Wednesday 26 February 2003
Chester City Reserves 1 Farsley
Celtic Reserves 3
Lancashire League Division
Chester City: Louie Macken, Lee Woodyatt, Paul Jones (Ian Lathom),
John Davies, Carl Ruffer, Adam Kelly, Phil Hadland, Chris Blackburn (Peter
Dogun), Mick Brown (Dean Buckley), Mark Beesley, Danny Byrne.
Chirs Blackburn made his first appearance since recovering from injury
as the Blues went down to lowly Farsley Celtic, Mark Beesley scoring Citys
Saturday 22 February 2003
Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Chester
Attendance: 1,870 Half Time 1-0
Dagenham & Redbridge: Roberts,
Heffer, Terry, Matthews, Mustafa (Cole 70), Shipp,
McDougald (Janney 52), Vickers, McGrath, Stein, Watts
(West 85). Subs not used: Gothard, Hill.
Chester City: W.Brown, Bolland, Hatswell, Guyett, McIntyre,
Kelly, Carden, Davies (Brady 17), Collins, Clare (Sugden 87), Quayle
(Twiss 73). Subs not used: Carey, Ruffer.
Referee: M.Russell (St Albans).
locals dubbed it the battle of the soap cities EastEnders
v Hollyoaks. When we arrived at our pre-match hostelry
(the excellent Coborn Arms off Mile End Road) the
barman looked at our shirts and announced: Here
come the Hollyoaks mob!
In 15 years of following Chester,
Ive never been greeted like that before. And,
as we enjoyed the pubs hospitality we pondered
how the lastest instalment in the roller-coaster
Chester City soap opera would unfold.
In truth the only villains of Saturdays
drama were Daryl Clare and new-signing Mark Quayle,
back together as a strike pairing for the first time
since their days at Grimsby Town. Both were guilty
of missing chances you would normally expect players
of such quality to slot away with ease.
Clare failed to live up to his Deadly
Daryl nickname on no less than three occasions.
The first two chances came on the 20-minute mark
when Daggers keeper Tony Roberts parried Clares
initial shot straight back to him. But the striker
missed the target from just a few yards out. Just
a few minutes later, an excellent Kevin McIntyre
cross was also poked wide by Clare.
Another chance for Chester to take
the lead came when a McIntyre corner was scrambled
out of the box, only to find its way to edge-of-the
area predator, Scott Guyett. But his firm volley
struck the Daggers bar.
Just as the first half was coming
to an end, the 150-strong Chester end had reasons
to be optimistic. Dagenham had made very few advances
into the Chester half and it seemed inevitable
that the Blues strike duo would have better
luck after their half-time cuppa. The worst moment
of the half at that stage had been when Ben Davies
was stretched off with a gashed knee, to be replaced
by Jon Brady.
But then the sucker punch came.
The Chester defenders failed to meet a Daggers cross
and Steve Watts, on loan from Leyton Orient, headed
the ball home. The ref blew for half-time just a
minute or so later.
All was not lost, however. Chester
had been playing, as ever, with a better purpose
than at home. Dagenham had few chances in the second
half. The best came when a Mark Stein shot lofted
over Wayne Brown and hit the post.
Then Quayle (who bears a remarkable
similarity to Clare) was free on the ball on the
edge of the area. All he seemed to have to do was
hit it towards the target. But he somehow lobbed
it high cue yet another round of the Daggers fans
singing: How high/wide do you want the goal?
The Dagenham supporters had a point.
There was really was no excuse for strikers like
Quayle and Clare to fail to beat a seemingly partially-fit
goalkeeper. Tony Roberts was incapable of taking
any goal-kicks throughout the game but was
more than a match for the Chester strikers.
With just five minues or so left,
Clare was replaced by Ryan Sugden. But it was too
little too late, and he made no impact on the game.
We had to resign ourselves to our second away defeat
of the season.
As the dejected players walked
off the pitch, only Phil Bolland stayed behind to
applaud the Blues fans. He hit out at criticism
from the terrace but hed barely put
a foot wrong all afternoon and the team have put
in worse performances this season. However, the 2002/3
chapter in the Chester City soap opera is looking
increasingly in danger of having a disappointing
Saturday 22 February 2003
Notts County Youth 4 Chester
City Youth 0
Youth Merit League Division
Chester City: Louie Macken, Tom Coulson, Matt Cook, John Davies, Ian
Lathom, Adam Kelly, Mike Simpson, Peter Dugun, Tony McGaughlin, Tom Leonard,
Due to injury and suspensions a depleted youth team started their North
Merit Division 2 fixtures with a 4-0 defeat away to Notts County, conceding
three in the first half.
