Macclesfield Town 1 Chester
Attendance: 2,910 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Curtis, Regan; Sent-off: Lowe.
Macclesfield Town: Fettis (Deasy 36), Teague, Morley, Sandwith, Harsley,
Bullock, Whitaker, McIntyre, Navarro, Wijnhard, Parkin. Subs not used: Miles,
Townson, Briscoe, Smart.
Chester City: Ruddy, Regan, Dimech, Artell, McNiven (Walker 89), Lowe,
Curtis, Drummond, Davies, Blundell (Bolland 85), Richardson (El Kholti 72). Subs
not used: Vaughan, Dove.
Referee: A.Marriner (W.Midlands).
It would have been good to have ended 2005 as it started – with a Chester
victory at Macclesfield. But our Cheshire cousins, who we beat 2-1 on 1 January
2005, didn’t seem keen on helping out our New Year celebrations this
And the scorer of the only
goal of the game had to be former City hero Kevin
McIntyre with a well-taken strike on the edge
of the area, which seemed to get a deflection
as it headed towards the goal. There was still
30 minutes of the game left to play at that stage
and City always looked liked scoring an equaliser,
but the 1,030 travelling Blues fans couldn’t
quite suck it into the net.
Chester had made a lively start
to the match, with Gregg Blundell making his
long-awaited return from injury. Keith Curle
opted to play both Marcus Richardson and Ryan
Lowe, giving plenty of attacking options for
The first 20 minutes saw City
with most of the ball, winning several corners,
just about all of which were taken ‘short’ and
not quite getting the result we saw at Leyton
Orient. The closest Chester came to scoring in
the opening spell was with a Ben Davies strike,
which Macclesfield ‘keeper Alan Fettis
tipped over the bar. There was also a scrambled
shot headed off the Macclesfield line and a couple
of goalmouth headers over the bar.
But perhaps City’s
best chance of the game fell to Blundell half
way through the opening half when he ran onto
the ball and was in a one-on-one with Macclesfield ‘keeper,
Alan Fettis. But Blundell seemed hesitant and
took one touch too many before being tackled
by a chasing defender just as he was about to
pull the trigger.
Richardson and the travelling
Chester fans thought he had made it 1-0 to City
when he headed a Davies cross into the net. But
he leapt at the same time as Fettis and referee
Andre Marriner (a replacement for Matt Messias)
blew for a foul on the ‘keeper.
Richardson was at the centre
of the action not long after when he ran towards
the Macc goal only to collide with the on-rushing
Fettis. The goalkeeper came off worse and play
was stopped for nearly 10 minutes while he was
treated on the pitch. He was later taken to hospital
and treated for concussion. Luckily for the Silkmen,
they had a substitute ‘keeper, young Tim
Deasey, on the bench.
Deasey was a confident replacement
for the well-travelled Fettis and was immediately
called on to make a save from Lowe. Soon after,
the fourth official put up the board indicating
an amazing 10 minutes of injury time. Macclesfield
then had a couple of good chances, with Chester's
defenders being called on to clear the ball away
from close range.
The second half started with
the Silkmen continuing in determined fashion.
on-loan ‘keeper John Ruddy had to make
a good save from Jon Parkin and McIntyre had
been in a perfect place to score when he hit
the ball high and wide.
However, McIntyre had a second
chance when the ball fell to him when he was
totally unmarked on the left-hand edge of the
area. His well-taken strike was goalbound, but
a probable deflection gave Ruddy absolutely no
chance at all.
Clyde Wijnhard, who seemed a threat most of the
afternoon when he wasn’t
being pulled up for being offside, then had a
chance to make it 2-0 with a shot which went
Richardson was replaced by
Abdou El-Kholti on the 72nd minute soon after
he failed to make the most of a good opportunity,
with a poorly struck shot. Chester still continued
to press and Lowe was unlucky to head the ball
wide from close range.
Not long after, Lowe seemed
to take out his frustration with a late tackle
on Andrew Teague in the middle of the park. As
Teague lay writing on the ground, Lowe rushed
to confront the surrounding Macclesfield players.
Marriner showed Lowe a red card and Chester were
down to 10 men with 10 minutes still to play.
