30 December 2005
BLUNDELL RARING TO GO
signing Gregg Blundell is expected to be
squad for City’s Cheshire derby at Macclesfield Town tomorrow (15:00hrs).
The striker who notched six goals in his first seven games for the Blues has
missed the last ten League outings through a three month injury injury but is
on his return.
Blundell said: “Hopefully I can get back in and start chipping
in with a few extra goals. I owe the lads in the team a few. I’ve been
long time so even if I was just to get five minutes I would be delighted.” Blundell
appeared on the pitch with the rest of the squad prior to the Cheltenham game
but manager Keith Curle decided against naming him in the starting squad at
City will be looking to bounce back
from a run of three straight defeats that has seen
them slip to eighth
in League Two, a point behind Wrexham who currently
occupy the last play-off spot in a very tight group
at the top end of the table.
Opponents Macclesfied will
have been buoyed by a 6-0 thrashing of neighbours
County in their last outing on Boxing Day that lifted
them to 20th place. They have a good home record
with five wins and six draws in their 13 matches.
Blues manager Keith Curle believes Macclesfield will
prove strong opposition tomorrow. He said: “I
think Macclesfield are in a false position in the
league table and I think their 6-0 win against Stockport
County proved that. They are showing good form and
it will be a very difficult place to go and get a
Goals from Stewart Drummond and
a scorcher from Kevin Ellison brought a 2-1 victory
in monsoon conditions at
Macc on our last visit at the start of the year.
problems off the pitch threaten the future of the
east Cheshire side. The Silkmen must find around £300,000
buy the end of January after the club was fined £62,000
by the FA in regard to the spending of funds for
previous owners. They were also ordered to pay back
£195,000 to the Football Foundation, and must also
pay costs on their hearing. Expect a bucket collection
to be staged tomorrow by supporters
the club continue
to raise funds to pay the fine.
Picture © Evening
CHELTENHAM CUP TICKETS
The FA Cup game at Cheltenham
Town on 7 January is NOT all-ticket however discounted
adult tickets can be bought in advance from the Deva.
Advance seat prices are £15 (adult), £12
(conc) and £7 (under-16).
Tickets can be bought after Monday’s home game
against Oxford United and from the ticket office between
10:00-16:00 for the remainder of next week. Note that
there is no discount available on the concession and
28 December 2005
Today’s home game with Wrexham was
to a frozen pitch. An inspection at 09:30 left referee Scott Mathieson with
no choice but to postpone the eagerly awaited clash as the overnight frost
the pitch. As yet no date has been set for the rescheduled fixture. Existing
tickets will be valid for the new date – no refunds are being offered
by the club.
CURLE LOOKING FORWARD TO DERBY DAY
Keith Curle is looking forward to his first Chester-Wrexham derby tomorrow.
Saturday’s defeat at Cheltenham Town
saw the Blues slip two places in League Two and below their Welsh rivals
whose 2-1 win over Rochdale lifted them to sixth place.
Despite having plenty of
second-half possession, the Blues failed to really test home keeper Higgs and
lost out to
a goal four minutes after the break when John Ruddy could only punch a cross
from the lively Odejayi straight to Brian Wilson, who drilled the ball home
from 12 yards. The Blues will be hoping for better in a little under two weeks
time when they revisit Whaddon Road for their third round FA Cup tie.
of the Wrexham match Curle told the Evening Leader: “The derby match
was mentioned after our defeat at Cheltenham – we’re going to
go out against Wrexham with our heads held high. The Wrexham match provides
us with a great opportunity to bounce back in front of a full house. The
players will need a positive mental attitude. I want my players to go out
thinking and believing they are going to score the winning goal and do their
best. I know we’ve been beaten in our last three games – but
that all goes out of the window when we go out for a derby game. I’m
relishing tomorrow’s match because it will be the first time I will
see a full house at Chester and I want to be part of it.”
Picture © Evening
FANS URGED TO ARRIVE EARLY
are urged to arrive in plenty of time for tomorrow’s
derby match against Wrexham at Deva Stadium.
Turnstiles will open at 10:00, two hours ahead of the noon kick-off and with
traffic restrictions in place on Sealand Road and Bumpers Lane fans are
advised to park-up
early and walk to the ground. Once the car park at the ground is full, parking
near the stadium will be very restricted and with the nearby Greyhound Shopping
Park expected to be busy traffic chaos looks likely.
Pubs, bars and supermarkets
have been asked not to start selling alcohol until
in an effort to
cut down the potential for crowd disorder away from
the ground that has marred the fixture on recent
There will be a large police presence in the city tomorrow
as officers from across the Cheshire Constabulary’s
Western Division, the Area Support Group, and the
Police Specialist Support Unit will be in attendance.
