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27 December 2003
Man-of-the-MatchA hat-trick from man-of-the-match Darryn Stamp helped City on their way to a second five-goal haul in a week as they swept aside Leigh RMI at Deva Stadium in front of a 3,000+ crowd.

Daryl Clare opened the scoring against The Railwaymen on ten minutes with a thunderbolt into the top corner after intercepting a pass on the edge of the box. The lead was doubled eight minutes later with Darryn Stamp scoring from close range following fine work downthe right by Carl Regan making an impressive home debut. Stamp added his second before the break scoring a one-on-one after beating a defender in the box and completed his hat-trick on 73 minutes converting a left wing cross. Substitute Kevin Rapley wrapped up the scoring with three minutes remaining.

The Blues extend their lead at the top of the Nationwide Conference to six points following Hereford United’s 1-1 home draw with Exeter City last night, though

The Bulls have a game in hand. Of the other sides pushing for promotion, Barnet were pegged back in the last minute at Woking (2-2). There were wins for Shrewsbury Town over Northwich Victoria (3-1) while Aldershot Town won 3-2 away at Dagenham & Redbridge. On New Year’s Day the reverse fixtures take place with City travelling the short distance to Hilton Park where there is bound to be a large City following hoping to see the Blues complete a festive double.

Twenty Boxing Day crackers | Boxing Day quiz
You have to go back a long way to find the last time before this week that Chester players scored hat-trick’s in successive games. The occasion was in February 1936 when Frank Wrightson and Charlie Sargeant scored four each in Chester’s record 12-0 home win over York City. A week later Wrightson scored a hat-trick in Chester's 4-0 win at Barrow. Seven day’s later the same played notched a hat-trick in the 8-2 home win over New Brighton.
26 December 2003
City will be hoping for a good Boxing Day crowd this afternoon as the table-toppers entertain Leigh RMI. The visitors will feature two ex-Blues in their side; forward David McNiven who is the club’s top scorer with 12 goals, and defender Martyn ‘Burt’ Lancaster. Lancaster made 127+14 appearences, scoring 2 goals, for City after progressing through the youth ranks to the first team in 1998. McNiven made just three appearences in a Chester shirt during the 2001/02 season.

23 December 2003
Defender Kevin McIntyre will be suspended for two games after receiving his 10th booking of the season on Saturday. He will miss the Conference game against Gravesend & Northfleet and the FA Trophy match against Halifax Town. He will receive a three match ban if he reaches 15 yellow cards.
21 December 2003
Daryl ClareA well taken hat-trick from Daryl Clare ensured City remain four points clear at the top of the Naionwide Conference for Christmas. City outclassed Tamworth yesterday 5-1 in tricky conditions at the Lamb Ground with Carl Ruffer and Alex Smith getting on the scoresheet as well to send about 500 travelling City fans home happy after the game.

Manager Mark Wright handed a debut to Carl Regan, on a one-month loan for a month from Hull City, and the defender played his part with a telling though ball for City’s second goal. Credit to the Tamworth groundsman that the pitch was playable with Premiership games in the locality at Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Wanderers being called off.

With the exception of Hereford United all City’s other promotion rivals lost, Aldershot, Barnet and Exeter City all coming a cropper at home. The Blues are next in action on Friday with the visit of Leigh RMI followed by the return match at Hilton Park on New Year’s Day.

