28 December 2004
Rochdale 2 Chester City 2
Attendance: 3,724 Half Time 0-1
Booked: Branch, Belle, Harris.
Rochdale: Gilks, Evans, Griffiths,
Heald, Goodall, Clarke, Jones, Cooksey, Bertos, Holt,
Atieno. Subs not used: Edwards, McGivern, Warner,
Chester City: MacKenzie, Hillier, Bolland,
Bayliss, Hessey (Harris 57), Drummond, M.Brown (Davies
Ellison, Belle (Whalley 82), Branch. Subs not used:
Referee: A.Leake (Leicestershire).
late equaliser from Michael Branch rescued a point for
City just as
it had looked like their excellent first
half performance was not going to bring any festive joy.
buoyed no doubt from the point against league leaders
on Sunday, were quick off the mark producing the
first shot with loan player Michael Brown shooting
high and wide following good work by Paul Carden.
A large noisy travelling support
had only just settled in their seats when the yellows
took the lead on six minutes. Once
again Kevin Ellison was on hand to drill
at the back post after good approach work from
Branch had set up the opportunity. The home side
appealed in vain that Cortez Belle was in an offside
The home side responded swiftly with
dangerman Grant Holt at the heart of their attacks.
Chris MacKenzie, deputising for the injured Wayne Brown,
was well placed to save a long range Atieno effort
as the rain swept down on Spotland.
City enjoyed plenty of possession
but carved few chances as the half continued. Ellison
was inches wide of doubling the lead seven minutes
before the break. A foul just outside the box on the
right signalled a trade mark effort from Ellison, however
the strikers effort curled round the wall and inches
wide of Gilkes’ left hand post.
The home side came out after the
break in determined fashion and should have restored
parity on 53 minutes when Atieno inexplicably headed
over unchallenged from six yards when he found himself
in acres of space from a pinpoint far post Clarke cross.
Manager Ian Rush replaced Shaun Hessey with Andy Harris
soon later but six minutes later Rochdale were level.
Cooksey picked the ball up on half-way
and brushed aside a couple of challenges before unleashing
a low shot, MacKezie saved low down at full stretch
but could only palm the ball into the path of the lively
Bertos who made no mistake from close range.
Five minutes later and The Dale were
ahead. Bertos this time proved to be the provider as
he set up Atieno. The striker cut in from the right
before scoring left-footed past MacKenzie from eight
Ben Davies was introduced at the
expense of Brown as City looked to get back into the
match. In truth it was the home side who looked more
likely to add to their tally as Phil Bolland, who had
a solid game throughout, was on hand to clear one
attack from his own line.
Cortez Belle, who had been booked
earlier for dissent, was substituted for his own good
before he got himself into any more trouble with referee
With six minutes remaining Branch
produced a touch of class to draw the sides level.
The Blues swflty broke from a Rochdale attack, Ellison
sent a perfect through ball for Branch who outpaced
the last defender before clipping the ball over the
There was just time for the home
side to miss a golden opportunity at the death as Atieno
again shot over at the bar post when a last-gasp winner
Chester City 1 Scunthorpe United
Attendance: 3,216 Half Time 1-1
Booked: Bayliss, Ellison, Bolland.
Chester City: Brown (MacKenzie 60), Hillier, Hessey, Bolland, Bayliss,
Drummond, Ellison, Carden, Branch, Belle, Davies (M.Brown 78). Subs not used:
Vaughan, Rapley, Whalley.
Scunthorpe United: Musselwhite, Crosby, Byrne (Stanton
45), Hayes, Torpey, Baraclough, Ridley, Beagrie, Taylor, Butler, Sparrow.
Subs not used: Jackson, Barwick, Parton, Evans.
Referee: A.Woolmer (Northampton).
we approach 2005, I’m beginning to wonder if it really could
be a Happy New Year for Blues fans after City put on an encouraging
Boxing Day display to earn themselves a valuable point against
Two leaders, Scunthorpe.
This was a marked improvement on
the performance at Southend – itself a better
show than the fiery home encounter with Shrewsbury
and the depressing 4-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers. City really
for their point and even showed signs they could have taken
It was Scunthorpe who had the best start,
following an impeccably observed minute’s silence in
memory of former Chester manager,
Harry McNally. There were barely two minutes on the clock when
Cleveland Taylor ran dangerously towards the box from the right
Wayne Brown hesitated before running
out to him. But he didn’t move soon enough and Taylor
was easily able to lay on a perfect
cross for unmarked Steve Torpey. The Iron’s £175,000
striker had no problem finding the net from a couple of yards
with Brownie left
stranded and no defenders challenging him.