Inspector Geoff Williams of the
Chester police said: “We have long-standing true
fans who have a right to enjoy
the match without the worry of fights breaking out, and
we’ll do everything in our power to make sure
the safety of others is not put at risk.”
Merry Christmas and
a Happy New Year to all our
RUDDY EXTENSION AGREED
Goalkeeper John Ruddy has had
his loan period from Everton extended by a further
seven days. The club
wrote to the Football League earlier in the week and
forseen any problems after having independent medical
confirmation that both Chris MacKenzie and Ryan Brookfield
are unfit to play.
City will welcome back four players
for the Boxing day match at ninth placed Cheltenham
Town. Ryan Lowe, Scott McNiven, Carl Regan and David
Artell are all available again after serving one match
bans last Saturday. There’s good news on the
injury front with Gregg Blundell, Michael Branch
Walker all returning to light training this week after
YOUTH ALLIANCE CUP
City’s Youth Alliance Cup
third round home match against Burnley that was postponed
recently has been rearranged for Wednesday 25 January
20 December 2005
Chester’s ticket allocation
for the forthcoming derby game against Wrexham on
December has now completely sold out. With the visitors
also set to dispose of their allocation
a capacity crowd will be expected for the match that
will kick-off at noon.
With two end blocks of seats
in the main stand being used for segregation the crowd
will be in the region of 5,400 for the first home League
encounter with Wrexham since 30 October 1994. On that
occasion a Gary Hackett goal brought the Blues
a 1-1 draw in
BLUES KEEN TO KEEP RUDDY
City have written to the Football
League for permission to extend the seven day loan
spell of Everton goalkeeper John Ruddy. With Chris
MacKenzie out for several weeks, and Ryan Brookfield
sidelined with a hamstring injury, the club will be
looking for a loan spell that covers the Christmas
and New Year piriod of four games.
19 December 2005
PATCHED UP CITY
SLIP TO SIXTH
Blues sipped to sixth after Saturday’s 2-1 home
defeat by Rushden & Diamonds. Despite missing ten first
teamers through suspension
and injury City will probably count themselves unlucky
not to come away from the match with a point.
Blues fell behind to a penalty after Phil Bolland brought
down Drewe Broughton in the box, the striker picking
himself up to score from the spot-kick. City drew level,
also with a penalty after Marcus Richardson had been
impeded. Ben Davies took on the responsibility and
sent Young in the visitors goal the wrong way. Diamonds
winning goal came nine minutes after the break as Phil
hooked the ball over debut ‘keeper John Ruddy into
his own net, while attempting to hold off Chris O’Grady.
Keith Curle was full of praise for the side he put
was an easy selection this week – if they were
the lads that came in did extremely well. This sort
of situation always gives players an opportunity to
shine, and one or two of them did just that. Fortunately
we will have our four suspended players back for the
Boxing Day game at Cheltenham, and hopefully Justin
Walker who was injured today may also be available.”
Picture © Evening
YOUTH TEAM DEFEAT DALE
The youth team fought back from
being 2-1 down to defeat Rochdale 5-2 at home on Saturday.
City’s goals came from James Wilson, Mark Cadwallader,
Adam Wade and a brace from Chris Holroyd.
fixtures | Youth
stats | Youth
16 December 2005
CITY SIGN RUDDY ON LOAN
have signed Everton goalkeeper John Ruddy on an emergency
in time for tomorrow’s home League Two game
against Rushden & Diamonds. Regular goalkeeper
Chris MacKenzie broke a thumb last Saturday
choice Ryan Brookfield is struggling with a hamstring
Ironically 19-year-old Ruddy was recalled by
the Toffees last week from his loan spell with
opponents, where he made four appearances. The former
Cambridge United shot-stopper has also had a five
game loan spell at Walsall since his £250,000
transfer to Everton in May.
On City’s efforts to draft
in a keeper manager Keith Curle told TeamTalk: “It
was touch and go but Tony Allan
all the stops. When he went to Walsall earlier this
season we were one phone call away from bringing
in then so he is someone we’ve known about and monitored.”
For tomorrow’s game City may
well have up to ten players missing. As well as MacKenzie
and Brookfield, David Artell, Ryan Lowe, Scott McNiven
and Carl Regan are all serving one-match bans after
recently receiving their fifth yellow cards of the
season. Gregg Blundell is still suffering with a haematoma,
while Michael Branch and Sean Hessey both have a knee
injuries. Justin Walker is another absentee with a
hamstring injury while Phil Bolland and Tom Curtis
have been struggling with flu.
