Shrewsbury Town 5 Chester
Attendance: 4,859 Half Time 2-0
Booked: Foy, Edmondson, Hessey, Davies. Sent-off: Elokobi.
Shrewsbury Town: Howie, Whitehead, Walton, Tinson, Challis,
Lowe (Grant 82), Tolley (O’Connor 82), Sedgemore, Ashton, Langmead,
Rodgers (Edwards 59). Subs not used: Hart, Lyng.
Chester City: W.Brown, Edmondson, Elokobi, Hope,
Hessey, Drummond, Davies, Carden, Sestanovich (Belle 46), O’Neill
(M.Brown 66), Foy. Subs not used: MacKenzie, Walsh, Vaughan.
Referee: P.Danson (Leicester).
slumped to their third defeat in a week and to
Elokobi received Chester’s eighth red card
of the season in the process. The Blues have failed
find the net in that trio of defeats
down, showed little sign of addressing that
problem as they crashed to their heaviest league
defeat for years.
Gay Meadow has
never been a happy hunting ground for
Blues but City’s
gritty performance there back in April in front
of over 1500 travelling fans seems light years
away after this
As at Blundell Park on Tuesday night, City
did have the better of the opening exchanges.
Stewart Drummond seeing a header from a Paul Carden
corner cleared inside the first 30 seconds and Ashley
Sestanovich shooting wide from 30 yards soon after.
Robbie Foy shot wide
from distance before and Ben Davies had
a curling free kick
tipped over by Howie in the Shrews goal
before Wayne Brown was called into action
for the first
15 minutes cutting out Kevin Langmead’s
Luke Rodgers headed over
the bar when well placed before the home
side took the lead on 27 minutes. Dangerman
Rodgers beat Darren Edmondson and crossed
from the left, the City defence failed
ball home from close range.
Rodgers doubled the lead
three minutes before the break as he picked
the ball up and was allowed to run at the
City defence without challenge before unleashing
a 20-yarder that gave Brown no chance and
the Shrews a 2-0 interval lead.
Manager Ian Rush brought
on Cortez Belle for Sestanovich at half-time
in an attempt to beef up the City attack
however the game was put well beyond City’s
reach as the home side added a third just
before the hour mark. Once again Rodgers
surged through the City defence and was
adjudged by referee Paul Danson to have
been pushed in the box by Elokobi. The
on-loan defender was given a straight red
Sedgmore duly converted the spot kick to
Sean Hessey and Edmondson
and Davies found their way into the referee’s
notebook as City fell to pieces. Ryan Lowe,
a player City had been keen to sign in
recent weeks, added a fourth goal on 65
minutes, his curling 20-yarder finding
the top right hand corner of the net.
It was one way
traffic now, Kevin Langmead and Tolley
before Langmead completed the nap hand
on 77 minutes crashing home Lowe’s
cross from six yards as many of the 570
City fans headed for an early exit.
All three sides below
City in the table, Cambridge United, Kidderminster
Harriers and Rushden & Diamonds, all picked
up points on Saturday. Two wins earlier in
the month has signalled a
Two safety, but the alarming run of results
since will no doubt have both Rush and coach
Mark Aizlewood nerviously look over their
shoulders during the run-in.
Grimsby Town 1 Chester City
Attendance: 3,144 Half Time 0-0
Grimsby Town: Williams, Whittle, Ramsden, Forbes, Crowe (Parkinson
59), Fleming, Coldicott, Bull, Hockless (Pinault 59), Gritton, Reddy. Subs
not used: Crane, Downey, Jones.
Chester City: W.Brown, Davies,
Elokobi, Hope, Hessey, Drummond, Carden, M.Brown,
Foy, O’Neill (Booth 79). Subs not used: MacKenzie,
Atieno, Vaughan, Walsh.
Referee: N.Miller (County Durham).
missed the chance to climb League Two with this defeat
at a snow bound Blundell Park. Despite controlling
the match for long periods, especially in the first
half, the Blues failed to convert any of their chances
once again their need for a proven goalscorer.
Phil Bolland (injured) and Darren Edmondson (suspended)
missing from the
team that lost on Saturday, manager Ian Rush recalled
on-loan George Elokobi and gave a full debut to Ashley
Sestanovich against his former club. Robbie Foy continued
in attack and was partnered by Joe O’Neill
who got the nod ahead of fellow loan signing Taiwo
Atieno, while Ben Davies played at right back.
Stacy Coldicott and Martin
Gritton both tested Wayne Brown in the opening minutes
as The Mariners tried to press home their advantage
in front of the lowest league crowd of the season
at Blundell Park.
