Town (H) | Telford
United (A) | Barnet
(A) | Scarborough
(H) | Forest Green Rovers (A)
Saturday 31 August 2002
Forest Green Rovers 0 Chester
Attendance: 812 Half Time 0-2
Booked: Brodie, Kelly.
Forest Green Rovers: Perrin, Coupe, Richardson, Russell, Jeknins,
Tearney (K Odejayi 45), McCloughlin (Allen 75), Foster, Sykes, Meechan
Grayson (Heggs 65). Subs not used: Pritchard, Cook.
Chester City: W.Brown, Harkness, Hatswell, Ruffer, Guyett, Brodie (Davies
65), Blackburn, Kelly, McIntyre, Beesley, Twiss (Sugden 76). Subs not used:
Woodyatt, Cameron, M.Brown.
Referee: N.Perkins (Gravesend).
proved to be a comfortable victory for Chester who
dominted much of the game and could, in the end,
have won by a more convinging margin. The usual hospitable
welcome was extended to those City fans who made
the trip to Gloucestershire, the busy social club
a colourful mix of blue and black striped shirts
proir to the match; outside in the sunshine the suited
and booted City players inspected the pitch having
enjoyed an overnight stay for the match.
It was only four months since the
last visit to The Lawn, the Blues then, rejuvinated
under Mark Wright were embarking on a run to pull
clear of the relegation zone, what a difference now,
only two of that side played on Saturday – Wayne
Brown and Mark Beesley.
Manager Wright opted to start with
Beesley, fresh from scoring twice in the reserves
in midweek, as opposed to Ryan Sugden who found himself
alongside fellow striker Dave Cameron on the bench.
Steve Brodie was given his long-awaited debut, Carl
Ruffer returned to the heart of the defence alongside
Scott Guyett and former Rovers player Wayne Hatswell,
while Steve Harkness moved into midfield. Harkness
will no doubt have felt at home in City’s third
kit – red shirts and shorts!
The opening period was fairly scrappy
with neither side creating any clear-cut chances,
Steve Brodie had the best opening for City, only
the post prevented him from scoring a debut goal.
What little the home side showed in attack during
this period, was soon mopped up by a City back line
that is playing better with each match and still
has to welcome back captain Phil Bolland in a week
or two – someone will feel a little unlucky
to be left out when that occasion arises such is
City’s current quality in defence.
Beesley had Chester’s first
effort on goal and this was followed by a low shot
from Harkness that Perrin in the home goal smothered
at the near post before the deadlock was broken on
32 minutes. Captain Jimmy Kelly took a free kick
on the City left, following a foul on Brodie, which
was handled in the Rovers wall by Foster. Referee
Perkins pointed to the spot and Beesley sent Perrins
the wrong way from 12 yards out.
Rovers best chance came from the
experienced Neil Grayson who attempted to loop a
header over Wayne Brown before Chris Blackburn almost
doubled City’s lead with a powerful hooked
shot that flew just wide of Perrin’s left hand
upright following a cross from Harkness.
A couple of minutes later Beesley
scored a quality goal which effictively killed the
game off as a contest. Michael Twiss, having another
good game, played a one-two with his fellow striker
on the right edge of the penalty box and Beesley
swept the ball home past a diving Perrin to the delight
of the travelling fans behind the goal.
City didn’t sit back after
the break and could have added more goals to their
tally. Scott Guyett had a header brilliantly saved
and an equally good save denied Kevin McIntyre soon
City’s best move of the game
involved half a dozen players and culminated in Twiss
firing wide from just inside the box. Kelly produced
a number of teasing crosses that produced half chances
but City had to be content with the 2-0 victory.
Rovers, languishing at the bottom
of the Conference, sacked their manager Nigel Spink
following the defeat. Whoever takes over has a tough
job but City fans will wish them well, the trip to
Forest Green is always a welcoming one.