But City barely had another defensive lapse
all game and midfielders Paul Carden and man-of-the-match Stewart
Drummond made some
confident challenges and passes throughout the afternoon. It
was as if
the team had made a New Year resolution to confine the ‘hoofball’ to
Chester continued to pressurise the Scunthorpe
half and within 15 minutes, got their reward. Carden passed
the ball to Drummond,
who made an excellent cross which Kevin Ellison had no trouble
home under Scunthorpe ‘keeper Paul Musselwhite.
City were now on the up and kept the momentum
going with a couple of corners soon after, but both were cleared
defenders. Former City player Andy Crosby gave a solid performance
afternoon in the Scunthorpe back-line.
The Humbersiders’ best chance to score
again came when their leading scorer Paul Hayes broke free,
only Brown to beat.
But as the Chester ‘keeper bore down on him, he snatched at
his shot and
it went right past the post. Scunthorpe had another chance
as the first half
drew to a close when they won a dubious free-kick. But justice
was done when
the shot sailed well over the bar.
The second half carried on in much the same vein. Carden had
the chance of a scrappy shot inside the first few minutes and
Michael Branch, who looked off the pace most of the game, was
unlucky to be
caught offside not long afterwards.
A controversial moment came when there was
a break in the play and Scunthorpe’s Torpey decided to
jump up and fall down
as if he’d been pushed by a City defender. He even pleaded
nearby linesman. The officials were having none of it, but
failed to book him
for blatantly feigning a foul.
By this stage the Blues fans were singing
towards the away terrace: “Any old iron, any old iron,
any, any, any old iron?”. The Scunthorpe
supporters must be as amazed to hear that as we are whenever
opposition fans chant: “You’re Welsh and you know you
Chester’s new long-throwing weapon emerged
in this game as loan player Ian Hillier replaced Cortez Belle
as chief chucker.
He made some long throws into the danger area, but none quite
any real scoring opportunities.
With half an hour still to go, Chris MacKenzie came on in
goal for Brown. He must have caught a knock at some stage and
limped his way off the park. MacKenzie put in a solid substitute
apart from a couple of kicks which went straight into touch.
City continued to push ahead and looked most
likely to pick up the three points when Ellison jinked his
way into the Scunthorpe
area. He went down in the box when challenged by a Scunny defender.
I’ve seen many a penalty given in similar circumstances, but
not today and
‘Super Kev’ ended up being booked for protesting.
He had another half chance
to score with a 20-yard strike as Chester carried on pushing
But his shot went over the bar.
Ian Rush made another substitution on the
78th minute when Michael Brown, on loan from Preston North
End, came on in place
on Ben Davies, who’d had another ‘so-so’ game. Brown
looked lively and made
a couple of strong runs into the box.
It still seemed likely City might score in
the dying minutes. Carden was fouled with two minutes to go,
resulting in a booking
for Scunthorpe’s Matthew Sparrow. But the free-kick, taken
by Ellison, was well
from the target.
Even when the linesman signalled there were
just two extra minutes to play, the Blues supporters still
felt there was
chance to score. But it wasn’t to be and as most City fans
to have anticipated
a defeat before the game, it was a reasonable Christmas bonus
away with a point.
If Chester carry on playing like this,
then we can be certain of mid-table obscurity by the end
of January 2005 – and let’s
be honest, the League Two comfort zone was all we would have
when we made our New Year wishes this time last year.
17 December 2004
Southend United 1 Chester
Attendance: 4,837 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Harris, Carden.
Southend United: Griemink, Hunt, Prior, Barrett, Wilson, Pettefer,
Bentley, Maher, Gower (Bramble 66), Gray, Eastwood (Dudfield 71). Subs not used:
Chester City: Brown, Harris, Bolland, Bayliss, Hillier,
Drummond, Carden, Davies (Vaughan 75), Hessey, Belle, Branch (Booth 15
(Rapley 84)). Subs not used: MacKenzie, McIntyre.
Referee: P.Prosser (West Yorkshire).