City’s first foray resulted
in a corner on 15 minutes. Ben Davies’ flag-kick
was met by O’Neill but the young striker could
only shoot over the bar from the edge of the penalty
area. As the snow started to fall Richard Hope must
have thought he’d got a penalty as he was bundled
over in the box, however referee MIller waved away
the appeals from both the City players and the 74
The Blues continued to press and
forced a couple of corners, though both were comfortably
cleared by the home defence, Sestanovich also tried
his luck from 25 yards but his shot sailed high over
the crossbar. Minutes later shots from Michael Brown
and Sean Hessey suffered a similar fate.
Graham Hockless and Stacy Coldicott
both kept Brown on his toes with long range efforts
before Williams in the opposite goal saved well from
Foy to keep the scoreline level at the break.
City started the second half in similar
fashion. Foy shot inches wide from 18 yards before
the home side gradually came back into the game. Mariners
Andy Parkinson had a 30-yarder well saved by Brown
before Foy set up a chance for Paul Carden only
for the midfielder, like many before, to shoot over.
The only goal of the match came with
ten minutes remaining. Dangerman Parkinson beat Hessey
and crossed from the right, the City defence failed
with the simple task to convert at the back post.
Gritton almost doubled the lead
with two minutes remaining but was denied by a tremendous
save by Wayne Brown. Deep into injury time Williams
denied City a point when he saved from a close range
Michael Brown shot.
19 February 2005
Chester City 0 Yeovil Town
Attendance: 3,072 Half Time 0-2
Booked: Hessey, Edmondson, Foy. Sent-off: Edmondson.
Chester City: W.Brown, Edmondson, Hope, Bolland
(Elokobi 46), Hessey, Drummond, Carden, Davies,
M.Brown (Sestanovich 46), Foy, Atieno (O’Neill
66). Subs not used: MacKenzie, Vaughan.
Yeovil Town: Weale, Lindegaard, Guyett, Miles (Amankwaah
21), Rose, Gall, Way (Stolcers 80), Johnson, Davies,
Jevons (Terry 70), Tarachulski. Subs not used: Lockwood,
Referee: C.Boyeson (East Yorkshire).
encouraging performances from debutants Robbie
Foy and Ashley Sestanovich, City lost out
Town in a game punctuated with controversial
refereeing decisions. Foy, signed on a month
long loan from
Liverpool, never stopped running all afternoon,
and, with a bit of luck, would have marked
his League debut with
Referee Boyeson set the tone
for an indifferent afternoon showing Sean Hessey
a yellow card after just two minutes following a
challenge on Kevin Gall.
got in City’s first attempt
on goal as Weale comfortably collected
header following a good cross from
Hessey. However, It was the Glovers
who started brightest and
almost took the lead in the opening
minutes, through a well worked free-kick.
Leading scorer Phil Jevons made a
hash of the finish six yards out
after a well worked quick one-two,
had dissected the City defence.
Yeovil continued to press and created
three half-chances with Johnson
shooting high and wide on two occasions.
Foy almost made
an immediate impact ten minutes later.
picked the ball up 30 yards out before slipping an inch-perfect pass
through a static back four for Foy
to race onto for a glorious
opportunity. He took the ball wide
before shooting left-footed but straight
at Weale in the Yeovil goal. City
were to rue
that miss as Yeovil took the lead minutes
Referee Boyeson adjudged that Phil
Bolland had fouled Bartosz Tarachulski
on the right of the box.
The City defence
were guilty of ball watching as Tarachulski
headed the kick down and Arron Davies
had the straightforward task to fire
at the far post.
was given a free header again minutes
but this time his effort was saved
by Wayne Brown.
Tarachulski was in
the action again midway through the
half this time clattering into Stewart
Drummond with a terrible challenge
in front of the dug-out’s
knocking the defender straight to the
his arm. Inexplicably, after a discussion
with his assistant, the player was
shown just a yellow card
by referee Boyeson who went on to caution
Darren Edmondson for his protest – a
caution that would later cost him dear.
pulled off a great save to deny Tarachulski
angled shot looked to be heading for
goal, but minutes later Yeovil doubled
their lead as Richard Hope was adjudged
to have fouled Phil Jevons in the penalty
area. Jevons sent Brown the wrong
way with the spot-kick.
Former City defender
Scott Guyett was on hand to head clear
away a Ben Davies corner as the Blues
searched for a way back. Foy found his
way into the referee’s notebook
following a foul on Guyett on the stroke
Rush made two changes
at the interval bringing on George
Elokobi and Ashley Sestanowich for
Brown and the injured Phil Bolland.
Drummond tried a
30-yard effort ten minutes after the
followed by similar efforts from Hessey
and Sestanovich as the Blues were forced
to try their luck from long range.
Sestanovich, playing on the left, gave
a solid display for City hardly putting
a foot wrong on his debut. Edmondson
was handily placed to block a Gill
effort while at the other end Guyett
seemed to be mopping up everything
City could throw at him.
