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30 December 2012
Manager Neil Young has been named the Conference North Manager of the Month for December, and midfielder Antoni Sarcevic has also been named as Player of the Month. The double accolade comes at the end of a month that has seen Chester complete six straight victories including wins over promotion rivals Worcester City and Brackley Town. For Sarcevic it’s been another great month with four goals and several assists in the six league matches played.
The end of an incredible year is upon us and if we thought 2011 was great the last twelve months on the pitch have eclipsed those achievements. The Blues started the year a point ahead of Northwich Victoria and two ahead Hednesford Town in the chase for the Northern Premier League title but a run of 14 wins and two draws in the last 16 matches helped the Blues to eventually clinch the championship by a staggering 17 points.

The summer saw several players popular players leave including strikers Michael Wilde, Matty McNeil and Chris Simm as well as midfielder Alex Brown, but manager Neil Young was building a team to compete at a higher level and drafted in forward Nathan Jarman and on-loan striker Ben Mills from Macclesfield Town and defenders Dom Collins and former Chester City player Paul Linwood amongst others.

The Blues got their Conference campaign off to a steady start with narrow wins over Oxford City and Workington and by the end of the opening month were in a three way tie at the top of the table. September saw home wins against promotion rivals Guiseley and FC Halifax Town as well as a 6-2 victory at Stalybridge Celtic.

The following two months, October and November, saw Chester knocked out in replays of both the FA Cup, at FC Halifax Town and the FA Trophy at Worksop Town in the early rounds.
Despite the disappointment of the cup exits Chester continued their relentless league form with six wins and a draw from the matches played.

With some Saturdays now freed up due to a lack of cup matches, the club took the sensible approach of bringing midweek matches forward, and combined with the good work of groundsman Steven Ollerenshaw, and the volunteers who helped lay the ground sheets, the Blues staged several games when others in the country were postponed due to waterlogged pitches.

December saw six matches played, five of which were at home and the hard work was rewarded with a maximum return that saw a new club record of eleven straight victories achieved with a 3-0 victory over Hinckley United on Saturday.

During 2012 Chester have played 41 league games, won 35, drawn 4 and lost just 2 a remarkable achievement.

Picture � Rick Matthews (Chester Leader)
29 December 2012
Chester set a new club record when they recorded an eleventh straight victory on Saturday. The 3-0 win over Hinckley United was a hard fought one with the visitors, who are bottom of the league, causing several scares for the Blues defence who had John Danby to thank for saving a second half penalty that could have drawn Hinckley level.

Man of the moment Antoni Sarcevic opened the scoring nine minutes before the interval with a well taken half-volley. Danby pulled of a great save to deny Max Harrop’s well taken penalty moments after the restart and the Knitters paid the price of that miss as Iain Howard (pictured) tapped home the second and Marc Williams sealed the three points with a third goal on 66 minutes.

Blues manager Neil Young said: “It was always going to be a dangerous game. Hinckley are really struggling off the pitch but you wouldn’t have thought so by their performance. They set up not to get beat and they worked their socks off to get back into shape as quickly as they could. They also had chances, missed a penalty and John Danby made some very good saves.”

Chester kick-off 2013 with a trip to Droylsden on Tuesday, kick-off 15:00hrs.

League table after this match

Picture � Rick Matthews (Chester Leader)
27 December 2012
Chester equaled a club record when they made it ten successive wins with a 5-0 victory over Droylsden on Boxing Day. The Blues got off to a perfect start with Wes Baynes firing home a free-kick in the second minute and doubled their lead on 20 minutes with an equally spectacular 25-yard shot from Antoni Sarcevic. Clever approach play by Sarcevic allowed Marc Williams to lob Dale Latham in the Bloods goal to add the third before the break.

Further goals in the second period from Ben Mills and Craig Curran ensured the Blues wrapped up the win to remain twelve points clear of second placed Guiseley, the Yorkshire side having two games in hand on Chester.

The Blues are next on action on Saturday when they host bottom of the table side Hinckley United, kick-off 15:00hrs.

League table after this match | More pictures

Picture � Rick Matthews (Chester Leader)

22 December 2012
Today’s match at Workington has been postponed at around 1.40pm due to a waterlogged pitch, despite the club being told all morning that it was playable. The game was finally called off by match referee Simeon Lucas after a succession of downpours left areas of the pitch unplayable.

The two managers, Neil Young and Darren Edmondson had different views on the decision. Edmondson though the game could have gone ahead saying: “I still think we could have played. Neil wasn’t happy and he put his grievances across to the referee. That’s when we went on to the pitch and had a chat. It was raining really heavily at that time. I knew there were a couple of areas that would cut up quite badly but I thought generally the groundsman had done a good job on it. But Neil and some of his players were adamant that they didn’t want to play.”

Young told the Chester Chronicle: “I’m not going to play a game that would not have been safe. I told the referee I wasn’t happy as the ball wasn’t bouncing, it was getting stuck in the mud, and the groundsman’s fork was going in right in to the handle.”