Rushden currently lie 22nd in
league Two with just one away victory to their name,
a 1-0 victory at Mansfield Town on 9 August. The sides
met a week later with Ryan Lowe opening the scoring,
then being sent-off, in a 1-1 draw at Nene Park.
Sadly the club are mourning the loss of their club
secretary Dave Joyce who died today. He’d
been with the club since its formation in 1992 with
the merger of Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds.
WREXHAM TICKETS ON SALE TODAY
The club officially announced
last night that tickets for the forthcoming home game
with Wrexham on 28 December will go on sale today at
Deva Stadium between 12:00 and 19:00, and after the
game against Rushden & Diamonds tomorrow. Season
Ticket holders need not apply and will be admitted as
usual. Those applying for tickets must take with then
a recent utility bill in case a proof of residence is
required. The all-ticket
match will kick-off at 12:00.
13 December 2005
CUP EXIT FOR YOUTH TEAM
The youth team
lost 2-0 at home to their Youth Alliance League
rivals Wigan Athletic in the third round of
the FA Youth Cup in front of a crowd of 240
at Deva Stadium tonight.
The visitors took advantage
of a mistake from the ‘keeper to open
the scoring just before the break and doubled
their advantage from the penalty spot ten minutes
into the second period.
Chester City: Lake, Potter, Wilson (Newton 63),
Roberts, Kelly, Scales (M.Humphreys 70), Carroll
(N.Humphreys 67), Morgan, Cadwallader, Linford,
Wade. Subs not used: Rowlands, Armstrong.
the eye – players who progressed
from the youth to first team.
CITY TRAVEL TO CHELTENHAM
City will play League
Two rivals Cheltenham Town in the third round of the
FA Cup after The Robins won their second round replay
2-1 at Oxford United tonight. The game will take place
at Whaddon Road on Saturday 7 January. As well as a
place in the fourth round, the winners of the tie will
receive £40,000 in prize money. Before then of
course the two sides meet in the League on Boxing Day.
12 December 2005
acting-skipper Scott McNiven (left) and Carl Regan picked
up their fifth bookings of the season at Lincoln City
and the FA website confirms that both will be banned
from Saturday’s home League Two match against
Rushden & Diamonds. They will join the already suspended
Ryan Lowe and David Artell in the stands for their one
match suspension. With Gregg Blundell, Sean Hessey and
Michael Branch injured City’s small squad will
be fully utilised on Saturday.
Also missing will be goalkeeper Chris MacKenzie who
broke a thumb when saving at the feet of Derek Asamoah
and had to retire. He’s expected to be out for
up to six weeks. MacKenzie was replaced at Sincil Bank
by reserve ‘keeper Ryan Brookfield for the last
43 minutes. Brookfield also picked up an injury to a
Manager Keith Curle will be busy trying to arrange a
replacement for Mackenzie before Saturday’s game
at the start of a busy festive period that sees four
games in eight days against Cheltehnam Town (A), Wrexham
(H), Macclesfield Town (A) and Oxford United (H).
Manager Keith Curle called on the fans to lift the team
on Saturday: “I’ve got nine players out
through injuries and suspensions, so I need the people
of Chester to turn out and get behind their team. It’s
true that we’re on the ropes at the moment and
we’re down to the bare bones, so we need our extra
man – we need to know that we have the people
of the city behind us. We’ve definitely got our
backs against the wall, but there is a determination
within the football club and we’ll be giving it
everything when we face Rushden on Saturday.”
Picture © Evening
YOUTH TEAM DEFEAT
The Youth Team were beaten
3-2 at Wigan Athletic on Saturday, Chris Holroyd and
Robert Marsh-Evans had given City a two goal lead.
fixtures | Youth
stats | Youth
RESERVE MATCH OFF
The reserve match scheduled
at Blackpool on Wednesday has been postponed due to
an unfit pitch.
RYAN MISSES OUT
Dave Mulligan has booked his place at The FA Cup final
after winning the ‘Player of the Round’
award for the Second Round of the competition.
After a week of voting Dave scooped
the award, receiving 33 per cent of the 53,000 votes
cast on The FA.com. Closely chasing Mulligan for most
of the week was Chester’s Ryan Lowe who ended
with 22 per cent of the vote.
Mansfield Town’s Richie
Barker with 21 per cent, Tamworth’s Matt Redmile
with 15 per cent and Stevenage Borough’s Alan
Julian with 9 per cent were also in the running for
9 December 2005
CITY LOOK TO EXTEND
take their six-match unbeaten run to Lincoln City tomorrow.
The Imps lie in 18th with 22 points (11 behind City)
and have gone six matches without a win.