26 August 2002
Chester City 0 Scarborough 0
Attendance: 2,292 Half Time 0-0
Chester City: W.Brown, Guyett, Ruffer, Hatswell, M.Brown (Woodyatt
71), Blackburn, Harkness, Kelly, McIntyre, Sugden (Beesley 58), Twiss.
Subs not used: Carden, Cameron, Brodie.
Scarborough: Woods, Rennison, Dryden, Hotte, Sheppherd, Stoker,
Henry, Ormerod (Campbell 66), Pounder, Scott, Rose. Subs not used: Blunt,
Walker, Jordan, Brassart.
Referee: C.Harwood (Salford).
tedious no-score draw is unfortunate, two on the run is down right
irritating. Apart from a flurry of corners in the first few minutes,
Chester created virtually no chances on goal all the game.
Scarborough, as Kettering had done on the opening
day of the season, came to keep things tight and to break up
any pattern in Chesters play. They were quick to close
down and stuck close to City players with the ball. True, they
hardly threatened Wayne Browns goal in the first half,
but Chester hardly looked like scoring either. Citys forwards
Twiss and Sugden struggled with balls played into their feet
and no one for them to lay it off to. Neither seem to me to be
the holding-the-ball-up type of forward and so they were effectively
smothered out of the game.
Citys most promising opening in the first
half fell to Mickey Brown who went on a surging run, played a
one-two, but shot well wide. To be fair to Wright, he had chosen
Brown as a more attacking option than Woodyatt. He seemed lively
in the first half but unable to find much room. In the second
half he hung back quite a lot and was clearly weary when Woodyatt
After the break Scarborough were the better
side. The Seadogs were the ones picking up the scraps, they seemed
quicker to every ball. Chester were reduced to knocking the ball
up in the air for the
forwards and it soon came back. It really was pretty ugly
The visitors should have opened the scoring
when Connell shot wide at the far post.
With time dragging on, Wright replaced Sugden with Beesley and Brown
with Woodyatt and they looked marginally more lively. As Citys
search for the first goal at the Deva this season became more frantic,
McIntyre who saw too little of the ball crossed dangerously
but just out of Twiss's reach. Blackburn had a bit of space on two occasions
on the edge of the box but blazed the ball well wide.
In the last minute, Kellys volley from
outside the area was on target but seen all the way by Woods
in the goal. Prior to this City survived a heart-fluttering moment
when Pounder's run into the box was ended as he crashed into
Scott Guyett. Mercifully the referee waved play on.
Citys home form is going to be key if
they are to make a play-off place. Plenty of teams will be hoping
to emulate Kettering and Scarborough with their good organisation
and high work rate. City will need to discover a bit of guile
and tactical know-how in order to break teams down. One wonders
whether Brodie on the bench again or Whittaker
(In the stand) might be the ones to provide it.
Colin Mansley | Photos by Max
Ainscough| Debutant Mickey
Brown interview with Rob Ashcroft
Saturday 24 August 2002
Macclesfield Town Youth 2 Chester
City Youth 0
Youth Alliance North Central Conference
Chester City: Louie Mackin, Paul Connolley, John Davies,
Ben Harvey, Adam Kelly, Tom Coulson [Danny L Ventre], Matt
Cooke, Mike Simpson, Lee Reece, Gethin Lloyd, Adam Hunter.
The youth team went away to Macclesfield on Saturday in a re-arranged fixture
and turned in a below par performance, conceding a goal in each half. The
nearest they came to scoring was a 25 yard strike from Gethin Lloyd, which
rebounded off the crossbar.
24 August 2002
Barnet 0 Chester City 3
Attendance: 1,347 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Woodyatt, Hatswell.
Barnet: Harrison, Pope, Pluck (Baimass 75), Arber, Gledhill, Midgley
(Oshitola 70), Bell, Hillier (Yakabu 33), Gower, Strevens, Agogo. Subs
not used: Millard, Soloman.
Chester City: W.Brown, Hatswell, Guyett, Harkness, Woodyatt, Kelly,
Blackburn, McIntyre, Cameron (Beesley 69), Twiss, Sugden (Ruffer 83). Subs
not used: M.Brown, Carden, Carey.
