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30 August 2005

A goal in the third minute of added time by Ryan Lowe brought City three points from Plainmoor in a match they dominated for long periods. Manager Keith Curle made changes to the side that fought back so well against Darlington and surprisingly opted to leave Gregg Blundell and Ryan Lowe on the bench for the start.

Both were unleashed in the second period and created several openings, and, but for the heroics of Andy Marriott in the Gulls goal, who produced some stunning saves to keep City at bay, the scoreline could have been more emphatic. Lowe’s goal came after his close-range effort from Bundell’s cross came back off the crossbar, the ball rebounding in off the back of the diving Marriott with Lowe making sure the ball crossed the line.

Following the match Keith Curle said: “The football club is growing. People think that team spirit comes from socialising off the field, but it doesn’t, it comes from results like this on the field, not only individually but collectively. The players are grabbing every last bit of energy out of each other. That’s the pleasing thing.”

Curle continued: “I think probably a lot of people would have wondered about the team selection before yesterday’s game and sometimes it can backfire but it was important I knew we could put a team out that would create chances and contain Torquay.”

Yesterday’s other League Two scores were:
Darlington 2 Rochdale 1
Grimsby Town 2 Rushden & Diamonds 0
Leyton Orient 0 Shrewsbury Town 1
Lincoln City 0 Carlisle United 0
Macclesfield Town 1 Bury 0
Mansfield Town 2 Notts County 3
Northampton Town 3 Boston United 2
Stockport County 1 Peterborough United 1
Wrexham 3 Barnet 1
Wycombe Wanderers 0 Cheltenham Town 0

27 August 2005
City staged a superb second half fight back to earn a point and share eight goals in a dramatic game with Darlington. There were home debuts for Gregg Blundell (left) and Leo Bertos as the Blues looked to bounce back following the midweek mauling at Wolves.

However City gifted a goal on four minutes when Phil Bolland was adjudged to have fouled Dickman in the area and the resulting spot-kick was converted. A second by Sodje goal on 34 minutes gave Darlo a two goal cushion at the break. Manager Keith Curle made three changes for the second period and within two minutes sub Marcus Richardson reduced the deficit only for Sodje to add a third for the visitors two minutes later.

Blundell made the scoreline 2-3 on 55 minutes and City pressed for an equaliser. Nine minutes from time though Sodje completed his hat-trick and looked to have booked all three points for the Quakers. However, City’s battling qualities, shown in the last home match against Lincoln were on show again and Blundell added his second on 89 minutes from close range before providing a perfect cross a minute later for Richardson to nod the equaliser.

This was the first home 4-4 scoreline since January 1995 when City drew with Rotherham United by a similar scoreline.

The point leaves Chester unbeaten so far in the league and in 11th position on six points (with a game in hand). On Monday City play at 23rd placed Torquay United who picked up their second point of the season today with a 0-0 draw at Peterborough.

Today’s other League Two scores were:
Barnet 0 Grimsby Town 1
Boston United 2 Mansfield Town 2
Bury 2 Wrexham 2
Carlisle United 0 Northampton Town 1
Cheltenham Town 1 Leyton Orient 1
Oxford United 1 Stockport County 1
Peterborough United 0 Torquay United 0
Rochdale 3 Macclesfield Town 1
Rushden & Diamonds 1 Lincoln City 1
Shrewsbury Town 1 Wycombe Wanderers 1

26 August 2005

Manager Keith Curle will be hoping for good news on the injury front as City embark on there Bank Holiday weekend games against Darlington and Torquay United tomorrow.

Marcus Richardson, Dave Artell and Abdou El Kholti all missed Wednesday’s game at Wolves through injury as did Craig Dove who has been sidelined all season with a knee problem. Striker Gregg Blundell looks set to start against the Quakers after playing the second half at Molineux then following that up next day with 74 minutes for the reserves at Tranmere Rovers. However, Ryan Lowe will miss out as he serves the last game of a two match suspension following his dismissal at Nene Park.

Darlington currently lie in seventh position with seven points from twelve. Their two away League games so fare have brought a draw at Rushden & Diamonds (1-1) and a single goal victory at Grimsby Town. In midweek they were beaten 3-1 at neighbours Hartlepool in the Carling Cup.

Tomorrow’s game will be officiated by Gary Sutton from Lincolnshire.