The players have been suffereing with a bug this week
that threatens to leave several players including Justin
Walker, acting captain Scott McNiven, Carl Regan and
Abdou El Kholti with late fitness tests.
One player who will be relishing a return to Sincil
bank will be Marcus Richardson (left). The big striker,
currently playing with a slight hamstring strain, played
45+11 times for the Imps scoring 14 goals in the process
Manager keith Curle was full of praise for the strikers
efforts over recent games. “Marcus could be fitter.
He’s done tremendously well. He’s only been
able to play at 95 per cent, he’s not been able
to fully extend himself. He’s had to play slightly
within himself in the last couple of games. But I’ve
always given him the option to play and he’s always
put his name forward.”
Picture © Evening
GAME STAYS AT CHESTER
Chester’s home game with
Wrexham on 28 December will go ahead at Deva Stadium
with a 12:00 kick-off as planned. The Football League
have turned down the request of the chairman Steve Vaughan
to move the fixture to Halton Stadium, Widnes, frustrated
at the early kick-off time imposed on the game.
spokesman told the Chronicle: “Our view is that
we do not believe it is practical and certainly not
appropriate from a competition point of view. There
were a whole range of issues, including the fact the
same police force would have been involved if the match
was played at Widnes.”
8 December 2005
MATCH SWITCH DECISION
Steve Vaughan is waiting to hear a response from the
Football League after he enquired about switching the
forthcoming home match against Wrexham nearly 20 miles
away to Halton Stadium, home of Widnes Vikings rugby
league club. Vaughan recently bought shares and joined
the board at Widnes.
Vaughan told the Daily Post: “There is now an
irritating wrangle over disputed ground rental, and
quite frankly enough is enough. We now have identified
a forward-looking council nearby, who do want a Football
League club in their community, and we are giving it
serious consideration. Whatever happens, groundwise
in the next few months, the future of the football club
is assured. Everything we are investigating is being
done so that our supporters don’t suffer.”
Vaughan went on to tell the Daily Post that an attempt
to move the entire club in the future to Widnes was
being given “serious consideration”. This
will set alarm bells ringing with City supporters, who
will no doubt see this as the thin end of the wedge,
should the move to switch the game to Widnes be sanctioned.
Picture © Evening Leader
7 December 2005
POINTS FOR DOGGED CITY
Blues moved up to fourth spot in LeagueTwo tonight after
a 1-0 victory at fellow promotion chasers Leyton Orient.
Stewart Drummond scored the all-important goal on the
stroke of half-time as he headed home from following
a short corner routine.
The Blues had been under the cosh for most of the opening
period and had goalkeeper Chris MacKenzie, and some
wayward Orient finishing to thank for keeping the score
level until Drummond’s opener. The home side actually
mustered 30 attempts on goal during the frantic 90 minutes.
Ryan Lowe missed a glorious chance to double the lead
soon after the break, shooting wide from a narrow angle,
but it took the woodwork, on more than one occasion,
and a dogged defence to preserve the lead through the
rest of the half (including six extra minutes!) and
extend City’s unbeaten run to six matches.
Keith Curle said after the victory: “I am very
proud of the players because we had to dig deep. Not
only did they have to move around, but they also had
to find an extra half a yard – and they did. There
is a lot of mental toughness in our dressing room and
I said at the beginning of the season that that was
something we needed to build on.”
City picked up seven yellow cards
last night. and with that will come a probable FA fine.
Both Ryan Lowe and David Artell picked up their fifth
bookings of the season and will, according to the FA
website, miss the home game against Rushden & Diamonds
as a result.
6 December 2005
BACK TO LEAGUE
ACTION FOR CITY
It’s back to League Two
action tonight for the Blues who travel to the capitol
to play Leyton Orient. The O’s currently lie in
third place, four points above City, and have won four,
drawn three and lost three at home this season. City
will give a late fitness test to striker Marcus Richardson
who aggravated a hamstring injury in Saturday’s
cup win over Nottingham Forest. Definitely ruled out
thorough injury are Michael Branch, Gregg Blundell and
Orient also have selection problems and will be without
both Justin Miller and Jon Mackie.
VOTE FOR RYAN
Lowe has been nominated as one of five players on the
shortlist for the FA Player of the Round following his
two goals Saturday’s 3-0 win over League One outfit
The other four players nominated are: Tamworth defender
Matt Redmile, Stevenage Borough ‘keeper Alan Julian,
Doncaster Rovers’ Dave Mulligan and Torquay United’s
on-loan defender, Adam Lockwood. The player with the
most votes will become the FA Cup ‘Player of the
Round’ and will win £1000 worth of UMBRO
football kit for a local school, club or organisation.
