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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 2005
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FEBRUARY 2005

26 February 2005
“THE HIGHEST PAID PAYERS IN THE LEAGUE”

Club chairman Steve Vaughan has told the Daily Post’s Neil Turner that he paid £84,000 to the Inland Revenue yesterday. The chairman has stated that City are the highest payers in League Two.

He went on to say: “I have yet again had to shell out my own money to keep the club afloat. I instructed the secretary to bring Cortez Belle back from South Wales after his suspension, and when their loans are fulfilled to also ensure that Rapley and Harris return to the club.

I am disappointed that we are the highest payers in the League and we are lying fourth from bottom in the table. I am determined not to allow continued financial wastage. We must begin to live within our fiscal means. When safety in this league has been achieved, we will re-evaluate in the summer how to go forward in a positive vein. If difficult decisions have to be taken, then so be it.”
BLUES THRASHED AT SHREWSBURY
George Elokobi was sent off as Chester crashed 5-0 at Gay Meadow this afternoon. This was the biggest league defeat since the 7-1 thrashing at home to Brighton & Hove Albion five years ago to the day.

City actually had the better of the opening stages but once Jamie Tolley had scrambled in the first goal there was no looking back. Elokobi was given a straight red card in the second period after fouling Luke Rogers to concede a penalty for the third goal.

Manager Ian Rush said: “I think this defeat was a one-off and we are still 10 points clear of the drop zone. We have to re-group and work hard, and it we do there should be no threat to our status in the League.”

The Blues remain 21st but of the three sides below City in the table, Rushden, Kidderminster and Cambridge, all picked up points.


WIN FOR YOUTH TEAM
The youth team defeated Stockport County 3-1 at home on Saturday in the Merit League Northern Section Division Two.
25 February 2005
BLUES LOOK TO GET BACK TO WINNING WAYS

Chester travel to Shrewsbury Town tomorrow looking to bounce back from successive defeats to Yeovil and Grimsby. Gay Meadow is not the happiest of hunting grounds for City who have won on just one occasion in 16 visits to the Shropshire ground, back in 1999 when Nick Richardson fired the only goal in a 1-0 win.

The two sides last met in mid December when a last minute twice-taken Michael Branch penalty stole a point for the Blues in a game that saw Kevin Ellison and ex-City player Darren Moss sent off.

Tomorrow manager Ian Rush will have Darren Edmondson available for selection after a one match ban, though Phil Bolland is still out with an achilles injury. Striker Michael Branch, who has missed the last two matches with a hamstring injury, may be named in the squad, as could striker Cortez Belle (left) who has now served his five match ban.

Rush has stated that loan players Kevin Rapley and Andy Harris will both be recalled when their loan period at Forest Green Rovers expires. “We are going to need everyone at our disposal for the rest of the season” said the manager. Cortez Belle, who has been in South Wales durng his ban, was expected to join Newport County.

Tomorrow’s match is all-ticket for City fans and it’s reported that only about 450 of the 1,800 allocation have been snapped up.
23 February 2005
CITY RUE MISSED CHANCES

The Blues’ inability to convert their chances was highlighted again at Blundell Park last night. After being in control for long periods of the first half against Grimsby Town, City conceded a late goal to return pointless from a match they really should never have lost.

Things are so close at the bottom end of the table, a point last night would have lifted City to the heady heights of 18th, however they remain 21st in League Two, a good 12 points from danger at the foot of the table.

Following last nights defeat manager Ian Rush commented: “We have to keep battling away to get safe – starting on Saturday at Shrewsbury. We have to work with the players we’ve got at the club. We’ve got a few loan players in but we haven’t really got people in that we want at the moment. It’s so important to get points on the board and get wins under our belt, then we can start looking towards next season.”