It went from bad to worse for
Chester when Blundell pulled up on the 84th minute
with an apparent leg injury. He was replaced
by Phil Bolland, who didn’t
seem like a natural striker. Chester still had
the most of the ball for the closing spell, although
leaving the defence a little exposed as they
Captain Scott McNiven was replaced
by Justin Walker with three minutes to play,
but even if there’d
been another 10 minutes injury time, it didn’t
look like City were ever going to score and Macc
deserved their three points. Happy New Year to
them – let’s
hope they're still around to visit later on in
Cheltenham Town 1
Chester City 0
Attendance: 3,819 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Artel, Regan, Lowe.
Cheltenham Town: Higgs, Gill, Caines, Duff, Armstrong, Melligan (Bird
78), Finnigan, McCann, Wilson, Odejayi, Guinan (Spencer 78). Subs not used: Brown,
Chester City: Ruddy, McNiven, Bolland, Artell, Regan, El Kholti (Rutherford
76), Drummond, Vaughan (Curtis 76), Davies, Richardson, Lowe. Subs not used:
Referee: P.Armstrong (Berkshire).
was to be no Christmas cheer at Whaddon Road as the Blues slipped to a third
successive defeat at Cheltenham Town. Brian Wilson scored the only goal of
the game for the Robins just after the break, and, despite plenty of second
possession City couldn’t break down a well marshaled home rearguard.
City welcomed back Ryan Lowe,
David Artell, Carl Regan and Scott McNiven from
suspension and there was a place in the pre-match
(though not the bench) for Gregg Blundell.
John Ruddy, signed on an extra seven day contract from Everton
on Friday, was soon in the action comfortably catching a John Melligan cross
in front of the 233 travelling supporters housed in the new stand behind the
goal. The Blues had an early chance though Ryan Lowe shot tamely at Shane Higgs
in the home goal after ten minutes.
Once again Ruddy was called into action saving well from
the lively Kayode Odejayi who managed to get in a snap-shot after dispossessing
Regan on the edge of the box. Odejayi again showed his worth glancing a headed
skidding just wide of the far post following a looping cross from a long-throw
Grant McCann missed a good opportunity to open the scoring
on the half hour but he screwed his shot wide after the City defence had failed
City forced a corner though Ben Davies’ poor flag-kick
failed to trouble the home defence who cleared at the near post with ease.
City’s best chances were coming from breakaways and they had two efforts
as the half drew to a close. Firstly Lowe shot straight at Higgs from just
inside the box, and minutes Stewart Drummond was set free by the hard working
Marcus Richardson but couldn't squeeze his shot home.
Two minutes before the break the Blues were awarded a free
kick just outside the box following a push on Lowe. Lowe took the kick himself
only to see a disappointing effort go straight into the wall, the ball rebounded
to Davies who arrowed in a low shot that was heading just inside the near post
before Higgs saved smartly.
The home started the better after the break. Wilson sent
a glancing header agonisingly wide of the back post but minutes later the midfielder
was in the right place to open the scoring. Odejayi swung in a right wing cross
the the edge of the six yard box, Ruddy elected to punch clear through a ruck
of players only to see his effort go straight to Wilson who shot home from
Just after the hour City almost worked an equaliser as Lowe’s
determined mazy run set up Davies who shot just inches wide from 12 yards out.
Paul Rutherford replaced Abdel El Kholti and Tom Curtis replaced Stephen vaughan
as City pressed for an equaliser. Higgs denied Davies twice again from close
At the other end City had Ruddy to thanks for keeping the
score to one as he rushed out to save a one-on-one with his legs from substitute
The last effort of the game fell to Lowe in the dying minutes,
he had his head in his hands after shooting straight at Higgs from just ten
yards and City’s chance of a point had gone.
Chester City 1 Rushden
& Diamonds 2
Attendance: 2,265 Half Time 1-1
Booked: Dimech, El Kholti.
Chester City: Ruddy, Curtis, Dimech, Bolland,
El Kholti, Dove (Curle 68), Vaughan, Drummond, Davies,
Richardson, Rutherford. Subs not used: Walker, Brookfield,
Rushden & Diamonds: Young, Gier, Gulliver,
Dempster, Hawkins, Bell, Savage, Mills, Kelly, Broughton,
O’Grady. Subs not used: Pearson, Burgess,
McCafferty, Okuonghae, Tomlin.
patched-up side couldn’t prevent the Blues
from slipping to their second successive League
Two defeat against Rushden & Diamonds on Saturday
in front of the Deva’s lowest league gate
of the season.
the squad decimated by suspensions and injuries
manager Keith Curle was forced to play the 12
remaining available players. Four injured players,
none of whom could have taken part, were named
on the substitutes bench to prevent the club receiving
John Ruddy started in goal after
finalising his seven day emergency-loan deal on
Friday, and after making seven previous appearances
from the bench Abdel El Kholti made his City league
debut. Paul Rutherford also started.
