Saturday 28 December 2002
Chester City 4 Telford United
Attendance: 2,594 Half Time 1-0
Chester City: W.Brown, Hatswell, Guyett (M.Brown 46), Bolland,
Hatswell, McIntyre, Carden, Beesley, Carey (Ruffer 45), Davies, Clare,
Twiss. Subs not used: Brady, Woodyatt, Lancaster.
Telford United: Edwards (Jones 23), Woolliscroft, Hanmer,
Davies, Foran, Smith, Moore, King, D.Brown, Jobling, Sayer. Sub not used:
Lormor. [only two substituts named].
Referee: G.Sutton (Lincoln).
we head into 2003, it’s worth reminding ourselves what a refreshing
change it is for Chester fans to be arguing amongst themselves after the
game about burning issues like who was the man of the match (Ben Davies
or Michael Twiss?) and who made that sublime pass for Daryl Clare to score
the second goal (Mark Beesley or Twiss?).
This time last year we were struggling
towards the bottom of the Conference, with a caretaker
management team in charge. Even the most optimistic
of Chester supporters couldn’t deny that we
were staring relegation in the face and the fans
were still feuding with each other. But 12 months
later, and with Terry Smith well and truly forgotten,
there’s a totally different air at Deva Stadium.
Following the disappointing derby
draw on Boxing Day, there were some pre-match nerves
jangling around the ground. But when the team was
announced, it was clear Mark Wright was approaching
this game with complete confidence. He’d opted
for Beesley to partner Clare up front, supported
by fellow goal poacher Twiss.
Poor Telford, suffering from injuries
and suspensions, could only find two players to sit
on the bench. The Bucks’ management team must
have been jealous of the substitutes Wright had available
(Lee Woodyatt, Mickey Brown, Carl Ruffer, Martyn
Lancaster and Jon Brady). It’s so reassuring
to know that the Blues finally have some strength
After the traditional Harry McNally-style
kick-off (does that ever get us anywhere?), the Blues
dominated the opening exchanges. Phil Bolland missed
an early header from a Davies’ free kick, and
Kevin McIntyre soon tested Telford ‘keeper
But Michael Twiss, who had a hand
in three of City’s four goals and was a deserved
man of the match, grabbed his first opportunity.
He beat three Telford players before crossing the
ball for Davies to head smartly home. There were
only 21 minutes gone and the Bucks already looked
They looked in further trouble
when Clare accidentally collided with Edwards as
they both jumped for the ball. The game was stopped
for a good five minutes while Edwards was treated,
and he was eventually taken to hospital with a suspected
broken leg. Luckily for Telford, one of their two
substitutes – Craig Jones – was a keeper.
The Bucks then tried to muscle
their way back into the game. Their solid captain,
Mark Foran, clashed into Scott Guyett on the edge
of the area. Cue another ambulance – this time
for Guyett. He was taken to hospital at half-time
suffering from suspected concussion, and will probably
miss the next two weeks.
After those two injuries, the referee
added an extra seven minutes to the first half. He
finally blew up at 3.55pm, with Chester fans doubting
if they’d get back to their cars to hear the
5pm results on the radio.
Mickey Brown came on to replace
Guyett in the second half, meaning Telford had to
face yet another attack-minded player. But it was
Twiss who, yet again, tore the opponents’ defence
apart. He powered towards goal, looking like nothing
was going to stop him, then made an excellent pass
across the box to Clare. He fooled the Telford defenders
by feigning to shoot, then struck a sweet shot straight
past the hapless Jones.
The Deva nerves returned slightly
when Telford were awarded a penalty after Paul Carden
brought down former Chester player David Brown. He
took the spot-kick, only for his namesake Wayne Brown
to parry it straight out. But David Brown made no
mistake with the rebound and it was 2-1.
This seemed to restore Chester’s
determination and a few minutes later Twiss struck
a thunderous ball from 25 yards out. It rattled the
crossbar like no shot I’d ever seen. I’m
sure there’d have been a risk of it ripping
the net if it had gone in.
Soon after Beesley’s obvious
determination to earn his right to a first-team place
paid off when a Wayne Hatswell cross found him close
to the Telford goal-line. Beesley had no problem
heading it home through the arms of the substitute ‘keeper.
Chester still looked like scoring
another goal – and the inevitable came when
Brown crossed to Twiss as the Blues pressed forward
again. Twiss ran across the edge of the box as Telford
defender Jordan King approached. King had no choice
but to lunge for the ball. However Twiss was far
too fast for him, and King caught the man instead
of the ball. It then looked for a moment like Clare
and Beesley were ‘having words’ over
who should take the resultant penalty. But Clare
held onto the ball and had no problem sending Jones
the wrong way.