24 August 2005
There was to be no happy return to Molineux for former Wolves pair Keith Curle and Michael Branch as City crashed out of the Carling Cup to Wolves 5-1 last night.

The Blues fell behind to a sixth minute deflected goal but with injuries and suspensions forcing Curle to play Branch as a loan striker
City created little in the first half but held out until the interval without conceding again. Gregg Blundell made his long awaited full debut after the interval replacing Justin Walker and City showed a little more desire to get forward.

The Blues however conceded a second goal just after the hour mark and three more followed in a seven minute spell to kill off the game. There was some consolation for the noisy away support as Ben Davies curled in a great free-kick seven minutes from time for a consolation goal, that was to be City’s only effort on target all night.

As well as Blundell, City gave a debut to Leo Bertos who came on midway through the second period.

After the match manager Curle was full of praise for the opposition. “We brought all the coaching staff from the Centre of Excellence and the youth team coaches down to watch the way Wolves play football and in the last 15 or 20 minutes they were fantastic, and as a football club we can use that as a learning curve. The players are hurt and disappointed in the changing room but the message to them is leave the disappointment in there because on Saturday they’re not playing against players of that quality.”
The reserves lost 2-1 at Tranmere Rovers tonight in a Pontins Holiday League fixture. Mark Cadwallader scored City’s consolation goal.

Chester City: Brookfield, Cadwallader, Newton (Marsh-Evans 46), Carrol, Jones (Holroyd 59), Vaughan, Jack, Bertos, Blundell (McCoy 74), Rutherford, Curle. Subs not used: Roberts, Holmes.

23 August 2005
The Blues are in first round Carling Cup action tonight as they travel to Molineux to play Wolverhampton Wanderers. The championship side have been on a club record unbeaten run which came to an end on Saturday with their first defeat in 21 games at the hands of Leeds United.

Two people delighted when the draw was made were ex-players Keith Curle and Michael Branch. Curle made over 200 appearances for the Wolves whilst Branch appeared on nearly 70 occasions.

The two sides have met only three times in competition before. In February 1977 Chester lost 1-0 at Molineux in the fifth round of the FA Cup in front of a crowd of 37,803, including a large following from Chester, as a Kenny Hibbitt goal nine minutes from time was all that separated the sides after a gallant performance from the Blues.

In 1988/89 the sides competed in the same division (Barclays Division Three). In fact when the Blues travelled to Molineux on 2 January 1989 it was a top of the table clash that again saw Wolves come out victorious after a 3-1 win in front of a 21,801 crowd. The return match at Sealand Road in March 1989 saw the visitors take an early lead through Andy Much but the game will be remembered for the spectacular long-range equaliser from Graham Abel in front of the highest home gate of the season 8,236.
22 August 2005
Ryan Lowe has received a two match ban following his red card on Saturday. He’ll miss the Carling Cup game at Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow and the home League Two match against Darlington on Saturday.
Chester have signed former Rochdale midfielder Leo Bertos on a non-contract basis. Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Bertos played for Wellington Olympic before moving to England in 2001 and signing for Barnsley where he made 4+9 appearances, scoring 1 goal in a two year spell for the Oakwell side.

He moved to Spotland in 2003 where he went on to make 79+10 appearances scoring 1 goal for the Lancashire club before being released at the end of last season.

Bertos also has 7 full New Zealand international caps and has also represented his country at U23, Youth and Schoolboy level.

20 August 2005
Goalscorer Ryan Lowe turned hero to villain at Nene Park when he was sent off in the final minute after appearing to say something to an assistant referee after he’d been fouled. It looks like he’ll be suspended for the Carling Cup game at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday now and will also face a club fine.

Lowe had earlier opened the scoring for Chester as his close range effort after David Artell had knocked down a Ben Davies right wing corner. Diamonds equalised within five minutes as substitute Chris O’Grady’s cross shot beat Chris MacKenzie in the City goal.

Lowe had a chance to wrap up the three points in the dying minutes but saw a shot go agonisingly wide.

After the match manager Keith Curle told the Daily Post: “It is a nice feeling when you come away from home and reckon you could have won the match. We have had two difficult away games and the fact we are unbeaten is giving this football club a foundation to build on after the upheaval it has suffered in the past.”

There was still no appearance in the match squad from striker Gregg Blundell. Chester move to tenth in League Two following this point and have a game in hand over leaders Barnet who top the table five points ahead of City.