There’s many a time
I’ve heard Chester fans coming away
from matches grumbling about “defeat
being snatched from the jaws of victory”.
Well, this game was a prime example of defeat
from the jaws of a draw.
As the 100
or so Blues fans trooped out of Roots Hall,
the chat this time was about
the few plus points we’d seen – the
performance of the two Luton loanees,
a couple of top-class saves by Wayne Brown,
Rob Booth’s ability to take opponents
on, the continued consistency of captain
Paul Carden and a solid display
by Phil Bolland. Oh, and there were even
moments when City played the ball
on the deck.
But I’m afraid they
were the only straws of comfort. It really
like we’d gone
out to earn a point and never showed any
chance of getting all three. Aiming for
a draw is a dangerous game to play as was
proved when Southend scored
on the 88th minute, leaving City no time
to get back into the match.
Southend were on top most
of the game and were actually unlucky not
to open their account
in the first 15 minutes when tricky Mark
Gower had a good shot from the
left wing. His shot ricocheted off the inside
edge of the post and City
were lucky the rebound came out to them so
ball could be cleared.
Not long after, Michael
Branch – who is rapidly earning the
nickname ‘sicknote’ – left
the field to be replaced by Rob Booth. I
can only assume Branch was
injured, although he didn’t seem to have
done much at that stage.
It was now down to Booth,
in his white boots, and silver-booted Cortez
Belle to fulfill
City’s scoring ambitions. Tez kept drifting
out to the wing to win the
ball for himself, only to find no one of
to cross the ball to.
And Chester also had to rely on his defensive
skills when he cleared the
ball off the line from a dangerous Southend
By the end of the first
half, the only Chester shots on target had
come from a powder-puff
shot by Ben Davies, which was easily held
by Southend ‘keeper Bart Griemink,
and a Belle header, also caught by the tall
Chester did win an indirect
free kick from close range, after Griemink
held a Southend
back-pass. But without suspended Kevin Ellison,
they didn’t seem to have much
idea how to play it, and Belle powered it
straight at the Southend wall.
A missed opportunity.
Brown had a good half in
the Chester goal – making a couple
of excellent stops and
leaping well to grab the ball at corners.
was a little suspect
again – but it was good to see him performing
confidently. Southend could easily
have made it 1-0 when the ball came to an
unmarked Wayne Gray, who was only
about 10 yards out, but Brown easily caught
Come half-time and the
chilly travelling fans followed signs to
only to enter the ‘visitors family
to find a cheery trio selling
hot brews and burgers – with no sign of an
a la carte menu. Oh
well, we would have happily forgone a three-course
meal for a second half Chester
goal in front of the away end.
But I’m afraid that
wasn’t going to be. Booth had a better
– it is refreshing
to see Chester players prepared to take on
defenders – and seemed the most
likely player to score.
Even Drummond seemed to
be playing with some new-found confidence.
He made a couple
of good runs, but seemed to lose his nerve
at the end and tried to pass the ball
on instead of shooting himself. Carden, who
didn’t put a foot wrong for most
of the game, also made a good run from midfield,
but his strike was parried
by a Southend player.
By now Chester were thinking
their game plan was going to succeed and
point seemed to be heading their way. Davies
tried to do his bit to waste
time with 15 minutes to go by taking what
like two minutes to limp off
the pitch when he was substituted for Stephen
It was then the turn of
another substitute – Tes Bramble, brother
of Newcastle United’s Titus – to make
his mark on the game with
a good chance to put Southend
in the lead with a close range scoring opportunity.
But he shot well
over the bar and perhaps even out of the
Chester’s final substitute,
Kevin Rapley, replacing Booth, made little
impact on the
game. And it was actually another substitute
– Southend’s Lawrie Dudfield
– who ended the travelling faithful’s
hopes of leaving Essex with an unexpected
point in the bag.
came when Andy Harris fluffed a chance to
ball in the
danger area on the left-hand side. The ball
fell perfectly for the Southend number
11 and he had no problem finding the bottom
corner of the net. His partner
gave birth to his baby daughter a few days
ago and he marked the goal with
a ‘cradle-rocking’ celebration.
There were now only two
minutes of normal time left to play and it
was game over for
Chester. They’d not looked like scoring
before now, so it wasn’t going happen
with Southend defending a lead.
