26 December 2003
Chester City 5 Leigh RMI 0
Attendance: 3,044 Half Time 2-0
Chester City: McCaldon, Ruffer, Guyett, Regan,
Smith (Davies 79), Carden, McIntyre, Collins, Carey, Clare (Rapley 79),
Stamp (Twiss 79). Subs not used: Bolland, Foster.
Leigh RMI: Kelly, Rezai, Maden, Harris, Redmond (Orr 70),
Lancaster, Shepherd, Peyton (Ashmole 76), Kielty, Barrowclough, McNiven.
Subs not used: Tench, Lucas, Martin.
Referee: R.Pollock (Liverpool).
turned on the style again with another scintillating five-goal performance
to sweep aside Leigh RMI in front of 3,000 fans as Deva Stadium and
claim their highest victory of the season. The visitors, who featured
two ex-Blues in their line-up, Martyn Lancaster and David McNiven
had no answer to City’s domination that saw a second hat-trick
in a week as this time Darryn Stamp claimed the match ball following
Darryl Clare’s success at Tamworth.
It took City, kicking towards their own fans
in the first half, just ten minutes to open the scoring as a
wayward back pass across the face of goal by a Leigh defender
Harris under pressure from Stamp, was intercepted by Clare on
the edge of the box, he just beat an onrushing defender to the
ball to unleash an unstoppable shot into the top corner that
burnt Kelly’s fingers on the way in.
The Blues almost doubled their lead minutes
later as Danny Collins saw his header blocked by the experienced
Steve Redmond following a teasing corner from Alex Smith. But
on 18 minutes the second duly arrived. Good work by Daryl Clare
who retrieved a ball that seemed to be heading out for a goal-kick,
and some fine inter-passing, set up Carl Regan who seemed to
hesitate for an offside flag before delivering a perfect pass
into the box for Stamp to touch the ball home.
What little that The Railwaymen did have to
offer was quickly extinguished by Danny Collins and Carl Ruffer
with McCaldon called into his only save of the half from a Peyton
free-kick. City were now rampant and looking for more goals and
the third duly arrived on 35 minutes.
Alex Smith, along with Shaun Carey and Paul
Carden played well in midfield and were getting the ball forward
at every opportunity. One such ball found Stamp on the left hand
edge of the box, he cut in and shook off two challenges to find
himself one-on-one against Kelly before slotting the ball past
the exposed keeper.
There was time before the break for Clare to
hit the post at full stretch and for Kelly to make a good near-post
save after a thunderous snap-shot from dangerman Clare again,
before the Blues left the field to a well deserved sanding ovation.
The Railwaymen came more into the game after
the break though they didn’t really threaten McCaldon in
the City goal until late on. The keeper was left flat footed
though as one header from McNiven flashed just wide, the striker
was unlucky also to see a shot hit the crossbar with City’s
defence beaten. Stamp twice shot wide before he completed a well-deserved
hat-trick on 73 minutes as he turned in Kevin McIntyre’s
left wing cross from close range.
Manager Mark Wright took off Clare, Stamp
and Smith to thunderous applause and it was left to substitute
Kevin Rapley to complete the rout four minutes from time as he
converted a Michael Twiss cross.
20 December 2003
Tamworth 1 Chester City 5
Attendance: 1,520 Half Time 0-2
Booked: McIntyre, Ruffer.
Tamworth: Brush, Johnson, Rodwell, Dryden, Smith (Sylla 52), Baptiste,
Blunt, Cooper (Warner 73), Follett, Quailey, Darby. Subs not used: Robinson,
Chester City: McCaldon, Smith (Harris 86), Regan,
Ruffer, Guyett, McIntyre (Bolland 79), Collins, Carey, Carden, Clare (Rapley
86), Stamp. Subs not used: Davies, Foster.
Referee: Jarnail Singh (Hounslow).
delivered the perfect early Christmas present to all Chester
fans who wisely chose to support the team on their first
ever visit to Tamworth. He also gave striker Daryl Clare
his just reward for a hard-working performance – in
the shape of a glorious hat-trick.
Tireless midfielder Alex Smith and Carl Ruffer, who put in his usual
gritty performance in defence, weren’t overlooked either. They
scored an excellent goal each as City simply over-ran a Tamworth team
who looked out of their depth most of the afternoon.
It seemed hard to believe that Tamworth beat Hereford just a week ago,
especially when the Bulls managed to put seven goals past Forest Green
Rovers on Friday night.
Chester, with Darryn Stamp returning to partner Clare up front and goalkeeper
Ian McCaldon coming in for the injured Wayne Brown, did make a cautious
start to the game as if they had last week’s Lambs’ victory
over Hereford on their mind. During the first ten minutes the ball never
seemed to stray far from the Tamworth attackers.