As mentioned, the Blues are next in action when they travel to Gay Meadow on Saturday to play 19th placed Shrewsbury Town. Promoted with City last summer, the Shrews have also found it a struggle this season, though have had a good mini-run up until last night’s defeat at promotion chasing Southend United. City fans are reminded that the game for them is all-ticket on Saturday.
22 February 2005
DUO TO MISS GRIMSBY GAME

The Blues will be without Darren Edmondson and Phil Bolland (left) for Tonight’s match at Grimsby Town. Edmondson serves a one match ban following his red card on Saturday and Bolland is sidelined after picking up an ankle ligament injury in the defeat by Yeovil.

The Mariners lie in 17th position, three points above City and despite not scoring for three games gained a credible 0-0 draw at Swansea City at the weekend.

Blues fans will be hoping for another exciting performance from on-loan Robbie Foy to match his debut at the weekend.

Although disappointed by the defeat Foy was pleased with City’s effort on the day. He said: “We were obviously disappointed to lose against Yeovil, but we couldn’t have been disappointed with the way we played. I thought we gave Yeovil a run for their money, particularly in the second half. I’m not at Chester to run the show or win man of the match awards, I’m just at Chester to help out the team and push the club towards the top of the league. And judging from Saturday’s performance I feel we’ve a good chance of achieving that. I feel it’s only good for me to come to Chester and gain some first team experience. I can’t commit on whether I’ll be signing a permanent deal with Chester because it’s early doors yet.”
20 February 2005
CITY BEATEN AS EDMONDSON SEES RED

With Michael Branch sidelined with a hamstring injury, manager Ian Rush gave a league debut to Liverpool youngster Robbie Foy as City were beaten 2-0 by Yeovil Town. Foy caused problems throughout the game and was denied a debut goal early on seeing a one-on-one saved by Weale in the Glovers goal.

Sloppy defending led to the opening goal for Arron Davies and a penalty from Phil Jevons added to City’s woe. The Blues also saw a penalty appeal turned down as Ben Davies appeared to be tripped by Darren Way in the box after the break. Ashley Sestanovich, who also signed on Thursday, replaced Michael Brown at half-time and also, like Foy, had a solid debut for the Blues. However, defender Phil Bolland, who didn’t come out for the second half could be sidelined for at least two weeks with an ankle injury.

Manager Rush said: “I think that for a 30 minute period the referee lost it and he has probably cost us a point. The Yeovil players were too clever for him. They knew how to kill the game and frustrate us in the second half when we were on the attack. I think we played better than them, but at the end of the day it’s goals that mattered and they got them.”

Darren Edmondson received City’s seventh red card of the season, ten minutes from time, for two yellow card offences.
18 February 2005
CITY ENTERTAIN LEADERS

The Blues will have their work cut-out tomorrow if they are to extend their winning match sequence to three games. They entertain table toppers Yeovil Town who make their fourth visit Deva Stadium, a ground where they have yet to pick up a victory. City were thrashed 4-1 at Huish Park back in October, with Phil Jevons scoring a hat-trick against a hapless City outfit on the day. The Blues’ consolation goal coming via the penalty spot from Daryl Clare – his last for the club.

For City, it’s still touch and go if Michael Branch will have recovered from last weeks hamstring injury in time for the clash. New signings Robbie Foy and Ashley Sestanovich are expected to go straight into the squad.

For the Glovers, former Blues favourite Scott Guyett
(left) is likely to start tomorrow in place of suspended captain Terry Skiverton, while another former Chester player, Michael Rose, also looks likely to feature.
17 February 2005
TWO MORE SIGN FOR CITY

City have signed two more players today. Robbie Foy, 19, is a midfielder who can also play up front and has turned out on a regular basis for Liverpool reserves. He was recently on the bench for the first team in the Carling Cup quarter-final tie at Tottenham. The Scotland Under-21 international has been a target for City over recent weeks. He has signed on a one month loan.

The Blues have also landed Sheffield United midfielder Ashley Sestanovich. Sestanovich, 23, started his career at Hampton & Richmond Borough before moving on to Sheffield United, Scarborough and Grimsby Town. He has recently been on loan at Grimsby Town and has signed on until the end of the season.