Most of the loyal
fans, who’d given up the chance of
a festive drink to travel for hours
to this match, couldn’t even bring
themselves to clap the City players
off the park. It was a definite improvement
on the last two matches – with
Luton loan players Ian Hillier and David
Bayliss fitting in well and making
some decent attempts to pass the ball out
of defence, rather than ‘hoofing’ it
away – but I’m afraid the overall
performance still wasn’t encouraging.
We could be in for a very long Christmas.
City remain in 19th
position in League Two. Latest
11 December 2004
Chester City 1 Shrewsbury
Attendance: 3,219 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Ellison, Rapley, Carden. Sent-off: Ellison.
Chester City: Brown, McIntyre (Davies 58), Harris, Bolland, Hope,
Drummond, Ellison, Carden, Branch, Belle (Stamp 67), Booth (Rapley 45). Subs
not used: MacKenzie, Vaughan.
Shrewsbury Town: Howie, Moss,
Challis (Street 74), Tolley, Tinson, Whitehead,
Langmead, Rogers (Burns 45), Ashton. Subs not
used: Grant, Hart.
was never going to be a pretty game of football
to watch and within minutes both sides had made
their intentions clear. Kevin Ellison and ex-City
Darren Moss were
at each other’s throats like dogs of war
almost from the off.
The game had barely started when
Moss fouled Ellison to earn City a free kick in
the danger area. But
Ellison’s strike struck one of the red-clad Shrewsbury
players and Chester
captain Paul Carden failed to make the most of
The referee had to have words with Ellison and
Moss to try to calm the situation down, but it
was like pouring oil on troubled waters. Within
of the two dugouts,
Moss soon scythed Ellison down with a near waist-high
tackle, earning himself
an instant red card.
were now on the up and piled on the pressure in
the final third of the field.
But it was soon
to see what the referee had in his pocket. First
he was yellow-carded
for a foul on Ryan Lowe, then when the game was
stopped for a
free kick there was a scuffle between most of the
players – even Shrews ‘keeper
Scott Howie ran up field for a piece of the action.
The result was that
Ellison was given a second yellow card and had
off the pitch.
But Chester were still on top,
winning several corners and threatening free kicks
in the latter
stages of the first half. Michael Branch had a
couple of reasonable chances to notch
up the first goal of the game, but his only real
success was in winding
up the full away terrace – they didn’t
seem to have much liking for anyone
who’s ever played for Wolves.
Lively forward Cortez Belle, making his return
from suspension, looked most likely to score when
a 25-yard thunder strike by Andy Harris, playing
right-back for much of the
game, was parried by Howie right into the path
of Belle. An open goal
loomed, although there was a suspicion of offside,
but Cortez somehow missed
the target from about eight yards out.
Young Robbie Booth had one of
his quieter games and when the second half resumed
he had been substituted
by Kevin Rapley. He too soon earned himself a booking
and it was
now Shrews’ turn to pile on the pressure. They
played some excellent football,
leaving Chester rather stranded in the middle of
Before long, Wayne Brown was called into action
when he saved a dangerous low strike, then tipped
another over the crossbar. Chester were looking
distinctly wobbly as Shrews
earned themselves several corners. On the 62nd
minute, City failed to deal
with a dangerous cross and Kelvin Langmead had
no trouble heading the
Anyone who saw Tuesday’s
performance against Bristol Rovers would have assumed
were dead and buried
by now. For most of the remaining second half it
seemed just like
that as Chester seemed to run out of ideas and
tactics. Belle seemed to
have lost his spark and was replaced by Darryn
Stamp – who was given a
great reception on his return from a loan spell
There was soon more drama when
Trevor Challis collapsed over the touchline after
involved in an accidental clash of heads. He was
receiving medical treatment
where he fell – a yard or two outside the
field of play – but Shrews’ boss
Gary Peters wanted the game halted. He ran onto
the pitch twice in a desperate
attempt to attract the referee’s
attention. He had to be restrained
by the fourth official, and the police soon became
involved. Challis was
eventually carried off on a stretcher and the game
stopped for Peters to
replace him with Kevin Street.
