Chester City: Danby, J.Vaughan, Linwood,
Roberts, Wilson, Mozika, S.Vaughan, Hughes, Taylor, Lowe,
Ellison. Subs not used: Kelly, Barry, Partridge, Mannix,
McManus. Barnet: Harrison, Devera, De Magalhaes,
Leary, Thomas, Adomah, Bishop, Mitchell (Porter 71), Hart
(Akurang 64), Birchall, Medley (Tabiri 71). Subs not used:
Kadoch, Charles. Referee: Paul Gibbs (West Midlands).
After a torrid start to the season City fans finally had
something to celebrate as four second half goals brough
a comprehensive win over a lacklustre Barnet side at Deva
Stadium. Like City, the Bees had failed to register a
win this season prior to Saturday’s encounter and
it was the Blues who looked the hungrier side as they
created several chances.
Manager Simon Davies brought in Stephen Vaughan and Paul
Taylor to the X1 beaten at Rotherham last week, with Sean
Kelly and Anthony Barry dropping to the bench.
The goalscoring began on 32 minutes as Ellison picked
up a through ball on the right wing and cut inside, he
exchanged a quick one-two with Ryan Lowe on the edge of
the box before shooting left footed beyond Harrison into
the bottom corner.
The goal gave City confidence and Barnet ‘keeper
Lee Harrison was overworked as he made saves to deny Paul
Taylor, Lowe and Damien Mozika as Chester looked to add
Barnet responded though and De Magalhaes saw a well struck
free kick go wide. Two inswinging Aswad Thomas corners
were cleared and on the stoke of half-time Adam Birchall
shot wide when well placed just twelve yards out.
City doubled their lead just before the hour mark. Elison
made a surging run from midfield down the left, he beat
Michael Leary before crossing to the far post by Ryan
Lowe who cooly trapped the ball, side-stepped a defender,
before passing the ball into the net to the delight of
the City fans behind the goal.
Minutes later the Blues killed the game off with a third
goal as captain Paul Linwood ghosted in between three
Bees defenders to score from close range after meeting
a far post Lowe free-kick on 62 minutes.
Kevin Roberts was next on the scoresheet just three minutes
later as he met Lowe’s left-wing corner to head
towards goal, the ball hit a defender but Roberts acted
quickly to poke the ball home from six yards.
City completed their scoring as man-of-the-match Lowe
ran through down the left following an Ellison flick-on
to beat the onrushing Harrison with a low shot.
In stoppage time the visitors grabbed a consolation goal
through substitute Cliff Akurang as the City defence twice
failed to clear the ball from the edge of their own box.
Their goal didn’t take the shine off a great City
performance that brought a standing ovation from the Deva
crowd at the final whistle.
City’s new season woe continued on Saturday as they
registered their fourth straight defeat. Manager Simon
Davies made just one change from the side beaten at home
by Wycombe Wanderers last Saturday with Kevin Roberts
replacing Tony Dinning in defence.
The Blues have an awful defensive record already this
season and the frail back line was caught cold after just
a minute at the Don Valley Stadium as former Chester forward
Drewe Broughton headed an Alex Rhodes free-kick back across
goal for unmarked Ian Sharps to apply the finishing touch
from close range.
responded through Kevin Ellison who saw a shot flash just
wide after a well worked free-kick with Ryan Lowe.
Reuben Reid had a great chance
to add a second for the home side but saw his header
fly wide from an unmarked position. However The Millers
doubled their advantage on 14 minutes with a bizarre
goal. A long though ball saw Laurence Wilson back peddling
and when he attempted the clear the danger his kick
for touch cannoned of Reid and past John Danby from
the edge of the box.
Four minutes later Kevin Ellison gave the Blues a lifeline
on 18 minutes as he chased a Lowe through ball, shrugged
off a couple of challenges on the left. before sending
a shot across Warrington in the home goal into the far
corner for Chester’s first league goal of the
Any chance City had of getting back in the game were
dealt a further blow on 27 minutes as the home side
extended their two goal advantage and once again the
City rearguard contributed to their own downfall as
the Millers simply passed their way through a static
defence for Alex Rhodes to apply the finishing touch.