16 February 2005
LOAN DUO RETURN

David Bayliss and Ian Hillier have returned to Luton Town following their loan period. Initially signed for one month on 15 December, the pair had their deals extended a further four weeks. During their stint at the Deva, Bayliss made 10+0 appearances and Hillier 7+1.
HARRIS OUT ON LOAN
Midfielder Andy Harris has joined Kevin Rapley on loan at Nationwide Conference side Forest Green Rovers.
RESERVES BEAT RIVALS
A goal four minutes from time by Ian Lathom gave the reserve side a 1-0 home win against Wrexham in their Pontins Holiday League match this afternoon and lifted the team to seventh place. The reserves next scheduled match is on Wednesday 2 March when they travel to Blackpool.

Reserve team fixtures | Reserve league table

FREE ADMISSION FOR CITY FANS
Wycombe Wanderers have announced that there will be free admission for their home League Two game with Chester City on Saturday 12 March. The Blues are expected to receive 1,800 tickets for the match at the Causeway Stadium.
14 February 2005
CITY EASE THEIR RELEGATION WORRIES
Stewart Drummond’s winning goal at Kidderminster eased City’s relegation worries and added to Harriers’. The Blues now sit 13 points clear of their hosts who occupy the last of the relegation positions. The game was heading for a goalless stalemate before Drummond found himself in the right place at the right time to tap home Sean Hessey’s cross from four yards in front of the delighted 500 City fans making their first-ever visit to Aggborough.

Manager Ian Rush stuck with the same starting X1 that beat Rushden seven days earlier but were forced into one substitution as Michael Brown replaced Michael Branch who pulled up with a pulled hamstring, though the injury isnt expected to rule him out of Saturdays home game with Yeovil Town.

Though playing far from their best manager Ian Rush was happy with the latest three points. “On a day like today you look at the result rather that the performance. It’s about time we had a scrappy win and that’s what we got, we had to dig deep. When you come to places like this, if you give in they’ll walk all over you. If you play badly and win it’s a good sign. We’ve played a lot better that this this season and lost. If we’re organised and put commitment in like we did at Kidderminster then we’ll be a hard side to beat. I felt we were first class – we worked hard.”
YOUTH MATCH OFF
The youth team’s opening Merit League Northern Section Two match at Macclesfield Town on Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. The lads will hope to kick-start their campaign next Saturday when they have a home Merit match against Blackpool.

Youth team fixtures | Youth league table

12 February 2005
SAME AGAIN CITY?
Manager Ian Rush is likely to pick the same side today to that which beat Rushden & Diamonds 3-1 last week. The Blues face another six-pointer with their first ever visit to Aggborough to play Kidderminster Harriers. Another victory today will ease the relegation pressure considerably as the Blues aim for a safety target of around 48 points.

Manager Rush is looking for City to carry on where they left off on Saturday. “The atmosphere on the training rund this week has been great, but that’s only to be expected after the way we performed against Rushden. We must now see if we can build on that display. With 14 games to go we’re ten points above the relegation zone – I think everybody would have accepted that situation when I took over at Chester.” he said.

Harriers were promoted to the league in 2000 as City passed into the Conference and the only occasion the sides have met before in the League was back in October when City ran out 3-0 winners at the Deva thanks to goals from Michael Branch, Kevin Ellison and ex-Harrier Ben Davies. The sides have also met in the Welsh Cup back in 1976 when Chester ran out comfortable 8-1 winners at Sealand Road.

The home side have two former City players in defender Wayne Hatswell, who was sent-off at the Deva in October, and forward Ian Foster.
11 February 2005
EXILES WIN THE CUP

Well done to the Chester City Exiles who won the inaugural APFSCIL 10-Pin Bowling Cup in Finsbury Park, north London last night. The team of six scored 816 and 880 in their two rounds to beat off 12 other supporters clubs to lift the title by over 200 points. As well as the team trophy the highest scoring individual award also went to Chester’s David McLoughlin, and if there had been a cheer leader (and photographer) trophy then his girlfriend Siobhan would have scooped that as well!

