took their three match undefeated run across the county
to Macclesfield Town looking to extend their recent upturn
in form into the new year.
manager Mark Wright was missing the services of midfielder Damien Mozika
a one match suspension, Jay Harris coming into the side who beat Accrington
Stanley 48 hours earlier. Also back in the starting X1 was Shaun Kelly,
recovered from a hamstring injury, replaced Richie Partridge.
The home side, who had shipped four goals in their previous two matches,
fielded two ex-Blues players in their starting line-up, Sean Hessey and
The game was only six minutes old before Macc opened the scoring. A quick
move down the left saw Terry Dunfield slip the ball through to James Jennings
who continued his run before crossing to the far post where Nat Brown, on
loan from rivals Wrexham, headed past John Danby who had no chance in the
City enjoyed plenty of possession during the opening period but were unable
to convert that into chances. It was the home side in fact who almost doubled
their lead as Gareth Evans saw a long range effort just clear Danby’s bar.
At the other end Kevin Ellison did get a run at goal but Jon Brain saw the
danger coming and saved with ease.
Yeo saw a smart effort saved
by Danby and Brown wasted a great opportunity shooting
high and wide when well placed after the City defence
had failed to clear and Evans cross. In their last
real effort of the half Ryan Lowe aw a shot deflected
wide for a corner, but, as happened many times
against against Stanley, City once again failed
The Blues began the second
period brightly and drew level through Lowe on
55 minutes. Ellison’s attempted through ball bounced
of Jennings into the path of Lowe who curled a
great effort past Brain from the edge of the box.
City began to pressure
for a second and Hessey was on hand to clear from
the line after Brain had fumbled a cross. Wright
was forced onto a change on 69 minutes as Ellison
hobbled off with what appeared to be a hamstring
injury, Eddie Johnson took his place up front. Macc
also made changes in attack bringing on Martin
Gritton and Danny Thomas.
The change seemed to spur the home side and Danby
was on hand to save from Gritton when it looked
like the striker was about to restore the home
The second goal came minutes later though as referee
Andy D’Urso pointed to the spot after Kelly
was controversially adjudged to have handled the
ball in the area. It was more a case of the ball
hitting Kelly from close range after Hessey had pulled
a ball back into the box. Evans made no
mistake with the spot-kick.
Brain made a good save to deny Lowe a second equaliser
minutes later as City looked for a quick reply,
but it was the home side who scored six minutes
from time to end any thoughts of a City fight
back. A quick passing move involving three Macc
set up Gritton who steered the ball past Danby
from 12 yards out.
goals from Ryan Lowe and another clean sheet bring three
points against Accrington Stanley.
The Blues’ run of two wins and a draw in their last
three matches has given them a welcome boost ahead of
the busy holiday period that sees games against Macclesfield
Town and Luton Town coming up.
City were forced into a change, defender Shaun Kelly
had a slight hamstring strain and, with two games in
four days wasn't risked. He took a place on the bench
with Richie Partridge taking his place
Stanley will probably think themselves unlucky not
to come away with a point from this encounter, they
squandered several chances, and were denied on three
occasions by last ditch tackles from man-of-the-match
Kevin Roberts before the Blues opened the scoring on
34 minutes through Lowe.
Partridge slipped a pass through to Kevin Ellison on
the left, it looked as though the ball was going out
off a challenge,
cut along the goal line and pulled the ball back for
past Ian Dunbavin from six yards.
The Blues had John Danby to thank for maintaining the
lead at the interval as he pulled off a great save
to tip a free kick
from James Ryan over the angle.
With the game in the balance on the hour mark City
doubled their lead. Ellison sent a through ball for
Anthony Barry on the right, he beat his man and took
the ball towards the near post before being tripped
from behind. Referee Steve Bratt pointed straight to
the spot and
Lowe sent Dunbavin the wrong way to score City’s second.
Danby made a great full length save to push a John
Miles shot onto the foot of the post and out for a
corner as the
City defence backed off.
City had two chances in the closing minutes to
grab a third. Substitute Eddie Johnson almost connected
with a right wing cross but Dunbavin saved at his
feet after initially dropping the centre and moments
later Kevin Ellison turned on the edge of the box and
sent a dipping shot over the Stanley ‘keeper on to the
crossbar and out.
Christmas started early for the 200-plus Chester fans
who cheered on their side to a well-earned point against
League Two high-fliers, Bradford City.
In truth, Chester rode their luck and could have crossed
the Pennines home with nothing to show for their efforts.
But a quality performance from goalkeeper John Danby
made sure the Blues secured their second clean sheet
in a row.
Bradford had most of the game’s attacking play,
with Steve Jones and Omar Daley flying down both wings.
But Chester packed the box when each cross came in,
and most were efficiently dealt with.
In midfield, Chester harried the Bradford players enough
so they made several enforced errors and the Bantams
started getting quite frustrated with one another.
Damien Mozika was actually the best midfield player
on the park – aiming to get past a player each
time he had the ball, and succeeding more times than
not, unless he was fouled in the process.
The nearest Bradford came to scoring in the first half
was when a good Jones cross was cleared from close
to the line by Kevin Roberts. Towards the end of the
half, Danby was called on to make a good save from
a Jones shot.
Kevin Ellison made a ‘Goal of the Season’ attempt
with a shot from near the halfway line when he noticed
Bradford ‘keeper Rhys Evans was off his line.
But it didn’t really come close and nor did a
later long-range effort from Ellison.
Bradford were quick off the blocks in the second half,
with Barry Conlon having a shot that just went over
the bar in the opening spell. This was followed by
a Michael Boulding header that went close, and then
a top drawer save by Danby from another Jones shot.