15 February 2003
Morecambe 1 Chester City 1
Attendance: 2,012 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Kelly, Carden.
Morecambe: Mawson, McKearney,
Bentley, Swan, Perkins, Rigoglioso, Drummond, Stringfellow, Elam
(Curtis 80), Talbot (Murphy 66), Thompson. Subs not used: Morgan,
knew it would be a tough afternoon when officious stewards banned
supporters from entering the ground if armed with chips. “You
are not allowed to take your own food inside,” barked the dayglo
glad crusaders on patrol outside the turnstiles. They obviously knew
more than we did about the quality of cuisine at the local chippy.
It gave us a chance to admire Morecambe’s crumbling masonry
as we downed the fries in the nick of time before kick-off. Not that
that completely explained the indigestion that set in as a 1-0 lead
turned into a loss of two points in the 90th minute.
Chester City: W.Brown, Collins, Bolland, Hatswell, Guyett, McIntyre,
Kelly, Carden, Davies, Sugden (Twiss 58), Clare. Subs not used: Carey,
Beesley, Griffin, Ruffer.
Referee: A.Marriner (Birmingham).
City, it has to be said, could hardly complain about the result – but
when you’re so close to victory it still leaves a taste of, well,
vinegar springs to mind.
Mark Wright sprang a selection surprise by naming Danny Collins on the
left of a trio of attackers. Carey was left out in a 3-4-3 formation. The
game seldom rose to any great heights and Morecambe had the better chances
in the first half – Talbot flashed a header horribly close to Wayne’s
right-hand upright. Then Thompson tried to place a pinpoint header onto
a colleague's head instead of aiming for goal. City’s chances were
few and far between.
In the second half we looked brighter attacking the end where the 500 Chester
fans were based, even though Collins made a crucial clearance in the golamouth
to deny a Morecambe breakthrough. There was still little concerted pressure
on Mawson’s goal and Wright pepped things up by ending on Twiss in
place of Sugden. Soon afterwards came the breakthrough – City attacked
down the right, the ball was swung into the area, and as defenders clustered
round Clare the striker flicked the ball on to Twiss. Mawson hared off
his line but Twiss swivelled smoothly to despatch a low drive into the
City immediately changed strategy, switching Collins into a defensive role
and playing 4-4-2. The points could have been sewn up but a scrambled effort
by Ben Davies was blocked on the line with the keeper nowhere. Even so
it looked like three precious points but in the 90th minute Rigoglioso
was in the right place to convert after a shot rebounded off the right-hand
Wednesday 12 February 2003
Chester City Reserves 3 Burscough Reserves 0
Lancashire League Division One
Chester City: Jon Worsnop, Lee Woodyatt, Ian Lathom, Paul Connolly,
John Davies, Steve Brodie, Adam Griffin, Michael Brown (Matty Cook), Danny
Collins (Danny Byrne), Mark Beesley, Michael Twiss (Lee Reece).
Goals from Danny Collins, Adam Griffin and Danny Byrne brought City victory.
8 February 2003
Chester City 0 Forest Green Rovers 1
Attendance: 2,245 Half Time 0-1
Chester City: W.Brown, Bolland, Hatswell, Ruffer, McIntyre,
Carey, Kelly (Twiss 59), Carden, Davies (M.Brown 72), Sugden (Beesley 59),
Clare. Subs not used: Griffin, Collins.
Forest Green Rovers: Perrin, Jenkins, Langan, Richardson,
Russell, Foster, Owers, Cleverley, Grayson (Tweedle 56), Meechan, Odejayi.
Subs not used: Adams, Cook, Cowe, Giannangelo.
Referee: G.Simpson (Knaresborough).
followers of non-league football will have been wise to had a flutter on
Forest Green as the visitors stole three points against a City side that
never quite got going.
Back in September, Chester took three easy away
points in a match that was Nigel Spink’s last in charge.