“I believe Darren said it was a 10x10 area on the edge of the box that was the concern. One half of the pitch may have been okay but unfortunately to have a game of football you’ve got to have two halves.”

There is no date for the rearranged game as yet.
21 December 2012
There will be a pitch inspection at 08:30hrs tomorrow to confirm whether the league match at Workington can go ahead.
20 December 2012
Chester have brought forward their away match at Hinckley United to Saturday 12 January. The scheduled home fixture on that date against Gainsborough Trinity was postponed due to the Lincolnshire club’s involvement in the FA Trophy.
A superb goal from Antoni Sarcevic set Chester on their way to a 2-0 victory over Harrogate Town on Wednesday night, an own goal by Dwayne Samuels soon after, following good build-up play by Sarcevic, completed the victory. It was Chester’s ninth win on the run and sees the Blues now head the table by 12 points, though they have played more games than the chasing pack led by Guiseley.

Chester are next in action on Saturday with a trip to Workington – subject to an 08:30 pitch inspection, and this is followed by a home game against Droylsden on Boxing Day, both games kick-off at 15:00hrs. There will be free entry to the Blues Bar on Boxing Day before 13:30hrs.

League table after this match | Match report | More pictures

Manager Neil Young has stated that midfielder Levi Mackin won’t have his contract extended when it runs out at the end of the month. Mackin joined from Alfreton Town in January this year as cover for Wes Baynes and Michael Powell who were suspended at the time. He scored twice in 10+11 appearances for the club.

Picture � Rick Matthews (Chester Leader)

17 December 2012

Substitute Craig Curran scored a hat-trick as Chester eventually overcame Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday. The Blues had taken a fifth minute lead through Ben Mills but were pegged back by a goal from Reece Prestedge. The visitors created the better chances in the opening period and, but for some quality saves from John Danby, could have taken a deserved half-time lead.

However the game was to change dramatically with the introduction of the on-loan Rochdale forward Curran on the hour mark. Three minutes after coming on he hammered the ball home following a goalmouth scramble to restore Chester’s lead. He was in just the right place on 74 minutes with the easiest of tap-in’s after Stortford ‘keeper Warren Carter had parried a Mills shot, and four minutes from time completed his treble with a superbly taken goal following a good one-two with Antoni Sarcevic.

There was good news for Blues fans after the match as it was confirmed that Curran’s loan period had been extended by another month.

Manager Neil Young praised his two substitutes, Curran and Marc Williams after the match saying: “Unfortunately Craig has not been getting the amount of football he would like at Rochdale. But fortunately for us we’ve got him here and again he’s proved what a quality player he is. The injection of Craig’s ability and enthusiasm, linked with Marc’s ability to drop in and get on the ball, made a real difference to us and was the reason why we got the three points.”

The win lifts Chester nine points clear of second placed Guiseley who have a game in hand over the Blues. Chester are next in action on Wednesday night with a home game against Harrogate Town. kick-off 19:45hrs.

League table after this match | More pictures

Picture � Rick Matthews (Chester Leader)

12 December 2012
Midfielder Sean Clancy (pictured) has had his contract with Chester terminated by mutual consent. The 25-year-old joined the Blues in the summer from Fleetwood Town and made 10+3 appearances for the club, scoring one goal.

Manager Neil Young told the Chester Chronicle: “Sean’s opportunities of late have been limited but his attitude, fitness and professionalism have been first class. The lad just wants to play football and that’s not something I can guarantee him at the moment. I’d like to thank him for his contribution to what we’ve achieved so far this season and we wish him well.”

Meanwhile the club are expected to extend the loan of striker Craig Curran by a further month. The Rochdale player’s initial loan spell runs out after Saturday’s home game against Bishop’s Stortford but both he and his club are happy for the loan to be extended through the festive period.

Picture � Rick Matthews (Chester Leader)

The home game against Stockport Sports in the second round of the Cheshire Senior Cup will take place on Tuesday 15 January, kick-off 19:45hrs.
11 December 2012
The home game against Oxford City has now been rescheduled for Wednesday 9 January, kick-off 19:45hrs.
Defender Luke Denson has returned to Colwyn Bay on loan until the end of the season. The player has made 4+0 appearances for the Blues since joining from the Seagulls at the start of October.
10 December 2012
Chester supporters turned out in their hundreds for the top of the table clash in front of a record crowd at Brackley Town on Saturday and they were to leave happy as the Blues ran out 3-2 winners to remain six points clear of Guiseley at the top. Chester were coasting 3-0 with five minutes remaining before a brace from Steve Diggin ensured the game finished much closer than it should have done.

Manager Neil Young was forced into changes with both Dom Collins and Scott Brown suspended and Levi Mackin picking up a strain in the pre-match warm-up. The Blues have great strength in depth though and controlled much of the opening period which they led through goals from Dave Hankin, before Hankin turned provider to cross for Ben Mills to head home the second. Chester also went close with George Horan seeing an effort cleared off the line in the opening minutes and Danny Williams crashing a shot against the bar from a narrow angle.