After an even opening it was
Chester who carved the first opening with former
Diamonds player Craig Dove sending in a shot that
was half saved by Young in the visitors goal,
the ball fell to Ben Davies whose effort was also
However it was Diamonds who
took an early lead after just 11 minutes. Phil
Bolland appeared to have pulled down Drewe Broughton
in the area and the striker duly despatched the
resultant spot-kick to give the visitors the lead.
A well timed interception robbed
Marcus Richardson after the striker had been put
through by Davies. Richardson was at the heart
of the action again just failing to connect to
a Rutherford cross after some neat approach play
by the youngster.
At the other end Ruddy, who
had a four match loan spell at Rushden until last
week, was having a pretty quiet debut, called
on to save from a 25-yard free-kick from David
Davies swung over a couple
of corners and Richardson was pulled up for
on Young before City drew level, like Diamonds
from the spot. Richardson was adjudged to have
been held by Gulliver and Ben Davies confidently
sent Young the wrong was from the penalty spot
to level the score at the break.
The visitors started the second
period by far the brighter and regained their
lead with a bizarre goal after 55 minutes. Phil
Bolland was holding off a challenge from O’Grady
on the edge of the six yard box, with Ruddy advancing
Bolland stuck out a leg and lobbed the ball over
him into the empty net to the disbelief of the
home fans behind the goal.
Curtis cleared a Bell cross,
and Ruddy caught a Chris O’Grady centre
as the visitors pushed for a third. City’s
best chances again fell to lone striker Richardson
who saw an effort from 12 yards blocked in front
of goal. Curle made the only change he could bringing
on his son Tom Curle for Dove.
With the Blues pushing forward
in search of an equaliser Broughton missed a great
change to kill the game shooting way over the
bar when well placed and City’s defence
The Blues’ late final
efforts were reduced to half-chances. Curle saw
a lob-shot easily claimed by Young while Davies
and Richardson also saw efforts saved before the
final whistle brought the game to an end.
Picture © Evening
Lincoln City 3 Chester
Attendance: 3,563 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Richardson, Walker, McNiven, Regan.
Lincoln City: Marriott, McAuley, McCombe, Morgan, Mayo, Kerr, Brown,
Keates, Asamoah, Birch (Robinson 64), Logan Subs not used: Cryan, Ryan, Frecklington,
Chester City: MacKenzie (Brookfield 48), McNiven, Bolland, Artell,
Regan, Lowe, Walker (El Kholti 64), Drummond, Curtis, Davies, Richardson. Subs
not used: Vaughan,
Referee: G.Hegley (Hertfordshire).
fell to their first defeat in seven games as they lost out to a Lincoln side
that was reduced to ten men for the last half-hour. To make matters worse, the
Blues lost goalkeeper Chris MacKenzie with a broken thumb, had manager Keith
Curle ordered from the dug-out and saw Scott McNiven and Carl Regan pick up their
fifth yellow cards, and a one match ban in the process.
Curle opted to stick to the
same starting X1 that had valiantly picked up
three points at Orient in the midweek.
It was the home team who were
first out of the blocks, Scott Kerr shooting
well over from long-range in the opening five
minutes and a few minutes later Asamoah shot
just wide when well placed.
Logan beat the City offside
trap to race clear, pulled the ball back to Birch
but MacKenzie was quickly out to push the ball
out for a corner after ten minutes.
Marcus Richardson, back on
one of his old stamping grounds, was booked for
a foul on Paul Mayo.
After 20 minutes Ben Davies
earned a free-kick in a dangerous position outside
the box after being fouled by Gary Birch. Ryan
Lowe took the kick that was deflected for a corner
that came to nothing.
The Imps went close again with
Jamie McCombe heading wide following an inswinging
corner as the home side looked to press home
the advantage their possession was bringing them.
