On a sunny afternoon, Chester
made the brightest of starts against Gloucester. Blues
began by kicking off into the right wing corner and the
visitors could not get it away. The ball was rolled back
to Livesey on the half way line and his speculative long
ball – what Eddie Waring would have called an “up
and under” swirled above Jeacock and dropped straight
into the goal by his far post. Gloucester had not got
the ball out of their own half in the first minute and
Chester were a goal to the good.
A few minutes later it was two as Matty Hughes –
making his first start of the season – trapped a
high ball, turned and fed it to Waring who was running
through on goal. He stroked a left footed shot past Jeacock
and into the other corner. Gloucester wondered what had
hit them and Blues fans thought “how are we going
to hold on for another eighty five minutes?”
Last Tuesday the Tigers had recovered from a two-goal
deficit to win away at Kidderminster and brought an impressive
away record with them to the Deva. Gloucester’s
existence has been nomadic since floods forced them out
of Meadow Park in 2007. They did respond as half time
approached with Fabien Robert’s shot clipping the
bar. But Chester had been dominant – out-tigering
the Tigers in midfield and Hughes, whose fluid mobility
had added a new dimension to the Blues going forward,
really ought to have capped a fine first half display
when put through by Gary Roberts but finessed his shot
just wide of the post.
Shortly into the second half Hughes was through again
– latching on to a long ball from Grand –
this time his shot was parried by Jeacock to Waring who
passed sideways to Jackson. The winger took a touch and
then drilled the ball in for Chester’s third.
Gloucester continued to battle on but were lightweight
in attack due to the absence of the experienced Marlon
Jackson. Hanks let fly with a good effort that Griffiths
did well to turn over the bar. Hughes was replaced to
a standing ovation by Asante. Later, Elliott and Mahon
came on too.
In the dying moments a quickly taken free kick caught
Gloucester on the hop and Elliott was brought down at
the by-line resulting in a penalty. Asante grabbed the
ball and thumped it firmly into the corner – repeating
the timing and the manner of his equaliser on Tuesday
It had been a perfect “retro day” for the
Chester faithful – many of them sporting shirts
from yesteryear. Today’s performance gave them another
batch of good memories to put in the collection.
Akwasi Asante rescued a point for Chester with a stoppage
time penalty after the Blues had fallen behind through
another own goal at Latimer Park.
The opening period was a cagy one of few chances, it wasn’t
until the 16th minute that Chester created their first
opening with Anthony Dudley hitting over following a flick-on
by Simon Grand.
Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley made a double substitution
nine minutes into the second period, bringing on Matty
Hughes and Danny Elliott for Craig Mahon and George
Waring as they looked to create more openings.
Six minutes later though Chester found themselves a
goal behind as Gary Roberts inadvertently diverted Lindon
Meikle’s cross past Russ Griffiths into his own
Fifteen minutes from time the Poppies were awarded a
penalty after Gary Stopforth had fouled in the area.
To the relief of the Blues supporters, Daniel Nti’s
spot-kick hit the post.
Moments later the home side were reduced to ten men
after Marcus Kelly received a second yellow card.
With the game entering added time Hughes was fouled
inside the area and Asante stepped up to send Paul White
the wrong way from the penalty spot to equalise.
Celtic’s first visit to Chester began with a swirling
wind reverberating around the stadium. In a lively first
half, the unbeaten and newly promoted side in green hoops
with socks to match moved the ball around intelligently
and openly. A raking ball out to Farsley’s right
looked to have been caught by the wind but full-back Richards
did well to keep it in and then cross dangerously.
City had to concentrate to defend and were nearly undone
by hesitation a couple of times. Livesey had to issue
a wake-up call. Later Griffiths couldn’t decide
whether to stick or twist as the ball approached his goal.
Ellis tried to capitalise by prodding the loose ball past
him but – after a scramble Griffiths grabbed the
loose ball – only to receive a whack on the head
from Spencer’s boot. The Celtic forward was booked
and made sure to apologise to Griffiths as they left the
field at half time.
At the other end it was Blues who went closest to opening
the scoring in the first half. Livesey’s header
from Gary Roberts’ inviting cross crashed against
the cross bar. Kevin Roberts glanced a header from a right
wing corner against the post.
The teams emerged from the break to the strains of “I
am the resurrection” by the Stone Roses –
a reference to both clubs going into liquidation at the
same time in 2010 and reforming to thrive again. Within
a minute of the second half Chester went ahead. Waring
and Higgins tangled for the ball and it fell loose to
Jackson who crashed it into the back of the net from the
corner of the six yard box.
Chester settled into a rhythm and began to dominate. Farsley
struggled to play from the back as City pressed them.
Stopforth latched onto a hurried clearance and set Jackson
through on the right. He drilled it across to an unmarked
Waring who steadied himself before side footing it past
Wynne with all the precision of a snooker shot –
which Waring then re-enacted with the corner flag.
