28 December 1997
Chester City 1 Scunthorpe
Chester City: Sinclair,
Davidson, Jenkins, Richardson, Whelan, Alsford, Bennett,
Priest, Rimmer, Flitcroft, Thomas (Fisher). Subs not
used: Woods, Jones.
Scunthorpe United: Clarke, Neil (McAuley 79),
Ormondroyd, Sertori, Wilcox, Hope, Walker (Calvo-Garcia 79),
D'Auria, Eyre, Forrester (Murphy 45), Housham.
Referee: Fraser Stretton (Nottingham).
A 2pm pitch inspection by referee
Fraser Stretton, ensured the game went ahead after
heavy rain had hit Chester for several hours beforehand.
As a result the match was played on a glue-pot of a
pitch and both sides deserved credit for a quite entertaining
game given the circumstances, though City appeared
to adapt to the conditions a little better in the opening
Rod Thomas playing on the left, replaced
the injured Rod McDonald and Chris Priest returned
to the midfield following his three match suspension.
City's cause was helped (or hindered!)
by the sending off of Russell Wilcox in the 27th minute
for a second bookable offence. Despite being down to
ten men, City were finding it hard to break through
the United defence. Bennett did have a 'goal' disallowed
for offside, following good work by Richardson but
chances in the first half were at a premium. Indeed,
the best chance fell to the visitors early on when
Sinclair was forced to make a superb point-blank save
from John Eyre. City did dominate proceedings however,
with Rod Thomas once again outstanding.
City attacked the Sealand End with
more vigor following the break. Several corners were
forced, but, as usual the same old near-post routine
brought nothing. Why is Dave Flitcroft the only person
capable of taking a corner kick. Surely one of the
defenders could add a bit of variety what do
they practice in training? Both Stuart Rimmer and Chris
Priest had efforts saved, and Rimmer picked up a rare
booking for dissent.
The only goal of the match came on
63 minutes with Chris Priest smashing the ball home
from one yard after Gary Bennett's flying header was
tipped onto the post by Tim Clarke in the visitors
goal. Efforts to double the lead were thwarted by Clarke
in the United goal who denied Rimmer and Bennett as
Content with their slender lead,
City began to sit back and allowed the 10-men from
Scunthorpe back into the game. And only another superb
save low down in injury time by Sinclair from Matt
Murphy preserved City's lead; a win which takes them
to seventh place in the division.
The sponsors Man of the Match award
went to Rod Thomas but I'd have given it to Nick Richardson,
who, once again, had an outstanding game in midfield
and is clearly City's most consistent performer at
present. At the other end of the scale however, captain
Iain Jenkins had another off day and is currently struggling
to put any sort of form together.
On a curious note! Why did Gary
Shelton watch the second half on his own from the opposite
side of the pitch to the dugout?
26 December 1997
Hull City 1 Chester City 2
Hull City: Wilson,
Lowthorpe, Rioch, Dewhurst, Hocking, Joyce, Bettney,
Rocastle, Darby, Mann, Maxfield (Quigley 85). Subs
not used: Wright, Ellington.
Chester City: Sinclair, Davidson, Jenkins, Richardson,
Whelan, Alsford, Bennett, Woods (Jones 71), Rimmer, Flitcroft,
McDonald (Thomas 54). Sub not used: Giles.
Referee: M.Messias (York).
Two goals in the final seven minutes
gave City their first double of the season. Spencer
Whelan and sub Rod Thomas scored the goals to secure
City's first ever victory at Boothferry Park in 51
Hull have one of the best home scoring
records in the league and boasted ex-Arsenal player
David Rocastle. The first half was a dull affair with
Matt Woods forcing a save from the home 'keeper and
City's Ronnie Sinclair making a great save from Neil
Chester sent on Rod Thomas for the
injured Rod McDonald after the break with Jon Jones
coming on for Matt Woods for the final 20 minutes.
Rocastle's passing was causing the Blues a few problems
after the break. Dewhurst gave Hull the lead on 63
minutes heading home over Sinclair from an unmarked
Wilson then produced a great save
from Gary Bennett before Whelan's equaliser. Flitcroft
took a free-kick near the corner which was flicked
on by Julian Alsford for Spenner to head home at the
Straight after the restart Flitcroft
thundered a great shot against the bar.
The winner came four minutes later
with Rod Thomas cutting in from the left and firing home
between the 'keeper and the post. Gary Bennett almost
made it three when he shot just wide in the final minute.
19 December 1997
Colchester United 2 Chester City
Colchester United: Emberson,
Dunne, Gregory, Skelton, Greene, Cawley,Wilkins, Rankin,
Forbes, Adcock (Duguid 66), Stamps. Subs not used:
Chester City: Sinclair, Davidson, Jenkins,
Richardson, Whelan, Alsford, McDonald, Flitcroft, Bennett,
Rimmer, Thomas (Woods). Subs not used: Jones, Wright.
Referee: Mike Pierce (Portsmouth).
Another dismal away result for Chester
against a side who are struggling in the bottom half
of the table. No one stood out for City in a performance
that was a far cry from the battling display shown
on the same ground in February when City were chasing
promotion last season.