Clare seemed keen to earn another
hat-trick in the game’s dying minutes, but the
ebullient Chester midfield spent the closing moments ‘showboating’ the
ball around. Beaten Telford could only look on as the
Blues sprayed the ball across the park. With the final
whistle came the news that Yeovil had only managed
a draw against Barnet, while Doncaster had secured
another victory. But we’ll have no problem facing
either of their challenges if we continue to play with
the same style in 2003.
Saturday 28 December 2002
Northwich Victoria Reserves
1 Chester City Reserves 2
Lancashire League Division One
Chester City: Jon Worsnop, Adam Hunter (Tony McLaughlin), Ian
Lathom, John Keegan, John Davies, Paul Connolly, John Moore, Michael Simpson,
Danny Ventre (David Pennell), Matty Cook, Lee Reece.
Goals from Matty Cook and Michael Simpson gave the reserves, a team consisting
of mostly Youth Team players, a 2-1 victory at Northwich Victoria today.
26 December 2002
Northwich Victoria 1 Chester City 1
Attendance: 2,305 Half Time 1-0
Booked: Twiss, Guyett. Sent Off: Bolland.
Northwich Victoria: Parry, Royle, Rioch, Ingram, Sedgemore,
Norris (Garvey 77), Owen, Devlin, Griggs (Taylor 77), Allan (Quinn 81),
Blundell. Subs not used: Connett, Came.
Chester City: W.Brown, Hatswell, Guyett, Bolland, Brady (M.Brown
69), Carden, Carey (Kelly 60), Davies, McIntyre, Clare, Twiss (Ruffer 71).
Subs not used: Beesley, Woodyatt.
Referee: D.Richardson (Halifax).
expecting our Cheshire cousins to give us a gift-wrapped three points for
Christmas was left choking on their turkeys when they left Wincham Park.
This derby game was as flat and predictable
as the festive TV offering, and the Blues were lucky to earn
a point for their efforts – and luckier that league
rivals Yeovil went down 2-1 at Forest Green.
One of the most entertaining parts of the
afternoon came when a streaker wearing nothing but a Santa
hat ran onto the pitch from the Vics’ end. But even
he did not generate much enthusiasm – it seemed an
age before the stewards could be bothered to find a coat
to cover him up. The police didn't do anything about him
either, as they were too busy videoing all the Chester fans
In truth, the game was not helped by referee
Mr D Richardson, who seemed intent on blowing up for every
small misdemeanor. The Northwich players did not help the
game flow either – they seemed ready to collapse on
the pitch for a rest at any opportunity.
Chester made the best of most of the first
half, with the familiar game plan of getting the ball to
Jon Brady, for him to cross it into the box. But Vics’ goalkeeper
Matthew Parry got the better of him every time.
City’s best chances of the first
half came with alternative attempts to find the target. Daryl
Clare was heading for goal when he was fouled by a Northwich
defender, resulting in the first yellow card of the game.
Soon after, Kevin McIntyre had a golden
opportunity to shoot right in front of goal, but he somehow
slipped on the ball and Chester’s best chance of the
first half went begging.
Until then Northwich had seen a couple
of shots saved by Wayne Brown, and the ball was kicked off
the Chester line in a goalmouth scramble. But when the home
side’s goal came in the 44th minute, it was against
the run of play. Vics’ frontman Gregg Blundell was
gifted the ball by Kevin McIntyre. Blundell neatly passed
to strike partner Mark Devlin, who had no trouble slotting
the ball past Brown.
Chester came out with more determination
in the second half. They must have heard that Yeovil were
2-0 down at Forest Green Rovers and seemed more intent on
making the most of every opportunity.
Within two minutes Scott Guyett missed
a great chance to knock a header home from a McIntyre cross,
when Parry made another excellent save. We’d barely
recovered from that miss, when the resultant Macca corner
found the head of Michael Twiss. He had no trouble finding
the target and it was our turn to laugh at the large and
loud Vics’ fan who was well outnumbered in the stand.
Daryl Clare, who was playing despite not
being 100% fit, continued to be Chester’s most threatening
player. He skipped past two defenders only to be stopped
by a well-timed tackle by Northwich defender Greg Rioch.
Fussy Mr Richardson then made his strangest
decision of all. Phil Bolland appeared to catch the heels
of Northwich’s Jon Allen, who fell straight to the
ground. To everyone’s amazement, Bolland was red-carded.