The Shrewsbury sub was soon in
the action with a shot on target, which was blocked
by the Chester
defence. Then Brown had to stop another Langmead
effort. Ben Davies replaced
Kevin McIntyre, but he made little impression on
the game. Birthday
boy Stuart Drummond rode a couple of challenges,
make a telling pass into the area. Only Paul Carden
and sponsors’ man-of-the-match
Hope had reasonable games.
But the real drama came in the last
three minutes, as fed-up Chester fans were leaving the
ground in droves. First Rapley had a good shot stopped
by Howie. Then Branch was felled in the area to earn
the Blues a penalty, while O’Connor was red-carded
for his protest over the decision.
Branch stepped up to take it
and his soft-ish shot to the right simply rebounded
off Howie. Chester
failed to make the rebound count to the Shrews’ fans’ delight. But the mood changed in an instant when
blew up for an infringement and
Branch had another chance to take his penalty.
He made no mistake the second
time to earn an unlikely draw for the Blues.
The Shrewsbury team, management
and fans were clearly unhappy with the referee’s
when the whistle blew seconds later they made their
feelings heard. The police
were once more called into action around the dugout
as tempers frayed.
Just a few hours later all this
touchline sniping paled into insignificance with
the news that ex-Chester
manager and footballing legend Harry McNally had
passed away. He’d
have loved a game like this and would have made
his team played with enough
passion to claw back a point in unlikely circumstances.
This game was
hardly a fitting tribute to Harry, but let’s hope
the team do him proud
when they go to Southend on Friday night and in
next home game at
Sue Choularton City remain in 19th position in League Two. Latest
11 December 2004
Chester City Youth 4 Notts County Youth 2
Youth Alliance North Central
Chester City: Brookfield,
Wade (Brown), Carney, Dean, Ventre, Rutherford,
Scales, Whalley, Lynch, Walsh, McCoy (Rollinson).
Chester City started this game
at a good pace and spent the first ten minutes
camped in the Notts Co half, eventually opening
through an own goal put into his own net by a Notts
County defender after excellent work by Shaun Whalley
down the Chester right side. The lead was doubled
by Gavin Lynch who slipped the ball past the Notts
Co goalkeeper after controlling the ball in the
area and beating his marker. At this point it looked
like Chester City were going to win the game comfortably,
however, after 30 minutes of domination Chester
City began to miss tackles and were slow in closing
opponents down, which allowed County to get themselves
back into the game through simply passing the ball
to their team-mates. Half time arrived with Chester
City leading 2-0.
The second half begun where the
first had finished and following some individual
trickery from a Notts
Co player where he managed to work his way past
four Chester City
players, the ball ended at the feet of a Notts
who had a simple
tap in. A minute later County attacked down the
again, and again, following an excellent cut back
County scored their second
and appeared to be the stronger side. To counteract
the Notts County dominance,
a positional change between Shaun Whalley, Mike
Walsh and Paul
Rutherford was made, and as soon as Rutherford
moved to the right of
midfield Chester City began to move forward with
more purpose, and it was Rutherford’s
quality that got the ball into the box and caused
a problem for
the Notts defence that resulted in a handball
a penalty to
City that was dispatched by Gavin Lynch. The lead
was increase five minutes later
with another cutting move down the right side that
ended with Gavin Lynch
scoring Chester City’s
fourth and his third goal with a neat header. The
of the game was seen out by Chester City without
A summary of the game is that
although Chester City could and should have been
out of sight by
half time, the inability to take the amount of
chances created, allowed Notts
County to get themselves back into a game, and
it was only through individual
work that Chester City managed to win the game.
Some of the Chester City
players looked jaded, whilst others appeared to
lose their individual battles
with their direct opponent.
Pluses from the game were
Gavin Lynch’s three goals, Shaun Whalleys
ability to cause problems
in the first half and Paul Rutherford’s second
half contribution down the right side.
7 December 2004
Rovers 4 Chester City 1
Attendance: 5,524 Half Time 2-1
Booked: Ellison, Brown.
Bristol Rovers: Miller, Hinton, Edwards, Elliott,
Lescott, Campbell (Trollope 45), Hunt, Disley, Savage,
Thorpe, Forrester (Agogo 81). Subs not used: Williams,
Chester City: Brown, Vaughan, Hope (McIntyre
69), Bolland, Hessey, Drummond, Carden, Davies (Booth
57), Ellison, Branch, Rapley. Subs not used: MacKenzie,
Referee: P.Joslin (Nottinghamshire).
night at the Memorial Stadium that Chester will
forget. This was City’s first visit to this
stadium since Rovers returned from exile in Bath.