But the strong Blues’ defence soaked up the pressure, with an early
Tamworth corner easily caught by McCaldon, and Paul Carden and Smith
were soon making their presence felt in midfield.
On the 20th minute, the ball came out to Kevin McIntyre, who was floored
as he tried to make a cross into the area. Sanny Collins took the resultant
free kick and Ruffer was in the right place to bang the ball home. He
was clearly overjoyed with his early Christmas gift – doing a celebratory
jig to show how he moved his feet to get into a scoring position.
The Blues’ faithful now forgot all the drawbacks of the day – the
en route traffic problems, the dismal weather, the ranks of police there
to greet us, the less than warming surroundings of a tiny bike-shed style
stand, and the huge queues for the toilets and the food wagon. Who cares
when you’re 1-0 up and top of the league?
But it got even better on the 37th minute when new number 11 Carl Regan,
on loan from Hull City, found Clare unmarked in the area. Deadly Daryl
doesn’t often miss such good opportunities and he had no problem
in finding the back of the net.
It wasn’t a classic Conference first half, with the windy and rainy
conditions not exactly helping either team. It was so blustery there
almost seemed to be a danger of a highly kicked balls landing on top
of the “Snow Dome”, which loomed largely across the road.
At one stage a thumping thwack by Lambs’ keeper Richard Brush,
on loan from Coventry, almost came straight back into his arms.
But the second half was a much more sparkling performance from the Blues.
They were obviously confident of getting a result and almost every member
of the team seemed to take it in turns to show off their flicks and other
Within three minutes, there was a neat interchange on the edge of the
Tamworth area and Shaun Carey passed to Clare. He clinically turned and
volleyed the ball home from about 18 yards out.
Although it was now 3-0, Tamworth didn’t give up and McCaldon was
bought into the action when the ball came to Alex Baptiste following
a Lambs’ throw-in. He was very close to goal, but McCaldon made
an excellent blocked stop.
The cheekiest goal of the day fell to Smith on the 70th minute. Following
a fine solo run and yet another display of sleek one-touch passing, the
ball came back to Smith. He took the pass on his thigh and lobbed the
ball over the keeper for a real gem of a goal.
Tamworth did win themselves a consolation goal when Norman Sylla had
an easy opportunity to shoot when the ball was headed towards him in
the area. Their fans, who didn’t seem turn on their players during
the game despite their poor performance, gave him a hearty round of applause.
But it was soon our turn to cheer again when an Alex Smith corner was
fumbled by Brush. Goalpoacher Clare was in the right place and the ball
hit the back of the net yet again to earn Clare his hat-trick.
Clare was replaced by Kevin Rapley as the game drew to an end, earning
himself a well deserved round of applause from the polite Tamworth fans,
as well as the jubilant City followers as he came off the pitch. Within
a few minutes, the final whistle blew and he dashed back onto the field
to claim his Christmas matchball.
Any Chester fans who didn’t venture to Tamworth because they were
doing their Christmas shopping missed a real cracker. But it’s
bound to have given the team some real confidence – so bring on
Christmas and then Leigh RMI!
13 December 2003
Chester City 1 Stevenage Borough
Attendance: 2,145 Half Time 0-1
Booked: McIntyre, Bolland.
Chester City: Brown, Smith, Ruffer, Bolland,
Guyett (Twiss 66), Davies, McIntyre, Collins, Carey, Clare, Rapley (Stamp
67). Subs not used: Heard, Carden, Foster.
Stevenage Borough: Perez, Bunce, Warner, Laker, Holloway,
Gould, Watson, Wormull, Elding (Cook 90), Baptiste, Maamria (Smith 77).
Subs not used: Brennan, Richards, Shamlian.
Referee: C.Harwood (Manchester).
post-war record run of 18 undefeated league games finally came to
an end as Stevenage Borough became the first team to take three points
away from the Deva this season. In truth, Boro deserved their win,
as goals in each half from Anthony Elding and Rocky Baptiste were
enough to bring victory though a last-gasp Michael Twiss strike gave
City a glimmer of hope.
Manager Mark Wright made one change from the side that won at Halifax Town
bringing in Phil Bolland to replace Jamie Heard who took his place on the
bench. It was the Blues who had the first efforts on goal with Daryl Clare
forcing a save from Perez though minutes later City had the woodwork to
thank as Rocky Baptiste, who looked dangerous all game, chipped a static
home defence only to see his effort hit the bar.