Mark Wright immediately took Twiss off
and put Carl Ruffer in Bolland’s place in the back
line. His arrival bought a grin from Blundell as he met up
with the player he scythed down in the same fixture last
But there were no sparks flying by that
stage and the game ebbed away to its inevitable conclusion.
Chester pressed forward in the last ten minutes, but with
no serious attempts on goal. Both sides seemed happy to settle
for a draw as the heavy pitch began to take its toll.
Wincham Park is not the best football
venue in the world – although one of the day’s
highlights was the glorious sunset over the Cheshire plain.
Perhaps that says it all about the entertainment on show.
Let’s hope Chester put in a brighter performance
when they face Telford at home on Saturday.
Saturday 21 December 2002
Bamber Bridge Reserves 1 Chester
City Reserves 1
Lancashire League Division One
Chester City: Jon Worsnop, Lee Woodyatt, Phil Hadland, Martyn Lancaster,
Carl Ruffer, John Keegan, Blake Norton, Jimmy Kelly, Michael Brown, Peter
Dogun (Michael Simpson), Michael Twiss.
A goal from Carl Ruffer gives the Blues a draw and keeps them eigth place
in the division with 19 points from 10 games.
20 December 2002
Chester City 0 Hereford United 1
Attendance: 2,507 Half Time 0-0
Booked: McIntyre, Clare.
Chester City: W.Brown, Guyett, Bolland, Hatswell, McIntyre,
Davies, Carey, Carden, Brady (M.Brown 64), Clare, Sugden (Cameron 64).
Subs not used: Kelly, Ruffer, Twiss.
Hereford United: Baker, Clarke, Rose, Tretton, James,
Pitman, Williams, Smith (Purdey 72), Parry (Wright 89), Grant, Guinan.
Subs not used: Griffiths, Teesdale, Sawyers.
Referee: M.Matadar (Lancashire).
City were hit by the classic sucker punch with just four minutes left on
the clock as they were edged out of a highly competetive game by a prodigously
Perhaps Chester were unlucky to lose, on the balance
of play they held the upper hand, forcing ten corners in the first half
alone. But they didn’t quite do enough to win it on a night when
the ball wouldnt drop for the forwards. Hereford’s tigerish midfield
meant that Chester couldn’t impose themselves on the game and chances
were few and far between.
Despite a flurry of corners Chester couldn’t
direct their headers goalwards – too often they flashed over the
bar. McIntyre was booked for diving on the edge of the penalty area – after
he had received lengthy treatment where he fell. Brady cut in excitingly
from the right but his tame shot was well wide.
At least Brady was more awake than Kieron Dyer in the
Nou Camp when he cleared a goal bound header from the far post following
a corner. Grant, signed from Crewe in the close season was a handfull
up front for the Bulls – all arms and legs but running and closing
down tirelessly. He carved out a good opening for himself on the edge
of the box but scuffed his shot straight at Brown.
City made a good start to the second half and had the
visitors on the back foot again. But they defended well. Clare and Sugden
worked hard but City’s midfield were cautiously distant behind
them and – though improved in the second period – were still
harried off the ball by the energetic Bulls.
Clare had a curling shot saved comfortably by Baker
but then just failed to get a touch on a cross which narrowly missed
the post. A few minutes later McIntyre’s menacing cross from the
left just eluded Clare’s desperate lunge. Hot-shot Clare went close
again when his direct free kick from the edge of the area took a slight
deflection and skimmed past the upright for a corner.
Brown and Cameron replaced Brady and Sugden and the
fresh legs nearly brought immediate reward. Cameron broke free down the
right and pulled the ball back for Clare who only got it tangled in his
feet and the chance escaped. Micky Brown burst behind the defence only
to see brought back for a free kick after he had shaken off the defender.
The referee missed the chance to play advantage.
A Brown corner eluded everyone and bounced off the
foot of the far post and a towering Guyett header went wide of the gaping
As City pressed for a winner they were caught on the
break. The ball was worked down the left to Guignan in acres of space
down the middle. He shot from outside the area past a backpedalling Bolland
and the ball struck the foot of the post and spun into the back of the
net. Clare was booked in the aftermath for something he said.
Brown pulled off a superb save a couple of minutes
later to stop the score being doubly cruel. It was always going to be
a tough game and Hereford were rewarded for their disciplined performance.
With the Bulls wearing red and a referee named Matadar
I felt there must be a joke in there somewhere but it was Hereford who
had the last laugh. It will be a real test to see how City react to this
defeat over the next few games.
Wednesday 18 December 2002
Wrexham Youth 0 Chester City Youth 2
Youth Alliance North Central Conference
Chester City: Louis Macken, Adam Hunter (Danny Ventre), Ian Lathom,
Matty Cook, Paul Connolly, John Davies, Adam Kelly, Michael Simpson, John
Moore, Dean Buckley, Lee Reece.