The arena is
a mixture of extremes – swanky new stands
and a marquee-covered family enclosure. One hundred
City fans stood on the only area of uncovered terracing
by one of the corner flags. It was a mild night
didn’t have to worry about being exposed to the elements.
Soon, however, it was Chester’s vulnerability that
was shown up as Rovers swept forward. Brown had already
saved a Forrester free kick comfortably, but when the
tricky forward drifted out to the left and was able to
cut in with ease, the City keeper couldn’t
hold on to his shot from the edge of the area.
up to knock the rebound in and Chester were trailing
only two minutes.
Gradually Chester clawed their way back into
the game and began to gain territorial advantage.
lively and Ellison threatening. But when the
ball landed at the latter’s feet on the edge of the Rovers’ penalty
area it was more by luck than judgement. Nevertheless
Ellison tucked his shot low into the corner of
to give City parity.
The home side were stirred into action again
and won a succession of free kicks within shooting
the area. After one particularly harsh decision
Ellison was booked for kicking the ball away.
the far side, alerted by the baying crowd called
the referee over to report the misdemeanour.
As City's wall lined
up, the referee treated it like an identity parade.
Three City players volunteered to come forward
beckoned but then Ellison – tall and shaven headed,
hardly blending into the background – was
identified as the culprit, booked and the ball
was moved forward
ten yards. Fortunately for City the free kick was
On the stoke of half-time Chester fell behind
to a sucker punch. Forrester raced through on
the left but his touch
was heavy and the ball was going out for a goalkick.
Maddeningly, Brown dived at his feet and gave
him the opportunity to
tangle for a penalty which the referee duly awarded.
Forrester made no mistake with the spot kick.
City rallied well after the break and began to
threaten a second equaliser. Booth came on for
Drummond moved to central midfield. Bolland headed
after Branch’s flick on and despite a couple of
close shaves City couldn’t score when they
needed to. McIntyre replaced Hope and Hessey moved
to the centre of defence.
On seventy minutes it was all up for Chester
clumsy challenge resulted in a free kick in the centre
of City’s half. Brown came to meet the kick
at the far post but did not make contact and Thorpe
an empty net. Three minutes later a now ebulient
Rovers cut City to ribbons down the left and Trollope
at the far post. Former City hero Junior Agogo
to set up a showboating move which resulted in
another (disallowed) goal. Chester forced a flurry
and Drummond headed narrowly wide from one of them
there was to be no consolation goal.
At the end Kevin Rapley came over to remonstrate
with a frustrated City fan who had presumably
him. It was left to a dignified Ian Rush to come
and pour oil on troubled waters.
Before heading home we drank ales from Bath served
in elegant, slender glasses and wondered how
City will react
to a disappointing evening.
4 December 2004
Rotherham United Youth 2 Chester City Youth
Youth Alliance North Central Conference
Chester City: Ryan Brookfield, Mark Cadwallader
(Kenny Rollinson 70), Karl Carney, Mattie Cook (Warren
Ventre, Adam Wade, Wayne Morgan, Mike Walsh, Paul
Rutherford, Kieran Dean (James Scales 60), Dave McCoy.
A depleted Chester City team travelled to Rotherham
having lost Robbie Booth, Ian Lathom, Shaun Whalley
and Gavin Lynch to the first team, however, this
enabled some of
the younger squad players the opportunity to stake
claim for a regular starting
place. Warren Adam from the Centre of Excellence
Under 16 squad
was also drafted in following his impressive display
against Blackpool in the recent
FA Youth Cup match.
The first half was a pretty dour
affair with neither side able to break through the
The only point of note was the injury to Mattie Cooke
after 30 minutes
that resulted in his being replaced by Warren Adam
for his Chester City
debut at this level. It was Adam who opened the scoring
for Chester City
in the 47th minute with a 30 yard shot that appeared
to bounce over the opposition
goalkeeper. For the next 10 minutes Chester City
looking for a second goal and following one attack,
Rotherham picked the
ball up and drove at the Chester defence with quick
that ended with a goal being scored against us.