With the team finding themselves a player short close to ‘roll off’ a fax was hastily sent to Barrow supporters club where the loan services of David Leitch were secured at the last minute, thanks Dave!

Alan Parry-Jones, Paul Woolfson (APFSCIL organiser), David Leitch (loan), Steve Catherall, Sue Choularton, David McLoughlin, Steve Mansley.

10 February 2005
RESERVES WIN

City’s reserves won 2-0 at Bury this afternoon in a Pontins Holiday League Division One match.
9 February 2005
FIXTURE CHANGE

Chester’s away fixture at Mansfield Town has been brought forward a day to avoid a clash with the England v Northern Ireland international on the Saturday. According to the Stags’ official website the game at Field Mill will now take place on Good Friday 25 March and will kick-off at 19:45hrs.
8 February 2005
NEW TARGET FOR CITY

With yesterday’s bids for both Kevin McLeod and Michael Twiss rejected City have turned their sights to Shrewsbury Town midfielder Ryan Lowe. Chairman Steve Vaughan said the club would be faxing a player (as yet unknown) plus cash offer for Lowe this afternoon. Liverpool-born Lowe began his career at Burscough and moved to Gay Meadow in July 2000.

Lowe has gone on to make 115+73 appearances scoring 36 goals.
About the offer Shrews manager Gary Peters told the Shropshire Star: “It’s nonsense and as far as I am concerned you can’t call that a bid. It’s like me going to Manchester United, faxing Sir Alex Ferguson and saying I want Ryan Giggs in exchange for a player of mine who we don’t rate and is not in the team.”
7 February 2005
TWISS BID REJECTED

The Morecambe board of directors have tonight rejected a £50,000 offer made by City for former player Michael Twiss. Twiss told the Shrimps’ official website he was “certainly not looking for a move from here at all.”
CITY BID FOR MIDFIELDER’S
Chester have tabled a bid for Queens Park Rangers midfielder Kevin McLeod. The bid of £125,000 is a club record and it was faxed to the Championship club on Friday but it looks like the deal will not happen.

QPR chief executive Mark Devlin told the BBC: “We received an offer and spoke to Kevin about it, but I don’t think he wants to move there.”

McLeod is a former Everton apprentice who moved to Rangers for £250,000 in August 2003 after an initial loan spell. He’s played 36+29 games for the club scoring 6 goals. The fax machine has been in action today as well with an offer to Morecambe for former favourite Michael Twiss believed to be £50,000.

6 February 2005
YOUTH TEAM DRAW
The Youth team completed their Youth Alliance North Central Conference fixtures on Saturday with a 0-0 draw at Notts County. The side finished in fifth place in the Alliance and now take part in the Merit League for the remainder of the season.

They will play against teams who finished in a similar position (ie mid-table), and therefore of a similar standard, from other Conference sections. Their first fixture is at Macclesfield Town on Saturday and they will go on to play: Blackpool, Stockport County, Rotherham United, Bury, York City, Hull City, Doncaster Rovers and Grimsby Town over the coming weeks.

Youth team fixtures | Final Youth Alliance table

WIN FOR CITY
Goals from Shaun Hessey, Taiwo Atieno and Joe O’Neill gave City a much needed 3-1 win and with it the double over Rushden & Diamonds at Deva Stadium on Saturday.

Atieno’s manager at Walsall Paul Merson said: “Tai did well on his Chester debut and got a goal and his loan spell should do him the world of good. Chester play a different way to us so it will be a good experience for him. He is one for next season who you want on the bench so if the opposition put 10 men behind the ball we can change our game.”