Six minutes later the ball was in the City net again
but this time Rhodes’ effort was ruled out for
offside. Hudson, Reid and Harrison all saw efforts go
close as the home side rampaged through the City defence.
At the break manager Simon Davies changed the formation
and replaced Jay Harris with Paul Taylor. The Blues
began to create chances and Paul Linwood and Ellison
both saw efforts fly wide. Mark Hughes made his first
appearance of the season replacing Roberts but City
could only create one more chance of note as Lowe saw
a shot rebound off the woodwork.
Both sides came into the match following midweek maulings
in the Carling Cup and so a cautious start was inevitable.
Dinning came in to City’s line up to partner Mozika
in the centre of midfield, Kelly kept his place at centre
Chester played the ball around the back quite patiently
looking for an opening but were unable to move up a gear
when needed. They played the ball about commendably, Barry
made several raking passes to find first Ellison and then
Harris on the left. Ellison took the pass well but didn't
quite get a shot in. Mozika was subdued by comparison
with Tuesday – an early and extremely harsh booking
As is so often the case these days, when City threaten
the visitors’ goal, they were hit hard on the break.
Kelly had just failed to get on the end of Linwood’s
header back across goal and Wycombe broke quickly. A ball
over the top released Moushino into the clear and the
ball bounced perfectly for him to lift it over Danby as
he raced out to meet him on the edge of the penalty area.
It was harsh on City and an undoubted blow to confidence.
After the break Chester tried hard for an equaliser and
seemed to be building up a head of steam. Lowe had a shot
from a narrow angle parried by the keeper. Then a one-two
with Ellison set Lowe through but his touch took him slightly
wide and Shearer was able to block his shot.
Shortly after this City fell further behind when Zebroski,
who had tried his luck at diving in the first half, tangled
with Wilson sufficiently to convince the referee he should
give a penalty. City’s protests were long but inevitably
in vain. Simon Davies’ water bottle skittered down
the running track, kicked there in frustration. Danby
touched but could not keep out McGleish’s penalty
The clock ticked down as City tried to fight back without
making clearcut chances. Ellison had a header just wide
but generally City lacked the pace on the wings to get
behind the Wanderers defence.
Wycombe’s sheer cynicism added to the frustration
felt. Not content with taking as long as they could over
throw-ins, they took the biscuit with a double substitution
in added time which involved the player furthest from
the dug out plodding slowly off the field and then repeating
the same with another. Where was the joy Wycombe?
City remain pointless but with the luxury of three teams
on minus points below them. The clock is ticking, however,
and the gap is closing. Stephen Vaughan hinted in the
programme that he is looking to bring someone experienced
in alongside Davies. A bit of know-how and guile is needed
on this evidence.
already fragile confidence took another battering against
a slick Leeds United, hungry to get back to where they
used to be in the top flight of English football.
Needing to steady the ship after Saturday’s debacle
at Dagenham, the Blues could hardly have got off to a
worse start. Leeds scored after just three minutes –
Jermaine Beckford getting on the end of an eighty yard
punt from the goalkeeper. He held off a floundering Butler
and prodded the ball past a startled Danby.
Worse was to follow a few minutes later when Leeds broke
swiftly down the left following a Chester free kick. The
City defence was at sixes and sevens as the ball came
across and Snodgrass finished crisply into the bottom
Although the defence was looking very shaky, City were
by contrast neat and inventive going forward. They pegged
Leeds back with a goal of their own when Ryan Lowe shot
from the edge of the box. It took a deflection off a defender
and looped into the goal off the post.
City were back in the game for a few minutes but the tie
was put beyond them when Beckford capitalised on Linwood’s
mistake and curled a left footed shot in from outside
the area. Further humiliation was heaped on the Blues
when Robinson scored with ease as City’s defence
was cut to ribbons. Beckford completed his hat-trick and
the first half rout with a peach of a goal, chipping Danby
from thirty-five yards. Even the home fans had to applaud
The game was only thirty-five minutes old but not too
early for some City fans to leave, not wishing to prolong
the agony. Grenville Millington – Chester’s
‘keeper when they had faced Leeds thirty-four years
ago had been warmly welcomed before the game. A Leeds
supporting friend sent a text to Ged (the bloke next to
me) saying that Draper and James were coming on after
half time. The spirit of 1974 was elusive but things did
improve for City after the break. Butler and Partridge
were replaced by Kelly and Harris. Leeds replaced three
of their players soon after the interval as they opted
for cruise control.