Referee: F.Graham (Stanford-le-Hope).
second half goals by City finally brought a deserved victory after it had
looked like squandered chances would cost them dear. Mark Wright made one
change from Mondays winning team drafting in Lee Woodyatt for Shaun
Carey who took his place on the bench. Barnet started with the side that
defeated Yeovil Town 2-1 in midweek.
Over 200 Chester fans made the trip from
all over the country, one from as far away as Durham! and
City ran out wearing their second choice all white kit.
An impeccably observed one minutes silence
for Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in bright sunshine preceded
the game which City dominated from the off, Kevin McIntyres
probing left wing runs causing the Bees defence all sorts
Michael Twiss and Ryan Sugden both had
opening chances for City and Harrison in the home goal saved
well from McIntyre close range half volley. The nearest the
home side came to opening the scoring was through the impressive
number four Gower whose back post effort from a corner was
cleared by Wayne Hatswell.
City forced a couple of corners, electing
to take both short, but the delivery into the box was poor
and Barnet cleared with ease.
City should have taken the lead on three
occasions just before the break. First, Wayne Browns
long clearance was flicked on by Dave Cameron to Ryan Sugden.
With Harrison rushing out of his goal Sugden lobbed the keeper
but saw his shot also drop just over the bar. Minutes later
Cameron was put through on the right fifteen yards out but
side-footed wide, and Sugden again had a great chance though
he volleyed over the bar.
Barnet started the brighter following the
break but it was Harrison who was the busier saving well
from McIntyres far post power-drive and then being
on hand to deny a trio of City players when a goal looked
Minutes later the home side were reduced
to ten men after Leon Bell was shown a straight red card
following a robust challenge on the lively McIntyre that
left the City player requiring lengthy treatment.
On 67 minutes City finally broke the deadlock
as Sugden was well placed to stroke the ball home aftre Harrison
could only parry McIntyres stinging shot into the strikers
Barnet made a double substitution as they
looked for the equaliser but keeper Brown dealt effectively
with everything Ben Strevens and Junior Agogo could muster.
Steve Harkness was also on hand to make a last ditch tackle
to deny Agogo a goal scoring chance against his old club.
On 87 minutes City scored their second
goal to wrap the game up. Man of the match Scott Guyett picked
the ball up on the right touchline in front of the City fans
and curled a delightful through ball for Twiss to run through
on. Twiss beat one defender, drew the keeper and cooly finished
with his left foot from eight yards.
With the Bees still pushing forward City
broke away again and substitute Mark Beesley raced through
on the left, rounded Harrison and slotted the ball home from
a narrow angle to the delight of the noisy travelling City
After the match manager Mark Wright said: We
played well. They got a kick up the you know-where at half-time
for missing chances and they came back and responded. I really
think we can get better.
19 August 2002
Telford United 0 Chester City 1
Attendance: 1,409 Half Time 0-0
Sent Off: Cameron.
Telford United: Edwards, Foran, Bloomer, Brown, Scott (Smith 63),
Fitzpatrick, Jobling (King 69), Palmer, Hanmer, Lormor, Moore. Subs not
used: Spink, Davies, Jones.
Chester City: W.Brown, Guyett, Harkness, Hatswell, Blackburn, Kelly,
Carey (Ruffer 67), McIntyre, Sugden (M.Brown 64), Cameron, Twiss. Subs
not used: Beesley, Davies, Brodie.
Referee: K. Wright (Peterborough).
phrase All round the Wrekin might have been invented
with Telfords Bucks Head ground in mind. It was
a huge hike from the Cock Hotel on Thomas Telfords
road to Holyhead all round three-quarters of the stadium
to get into the site and then back again to get to the visitors
end. The old engineer, who liked to build his roads straight,
would hardly have approved. And though the facilities in
the stadium are first rate, they don't seem to be able to
get the staff.