Two goals from Michael Simpson, one from the penalty spot gave the youth
team victory over their local rivals.
Saturday 14 December 2002
Chester City Youth 1 Doncaster Rovers Youth 2
Youth Alliance North Central Conference
Chester City: Louis Macken, Adam Hunter, Ian Lathom, Matty Cook, Paul
Connolly (John Davies), Peter Dogun (Danny Ventre), Adam Kelly, Michael
Simpson (Tony McLaughlin), Dean Buckley, John Moore, Lee Reece.
14 December 2002
Leigh RMI 0 Chester City 4
Attendance: 851 Half Time 0-3
Leigh RMI: Coburn, Monk, Robertson (Fisher 62), Durkin,
Fitzhenry, Heald (Tolson 45), Kielty, Maden, Salt, Whittaker, Maamria (Courtney
80). Subs not used: Williams, Kendrick.
Chester City: W.Brown, Guyett, Bolland, Hatswell, McIntyre,
Carey, Carden, Davies, Brady (Kelly 71), Clare, Sugden (Twiss 82). Subs
not used: M.Brown, Ruffer, Cameron.
Referee: M.Williams (Hereford).
game was over as a contest at half-time after City, with Daryl Clare
in the starting line-up, cruised to a three goal lead before the
break. The Blues kept the same side that lost at Morecambe in the
Cup seven days earlier though Dave Cameron was recalled to the bench.
Several hundred City fans made the relatively
short trip to Hilton Park and were rewarded with the opening goal
after just six minutes. Kevin McIntyres inswinging far post
corner was headed back across goal by Phil Bolland (or was it Wayne
Hatswell?) for Scott Guyett to nod in his second league goal of
the season from six yards to give City a dream start.
Four minutes later another corner was scrambled
clear as the Blues pressed for a second goal. Citys midfield
was getting to grips though Ben Davies, collected his fourth booking
of the season for a 15th minute foul on Phillip Salt. Shaun Carey
sent in an inviting cross that was cleared for a corner by Neil
Durkin though Cardens flag kick was cleared.
Stuart Whittaker had the home sides first effort
shooting wide with a 25-yard free-kick, and that was to prove Leighs
only real effort of the half.
On 26 minutes though Chester doubled their lead
and it was goal machine Clare finding the net. Good running by
Ryan Sugden forced the Leigh defence into a mistake. Andy Heald
attempted a back pass to Coburn but the alert Clare nipped in to
round the keeper and score from a narrow angle. A superb opportunist
The Blues forced a succession of corners to no
avail but almost grabbed a third as Coburn had to be alert to punch
clear another teasing Carey free-kick. The keeper was also on hand
to tip-over a rasping shot from Hatswell.
Five minutes before the break City scored their
third and this time Clare was the provider as he outpaced former
City player Neil Fitzhenry to cross for Sugden to drill the ball
home from 18 yards to kill the game off.
Minutes after the break Clare missed the chance
of his second when he shot wide of goal after good approach play
from the busy Paul Carden.
Whittaker again produced his sides best chance
of the half with a superb shot that Brown pushed wide, and the
home side should have pulled one back as Dino Maamria shot over
from six yards with Brown, for once, beaten. City bounced back
with Coburn saving a Clare shot
Mark Wright introduced Jimmy Kelly for John
Brady and former Leigh star Michael Twiss for Sugden and it was Twiss
instrumental in Citys fourth goal six minutes from time. Twiss
showed great pace surging down the left and his pinpoint cross was
met with a powerful header by Clare to round off the scoring.
Saturday 7 December 2002
Chester City Youth 0 Mansfield Town Youth
Youth Alliance North Central Conference
Chester City: Louie Macken, Matt Cook,
Paul Connolly, Ian Lathom, Danny Ventre (Adam Hunter), Adam Kelly,
Trialist, Mike Simpson (Danny L Ventre), Dean Buckley, John Moore,
Lee Reece (Tony McGlaughlin).
The youth team went down 2-0 at home to league
leaders Mansfield Town on Saturday. They found themselves two goals
behind by half time. The second half saw goalkeeper Louie Macken
save a penalty to stop Mansfield from increasing their lead.
7 December 2002
Morecambe 3 Chester City 2
F.A.Cup Round 2
Attendance: 4,293 Half Time 2-2
Booked: Davies, Ruffer, Guyett, Carden. Sent Off: Sugden.
Morecambe: Mawson, McKearney, Colkin, Bentley, Drummond,
Rigoglioso, Thompson (Black 74), Swan, Carlton (Curtis 65), Stringfellow,
Elam. Subs: Murphy, Talbot, Uberschar.