One of the few positive signs for City on the evening
was the form of new signing Damian Mosika. He was absolutely
outstanding and shone out like a beacon with his good
use of possession and ability to run with the ball. His
strong tackling got him into trouble as he was booked
in the first half for persistent fouls but he won a spot
kick for City himself. It gave Ryan Lowe the chance to
add a second goal from the resulting penalty and impress
his two year old son who was mascot for the match. Earlier
Ellison had gone close with a diving header and lost his
shorts in the process – a good job he was wearing
cycling bloomers underneath.
In the end City left the field to sympathetic applause
rather than brickbats. Leeds clearly were streets ahead
of them. Saturday’s game against Wycombe will provide
a more realistic benchmark of how City will measure up
after this torrid start to the campaign.
9 August Dagenham & Redbridge 6
Chester City 0
Attendance: 1,434 (204 Chester) Half Time 2-0
Dagenham & Redbridge: Roberts, Okuonghae, Uddin, Arber,
Griffiths, Saunders, Taiwo, Gain, Green (Southam 89), Strevens (Nurse 84), Benson
(Nwokeji 85). Subs not used: Thompson, Alaile. Chester City: Danby, J.Vaughan, Butler,
Roberts, Wilson, Partridge (Taylor 78), Barry, Harris
(Mannix 57), Mozika, Lowe, Ellison. Subs not used: Dinning,
S.Vaughan, Kelly. Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland).
Although I’m not the most optimistic of City fans,
even I thought the opening game of the season at Dagenham
would not be as bad as last season’s 6-2 drubbing.
How wrong I was!
hit for six again, this time without reply, in one of
the most depressing displays of football I’ve
seen in my City-watching career.
A Dartford Tunnel traffic jam spared
me of the first 15 minutes, but I’m told that
Chester – without injured Paul Linwood –
made a reasonable fist of the opening spell.
But as I walked through the turnstiles,
I heard Dagenham fans cheering as they won a free kick
in a dangerous area. Dominic Green took the kick well
and the first League Two goal of the season went against
Soon after City tried to reply, as
a Ryan Lowe shot rasped against the crossbar, but that
was about the closest they came to getting past the
solid Dagenham defence all game.
The Daggers, playing with far more
confidence, were able to make several forays into the
Chester box and on the 40th minute a Dagenham attacker
was tripped in the area by Kevin Roberts. Ben Strevens
made John Danby dive the wrong way to make it 2-0 to
the home side.
Their third goal came in the second
half when a 20-yard free kick from Sam Saunders somehow
evaded everyone and found its way into the net.
The 204 despairing away fans had little
to cheer in the second half. Richie Partridge was in
a one-on-one with ‘keeper Tony Roberts, but his
weak shot was well held by the Welshman.
Damien Mozika made a reasonable debut,
but the rest of the midfield seemed too lightweight
and the back four definitely missed Linwood. Kevin Ellison
took the captain’s armband in his place, but he
made little impression on the game.
The match was typified by a Paul Butler
throw-in which led to the fourth goal when it fell to
Dagenham’s unmarked Paul Benson. He passed to
Saunders who easily found the net before running 50
yards to celebrate in front of the Chester fans.
Loan signing Paul Taylor came on to
replace Richie Partridge in the 78th minute and he had
a chance to head home a consolation goal. But his effort
was easily held by Roberts.
Dagenham made it five a minute later
when a defence-splitting pass found Benson and he took
his turn to put his name on the scoresheet as he slotted
the ball past Danby.
The sixth goal came after the ball
pinged about the box following a Dagenham corner, before
referee Trevor Kettle declared it had crossed the line.
From the fourth goal onwards, a group
of City fans had been chanting “what a load of
rubbish” and as I headed back towards the Dartford
jams it was hard to reflect on anything from the afternoon
that would make me disagree with them.