The match was played in front of
only 1,867 fans (Colchester's lowest of the season)
and lacked any match atmosphere, surely there would
have been a bigger crowd on the Saturday afternoon,
even with the distraction of Christmas shopping (you
can do that in the morning anyway!).
City manager Kevin Ratcliffe dropped
Wayne Brown for this match, with Ronnie coming back,
along with Rod McDonald in the centre. Chris Priest
was missing through suspension. City started quite
well with plenty of the usual passing football and
Rod Thomas making several mazy runs down the right
wing but with nothing to show for it.
United took the lead through Tony
'Rooster' Adcock, the player the home fans want as
their next manager. He was left unmarked at the back
post from a corner and rifled home from six yards.
The goal was followed by arguments among the City players
as to just who was supposed to be marking the veteran
striker. A few minutes later a similar situation saw
Bennett taking the responsibility.
City had a great chance to equalise
but Julian Alsford shot wide of the net following further
good work by Thomas.
The Blues started the second half
with more purpose. Gary Bennett had a header well saved
and Stuart Rimmer just couldn't stretch enough to flick
a through ball over the keeper. Rimmer missed another
golden chance when the home keeper failed to hold a
strong shot by Dave Flitcroft but the striker blazed
over from ten yards.
Colchester's second, and killer goal,
came from substitute Duguid whose initial cross into
the box from the left was cleared straight back to
him by Rod McDonald and the home striker lashed an
unstoppable follow-up 20-yarded into the net.
City brought on fit-again Matt Woods
for Rod Thomas with 15 minutes to go and pushed Spencer
Whelan up front, not that it made any difference. Why
Thomas was taken off mystified me, and no doubt the
other seventy or so fans on the away end. At least
he has the ability to create something from the front
runners who were starved of the ball for much of the
So anotther defeat on our travels,
and a visit to Hull City on Boxing Day doesn't look too
appealing does it! Unless we start picking up away points
very soon (we haven't even drawn away yet!) then we'll
continue to languish in mid table. Colchester, struggling
in the bottom half of the division, looked a lot sharper
to the lose ball than us as the Blues struggled to dictate
the game in midfield.
13 December 1997
Chester City 2 Darlington 1
Chester City: Brown,
Davidson, Jenkins, Richardson, Whelan, Alsford, Jones,
Fisher (McDonald 71), Rimmer, Flitcroft (McKay 88),
Thomas. Subs not used: Wright.
Darlington: Preece, Shaw, Barnard, De Vos, Crosby,
Atkinson, Oliver, Gaughan, Roberts, Davis (Di lella 78), Robinson
(Naylor 64). Subs not used: Brumwell.
Referee: Peter Rejer (Tipton).
Three more vital home points for
City which take them into seventh place in the division.
Once again it was winger and 'Man
of the Match' Rod Thomas who was instrumental in most
of City best moments through the game.
Darlo had the first salvo with a
shot on goal from a free kick after a couple of minutes
which Wayne Brown saved. Thomas had an effort blocked
and then Jon Jones got in the way of a Nick Richardson
diving header which appeared to be heading for the
Preece in the Darlo goal made a mess
of a Thomas cross though no-one could pounce on it
as it squirmed through his fingers.
Two efforts brought Darlo back into
the game. First Roberts hit the side netting, then
Jon Jones cleared off the line a shot from Jason de
The second half carried on where
the first had ended with City creating a string of
chances that were all wasted. Great crosses from both
Rimmer and Flitcroft were wasted as City failed to
get men in the box, though de Vos almost put through
his own net but for a smart Preece save.
McDonald replaced the disappointing
Fisher on 70 minutes, with Rod Thomas switching to
the right wing. And three minutes later City were ahead.
Thomas ran on to Flitcroft's through
ball down the right before squaring for McDonald (looking
suspiciously offside) to have the easiest of tap-in's,
Brown then made two smart saves to
deny Gaughan and then Roberts and preserve City's lead.
A lead which they doubled a few minutes later with
Alsford sliding the ball home after Preece had failed
to hold a Richardson header.
Darlington did pull a goal back
in the final minute with the ball flying around in City's
six yard box it rebounded of the luckless Davidson for
an own goal.
9 December 1997 (Auto
Scunthorpe United 2 Chester City 1
Scunthorpe United: Clarke, Walsh,
McAuley, Sertori, Wilcox, Hope, Walker, D'Auria, Eyre (Ormondroyd
86), Forrester, Shakespeare. Subs not used: Niel, Laws.
Chester City: Brown, Davidson, Jenkins, Richardson
(Wright 73), Whelan, Alsford, Jones, Priest, Rimmer, Flitcroft,
Fisher. Subs not used: Giles, Warrington.
Referee: Graham Frankland (Middlesbrough).
Just 26 City fans braved the cold December night
to travel to this game. Gary Bennett, Rod McDonald and Rod Thomas
didn't make the game all are suffering from the flu bug
which is sweeping through the Deva. Replacing them were Jon Jones
who started alongside Stuart Rimmer, Neil Fisher played wide left
while Ross Davidson was back at right back. The only other change
was with the kit, City opting to play in last seasons highly visible
yellow away shirts!
