inside the far post. Plenty of finger
pointing went on among the Blues team in the immediate
aftermath but the Minstermen were worth their lead at
The Blues were thrown an escape route early in the second
half when Mahon floated in a free kick from the left.
Keeper Whitley came for it. Inexplicably missed it and
the ball cannoned into the empty net off the head of defender
Shaun Newton. There can have been few more popular own
goals at the Deva than this one. Newton is still remembered
for his comments that whilst playing for Chester he was
really wishing he could play for Wrexham. Who knows what
was passing through his mind when this goal went in –
though he was clearly unhappy with his keeper.
Dudley and Murray were introduced for the struggling Green
and Burton and City’s energy levels duly increased.
Blues had their tails up after the equaliser and the Harry
Mac was raised from its torpor. But against the run of
play York took the lead again. Newton’s wayward
clearance was rescued from the touchline by Langstaff
who outwitted Matty Thompson and fired the ball across
the box. His cross was met at the far post by McLaughlin
whose shot hit the post and then rebounded in off Shenton.
But Chester battled back and continued to force the visitors
to retreat. Murray’s low corner found its way to
Waring at the far post and the tall Cestrian tucked in
another equaliser. Shortly afterwards Jamal Crawford was
thrown on for a home debut and sprinted clear on a through
ball before being shepherded away from goal by a recovering
defender. The Blues finished strongly but had to be content
with a draw. Some pride had been restored after Tuesday
but the solitary point means that qualification for the
play-offs is looking unlikely.
It looks like both of these Roman cities will be playing
each other again next season. Ironically it was York that
Chester replaced when they returned to the Football League
in 2004. Both will harbour dreams of getting back but
will need to consolidate for a while yet.
were thrashed 6-0 by Stockport who headed to the top of
the table as the Blues slipped to tenth following this
The Blues started badly and were a goal behing in the
opening ten minutes as a Scott Duxbury cross evaded Matty
Waters at the far post where Adam Thomas headed back for
ex-Blue Nyall Bell to tap home from close range.
Ten minutes later the Hatters doubled their lead through
Sam Walker whose low shot took a deflection to take it
past Grant Shenton in the home goal. As a contest the
game was over on the half hour as the visitors grabbed
their third goal. A mix-up between Simon Grand and Danny
Livesey allowing Bell to run through on goal and score
with easy past Shenton.
Chester rarely threatened though Ben Hinchcliffe was called
into action making a fine save to deny Livesey who headed
a Craig Mahon cross goalwards.
The Blues management made changes bringing on George Waring
and Steve Howson but to little effect as Darren Stephenson
side footed home Stockport’s fourth goal moments
after Bell just failed to complete his hat-trick.
Walker added the fifth goal from the penalty spot after
Sean McAllister had fouled Stephenson, and the misery
was completed at the death with substitute Jordan Keane
scoring the sixth goal from long range.
consigned their hosts to relegation from National League
North and earned themselves a rare away victory when they
scored a stoppage time winner at Nuneaton Borough's Liberty
It was hard to think there was something
to play for in this game, with City still having an
outside chance of the play-offs and Nuneaton having
an unlikely shot at National League survival. Both teams
played with a casual air in front of just 688 paying
It was the travelling fans who were
cheering first when Akwasi Asante scored after just
four minutes following a good pass from Sean McAllister.
But it then felt like Chester relaxed as Nuneaton tried
to get back into it, with Grant Shenton making a great
save from Ryan Edmunds.
There were a number of half chances
for both sides until Nuneaton got back on level terms
on the 36th minute. A header from a free kick hit the
post and re-bounded out to Miles Addison, who had no
problems finding the net.
Following the half-time entertainment,
which mostly consisted of enviously watching the tiny
ball boys sharing chips, Chester started the second
half as the brighter of the two teams. Danny Livesey
deservedly put them ahead just six minutes after the
re-start when Chester had won their second corner of
the half, with Livesey putting his leg out at the right
time from a Ben McKenna corner.
But with 86 minutes gone, Nuneaton
scored an unlikely equaliser when Mike Calveley found
the net after a goalmouth melee. It felt like the result
might stay tied, but Chester pressed on, cheered on
by at least a quarter of the crowd.
A George Green injury time corner
was cleared off the line, before McKenna put the ball
back into the danger area. He found Livesey’s
head, and the ball ended up in the net via a lucky deflection.
Referee Amy Fearn blew for full-time moments after,
giving Chester their second away win in a row and effectively