The game continued with neither
side looking able to score, however, a mistake in
the 60th minute by
a Rotherham defender allowed Adam Wade to take the
ball inside the Rotherham
area and hit the by-line before squaring the ball
to Paul Rutherford who made
no mistake from ten yards. Once again Chester appeared
to be in control
of the game, however, a lack of discipline from James
Scales in the 70th
minute resulted in his receiving the red card from
the referee and from
that point it became a rearguard effort that eventually
resulted in Rotherham
equalizing in the 80th minute. The final ten minutes
was one way traffic,
and in the end Chester were happy to see the game
out as a draw.
The feeling of the management after
the game was one of disappointment, as it was a game
could and should have won, however, losing a player
at a crucial time,
along with a couple of defensive lapses meant that
ended up as a
decent result. Pluses from the game were the continuing
good form of Karl Carney
and Paul Rutherford, and the good debut for Warren
Adam who didn’t look out
of place at this higher level of football.
| Youth league table
Halifax Town 1 Chester
FA Cup Round 2
Attendance: 4,497 Half Time 0-1
Booked: Carden, Hessey, Vaughan, Harris.
Halifax Town: Dunbavin, Bushell, Ingram (Clarke 86), Midgley, Killeen,
Sugden (Ross 57), Quinn, Foster (Blunt 60), Doughty, Howell, Haslam. Subs not
used: Meechan, Chin.
Chester City: Brown, Vaughan, Edmondson
(Rapley 50), Hope, Hessey, Harris, Carden, McIntyre,
Booth (Anaclet 71), Branch (Lynch 90), Ellison. Subs
not used: MacKenzie, Whalley.
Referee: E.Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).
missing four regular first-teamers through suspension,
City came through this tough test at The Shay, comfortably
in the end, to book their place in tomorrow’s
third round draw at the expense of Halifax Town.
With a 15 minute delay to
allow the congested crowd into the stadium, City took
to the field with Michael Branch, apparently recovered
injury, leading the line at the expense of Kevin Rapley
and a starting place for youngster Robbie Booth. New
Southampton loan signing Eddie Anaclet started on the
It was City who were first into the
action in the opening minutes with Booth skipping down
the right and seeing his cross palmed away to safety
Former City player Matt Doughty was
first to show for the visitors, he beat his man on
the wing and saw his cross, intended for ex-Blue Ryan
Sugden, headed away from danger for a corner by Richard
Killeen had the ball in the net for
the home side but the linesman’s flag was already
raised for offside. City’s well-drilled quick
was an effective weapon all afternoon catching the
home forwards, mainly Sugden, on numerous
After a few rash challenges from
both sides had gone unpunished, Paul Carden found
himself in the referee’s
notebook for a body check on Howell.
Wayne Brown did well to keep out
a Quinn effort and, with four minutes remaining in
the first half, City broke the deadlock. Kevin Ellison’s
clever back-heel played in Sean Hessey and his pin-point
left-wing cross was headed home across goal by Branch
into the top right hand corner.
Halifax responded well straight
after the break and almost equalised as Craig Midgeley’s
ran down the right, lost his marker, before seeing
his shot rebounded clear from the right hand post;
seconds later City were two-up. The Blues’ long
clearance sent Branch racing through, he had his
heels clipped in the box by Matt Doughty and referee
Ilderton pointed to the spot. Branch dusted himself
Dunbavin the wrong way from the spot-kick.
Sugden and Hessey found themselves
in the notebook, swiftly followed by Stephen Vaughan
after a flare-up, before the Shaymen pulled a goal
back as Brown failed to hold on to
a Midgeley shot and Neil Ross was on hand a yard
out to score with ease.
Andy Harris went in the notebook
and Booth was substituted by Anaclet
and with 16 minutes remaining Kevin Rapley, who
Darren Edmodson following
Branch’s penalty, restored City’s two-goal
The Blues were awarded a free-kick
just outside of the box. Up stepped Kevin Ellison
who saw his
kick curl around the wall, Dunbavin seemed to have
it covered but couldn’t hold onto the shot
and Rapley just beat the equally-alert Branch to
ball to score City’s third in front of the
Richard Hope almost added a fourth
minutes later as he headed wide from an Ellison
Halifax’s last real
threat came as Midgeley headed over from a corner
minutes remaining. There were four minutes of added
time during which Gavin Lynch replaced two-goal
hero Branch to mark his full debut in a City shirt.