In between the goals Gary Roberts picked up a strain and
was replaced by Burton. City continued to play in fluid
style with both Jackson and Taylor providing real threat
down the wings.
Farsley, buoyed by a couple of substitutions, refused
to give up however and when Livesey conceded a free kick
on the edge of the area after his swirling clearance had
returned the ball back to him, Griffiths was called upon
to make a fine save from Hayhurst’s left footed
effort. Walker, one of the Celtic subs proved to be a
thorn in Chester’s side and Blues were pushed back
more and more. Burton made a reckless challenge on Hayhurst
and conceded a penalty. Hayhurst picked himself to convert
– sending Griffiths the wrong way.
Richards sent another free kick over and home fans began
to fret. As Celtic won a free kick on their left (Despite
everyone around urging City not to concede a foul) they
launched one last salvo into the box. City cleared and
broke quickly with Jackson (By now Man of the Match) again.
His shot was parried by Wynne and fell to Elliott –
on as a sub – on the edge of the box. He snatched
his chance and scooped it over the bar. That proved to
be the end of the action as City made harder work of holding
on for a first win of the season than they should have
After a hard earned point at Boston Chester began their
home campaign this season against another side expected
to do well – our near neighbours , Altrincham. The
visitors from the other end of the M56 took to the field
in a kit described on the teamsheet as “grey, grey,
grey.” It was enlivened only with a red and white
sash across the shirt.
The game kicked off on a warm night with Grand’s
long ball into the far corner. Waring rose to meet it
challenged by Hampson with the latter ending up in a heap
on the ground as a result. The visiting fans, under whose
nose it occurred, screamed at the referee to send Chester’s
number nine off. But Mr Holmes, tall enough to look at
Waring eye to eye, admonished him only with a yellow card.
It was a cagey opening with Chester, all in blue, having
the lion’s share of possession. But on eleven minutes
Blues were undone. Dudley’s headed layoff in midfield
ran loose, Johnston picked it up and ran into space and
towards the Chester goal at speed. Cutting to the by-line
his low cross was met at the near post by the unfortunate
Livesey who crashed it into the roof of his own net.
Chester were able to respond almost immediately to a similar
setback at Boston but this time their efforts drew a blank.
Elliott had a pot shot from the edge of the area which
was dealt with comfortably by the keeper. Too often for
the home crowd’s liking, Chester’s moves broke
down with a misplaced pass or being a bit too predictable.
As Altrincham broke away again Grand was booked for a
scything tackle on Harrop. Again the Alty players and
fans pressurised the referee for more.
Griffiths hardly had a shot to contend with yet Alty maintained
their lead at half time. When City got the opportunity
to run at the Robins’ defence the prospects of a
goal seemed greater. Bradley Jackson offering Blues their
most consistent threat down the right.
As the second half wore on and the clock was run down
by the visitors it seemed like they would frustrate Chester
once again. Mahon was brought on for Elliott in the hope
of correcting Chester’s misfiring attack. He crossed
dangerously into the box but beyond Waring.
Deep into the four minutes of added time (Much of it accrued
by Alty’s time-wasting tactics) Joel Taylor wiped
the ball with a bath towel before launching a throw from
the right into the penalty area. The ball was half cleared
to Gary Roberts on the edge of the box who lashed a shot
goal-wards. It deflected off a defender’s shin to
send it past a despairing keeper and the home faithful
Overall a draw was probably a fair result in a hard fought
and competitive game of few chances – with both
sides cancelling each other out to a large extent. But
as the clock ticked down it looked less and less likely
until Gary Roberts’ inspired intervention.
picked up a well deserved point from Boston United through
a George Waring equaliser towards the end of the first
Managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley opted for
a back four of Danny Livesey, Simon Grand, Joel Taylor
and Kevin Roberts.
Just over 200 fans made the trip to York Street and they
saw Chester have the better of the opening exchanges.
Just two minutes were on the clock when Anthony Dudley
was sent through by Waring only to see his effort blocked
by home ‘keeper Peter Crook.
Summer signing danny Elliott also forced Crook into a
save as the Blues looked for an early goal.
Seven minutes before the break the Pilgrims took the lead
as Jordan Thewlis effort on goal sliced off defender Simon
Grand and past Russ Griffiths giving the Chester shot-stopper
Chester responded and within 60 second were level as Bradley
Jackson’s cross was headed powerfully home by Waring.
Despite plenty of possession the Blues were finding it
hard to crack a determined home rearguard.
Jay Rollins missed an opportunity to give the home side
the lead early in the second half heading wide with just
Russell to beat. At the other end an long Joel Taylor
throw-in caused problems for the home defence with the
ball finding Dudley 20 yards out only for the striker
to fire wide of goal. The game was becoming more scrappy
as time passed by.
If Chester had had the better of the first half, it was
the home side that dominated in the second. Chester brought
on Craig Mahon, Scott Burton and Matty Hughes and despite
late pressure from a last minute corner.