Foy did break through
on a couple of occasions though and
forced a great save from Weale as his
powerful shot from a narrow angle looked
to be heading inside the post.
Ten minutes from
time Edmondson made a wreckless challenge
on Davies and a red card was brandished
followed his second yellow one of the
game – he now misses the trip to Grimsby
Town on Tuesday.
a speculative effort from 30 yards only
his see his
shot fly well wide and there was just
enough time for Foy to see a volley
go past Weale and inches wide.
12 February 2005
Kidderminster Harriers 0 Chester
Attendance: 2,779 Half Time 0-0
Kidderminster Harriers: Danby, Jenkins (Cozic 78), Mullins, Weaver,
Jones, Hatswell, Bennett, McGrath, Russell (Foster 66), Birch (Sturrock 45),
Beardsley. Subs not used: Lewis, Sall.
Chester City: W.Brown, Edmondson, Bolland,
Hope, Hessey, Drummond, Davies, Carden, Branch (M.Brown 57),
Atieno. Subs not used: MacKenzie, Hillier, Vaughan, Elokobi.
Referee: P.Crossley (Kent).
14 minutes from time brought victory from City’s
first-ever visit to Aggborough to lift them 13
of a relegation
place. The game, played in difficult conditions
thanks to a swirling wind, was heading for a predictable
Drummond popped up four yards out to bundle home
Sean Hessey’s left-wing cross in front of
the travelling City fans in a game both sides couldn’t
afford to lose.
Manager Ian Rush kept faith with the starting X1
that defeated Rushden seven days
earlier as City looked to complete a second double
on the bounce.
was a scare in the fifth minute for City as Kiddy
striker Jones fell in the
box following a challenge from Hessey but to the
relief of the watching City fans referee Crossley
waved play-on. Joe O’Neill, starting his third
game for City, attempted a lob from outside the box
that produced a good save from Danby and the ‘keeper
was in action again to tip over a piledriver free-kick
from Hessey, similar to his strike that brought a
goal last week.
Just before the half hour Michael
Branch sent a shot yards wide as he miscued his back
post effort after Taiwo
Atieno had fed through the perfect pass for the striker.
The best chance of the first
half fell to the home side however as neat work on
the left from Jones teed up the perfect header for
Birch only for the striker to see his looping header
rebound off the bar and clear with Wayne Brown stranded.
Half-time came and City’s fans
took full advantage of the Chicken Chow Mein and
giant Balti pies on offer at the excellent food kiosk.
was Harriers who started the better following the
break. Brown was called into action to save well
Blair Sturrock and Chris Beardsley.
Sturrock went close again for Kidderminster
before Drummond headed City’s
first chance of the half wide on 55.
later City were forced into a change as Branch,
racing onto a through ball down left pulled up
with a hamstring injury.
Michael Brown immediately came on as a replacement
and was soon in the action linking well with Atieno.
There was little action of
note before Blues won a free-kick on the right
which Davies took,
partly cleared by Dandy but O’Neill was
unable to gather his footing to take advantage
of the loose ball and it seemed City’s chance
to sneak all three points had gone.
Minutes later City though
got the breakthrough as Drummond was first to react
stab the ball home after persistent wing-play
O’Neill missed two
great chances to double the lead in the dying minutes
but the young striker wanted too long on the ball
and the chances were cleared.
Chester City 3 Rushden & Diamonds
Attendance: 2,340 Half Time 2-0
Booked: Edmondson, Atieno.
Chester City: W.Brown, Edmondson (Hillier 83), Bolland, Hope,
Hessey, Drummond, Carden, Davies, Branch, O’Neill, Atieno. Subs
not used: MacKenzie, Vaughan, Elokobi, Harris.
Rushden & Diamonds: Worgan, Connelly, Allen,
Gulliver, Hawkins, Bell, Burgess, McCafferty, Dove (Gray 42), Littlejohn
Sharp. Subs not used: Kelly, Dempster, Chalmer-Stevens.
Referee: C.Oliver (Northumberland).
I made may way across the cattle market car park
towards the Saunders Honda Stadium I could hear
Cleggy intoning the Chester line up for the afternoon.
was back in goal, then I Heard Edmondson’s
name – and thought good he’s been out
for too long;” then Bolland, Hope and Hessey.
That sounded like a good solid back line again
and Carden was returning after a two game suspension.
The hope was that City would have a better shape
to them than last Tuesday’s
debacle and so it proved. Although it seemed
to be 4-3-3 when they kicked off, Michael Branch
more in a left midfield role and City were effectively
4-4-2. It was from Branch’s looping cross on
the left that Chester forged ahead. Atieno went up
with their keeper to meet the ball and the keeper
dropped it. It fell kindly for Atieno who tapped
it in. Just the sort of goal you see disallowed nine
times out of ten but referee and linesman saw nothing
wrong so the celebrations began. City’s
goal drought had been ended at last. A blank
have broken a club record.