City's best chance of the half
came late on as Richardson headed straight at
the home keeper Marriott after a good cross from
Phil Bolland did well to clear
a Dean Keates cross with Logan looking to pounce
and in the last action of the half MacKenzie
was called into the action again this time having
to save from Asamoah.
Just after the break MacKenzie
was forced to save from the onrushing striker
again but injured his hand in the process. The
injury, later diagnosed as a broken thumb, may
keep the shot-stopper out for up to six weeks.
Fortunately City had reserve‘keeper Ryan
Brookfield on the bench and he was called on
to make his League debut.
Minutes later City took the
lead. Stewart Drummond sent Richardson through
and he drove a great shot across Marriott to
score against his former club much to his, and
the 211 travelling fans, delight.
Things were looking better
for the Blues when, on 58 minutes, Lincoln were
reduced to ten men following the dismissal of
Dean Keates who seemed to strike out at Ryan
However, ten minutes later
the home side were level. Brookfield could do
little about the goal as Logan smashed the ball
home. Nat Brown headed on a Kerr free-kick and
with the ball bouncing around before Logan pounced.
Two minutes later and the ten
men were in front. Curtis was adjudged to have
fouled Mayo in the box and referee Hedgley pointed
to the spot. Mayo converted the penalty to give
the Imps the lead.
Minutes later City thought
they’d earned a spot-kick themselves as
McAuley appeared to handle a Lowe shot in the
area. Hedgley waved away City’s appeals,
and Keith Curle was ordered from the dug-out,
as words were exchanged with the officials.
With time running out, and
City pushing forward for the equaliser, Lincoln
added a third goal in added-on time as Asamoah
raced clear of David Artell, rounded Brookfield
and slipped the ball into the empty net.
Picture © Evening
Leyton Orient 0 Chester
FA Cup Round Two
Attendance: 3,463 Half Time 0-1
Booked: McNiven, Drummond, Curtis, Regan, Artell, Lowe, Davies.
Leyton Orient: Garner, Barnard (Carlisle 72), Zakuani, Lockwood, Simpson,
Easton, Saah, Keith (McMahon 79), Tudor, Ibehre (Steele 65), Alexander. Subs
used: Abbey, Hanson.
Chester City: MacKenzie, Regan, Bolland, Artell, McNiven, Walker (El
Kholti 45), Davies, Curtis, Drummond, Lowe (Dove 89), Richardson (Dimech 68).
not used: Vaughan, Brookfield.
Referee: J Singh (Middlesex).
was a determined, dogged performance from City who came away from Leyton Orient
with all three points to close the gap on their London promotion rivals to a
single point, and move up to fourth spot in the process.
Still without the services of strikers Michael Branch and
Gregg Blundell, Marcus Richardson shook-off a hamstring injury to partner Ryan
Lowe up front. Meanwhile Phil Bolland replaced Luke Dimech at the centre of
the defence, the Maltese international taking a place on the bench.
Set in a stadium undergoing some impressive looking redevelopment,
it was Richardson who spurned the first chance of the night inside the opening
five minutes, his shot being turned round the post for a corner by Garner.
Ben Davies’ flag-kick was cleared for another corner that was eventually
dealt with comfortably by the home defence.
However the home side, playing on the back of a 12 match
unbeaten run, soon got into their stride using both their wingers and overlapping
full-backs, Shane Tudor and Joe Keith, to great effect stretching City’s
defence to the limit.
MacKenzie was called into action on numerous occasions, the
best early efforts coming from Alexandra, who should really have done better
after pouncing on a mistake from skipper Scott McNiven and an overhead kick
attempt from Barnard that was blocked by a City defender.
The Blues were forced on the back for for almost the entire
first half, anything they could muster up front came in the form of a break
away and as much as Richardson and Lowe ran their socks off the home defence
seemed to cope comfortably with any threat.
MacKenzie, playing against one of his former clubs, saved
from Ibehre, Easton shot over and at least two goal-bound efforts were blocked
as City socked up continual pressure.
With half-time approaching the
all-important breakthrough came against the run
of play. Ben Davies took a short corner routine,
the ball came back to him from Justin Walker and
he whipped in a near post cross that was glanced
home by Drummond who’d lost his marker in
the six yard box.