Only one turnstile was open for us to go through (There was a junior
one as well but we weren't allowed to go through that even if we paid
adult prices). And there was only one person on the tea bar with just
kitkats and mars bars and hot drinks for sale.
The game was already quarter of an hour
old by the time I made it on to the terraces. Cameron and
Foran were niggling each other as City defended a corner
and the referee called them over for a ticking off. The huge
frame of that lower league journeyman Tony Lormor was also
a menacing presence in the penalty area.
In similar pattern to Saturdays frustrating
game against Kettering, the ball was up in the air a lot
of the time and neither side seemed to have control of the
ball for long. The game was crying out for someone to slow
it down a bit but the frenetic pace continued.
When City did manage to weave a few passes
together they looked the more threatening team. Sugden went
close and McIntyres fierce shot was spilled by Edwards
but no-one was close enough to capitalise for City. Telford
had hardly a sniff at goal, the closest they came being when
Lormor's clip from well outside the area had Brown scurrying
back to flick it over the bar.
The game exploded just before the interval
when Cameron went up for a cross in the box with a leading
arm. Harshly, in my opinion (Though this all happened at
the far end), the referee showed him a straight red card.
I did not know whether to be more cross with Cameron for
being so incautious or the referee for being over harsh.
During the half-time break, one City fan told me not to worry
as he thought we could beat Telford with nine players never
He (Mick) was absolutely right. City came
out and dominated the next forty-five minutes so much that
Telford, despite their numerical advantage, hardly got out
of their own half.
The only goal of the game, and Citys
first of the season, came when Twiss was set free to run
at the Telford defence. The full back forced him out wide
to the left wing but he still managed to nip a low cross
into the box, which Sugden anticipated superbly and beat
another defender to clip it past Edwards. Sugden had gone
close just a few minutes earlier following a goal-mouth scramble.
This time there was no mistake and what a peach of a goal
Wright soon withdrew Sugden and Carey for
Brown and Ruffer fresh legs to help the ten men continue
to dominate the game. Both fitted in seamlessly and City
easily dealt with everything Telford could throw at them.
Guyett was outstanding at the back and City were helped on
a couple of occasions when the ball disappeared into the
building site next to the quarter completed main stand.
Although it seemed City might suffer
for Cameron's indiscipline, in the end, this was a thoroughly
Saturday 17 August 2002
Rotherham United Youth 1 Chester City
Youth Alliance North Central Conference
Chester City: Louie Mackin, Danny Ventre, Paul Connolley,
John Davies, Adam Hunter, Tom Coulson (Tony McGlaughlin), Matt
Cooke, Mike Simpson (Ben Harvey), Paul Edwards, Danny Ventre
(Tom Curle), Gethin Lloyd.
The youth team kicked off the season with
a good 1-1 draw away at Rotherham in a game that they should
have won. They took the lead early in the first half through
Gethin Lloyd. Despite dominating for long periods and creating
several good chances they conceded an equaliser 20 minutes
Note: City have two players in the youth
team this season called Danny Ventre! One is a striker [second
year] and the other is a right defender/midfielder [first year].
17 August 2002
Chester City 0 Kettering Town 0
Attendance: 2,367 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Blackburn, Hatswell.
Chester City: W.Brown, Guyett, Ruffer, Hatswell, McIntyre, Kelly,
Davies, Blackburn, Woodyatt (Cameron 83), Beesley (Sugden 64), Twiss. Subs
not used: Harkness, Brodie, Carey.
Kettering Town: Bowling, Matthews, Howarth, Haran, Norman, Small, Walsh
(Inman 75), Murray, Murphy (Perkins 90), Watkins, Butcher. Subs not used:
Ward, Hughes, Shutt.
Referee: G.Turner (Chesterfield).
service was resumed at the Deva Stadium as the team that
secured a remarkable 1-0 victory against Liverpools £50m
dream team faced the real world in the shape of Ketterings
I admit it was never going to be easy to
match the pre-season anticipation and the Blues were also
battling against the haphazard decisions of referee G. Turner
and his flag-happy linesman, but I was disappointed that
not one of the four Chester forwards who featured in the
game could find the net at some stage.