Second half goals from Nick Linford and James Wilson gave the youth team a 2-1 home League win over Preston North End this morning. The boys are next in action on Saturday 3 September with an away match at Walsall.

Match Report | Fixtures

19 August 2005
Striker Gregg Blundell is rated at 50/50 to make his League debut for Chester at Rushden & Diamonds tomorrow (kick-off 15:00hrs). Blundell has suffered no reaction in training to an ankle injury picked up before the start of the season.

One played definitely ruled out is ex-Diamonds player Craig Dove who has yet to pull on a City shirt since his move in the summer due to a knee injury. Like City, tomorrow’s opponents Rushden have taken four points from their opening two matches following an opening day 1-1 draw at Darlington that was followed with a 1-0 home win over Mansfield Town.

A Stewart Drummond goal brought three points from Nene Park last season in what was one of City’s best performances on the road.

The youth team entertain Preston North End tomorrow morning in a Youth Alliance North and Midlands West Conference game. The match will take place at Airbus UK and kick’s-off at 11.00am.
17 August 2005
City’s reserves drew 1-1 with Blackpool in the opening game of their 2005/6 Pontins Holiday League Division One West season today. James Scales was on the scoresheet for the Blues equalising wit a 20-yarder. Former Crewe Alexandra striker Rodney Jack, who is on trial at the Deva, played the whole game while defender Sean Hessey picked up a calf injury.

Chester City: Brookfield, Cadwallader, McCoy, Artell, Hessey, Vaughan, Rutherford, Scales, Jack, Holroyd, Curle. Subs: Armstrong, Marsh-Evans, Mealand, Linford, Carroll.

Reserve fixtures

Defender Luke Dimech is on international duty tonight in Ta’Qali. He’s is in the Malta starting X1 who face Northern Ireland in a friendly (kick-off 19:00hrs). Luke currently has 36 caps for Malta, scoring 1 goal, after making his debut against Iceland in 1999.

Chester’s internationals

Abdelhalim El Kholti has received a one match suspension from non first team football following his pre-season red card against Blackpool. The ban is served from 13 August.
16 August 2005
Tuesday 6 September is the new date for the rearranged home match with Grimsby Town. Kick-off at Deva Stadium will be 19:45hrs.
15 August 2005

Saturday’s match against Grimsby Town was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch following a 13:30hrs pitch inspection by the match referee Mr Gurnan Singh. There were pools of water on the pitch and the away terracing was flooded. The track on three sides of the ground was also under water, only the north end of the ground remained dry. Has this happened in August before!? No new date has yet been arranged for the fixture.

The Blues are next in action on Saturday when they visit Rushden & Diamonds whose game today at Macclesfield Town also fell foul to the weather. City fans will be hoping that record signing Gregg Blundell will have recovered from injury to make his full Chester debut at Nene Park.

Dugouts under water Players tunnel
Outside the away turnstiles South car park
Pictures: Stephen Povey

13 August 2005

Despite a late fightback with three goals in the last 15 minutes from Mark Cadwallader (2) and Neil Carroll, City’s youth team began their season with a narrow 4-3 defeat at Burnley. The boys are next in action with a home game against Preston North End on Saturday.

Match Report | Fixtures
Chester City players 2004/05 who’s who update page for On The Borderline is now available to download here.
12 August 2005

City entertain Grimsby Town at Deva Stadium tomorrow (kick-off 15:00) looking to build on the four points gained from the opening two fixtures this week. Gregg Blundell, who has missed both games with an ankle injury, will soon resume training and may make the bench for tomorrow’s clash.

Assistant manager John Gannon said: “We’re crossing our fingers and hoping he’s not far away.” His chances though of making the match squad appear to be 50/50 at best.

Like City, The Marriners have started the season well with a 1-1 draw at home to Oxford United last Saturday followed by a 2-1 victory at Bristol Rovers in midweek.

Training with City this week has been forward Rodney Jack. Jack was released by Oldham Athletic and has previously played for Torquay United and Crewe Alexandra. If the club want to sign the St Vincent capped striker they must do so before the transfer deadline which is 31 August.
11 August 2005
Good luck to Richard Hope who, after spending two days training at Gay Meadow, has joined Shrewsbury Town on a two year contract. Hope made a total of 29+4 appearances for Chester last season, scoring one goal.

Shrews manager Gary Peters told the Shrews official club website: “He’s 6'2" and is a rugged type of centre back, he looks like a man who won’t take any prisoners and he knows the game. I think he’s a really good addition to our squad at this time”.