The first chance of the game fell City's way
on three minutes with Stuart Rimmer's close range volley being
tipped over by Clarke in the United goal. Flitcroft then went close
as did Rimmer with a 30-yard lob.
Wayne Brown produced a great save from Russell
Wilcox's header, and then minutes he denied David D'Auria with
At the start of the second half Davidson headed
against his own bar as City failed to create any chances during
the second 45 an all too familiar story on their travels
Scunny took the lead on 67 minutes as Eyre converted
a spot kick after Iain Jenkins had handled. Jenkins made up for
mistake four minutes later when he cleared off the line after Forrester
had rounded Brown. Kevin Ratcliffe then took off Nick Richardson,
who was also suffering from the effects of flu and gave a debut
to Darren Wright.
Soon after City were level as Walsh handled in
the box and Dave Flitcroft smashed in the spot kick. Jones and
Priest both missed chances as City looked to score the winner.
However another penalty, given after Wright
had fouled Walsh, was converted by Eyre to send City crashing out
of the cup.
5 December 1997
Chester City 0 Wrexham 2
City: Brown, Jenkins, Fisher (Davidson 76), Richardson,
Whelan, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, Rimmer (J.Jones 76), Flitcroft,
Thomas. Subs not used: Sinclair, McDonald, Giles.
Wrexham: Mariott, McGregor, Hardy, Russell,
Ridler, Carey (Jones 57), Chalk, Owen, Connolly (Roberts 87),
Spink, Ward. Subs not used: Cartwright, Phillips, Wainwright.
Referee: S.Baines (Chesterfield).
Two goals from Karl Connolly just before half time ended City's hopes
in the cross-border derby. Despite having plenty of possession in the
90 minutes, City were restricted to just a handful of chances, mostly
in the first half.
The game started at a frantic pace and both sides
took a little time to settle. Chester enjoyed the better of the
exchanges in the opening half hour with Gary Bennett missing a
glorious chance, failing to connect cleanly with a Chris Priest
cross, then, for the second game running midfielder Nick Richardson
hit a post following good work by Dave Flitcroft.
City kept Wrexham pinned back for a spell, with
dangerous crosses coming in from the right. Benno again met a right
wing cross only to send a flick header straight at Andy Marriott
in the visitors goal.
Justifiable claimes for a penalty were turned
down after Marriott flattened Rimmer in the box, when the striker
was through on goal.
Wrexham's best chance came with a 20-yarder from
Connolly that 'keeper Wayne Brown clawed round the post. The keeper
then saved well from Chalk.
City went behind on 38 minutes. Owen sent Chalk
clear down the right and his cross was slid home by Connolly unmarked
on the far post.
As the first half went into injury time, Spenner
mistimed a defensive header (or was he pushed?) and Connolly turned
and scored with a half-volley from 30 yards.
City needed a quick goal after the break to get
back into it, but chances were at a premium and only Whelan and
Flitcroft forced saves from the keeper.
Davidson and Jones were introduced with 15 minutes
to go, much to late to make any impact. Why weren't changes made
at half time when City needed to switch things about?
Rod Thomas was mysteriously named man of the
match by the sponsors the Evening Leader. Sure, he had quite a good
first 45 minutes, but did nothing in the second half when his supply
line dried up. For me Nick Richardson had another good game and Julian
Alsford did a good job keeping Dean Spink quiet all night.
2 December 1997
Doncaster Rovers 2 Chester City 1
Doncaster Rovers: Davis, Sanders,
Smith, Warren, Gore, Mike, Ireland, Dobbin, Helliwell, Moncrieffe,
Cunningham. Subs not used: Brookes, Ramsay, Conlon.
Chester City: Brown, Davidson, Jenkins, Richardson,
Whelan, Alsford, Jones, Priest, McDonald, Flitcroft, Thomas.
Subs not used: Rimmer, Giles, G.Shelton.
Referee: Tony Leake (Darwen).
An embarrassing defeat for City against a Doncaster side winning their
first match of the season at the 25th attempt, in front of only 864 fans
(the lowest league gate for over 4 years).
City made three changes from Saturday's team
with Neil Fisher, Stuart Rimmer and Gary Bennett sitting it out,
(Bennett in the Radio Merseyside commentary box!) and Ross Davidson,
Jonathan Jones and Rod McDonald coming in.
Jon Jones gave Chester a perfect start sliding
the ball home following confusion in the home penalty area on 13
minutes. The lead lasted only one minute however as Ian Helliwell
equalised with a cracking volley into the top corner from the edge
of the box .
City did miss their chances through. Jones totally
missed a Davidson cross before Davis saved Whelan's volley. McDonald
missed two great chances to restore City's lead before the break,
the best on 40 minutes when he headed over from a Dave Flitcroft
After the break it was all Doncaster, and they
got the winner with seven minutes remaining following an awful
mistake by 'keeper Wayne Brown. He threw the ball out to Spenner
which hit him on the heel and allowed Smith to step in and score.
Brown saved a third minutes later with a save
The final whistle was greeted by a pitch invasion
by ecstatic home fans, not exactly what we wanted with the cup
game coming up on Friday.