After the break Abdou El Kholti was brought on for Justin
Walker but it was referee Jarnail Singh who was at the centre of the action
producing three yellow cards for Drummond, Tom Curtis and Carl Regan in as
many minutes after the restart.
MacKenzie was once again called in to save from Easton before
City had a great chance to double their lead, Ryan Lowe beat the offside trap
to break down the left, one-on-one with Garner he saw his first effort saved
from close range before taking the rebound wide and shooting into the side-netting.
Tudor forced another save from MacKenzie and in one nervy
ten second spell Easton hit a post, the ball rebounded out for MacKenzie to
make a great goal line save and then push the second follow-up effort round
the post to safety.
The home side brought on three subs including ex-Shrewsbury
Lee Steele as they continued to batter at City’s defence. The Blues brought
on an extra defender in Dimech (for Richardson) and ended the match with no
strikers as Craig Dove replaced the hard working Lowe.
McMahon. Steele and Alexandra all saw efforts cleared in
one way or another and despite Referee Singh added
six minutes of added time the Blues defence, cheered
on all night by their 184 followers, held firm for
three priceless points.
Chester City 3 Nottingham
FA Cup Round Two
Attendance: 4,732 Half Time 1-0
Chester City: MacKenzie, Regan, Artell, Dimech, McNiven, Curtis, Drummond,
Walker (Vaughan 75), Davies (Dove 81), Lowe, Richardson (El Kholti 70). Subs
not used: Bolland, Brookfield.
Nottingham Forest: Gerrard, Thompson, Cullip (Pittman 17 (Gardner 67)),
Morgan, Curtis, Southall, Perch, Holt, Bopp (Bastians 52), Johnson, Taylor. Subs
not used: Eaden, Pedersen.
Referee: L.Mason (Lancashire).
City progressed through
to a third round tie at either Cheltenham Town
or Oxford United after a comfortable win over
their League One opponents at Deva Stadium.
With the pitch taking rain for
several days, groundsman Gary Kent did a tremendous
job in getting the heavy pitch into a playable
condition for the match that attracted a near
Marcus Richardson recovered
from his hamstring injury in time to lead the
line with Ryan Lowe, while Tom Curtis replaced
injured skipper Michael Branch.
City had the better of the limited
chances in the first period. Richardson scuffed
a shot across goal and Scott McNiven blazed over
as he capitalised on a poor clearance.
The visitors were forced into
an early change with Danny Cullip, who appeared
to injure himself stretching for a ball, being
replaced by Jon-Paul Pittman. It was Pittman who
was to have the only chance for the visitors in
the opening period, when his close range header
on 32 minutes went straight to Chris MacKenzie.
Five minutes later break City
broke the deadlock.
A neat back-flick from Carl
Regan to prevent the ball from going out for a
Forest throw set-up Stewart Drummond who launched
the ball down the right for Richardson. The big
striker outpaced his marker to drag a cross back
for the onrushing Lowe whose snap-shot hit the
post and rebounded back into his path. Before
he could slot the ball home, he was clattered
to the ground by Gary Holt who received a red
card for his troubles. Lowe sent Gerrard the wrong
way from the spot and City took a one-goal lead
Five minutes after the break
the Blues doubled their lead. With the Forest
defence pushing up for offside, Curtis flicked
an inch perfect through ball over the top. For
once the linesman’s flag stayed down as
Lowe rushed through on the left, he took a couple
of touches to control the ball before firing past
Gerrard at the near post.
On 55 minutes City put the
result beyond doubt. Ben Davies set up Richardson
whose mis-hit shot across goal sneaked its way
past Gerrard at the far post to signal a mass
exit of hundreds of disgruntled away fans behind
the goal, as the City players celebrated in a
mass pile at the corner flag. Richardson emerged
with the top of his head covered in the while
line marking paint to the chants of “Cisse
Cisse” from the home fans!
The Blues made three changes
during the remaining period as they killed the
game off Stephen Vaughan, Craig Dove and Abdel
El Kholti all joined the action replacing Marcus
Richardson, Ben Davies and Justin Walker all
of whom received a generous ovation from the
travelling contingent that had remained.
MacKenzie, called into
action a couple of times, did well to hold
a swirling cross under the crossbar and was
on hand twice to punch corners away as Forest
looked for a consolation but this was to be
City’s day who for the second season
running move into round three.