10 August 2005

City staged a dramatic second-half fightback to earn a 2-2 draw with Lincoln City in an entertaining League Two clash last night. It looked different at the break as goals from Nat Brown and Gary Birch had given the Imps a two goal advantage.

Ben Davies reduced the arrears five minutes into the second period and with the game running into added time Ryan Lowe was fouled in the box and Michael Branch stepped up to convert the resulting penalty to the delight of the home fans.

Other League Two scores tonight were:
Bristol Rovers 1 Grimsby Town 2,
Bury 1 Leyton Orient 2,
Carlisle United 1 Peterborough United 0,
Darlington 2 Stockport County 0,
Macclesfield Town 2 Cheltenham Town 2,
Mansfield Town 0 Rushden & Diamonds 1,
Northampton Town 1 Barnet 2,
Notts County 1 Wrexham 0,
Rochdale 1 Wycombe Wanderers 2.

9 August 2005

The Blues entertain Lincoln City at Deva Stadium tonight in a League Two game that kick’s-off at 19:45. City welcome back Sean Hessey from suspension but it looks like manager Keith Curle will keep faith with the starting eleven who pulled off a fine win at Peterborough United on Saturday looking to add to it a first home success. Striker Gregg Blundell is suffering from an ankle injury and is expected to miss the match. The Imps began their campaign with a 1-1 home draw against Northampton Town on Saturday.
6 August 2005
Chris MacKenzie celebrates.Chester got off to a great start to their League Two campaign with a 1-0 victory at Peterborough United on Saturday. Stewart Drummond scored the only goal of the game, in front of a vociferous away support, 20 minutes from time.

The Blues saw five players: Ben Davies, Luke Dimech, Tom Curtis, Phil Bolland and Ryan Lowe all booked in a fiery first-half but kept the home sides efforts down to a couple of free-kicks.

After the break Chris MacKenzie was called on to make a couple of good saves and, when he was beaten by a lob, defender Dimech was in hand to clear from near the line.

After seeing his side win their opening game manager Keith Curle said: “I thought we deserved the win. The lads were the better side in the second half and this gives us a platform to build on.”

Ex-manager Mark Wright didn’t take things too well though, he refused to shake hands with Curle after the game, telling The Times: “I didn’t shake hands with Keith Curle for the simple reason I don’t respect him, but I won’t go into it any further.” Curle added: “We shook hands before the game so I can only assume it was sour grapes. You get plenty of setbacks in life and you must take them on the chin.”

Record signing Gregg Blundell missed the game after suffering an ankle injury in training. The Blues are next in action on Tuesday night when they entertain Lincoln City at Deva Stadium, kick-off 19:45hrs.
Goals from Holroyd (2), Marsh-Evans and Potter gave the youth team a 4-1 win over American side Hope College on Saturday.
5 August 2005

Peterborough have now announced that the Moy’s End will now be open tomorrow. City fans will be able to stand on the terrace behind the goal for £13.00.
City kick-off their 2005/06 League Two campaign at Peterborough United tomorrow afternoon, kick-off 15:00hrs. The Posh, relegated from League One last season are of course now managed by former City boss Mark Wright who has added Paul Carden, Player of the Season at the Deva last term, to his squad over the summer.

City have been rebuilding as well over the summer and it will be largely a new-look side that opens the season tomorrow. Manager Keith Curle is also relishing the start of the new campaign, he told the Chronicle “I can’t wait for the season to start, I’d have started two weeks into May if it was down to me. I think I’ve got a squad of players who are capable of finishing in the top 10. I’m here to work hard for the fans and serve up entertaining, winning, attractive football.”

This is the first meeting between the sides since that fateful afternoon in May 2000 when City lost at home 1-0 and were relegated to the Conference. London Road isn’t the happiest of hunting grounds for City, in fact you have to go way back nine visits to February 1983 for the last victory when on-loan Clive Wilson sealed a 1-0 victory.

City must do without Abdou El Kholti and Sean Hessey tomorrow as both serve suspensions, while defender Dave Artell and forward Craig Dove are injured.

4 August 2005

TeamTalk reports that Chester have completed the one month loan signing of 28-year-old Hull City goalkeeper Matt Duke. Duke previously played for Burton Albion and Sheffield United. This supposed signing is as yet unconfirmed.