Horan added a third on 74 minutes after he stole in at the back post to head past Billy Turley in the home goal following a Wes Baynes corner. With Hankin already in the referee’s book Young introduced on-loan midfielder Nathan Turner for his first taste of Conference North football.

The Blues endured a nervy final few minutes with those two Brackley goals, but they held firm to run out worthy winners and send the delighted following, numbering around 750 in the 1,150 crowd home happy.

A delighted Neil Young said afterwards: “The scoreline flattered them. We knew we were coming to a very good side, who like us have been promoted and are having a great start to the season.”

“It was always going to be a physical battle but I thought our lads were excellent from the first minute until the 87th minute when they scored their first goal. The game should have been done and dusted at half-time. It wasn’t and fair play to Brackley, they stuck at it, but overall I’m absolutely delighted we got the three points.”

And Young’s counterpart at St Jame’s Park, former Chester City player Jon Brady sportingly agreed: “I thought they were excellent all over and it really flattered us to come back to 3-2. They were strong in all departments and their front two really worked hard and pressed the ball well. Once they got on the ball they showed a lot of composure but we were very naive for their goals.”

League table after this match | More pictures | Match report

Picture � Rick Matthews (Chester Leader)

The club are provisionally looking for volunteers to help put down the pitch/frost covers at 13:00hrs on Thursday, and also help take them up at 10:00hrs on Saturday morning ahead of the match against Bishop’s Stortford.
6 December 2012
Chester will now host Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday 15 December. The game has been brought forward from next March as both sides have a free day as their original fixtures involved sides still involved in the FA Trophy. The game has a 15:00hrs kick-off.
5 December 2012
Having successfully applied for a grant from The Football Conference Trust the club are currently advertising for a Community Trust Manager. Applications are invited to submit their CV’s before 12 December with interviews taking place on 17 December. More details including the role of the Community Trust and an outline of the post, along with the application form can be found on the official website here.

It has been announced that following last week’s CFU elections Tony Durkin will take on the role of the new club chairman, his vice-chairman will be Steve Ashton. The board have issued the following statement: “The new board at Chester FC met on Tuesday night. Tony Durkin was elected as the new chair, Stephen Ashton was elected vice-chair, Jane Hipkiss as treasurer and Campbell Smith will act as company secretary. The board will announce further information over the next few days.”
4 December 2012
With Oxford City beating Bishop’s Stortford 1-0 tonight in the FA Trophy, their scheduled league match at Chester on Saturday 15 December, the date of the next round of the Trophy, will have to be rearranged.
3 December 2012
Chester turned in an excellent second half showing to defeat promotion rivals Worcester City 4-2 on Saturday in front of a crowd of 2,640. The victory leaves Chester six points clear of second placed Guiseley and seven clear of next Saturday’s third placed opponents Brackley Town whose weekend match at Workington was frozen off.

The Blues got off to a great start with Antoni Sarcevic turning the ball home on nine minutes after Glyn Thompson could only parry a Wes Baynes free-kick into the midfielder’s path six yards from goal. Chester continued to dominate for the opening half with Scott Brown and Craig Curran at the thick of the action.

The visitors rallied after the break and were level on 52 minutes when Greg Mills fired an unstoppable 20 yard shot past John Danby. The goal stirred Chester into a devastating fifteen minute spell which saw them find the net three times. Man of the Match Curran headed the Blues in front meeting a Nathan Jarman right wing cross. Curran then turned provider, crossing for substitute Iain Howard to head home with his first touch. A trip by Danny Edwards on George Horan in the box saw a spot kick awarded which Matty McGinn duly dispatched past Thompson.

Worcester continued to press though and scored a second goal when Mike Symons was allowed to turn smartly and shoot past Danby from close range.

A delighted Neil Young told the official website after the game: “We’re quite pleased to win 4-2 at home, and I’d definitely have taken that before the game. Fair play to Worcester though, they have come back at us in the second half, and scored a great goal, but we responded well. We made a change with Scott Brown as he felt his leg go tight so we didn’t take any risks with him, and went back to 4-4-2 which changed our shape a little in that second half.”

Chester are next in action on Saturday with a trip to Northamptonshire to face Brackley Town. Manager Neil Young will be without both Dom Collins and Scott Brown through suspension.

League table after this match | More pictures

Picture � Rick Matthews (Chester Leader)

STEVE FOX 1958-2012
Former Chester City player Steve Fox died earlier this month at the age of 54 after suffering with cancer. >Our condolences go out to his family and friends. The Tamworth-born right-winger appeared 37 times for the club between 1984 and 1985 scoring five goals.


2 December 2012
Following a run of impressive performances, midfielder Antoni Sarcevic has had his contract extended until the end of the 2013/14 season. Manager Neil Young said: “This is a key signing for us. We set Antoni the challenge of making the central midfield place his own this season, and he has certainly responded to that challenge. He has also chipped in with some vital goals too, and we hope to see that continue.”



































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