19 December 2003

City play their 150th Conference match tomorrow when they make a first-ever visit to The Lamb Ground to play Tamworth. Manager Mark Wright is forced into one change with Ian McCaldon replacing injured goalkeeper Wayne Brown. It remains to be seen whether defender Carl Regan will feature in the City line-up. Management at the Deva have been impressed with the player who has been on trial at Chester this week and it looks like City want to take Regan on initially for a trial period. Chester will be looking to bounce back at The Lamb following last Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Stevenage Borough, despite Tamworth’s lowly position of 19th City know things won’t be easy though as they pulled off the surprise result of last weekend with a 1-0 win at promotion chasing Hereford United. The Bulls have a chance to narrow the gap on Chester at the top to just one point tonight as they play at Forest Green Rovers.
17 December 2003
Goalkeeper Wayne Brown will be sidelined for up to six weeks after breaking bones in a foot after being injured in training yesterday. Ian McCaldon, who has been suffering recently with a thigh strain, will go straight into the side at Tamworth on Saturday. “I’m not going to replace Wayne Brown because I’ve got Ian McCaldon to step in. There’s no difference between Brownie and McCaldon. They’re both of equal quality.” said manager Mark Wright.
16 December 2003
Hull City defender Carl Regan is training with Chester this week after being given permission to do so from Hull City manager Peter Taylor. Regan is a right-sided wing back who can also play in midfield and made 38 appearances for the Tigers last season and, according to manager Mark Wright, is “certainly the type of player we are looking for.” The 23-year-old Liverpool-born began his career as a trainee at Everton before moving to Barnsley in June 2000. He remained at the Yorkshire side until November 2002 making 36+6 appearances. During that time he had a loan spell at Hull City when he played 15 times before signing permanently in November 2002. Since then he’s made 20+5 appearances for the third division side.
Chester’s Conference game at Woking on Saturday 28 February is to be shown live on SKY TV, the kick-off time is now 17:35hrs. “We were featured on five occasions last season, now twice again during this campaign so hopefully a much wider audience will see the excellent progress we have made this year.” said chairman Steve Vaughan. On the choice of game, manager Mark Wright said: “I can’t understand why Sky have chosen our game at Woking. Why have they chosen to televise our match down there when they could have chosen bigger games such as our home matches against Hereford United or Shrewsbury Town? Sky probably feel we should receive recognition down in London, but I can’t understand why.”

Ex-City player Jon Brady came on as a second half substitute for Stevenage Borough tonight in their 1-0 home defeat to Aldershot Town. That win moves The Shots to fourth place, six points behind City but with a game in hand. Brady has been given a contract to the end of the season at the Broadhall Way club, a decision that hasn't gone down too well with City. “I think Brady has been disrespectful. We agreed to his release so he could go to Arsenal and he was supposed to be joining a small club near Northampton in the meantime. That was the arrangement as far as we were concerned and I'm not happy about what has happened.” said Mark Wright.
Former City player and manager Graham Barrow has been appointed caretaker manager at Bury after Andy Preece had his contract cancelled by mutual consent.

15 December 2003
City remain four points cleat at the top of the Nationwide Conference despite Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Stevenage Borough. Following the defeat manager Mark Wright said: “I thought in the first half we didn’t get out of bed – they outbattled us, unfortunately. Let’s give credit to them, they battled well. We need to impose ourselves and take games to teams. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that against Stevenage.” Hereford United’s surprise home defeat to Tamworth, who the Blues play next Saturday, ensured City will top the table at Christmas. Of the chasing pack, both Barnet (2-1 at Telford) and Shrewsbury (2-0 at Margate) won and made up ground.
12 December 2003
Manager Mark Wright has no injury problems for tomorrow’s home clash with Stevenage Borough so it remains to be seen whether striker Darryn Stamp will return to the side or whether Kevin Rapley retains his spot in the starting line-up. Wright continues his search for a replacement winger for Jon Brady. He was reported to have been watching 21-year-old Manchester City winger Chris Shuker in the week though the player appears to have signed on loan for Hartlepool United today.
Tomorrow has been designated Flag Day at Deva Stadium by chairman Steve Vaughan. Fans are encouraged to bring along flags and banners to wave and there is a great prize of executive box seats and buffet for the Christmas game against Leigh RMI for the supporter chosen with the best original flag.
The club are to start negotiations with four key players whose contracts expire next summer. Wayne Borwn, Scott Guyett, Carl Ruffer nd Michael Twiss aer the players in question and the club will be anxious to see them all put pen to paper as soon as possible. “All four of the players have done well for us during their spells with the club. We have had preliminary discussions with three of them, and we will take those negotiations further. We have a good squad here and we would naturally like to keep it together.” said chairman Steve Vaughan.