Kettering clearly came to Chester with a game plan to mark the
start of the season with a bore draw against one of the bookies favourites
for the title and it proved impossible to sway them from their
aim. Chester, however, didnt seem to have as clear a game plan,
and failed to spring any real surprises against the Poppies defence.
Indeed it was Kettering who had the first
real threat on goal when Lee Woodyatt had to clear a close-range
header off the line following a third minute corner. Tireless
Woodyatt was one of Chesters best players harrying
the Kettering defence throughout the game, and making some
vital tackles in the final third of the pitch.
Kevin McIntyre, on the opposite flank,
was also very impressive. One of Chesters best early
chances came when McIntyre passed to Michael Twiss following
a corner. But Twiss's shot went wide of the mark.
However it was Mark Beesley who was guilty
of missing the best opportunity of the match. Ben Davies
set him up with a one-on-one with Kettering keeper
Ian Bowling. It seemed easier for the City frontman to at
least hit the target, than shoot wide. But he seemed to snatch
at the ball, and it did go wide.
Until then, Beesley had played with far
more determination than he did in the Liverpool friendly.
He had been dropping back to win the ball and made several
attempts to set up strike partner Twiss. It seems he just
needs goal to get his confidence back.
The wind that was whipping around the Deva
stadium also played its part in the game. Kettering had at
least two chances that swerved Beckham-style towards
the net, only to just miss the target one seemed to
sail worryingly near the upright as Wayne Brown stood stock
still on the line.
By this stage the referee had made himself
an enemy of both fans, for his inconsistent decisions and
failure to let the game flow. He even managed to wind up
physio Joe Hinnigan by spilling the contents of Joes
magic sponge bag as he lifted it off the pitch while a Chester
player was being treated. The officials received a barrage
of abuse as they walked off for half-time.
The second half saw Chester come out with
more determination, and this time it was Kettering who had
to clear a header off the line. Ben Davies free kick
set up Wayne Hatswell but a Kettering defender was
standing in just the right place when Hatswell headed for
McIntyre was at the centre of another of
Citys best chances when he took a cracking free kick,
which Bowling failed to hold. However the loose ball was
cleared away by Kettering.
It was beginning to look all too familiar,
with Chester failing to take advantage of their opportunities.
Beesley and Jimmy Kelly were substituted for Dave Cameron
and Ryan Sugden and the game plan was changed slightly.
began to rely on sending the long-ball to the big forwards Twiss,
Sugden and Cameron. It almost paid off, as both Cameron and
man-of-the-match Twiss had their chances on the edge of the
area. Chris Blackburn, now one of the longest-serving current
City players at the age of 20, also came close to scoring.
The part-timers began to tire noticeably
in the last ten minutes and the Blues began to surge forward.
It seemed inevitable that Chester would score in the eight
minutes of added-on time we were anticipating. But somehow
the referees watch had failed to stop every time the
Kettering players trudged at snails pace to collect
a dead ball. The ref gave just four minutes of added-on time,
and Chester failed to take advantage of their weakening opponents.
It was at least encouraging that City kept
a clean sheet although keeper Brown missed several
chances to grab the ball in the air from corners and free
kicks, he made a couple of good saves to help the Blues secure
their first point. He also produced the biggest laugh of
the day when he rifled the ball, at close range, straight
at one of the Kettering players.
But it was the Poppies fans who went
home with the grins on their faces. They had marked their
return to Conference football with a hard-earned point away
For Chester there are still some reasons
to smile weve lost the first match of the season
for the past four years in a row, so a point is better than
our traditional blank. It was also fantastic to see an attendance
of 2,367, with a very healthy number of season ticket holders.
And it was probably no bad thing that we
were brought back down to earth after all the pre-season
hype. It should make the team run out with a real fighting
spirit against Telford on Monday night after all,
we could be top of the league after that game!
Sue Choularton | Photos by Max