Manager Keiith Curle said: “He left Sheffield United to play football and he created his own identity at Burton Albion then he got a fantastic move to Hull. He’s broken into the team a couple of times there but he hasn’t been able to hold down a place which is no disgrace. He doesn’t want to get lost and he’s got the chance to create his own identity here again.”

Duke has since turned down the chance to move to Chester on loan and has joined Stockport County.

All the centre of excellence teams have new kits this season and are now looking for help to sponsor any of the teams from under 9s to under 16s. Anyone who can help out with sponsorship should call Mark Newman at the football club.
3 August 2005
There was no expected appearance from Hull City goalkeeper Matt Duke last night as City, fielding a young side, concluded their pre-season campaign with a 2-0 victory in front of a good crowd at Airbus UK. Clint Davies, who came on for the second half at Blackpool, played in goal for the 90 minutes in Broughton last night.

The City side was assembled from a mix of first-team and reserve players, and there was a surprising choice on the bench of Richard Hope, who has been linked with a move to Shrewsbury Town.

The first half proved a stalemate but City appeared to step-up after the break and took the lead through the hard working Paul Rutherford who finished after rounding the keeper. It was another youngster, Matty Humphries, who wrapped things up four minutes from time after taking advantage of a superb Robert Marsh-Evans through ball.
Ticket prices for the Carling Cup match at Wolverhampton Wanderers on 23 August have been announced. They are £10.00 (adult), £5.00 (concession) in advance or £12.00 (adult), £6.00 (concession) at the gate on the night.
There will be no terrace spaces for City fans on Saturday. Posh’s club website states that they have been informed by Chester that they expect to have no more than 400 fans at London Road. Blues fans must sit in the A Section of the main stand. Prices are £18.00 (adult) and £10.00 (concession).
The club have appointed Cheshire businessman Darren Shelton as their new chief executive. Shelton, 27, takes over from Dave Burford who resigned last week.
2 August 2005
Chester play their final pre-season friendly tonight when they make the short trip to Broughton to play Airbus UK. Familiar surroundings for the Blues who utilise the League of wales clubs training facilities during the week.

Manager Keith Curle will use the match to once again take a look at the goalkeeping situation. With Chris MacKenzie seemingly penciled in for the number one spot, and Wayne Brown joining Hereford United on loan, the Blues have yet to settle on a second choice keeper. Phil Harrison and Chris Neal have both had trials between the sticks in recent weeks and on Saturday it was the turn of ex-Bradford City shot stopper Clint Davies to try and impress. Tonight both he, and Hull City shot-stopper Matty Duke are expected to feature.

Meanwhile the club have fined Abdou El Kholti (left) was dismissed for a professional foul at Blackpool on Saturday. The dismissal means that El Kholti will miss Saturday’s league opener against Peterborough United and the club are determined to clean up their act after last season’s poor disciplinary record that saw them hauled before the FA last week to explain.

Also missing at London Road on Saturday will be Sean Hessey who serves a suspension carried over from last season.

Pre-season results

Once again with Gary Owen in charge of things fans are able to by their replica shirts before the season actually starts! The three new shirts, blue and white stripes (first), sky blue (second) and black (third) are available from tomorrow morning at Queensferry Sports shop. Prices are the same as last season, £35.00 adult and £30.00 junior.
Those fans thinking about taking their flags to Peterborough United on Saturday should note that unless they are flame-proofed they will not be allowed into London Road, the exception to the rule are small flags approximately 1 metre by 600mm (that rules out the Exiles banner then!). Flags larger that this need to be flame-proof treated and you will need to produce a certificate to authenticate this at the ground.

Referring to this a statement on the official Posh website states that “Flame-proofing is required to stop someone (jokingly or otherwise, setting fire to the flag whilst it is in the stadium). Flags will not have a flagpole and must not obstruct anyone's view of the pitch. They will not cover up any advertising hoardings and will be moved if necessary on the instructions of stewards. The flags must not advertise any product, business, website or feature obscene language. We want the support of all fans at London Road and urge the supporters to get behind Mark Wright, his management team and the players.”

















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Chester have announced the signing of 30-years-old midfielder Mitch Hancox who was recently released by Altrincham.
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Another good run out for Chester as their pre-season continues with a home defeat to Stoke City.
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The Exiles have set up a blog to provide away match information and articles for Blues fans living away from Chester. You can read it here
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