Since then, under the clever guidance of Colin Addison, Forest
Green have risen steadily up the table taking some notable scalps
along the way; ask Yeovil for a start. And then there’s Chester – fantastic
away but frustratingly mediocre at home. Hindsight is wonderful
but should we really have expected much different? Well yes we
should, because on paper this was still a game we should have won
but when the final whistle blew there was little to commend this
performance to the faithful home supporters who watch for the most
part teeth gritted and head shaking until a grey sky.
The early exchanges were promising. Clare twice
had chances first shooting straight at the goalkeeper following
a corner. Minutes later he failed to connect to a Hatswell cross
when a yard of extra pace would have made it look easier. McIntyre
played his usual game making strong runs up the left, Davis, Carey
and Carden all worked well in midfield and while it wasn’t
pulsating, there was enough to suggest goals would come. Forest
Green, flattering in their black and white strip and a mimic of
team of greater stature, were well organised but while coping well
did nothing to suggest they might score.
It was a surprise then when they did. Meechan,
on sixteen minutes, and the pick of the visitor’s attackers,
received a well-targeted pass from deep within his half and ran
clear and unchecked to lob the ball into the net passed an unprotected
Brown. It was a goal that’s simplicity made it embarrassing.
City responded with predictable effort but little
penetration. Kelly, not really the same player since his return
from injury, spooned high and wide when unmarked at the edge of
the box. Sugden likewise ought to have done better than hit the
side netting from a neat ball driven in from the right. But it
was Clare who on thirty-six minutes ought to have done better that
shoot straight at the goalkeeper when the ball fell into his path
following pressure inside the box.
As the final minutes ticked away City can count
themselves lucky that they did not concede a second goal after
Bolland and Carden contrived to make a muck of some simple defending.
In the second half, City came out with greater
fire power and looked for the first ten minutes a team with greater
purpose. Sugden seemed to be more involved and can count himself
unlucky when held back having been set free with a decent run at
goal. It was fortunate the referee only gave a yellow card, an
act of leniency that spoilt an otherwise good performance.
City continued to hustle and a goal-lined clearance
robbed the home fans of a deserved equaliser. Beesley and Twiss
replaced Sugden and Kelly and while fresh legs gave half chances,
Chester never quite did enough against a team who although without
any really good individual players compensated by good team work
and strong running.
After Beesley and Clare fought with each other
for the same ball inside the box, Chester’s last clear cut
chance was gone. Brown replaced Davis but by then City had run
out of ideas and as the game ran deep into injury time, many fans
were already leaving preferring the chance of a quick get away
over the prospect of a late equaliser.
On different note, those approaching the ground
via the main entrance will be impressed by the set of grand iron
gates evidence of the ambition and investment coming into the club.
Although the result was a bad one many of us should believe the club
remains heading in the right direction.
While City did not deserve to lose, they must surely do better than this
if they have aspirations of playing at a higher level than this next
Tuesday 4 February 2003
Shrewsbury Town Youth 2 Chester City
Youth Alliance North Central Conference
Chester City: Louie Macken, Adam Hunter, Ian Lathom, Matty Cook, Danny
Ventre, Mike Simpson, Adam Kelly, Peter Dogun, David Pennell (Sion Griffiths),
Dean Buckley, Danny L Ventre (Paul Edwards).
Chester’s victory at Shrewsbury Town, courtesy of a Dean Buckley
hat-trick, meant that the youngsters qualified for Division Two of the
Merit League North with nine games to be played over the next two months.
The weather over the last few weeks meant that many games in the North
Central Conference remained unplayed, including Chester’s encounter
Saturday 1 February 2003
Chester City Youth 0 Port Vale Youth
Youth Alliance North Central Conference
Chester City: Louie Macken, Matt Cook, John Davies, Ian Lathom, Adam
Hunter, Adam Kelly, Mike Simpson, Danny Ventre, Lee Reece (Danny L Ventre),
John Moore, Dean Buckley.
The youth team lost at home 1-0 to Port Vale on Saturday. Despite having
their fair share of possession and several good chances the scores remained
level at half time. The second half saw Port Vale take more control creating
some good chances one of which brought an excellent one handed save
from goalkeeper Louie Macken. With the game heading towards a draw a straight
ball down the middle saw a Port Vale striker race clear to score with ten