The action turned to the other end, and Ellison had
another shot that was off range. He had a better opportunity
soon after, but his strike hit Ryan Lowe on the back
and re-bounded out. Chester’s only other serious
attempt came with an overhead kick from Kevin Roberts,
but that went over the bar.
Danby kept Chester in the game when the ball bobbled
around the box in one of those exchanges that, more
often than not, ends with it finishing in the back
of the net. As Danby dived for the ball, his legs kept
it out of the goal.
Bradford carried on pressing right until the end, but
it was that man Danby who saved a shot from Graeme
Lee in the 4th minute of injury time to make sure Chester
got their hard-fought point.
As the City players went over to salute the travelling
fans, it felt like one of those draws that was nearly
as good as a win. Mozika certainly enjoyed the limelight – hugging
and kissing those who came down to congratulate him.
On the strength of that performance, it was as well
the Chester fans made the most of it, as they might
not be seeing much more of him.
Goals either side of the break from Ryan Lowe and Kevin
Roberts gave City both their second win in three matches
and their second clean sheet of the season.
Mark Wright had both Kevin Ellison and Jay Harris available
following suspension and both made the starting X1 while
midfielder Damien Mozika, having recovered from injury
started the game on the bench.
It was the Magpies though that had
the better of the early exchanges and saw a shot from
Myles Weston deflect wide in the opening minutes.
On seven minutes Delroy Facey saw
a goalbound header cleared following a County corner.
Chester hadn’t threatened much
in the opening period, Lowe being ruled offside when
racing onto an Ellison through ball, but on 12 minutes
they took the lead.
A quick passing move involving Ellison
and Anthony Barry down the right set up Ellison who
crossed for Lowe to apply the finishing touch past Russell
Hoult in the visitor’s goal from six yards.
City began to get a grip on the game
and Ellison saw a long-range effort, following a Lowe
pull-back, fizz just wide moments after the goal.
At the other end Roberts did well
to clear a dangerous ball in from Mitch Hanson. Facey
again saw a header cleared as John Danby did well to
claw away his goalbound effort.
Both Ellison and Lowe saw curling
free-kick’s tipped over by Hault and as the half
drew to an end Mark Hughes saw an effort go wide following
a Lowe corner.
Danby was in action soon after the
re-start coming to collect a Weston effort before the
Blues doubled their lead on 50 minutes.
A right wing corner was played back
to Lowe who unleashed a shot on goal from 20 yards;
Hault could only parry the effort and Roberts was on
hand to steer the loose ball home from close range in
front of the delighted City fans.
Just after the hour mark Roberts came
close to claiming his second as he saw an effort from
18 yards curl just wide on the diving Hault.
Notts continued to press and Paul
Linwood almost sliced into his own net as he cleared
a cross from substitute Jamie Forrester.
Mozika replaced Harris with 20 minutes
remaining, freeing up Ellison who took advantage of
his extra space on the right wing when he cleverly beat
Michael Johnson and raced through on goal only to see
Hault again save well.
With the game deep into stoppage
time the visitors were reduced to ten men as Forrester
was shown a straight red card following a late tackle
There was only one way this game could go – not
only did we have someone called “The Gloryhunter”
following our progress until defeat, we were also facing
one Darren Anderton making his final appearance on a football
And I’m afraid Chester, possibly
one of the least “glorious” teams you could
pick to follow, followed the script to the letter with
the ex-England international coming on to turn the game
and score a sizzling 88th minute winner. It could almost
have been an episode from The Dream Team, featuring
Harchester United. Whoops, what am I thinking?
It really is hard to think of much
to report from the first 20 minutes or so. Ryan Lowe
had a strike which was well wide of the target and Bournemouth
had a similar effort, but it seemed largely a case of
two poor teams battling for scraps.
The match livened up a little after
the opening spell and James Vaughan was cautioned on
the 21st minute for a strong challenge on Matthew Tubbs.
Bournemouth also saw a deflected strike saved by John
Danby’s legs as he dived for the ball. But it
seemed pretty clear that this game was heading for 0-0
at half-time, with neither team making a serious threat
As The Gloryhunter did his half-time
interviews, it seemed hard not to agree with this analysis:
“This is the worst game of football I’ve
ever seen”, he said. I told him the second half
would be an improvement and it was – for a neutral.
The second half actually started much
like the first until Chester bought on Richie Partridge
to replace an ineffectual Paul McManus on the 55th minute
and a minute later, Anderton came on to replace Josh
Partridge tried to make an impression
and won a good ball on the right which he pulled across
to an unmarked Lowe. Unfortunately Lowe took more time
than he should over the ball and missed a golden opportunity
for a clear shot on target.
Tony Dinning came on to replace Glenn
Rule on the 63rd minute, making his first appearance
since the home game against Wycombe back on August 16.
But his time on the field was limited as a tussle for
the ball with Danny Hollands on the 81st minute saw
him lash out his arm and get sent off for violent conduct.
The resultant Anderton free-kick came close, and was
a warning for what was to follow.
Bournemouth pressed on, and on just
seven minutes later, a Paul Linwood headed clearance
went straight to Anderton. He showed his class in taking
no time to control the ball and make an unstoppable
strike into the net from 25 yards out. He had stolen
the show, and it was well deserved.
Chester came no closer to scoring
in the dying minutes than they had done all game, and
when referee James Linington blew for time it was ‘hats
off to Sicknote’ and ‘farewell’ to
The Gloryhunter. Unless there’s going to be a
drastic improvement, it’s hard to imagine there
will be any Chester glory this season.