City had a glorious opportunity to take
the lead midway through the half. Scott Guyett battled down
the right and send in a pin-point cross to Kevin Rapley only
for the striker to send his glancing header wide from just
six yards out. The match swung swiftly to the other end where
Bolland was in the right place to block a Dino Maamria header
for a corner.
Perez made another smart close range save
after Guyett had seen a shot deflected before the visitors
took the lead on 37 minutes. Maamria broke down the right,
beat Danny Collins before crossing for Elding to head home
from close range.
Both sides had chances up to the break,
Guyett was on hand to clear a Boro corner in injury time
then saw a header from a Kevin McIntyre inswinging corner
blocked by Bunce at the other.
The first minute of the second half saw
another City corner cleared as the Blues, kicking towards
the home fans, looked to get on level terms. However City
were restricted to a number of long range efforts, mostly
from Clare, as they struggled to create. Wright made a double
substitution on 66 minutes bringing on Michael Twiss and
Darryn Stamp for Guyett and Rapley. The change almost paid
off immediately. Clare was fouled by Bunce and Ben Davies
was unlucky to see his curling free-kick hit the foot of
the post, the ball being cleared before Clare could reach
A minute later City were two down as Wormull
broke clear before feeding Baptiste, the striker held off
a couple of challenges before beating Wayne Brown.
Both McIntyre and Bolland were booked before
City pulled a goal back in the second minute of added time
with Twiss’ left-foot shot form 12 yards. Indeed, City
almost grabbed and equaliser in the sixth minute of added
time but sw Perez make another great save from Stamp’s
flick header following a McIntyre free-kick.
So a deserved win for Stevenage who,
on the day, looked stronger in all departments. City must now
prepare for four games over the festive period starting next
Saturday with a trip to Tamworth who did the Blues a big favour
today with their shock 1-0 win at Hereford United.
6 December 2003
Halifax Town 0 Chester City 3
Attendance: 1,928 Half Time 0-1
Booked: Smith, Collins, Rapley.
Halifax Town: Cartwright, McAuley, Monington, McCombe, Yates,
Midgley, Bushell, Hudson (Owen 67), Sagare (Killeen 60), Lee (Allan 69),
Mallon. Subs not used: Hockenhull, Farrell.
Chester City: Brown, Collins, Ruffer, Guyett, McIntyre,
Carey, Davies, Smith (Carden 71), Heard (Bolland 54), Rapley, Clare. Subs
not used: Twiss, Foster, Stamp.
Referee: C.Oliver (Ashington).
extended their lead with this quality performance at The Shay in front
of several hundred ecstatic travelling fans. Once again manager Mark Wright
opted for a forward line of Kevin Rapley and Daryl Clare with Darryn Stamp
starting on the bench.
Despite the scoreline City didn’t
have things all their own way. Wayne Brown was the busier
of the two keepers in the opening stages, saving well from
a Christian Lee 18-yarder and seeing a long range shot from
Danny Hudson blocked by Danny Collins. Midway through the
half busy midfielder Alex Smith was booked after the referee
adjudged he’d dived on the edge of the box, minutes
after City through they’d taken the lead when Smith
fed Jamie Heard down the right and his perfectly weighted
far post cross was turned in at the far post by Rapley only
for the linesman to flag offside.
Minutes later City did take the lead though
through a well worked goal. Once again Scott Guyett picked
up the ball on half-way before passing to Rapley on the edge
of the box, he threaded the perfect reverse ball through
to the through running Davies who slotted the ball past Cartwright
before celebrating with a cartwheel in front of the bench.
Minutes before the break Wayne Brown was
called into action saving a long range effort from Steve
Bushell after the Halifax skipper was allowed to run at City’s
After the break City suffered a blow as
Jamie Heard, having a good game for the Blues, was stretchered
off following a heavy challenge from Jake Sagare that left
the youngster with stud marks down both ankles from the tackle
that, astonishingly in the eyes of the referee, didn’t
even warrant a free-kick.
The Blues kept probing and five minutes
later doubled their lead through Danny Collins. City were
awarded a free-kick on the right following a foul on Guyett.
McIntyre’s quick free-kick was glanced home by Collins
from six yards, though the defender gained a yellow card
for his celebrations with the traveling fans behind the goal.
Just six minutes later City wrapped up
the three points. Scott GUyett took a long throw on the right
to Smith, he drew three defenders before dissecting them
all with a sublime ball back to Guyett whose first-time cross
was slid in by Daryl Clare from close range.
The game was won but the home side still
had a chance or two to reduce the arrears. Mark Monington
shot over from 30 yards and before the end Wayne Brown was
called into save from both Sean McAuley and Craig Midgley.