4 February 2005
CITY WELCOME BACK CARDEN
Skipper Paul Carden returns tomorrow as City entertain one of the few sides below them in League Two, Rushden & Diamonds. Chester put on one of their best displays of the season when they beat Diamonds 1-0 at Nene Park back in October, a Stewart Drummond header bringing home the points on that occasion. A repeat of that scoreline tomorrow would be more than welcome as City look to arrest the goal drought that has seen them fail to score in the last five league matches.

David Bayliss and Cortez Belle both miss the game through suspension though Darren Edmondson, who came through the midweek reserve game should feature in the squad after recovering from injury. Manager Ian Rush said: “Darren came through the reserve game and should be available. He’s worked hard go get back and it’s a big boost for us. Gradually, they’re all coming back.”

Rushden are one place and three points behind City. They have two wins on their travels this season at Lincoln City (3-1) and Shrewsbury Town (1-0), five draws and eight defeats. This is only the second time they have played at Deva Stadium having clinched the Conference championship in May 2001 on their last visit.
2 February 2005
“EMBARRASSING” BLUES CRASH AGAIN
With one win in three months, and no goals for six hours, it’s hardly surprising that last night’s game with Cheltenham Town drew the lowest Deva Stadium crowd of the season. Just 1,643 turned out to see one of the worst home performances from a City side in years. The Blues crashed 3-0 and had another player, David Bayliss, red carded in the last minute for a second bookable offence with the match long lost.

Rush told the awaiting press after the game: “I felt last night was our worst performance since I’ve been at the club. It was very embarrassing and our supporters have every right to complain because our display was just not acceptable. The players know that, and we could have been beaten by more in the end. Cheltenham were more lively than us – I think you can only describe our display in one word – and that’s embarrassing.”

Those battling performances over the Christmas against Scunthorpe and Macclesfield seem light years away now. The departure of Kevin Ellison, coupled with the influx of several long/short-term loan players and unnecessary suspensions, has led to a totally disjointed looking side with far too many players playing out of position.

City must arrest the alarming slide quickly, easier said than done! They face two six-pointers in a week with the visit of Rushden & Diamonds on Saturday and a trip to Kidderminster Harriers seven days later, both sides in the relegation dogfight.

David Bayliss has been suspended for one match following his red card and will miss Saturday’s match against Rushden. Reserve players Daniel Ventre and Michael Walsh have both been suspended for one non first team game from 09/02/2005 for various offences.
RESERVES DEFEATED
The reserves lost 0-1 at home to a Manchester United side in the Pontins Holiday League at Deva Stadium this afternoon. Danish striker Mads Timm scored the only goal of the game in the last minute.

Reserve team fixtures | Reserve league table
1 February 2005
ANOTHER LOAN SIGNING

Chester have signed 19-year-old Walsall player Taiwo Atieno on a one month loan. He’s the sixth loan signing in the current squad. Atieno is no stranger to the Deva Stadium having played in the last match there whilst on loan from the midlands club at Rochdale. Atieno spent a three month spell at Spotland making 8+8 first team appearances, scoring two goals in the process, one of which was against City over Christmas.

Atieno told the official Walsall website: “Itll be a good experience. Chester are near the bottom of League Two, so hopefully I can help them move up the table. Rochdale werent having the best of times when I went there but now theyre just outside the play-offs.”

Also signing a deal today was Joe O’Neill who has made a permanent move to the Deva until the end of the season. Both will go straight into the squad for tonights only League Two home as City entertain Cheltenham Town. City will be without suspended Paul Carden and Cortez Belle, and must also do without the services of Michael Brown who received concussion in Saturdays defeat at Swansea City.

Cheltenham currently lie above City in 16th place and have three wins on their travels this season. The two sides last met in a dour 0-0 encounter at Whaddon Road back in October.

Tickets for the Shrewsbury game will go on general sale after tonights match priced at: Terrace £12.00 (adult) £7.00 (concession), Seats: 14.00 (adult) 9.00 (concession). Tickets will then be available from the ticket office between 10:00-16:00hrs.

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