9 December 2003
Jon Brady
Midfielder Jon Brady has left Chester City to take up a role as an under-16 team coach at Arsenal, setting up soccer schools in the Northamptonshire area. Brady joined City from Woking in October 2002 (although he did earlier play for the Blues in a pre-season friendly against Liverpool) and in total made 36+4 appearances for the Blues scoring 2 goals in the process.

Brady leaves with glowing praise from chairman Steve Vaughan. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Jon and we would certainly not stand in his way. We wish him all the best in his future career in the game. Jon has been an excellent servant to Chester City Football Club, and has been a model professional in the way he conducted himself both on and off the field” he said.

Brady hopes to continue playing part-time for a club in the south, good luck to him.

City’s reserve team are in action tomorrow with a home game against Guiseley, kick-off 19:30hrs.

Three teams from Chester City played host to sides from Caernarfon Town football clubs academy at the weekend.

The under 9’s played a mixed 9’s and 10’s team and in an end to end game narrowly lost out 3-2. In an excellent and well mannered game. Jordan Parkinson in goal had an excellent game and did very well early on but the blues slipped to two early goals. In the second period the boys battled strongly and pulled a goal back through the hard working Timmy Newman a second soon followed from the inspirational Danny Davies as the Blues got on top.

Johnny Aplas and Adam Howell again were very solid with Owen Smith and Callum Byrne making the most of City’s possession. Ryan Renshaw switched into midfield as City pushed for the winner but the visitors scored a deserved winner towards the end of the game. In the final minutes city were denied a draw as a Caernarfon defender handled the ball on the line which the referee could not see through the melai of players. City will relish the return game at Caernarfon in Febuary.

The under 10’s carried the flag well and produced a pass and move display eventually winning 8-3 again against a higher age group with good all round performances from Dean Clark, Reece Norton, Alex Williamson, JJ who was a deserved man-of-the-match. Steven Wainwright put in a great display in his new team and capped it of with a fine goal.

The under 13’s again played a mixed age group team and suffered an early setback as the visitors grabbed an early goal through the left winger who is also on the books at Manchester City but the Blues soon got back on track with a goal through Tom Poynton. With the scores at 1-1 at half time City changed formation which produced an early goal from Chris Bailey after some great work from man-of-the-match James Owen and captain Sean Ritchards. A third soon followed as Chris Newman lashed in his third penalty in as many games and the Blues were well and truly on there way. The visitors struggled with City’s slick passing and with Steve Starkey so composed at the back the Blues were never in trouble and bagged the fourth goal through Dave Clearry which finished of another good day for City’s youth teams.

Junior reports and team pictures

Mark Newman, co-ordinator of CCFC Juniors

Jamie Heard
It appears that Jamie Heard has a bad ankle injury on Saturday but fortunately no break after suffering a heavy challenge from Jake Sagare shortly after the break. “Jamie has stud-marks on both ankles after a bad, bad challenge. People can miss things in games, but that was blatant. I was disappointed to see Jamie stretchered off, but I was pleased to hear the doctor say that he hasn’t broken anything.” said manager Mark Wright.

7 December 2003
With only four games taking place in the Nationwide Conference on Saturday, City have take full advantage to extend their lead at the top of the table to four points following the 3-0 win at Halifax Town. Goals from Ben Davies, Danny Collins and Daryl Clare rounded off a professional performance that extended Chester’s unbeaten League run to 18 games, and sees the Blues four points better off than after the same number of games (22) last seaon. Jamie Heard was stretched off during the win, the extent of his injury is not yet known. City are next in action on Saturday when Graham Westley brings his mid-table Stevenage Borough to Deva Stadium, the sides last met on the rather hot opening day of the season when the game ended 0-0 at Broadhall Way.