The industrious Carden and the busy Davies
got through a tremendous amount of work and
largely responsible for City dominating the
first forty five minutes.
Davies should have made it two when he blazed over the bar from close range.
But Chester did go further ahead on the half hour when Hessey smashed a stunning
free kick into the roof of the net after Atieno had been fouled. City went
off to rapturous applause – what a contrast
Rushden came out after the break with a collective
flea in the ear and strove to make amends for
their weak display in the first half. Substitute
tore into Chester’s defence and might
have scored in the
first minute of the second half but dragged
his shot wide. City were rocked back for twenty
and went into their shell but managed not to
give too many clear cut openings away.
As the visitors came forward they were susceptible
to the counter attack and Branch broke through
left a couple of times. From one such break
away the ball was cleared out of the box to
a thunderbolt shot back at goal. Worgan did
well to parry it but O’Neill hooked the
rebound into the net to register his first
goal in League
football. This was especially pleasing as he
had been growing in confidence as the game
and had scuffed a good half chance a minute
or two earlier but earned the encouragement
Atieno might have got another goal or two to
add to his first but had run himself into the
ground with quarter of an hour to go. Edmondson
seemed to pick
up another knock and was subsequently replaced
by Hillier – but not before he had recovered
enough to earn himself a booking.
The Diamonds pulled a goal back when City’s
defence went missing and Sharp scored with his second
of the cherry and Brown hopelessly exposed. But
even this couldn’t detract from a much better performance
from Chester. Relief broke out all around, this
City’s first win at home since October.
Tuesday 1 February 2005
Chester City 0 Cheltenham Town
Attendance: 1,643 Half Time 0-1
Booked: Bayliss, Bolland, Davies. Sent-off: Bayliss.
Chester City: MacKenzie, Davies, Bolland, Bayliss, Elokobi,
Drummond, Vaughan (Hessey 46), Hillier (Atieno 46), Harris (Walsh
60), Branch, O’Neill. Subs: W.Brown, Hope.
Cheltenham Town: Higgs, Gill, Duff, Caines, Victory,
Wilson (Vincent 85), Bird, Melligan, Devaney, Gillespie, Guinan (Spencer
76). Subs: Finnigan, Vincent, Brown, Odejayi, Spencer.
was shockingly awful. City were on an equal footing
with the visitors for just a
few minutes and might have taken the lead when O’Neil
Higg’s poor clearance as the goal gaped. The Cheltenham
keeper made it back in time to scoop the ball away for
a corner. Just like the goal that wasn’t given
at Tottenham recently, the linesman was sprinting like
mad to see
whether it crossed the line but was a long way off. City
were at that end assured me that it definitely didn’t
reach that far.
Cheltenham took the lead when Guinan skipped clear on the
left as City struggled to clear. His cross to the far post
found Beach Boy namesake Brian Wilson who had oceans of
room to sidefoot the ball into the net. Chester quite simply
went to pieces. Their passing was appalling, there was
no shape to their play and confidence seemed to drain visibly
from them all. Drummond struggled to get things going in
midfield and Bolland did his best to hold the defence together
but it was dire and City never looked remotely like scoring.
Two substitutes were thrown on after the interval as Rush tried to change things
around. Hessey came on for Hillier enabling Davies to leave the right back berth
and shore up midfield and Vaughan was replaced by Atieno who played up front.
Still City struggled and Cheltenham found plenty
of room when they came forward. They doubled their
Bolland and MacKenzie got in a mix up. Mackenzie
ran out to clear
a ball as Bolland ran back and just touched it back
to the keeper who then sliced the ball to Guinan.
striker struck it towards goal and, agonisingly it
hit the post and came out again. The agony was Chester’s
though because all had given it up as a lost cause
ran in to steer the rebound into the net.
Hessey had a venomous shot just over the bar as City mustered
a little bit of pressure but generally found it difficult
to string any passes together. Branch tried to dribble
his way round the back a couple of times but to no avail.
There was a defeated air around the Deva tonight and when Cheltenham were awarded
a very harsh penalty when the ball struck Bayliss on the arm, there was barely
a murmur of protest. By then it was into stoppage time and too late to matter.
Bayliss compounded his misery moments later when he was sent off for a second
The meagre home crowd – only 1643 – were
subdued and frustrated. The side that won the Conference
May have almost all departed. There was little semblance
of any team shape or spirit on the pitch on Tuesday
night. It was a performance that had relegation stamped
over it and must provoke a reaction from both Ian
Rush and chairman