He will also receive an engraved silver salver.
The winning player will automatically join The FA’s
Team of The FA Cup, guaranteeing VIP attendance at the
125th FA Cup final at the new Wembley stadium, on May
4 December 2005
CITY DRAWN AWAY
The Blues will face League Two
opposition in the third round of the FA Cup after they
were drawn away to either Cheltehham Town or Oxford
United. The two sides drew 1-1 at Whaddon Road at the
weekend and will replay at Oxford on 13 December. The
third round tie will take place on the weekend of 6/7/8
January 2006. Prize money for the tie is £40,000.
3 December 2005
CITY CUT DOWN FOREST
goals from Ryan Lowe and a third from Marcus Richardson
(left) brought City a deserved FA Cup second round victory
over League One side Nottingham Forest.
The game, played in front of nearly 5,000, hinged on
a 12 minute period either side of the interval as City
took the lead through a Lowe penalty following a red
card to Gary Holt on 38
minutes, and doubled their lead through the same striker
five minutes after the break. Richardson added a third
on 55 minutes to put the game beyond their illustrious
opponents who rarely troubled Chris MacKenzie all afternoon.
The draw for the third round will take place today at
15:00 live on BBC1 following the live televised game,
City will be ball number 64. Manager Keith Curle said
he would “be happy with anyone at home”.
Picture © Evening
DEFEAT FOR YOUTH TEAM
The youth team suffered a heavy defeat on Saturday morning
when the went down 7-2 at Oldham Athletic. Goalscorers
for the Blues were Chris Holroyd and Mark Cadwallader.
The team are next in action on Saturday when they travel
to Wigan Athletic for a Youth Alliance League game.
The following Tuesday, 13 December, they entertain Wigan
at Deva Stadium in the third round of the FA Youth Cup.
2 December 2005
CITY PLOT CUP SHOCK
will be a near-capacity crowd at the Deva tomorrow as
Nottingham Forest make their first trip to Deva Stadium
in the second round of the FA Cup. There are a few tickets
left which are on sale today at the club.
Manager Keith Curle will be forced into at least one
change from the side that beat Peterborough United last
weekend as striker Michael Branch is ruled out with
a knee injury and Marcus Richardson is struggling with
a hamstring injury. However, both Phil Bolland and Tom
Curtis are available after missing the weekend’s
3-1 success through suspension.
Forest, who’ve won the competition
on two previous occasions, will be without skipper
Ian Breckin and Jack Lester who were both sent of
in last weekends 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield Town,
while new signing from Wycombe Wanderers Nathan Tyson
The last time the sides met was
back in 1988/89 when Forest thrashed the Blues 6-0
and 4-0 over two legs in the League Cup, a competition
they went on to win in that season.
The two side have also met once
before in the FA Cup back in 1935 at the third round
stage, when Forest ran out 4-0 winners at Sealand
Road in front of 13,127 spectators.
The prize money on offer to the
winner tomorrow is £24,000.
Click for larger picture.
1 December 2005
VAUGHAN AND CURLE
reported in this morning’s Daily Post that City
chairman Steve Vaughan is to hold talks with Keith Curle
following yesterday’s speculation linking him
to a possible role at Portsmouth. Vaughan will be desperate
to hold on to his young manager who has steered City
to a play-off position in his first few months at the
club, though he has reiterated that he won’t stand
in the way of Curle should he want to join a Premier
“When Keith was appointed
to this job last spring, we agreed to renegotiate
his contract in December. He has done an excellent
job during his period here which has impressed the
people whose opinions I trust within the club.
The week started disappointingly
with the news linking Keith with Portsmouth; without
creating any false hopes, I can now see a chink of
light and I hope I can persuade him that his future
lies here at Chester City.”
It has been confirmed today that
after speaking to the Portsmouth chairman, Neil Warnock
has decided to stay at Sheffield United. Curle’s
possible move would have involved him teaming up with
Warnock if he became manager at Fratton Park.
Curle, who spoke to Warnock yesterday
told the Evening Leader: “I had a conversation
with Neil Warnock this morning who told me the move
wasn’t right for him. It was never a foregone
conclusion that I was going to go. He did ask me if
I would be prepared to go with him to Portsmouth and
I was flattered to be asked and I did tell him I would
be interested to go with him but that’s as far
as it went.”
Picture © Evening Leader
Youngster Tom Crawford has joined Liam Davies on a one month loan at Leek Town.
|SHOOT-OUT WIN FOR BLUES
Chester progress in the FA Trophy after a penalty shoot-out victory over AFC Fylde.
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