Chester City: W.Brown, McIntyre, Bolland, Guyett, Hatswell,
Carden, Carey (Kelly 52), Davies (M.Brown 65), Brady (Ruffer 52), Sugden,
Clare. Subs: Twiss, Beesley.
Referee: A.Marriner (Birmingham).
crashed out the the FA Cup in controversial circumstances as the
Blues saw Red for the second time in a week. Following Daryl Clare’s
dismissal last week at Southport, Ryan Sugden was given his marching
orders just before the break in an incident that transformed the
Manager Mark Wright selected the same side as
last week though there was room on the bench for midfielder Jimmy
Kelly, making a long-awaited return from his knee injury. Over
1,100 City fans made the trip north and contributed to a great
atmosphere at Christie Park.
It was the Blues who started brightly forcing
a corner after only two minutes, John Brady’s inswinging
effort being cleared. It was eight minutes before Wane Brown was
called into the game catching a Lee Elam cross as the home side
pressed as John Brady was on hand to clear following a corner from
City’s midfield was working hard and Daryl
Clare covered a lot of ground up front. Kevin Mcintyre tried his
luck with a drilled shot wide from 20 yards. City continued to
press forcing two corners though Brady’s a McIntyre’s
efforts drifted away to nothing. Another McIntyre corner minutes
later though found the towering Phil Bolland whose header went
over the bar from 18 yards.
On 25 minutes though the same combination gave
City the lead, as this time, Bolland met McIntyre’s cross
superbly to head the Blues ahead at the far post and embarked on
a curious goal celebration routine.
The lead only lasted for three minutes though.
A Shaun Carey foul led to a Rigoglioso free-kick that was half-cleared
by the City defence to Jim Bentley who volleyed home from 18 yards.
Minutes later Bentley was booked for handball
and Brown had to be alter in the City goal to save from Stringfellow.
Three minutes before the break the Blues once
again took the lead. Kevin McIntyre’s cross, and Brady’s
shot, caused panic in the home defence and with the ball bouncing
around Clare was on hand to head home past two defenders from six
yards out, cue celebration routine number two.
The game was heading into added on time when
Sugden and Lee Colkin were involved in an off-the-ball clash. After
consulting the linesman referee Marriner gave a straight red card
to the striker, who had a word with the official before departing.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse Bentley scored
again following another loose clearance from City’s defence
to send the sides in level.
Ben Davies was booked soon after the break, Wayne
Brown comfortably saving the resulting free-kick from Rigoglioso.
Minutes later manager Wright rang the changes bringing on Carl
Ruffer and Jimmy Kelly for Shaun Carey and John Brady. It wasn’t
long before Ruffer also found himself in Marriner’s notebook
following a foul on Elam. McIntyre was on hand to block a shot
from David McKearney before the home side took the lead on 57 minutes
when Rigoglioso volleyed home from 18 yards.
Scott Guyett was the next City player to find
himself in the book before Wright threw on Micky Brown for Ben
Davies as ten-man City searched for an equaliser.
Clare tried his luck with an overhead kick following
a McIntyre corner and soon later the same defender saw his power-drive
free-kick hit the Morecambe wall.
Jimmy Kelly signalled his return with a 30-yarder
saved well by Craig Mawson in the home goal but as much as City pushed,
and they fought well forcing several corners, the couldn't break
down the home defence.
There was a great feel to the ground when
we arrived. The chants were non-stop while on the other hand the
Morcambe fans were never to be heard. The game started off brightly
with Chester doing most of the attacking. A deep corner by Kevin
Mcintyre was met well by Phil Bolland, 1-0 to the blues! Morcambe
always looking dangerous on the break won a corner and a spectacular
volley by Jim Bentley made it 1-1. At last the Morcambe fans started
to make some noise.
City’s second was scored by no other than Daryl Clare and which was
followed by a great celebration (press-ups with no top on). Near the end
of the second half there player went to the ground off the ball and so
Ryan Sugden was off. We won a goal kick in the last minute of the first
half but the ref gave a corner and they scored off it. The city fans and
players went mad and the referee was rightly booed off the pitch.
Morcambe started off the second half the better with an early goal and
then was followed by a great save from Wayne Brown. Mickey brown (Truman)
came on and we looked more lively upfront. In the last five minutes we
dominated and won a lot of corners. Sadly we did not score and they won
With fireworks going off the Chester fans still chanted them off the pitch
with a good performance considering we only had ten men. Hopefully we can
do better next time.
Matt Kirkham. Age 14