“It was a great team performance, and a great passing performance which is what the fans want to see. We kept he ball well, kept it tight at the back, and there was some good finishing. It was a good all round decent performance away from home. We just need to keep it going for the rest of the season now” said Phil Bolland.

Good luck to Mark Beesley who has left by mutual consent after having his contract paid-off by the club. The striker, signed from Preston North End, finished his City career with three goals in the reserves against Northwich Victoria last week, ironically the club he was expected to join last month. In his time at the Deva, Beesley made 107+19 appearances scoring 41 goals and was top scorer in City’s first two seasons in the Conference. He made four appearances from the substitutes bench this season. The club are also expected to release more players in the next week or so.
5 December 2003
The Blues have no new injury worries as they make the trip to West Yorkshire tomorrow for the visit to Halifax Town. It remains to be seen whether manager Mark Wright will start with Darryn Stamp after the leading striker took a starting place on the bench for the start of last Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat of Margate. Of the other top six sides only Exeter City are are in action tomorrow and a win at The Shay would give City a four point lead at the top of the table, but manager Mark Wright warned: “They can be a handful on their day, but they are obviously inconsistent, If they get on top they get the crowd behind them and they can be dangerous.”
4 December 2003
Steve VaughanChairman Steve Vaughan has been speaking again about his plans for a Chester City Football Academy (see 29 November). The club are currently seeking planning permission for a site they have found near Chester. The club are looking to build for the future and already have successful youth teams set up but the whole plan is dependent on City winning promotion to the Football League. A couple of months ago the former Liverpool Garden Festival Dome had been earmarked but the dismantling and transportation costs proved the venture to be uneconomical so a new multi-sports plan has now been proposed.

Vaughan told the Evening Leader: “I have certain financial partners who are keen to invest in the project, as well as venture capitalists who are as excited as we are about the plans. Feasibility studies have already been made on the designated site and a business plan has been submitted and provisionally approved by the relevant authorities. The facility would be a multi-sports use site that could cater for the community within Chester. Our plans have been ongoing for a number of weeks, and I’m updated weekly about any progress, but the project isn’t moving as fast as I’d like at the moment. Planning aid is available, but everything will be put on hold if we’re not successful this season.”

1 December 2003
The regional draw has been made for the third round of the FA Trophy and the Blues have drawn fellow Conference side Halifax Town at home. The game is scheduled to take place on Saturday 10 January 2004 and the winners will receive £4,000 in prize money. The draw in full is:

Telford United v Alfreton Town/Vauxhall Motors
Shrewsbury Town v Morecambe
Altrincham v Runcorn FC Halton
Scarborough v Stafford Rangers
Lancaster City/Hednesford Town v Gresley Rovers
Leigh RMI v Stalybridge Celtic
Blyth Spartans v Harrogate Town/Barrow
Chester City v Halifax Town
Burton Albion v Accrington Stanley
Marine v Northwich Victoria
Rossendale United/Guiseley v Worksop Town
Hucknall Town v Whitby Town/Bradford Park Avenue
Burscough v Tamworth Bishop’s Stortford v Aldershot T
King's Lynn v Chippenham Town/Basingstoke Town
Gravesend & Northfleet v Weston-super-Mare
Dorchester Towm v Margate
Havant & Waterlooville/Folkestone Invicta v Stevenage Borough
Hornchurch v Aylesbury United/Grays Athletic
Hendon/Kettering Town v Woking
Exeter City v Hereford United
Marlow v Ford United
Barnet v Dover Athletic
Forest Green Rovers v Sutton United
Histon v Swindon Supermarine/Maidenhead United
Cinderford Town/Lewes v Weymouth/Ashford Town (Middlesex)
Wealdstone v Carshalton Athletic/Thurrock
Canvey Island v Farnborough Town
Hayes v Arlesey Town
Dagenham & Redbridge v St Albans City/Crawley Town
Staines Town v Bath City
Whyteleafe/Worthing v Taunton Town/Yeading
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