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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 2011

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FEBRUARY

28 February 2011
YOUNG PLEASED WITH BATTLING BLUES
Manager Neil Young was delighted with another three points on Saturday as the Blues fought back from going a goal down to beat a youthful Durham City 3-1 to complete the double. Chester made a sluggish start and went a goal down after nine minutes as Tommy English scored from a 20-yard free-kick.

Crucially Chester drew level on the stroke of half-time as Simm scored from close range after Durham 'keeper James Winter did well to block a Robbie Booth effort. Moments after the break the Blues forged ahead. A free-kick from man of the match Greg Stones (pictured) found Jason St Juste he pulled the ball back for Carl Ruffer whose shot took a deflection to beat Winter. The points were wrapped up eight minutes from time as Kyle Wilson received a through ball from Stones to score from twelve yards.

Young said: “At this stage of the season it’s all about getting the three points – by hook or by crook – and getting out of this division. On another day we may have threw the three points away, but we kept going and as the game wore on the lads got stronger and there were some good performances.”

“On a number of times in the last few years I’ve looked at the team at the top and wondered when they were going to get beat. But when they don’t and they keep picking up three points, it does knock your confidence a bit. That’s what we’ve got to keep doing.”

The win gave Chester a nine point lead at the top of the table going into a week when they play two of their promotion rivals away from home, Clitheroe on Tuesday and second placed Skelmersdale on Saturday.

League table

Picture © Evening Leader
23 February 2011
CUP KO FOR BLUES

A goal in extra-time from Alex Johnson brought to an end Chester’s dream of a league and cup double in their first season as the Blues were beaten 2-1 in the President’s Cup semi-final at Lancaster City last night.

The task was made harder for Neil Young’s men who were reduced to ten men in the 17th minute when Michael Taylor saw red when conceding penalty that was duly converted by Dave Swarbrick.

But Chester fought back after the break and equalised through Steven Beck. Both sides had chances to seal the win in normal time but it was the home side who booked their place in the final with a goal one minute into the second extra period.


Manager Neil Young has given the players a break from their usual Thursday afternoon training in an effort to have them fresh for Saturday's visit of Durham City.

Young said: “One thing we didn’t need at Lancaster was to go down to 10 men. I was speaking to some of the lads after Saturday’s game and one or two told me it was the hardest game they’d been involved in, in terms of effort.”

“The lads will have a break now. They’ll get the rest of the week off to recharge their batteries.”

Several matches took place in the league last night with Chester’s closest rivals in action. Chorley let a two goal lead slip at Woodley Sports where the game finished 2-2 and AFC Fylde were beaten 2-0 at home by Bamber Bridge.

League table

WINNING START FOR YOUTH TEAM
The newly formed youth team got off to a winning start with a 4-1 victory over Borras Park, their first defeat for two years. Sixteen players took part during the victory for the side formed following an alliance late last year between the club and Newton Athletic.

Chester FC Youth (players who played): Oliver Foster, Mike Dixon, Joe Houghton, Jordan Grace, Liam Banks, Nathan Williams, Adam Bailey, Jack Roberts, Jack Roberts, Joe Ormerod, Ryan Edges, Callum Bratley, Connor Kendrick, Alex Williams, Aaron Badrock, Carl Pleavin.
22 February 2011
SEMI-FINAL ACTION TONIGHT
LancasterChester travel to Lancaster City tonight to play a President’s Cup semi-final. The game has a 19:45hrs kick-off and will be played to a conclusion with extra-time and penalties availabe if required. Chester will be without in-form winger Iain Howard who sustained a gashed ankle in the win at Chorley on Saturday. New signing Martin Gritton is also not available to play.

Admission tonight is adults: £7.00 and concessions: £5.00, while the match programme will be £1.50.

Neil Young is looking for a league and cup double this season. he told the Chester Evening Leader: “We’ll be going to Lancaster City to win the game and put ourselves in a cup final. The President’s Cup is the one knockout cup we have targeted and we’re hoping to see the job through.”

“There will be one or two changes because there was a lot of effort put in at Chorley, but we’re going to Lancaster to win the game, it’s as simple as that. George Horan has been playing with a broken hand and an injured ankle, but I’m sure he’ll still want to be part of tonight’s squad.”

“We want to win trophies and we want some silverware. I want to see our Presentation Night on 7 May at Chester Racecourse be an absolutely wonderful night, so if we can put pots on the table it will make the occasion far better.”

“Our fans have travelled in their thousands to our away games this season and I’m sure they have appreciated the effort the players are putting in. We’re in a strong position in the league, but we have now got to see the job through.”

The winners of tonight’s match will play either Belper or Newcastle Town in the final.
21 February 2011
CLUB ISSUE STATEMENT
ChesterThe Board of Chester FC met this evening to discuss the events of last Saturday at Chorley and have agreed and issued the following statement.

“We wish to express our disappointment of the logistical shortcomings apparent at the game on Saturday. We are frustrated at the behaviour of a minority of both sets of supporters which led to fans and stewards from Chester and Chorley being at risk.

We feel that the events following the game outside the stadium, which led to two Chester supporters sadly sustaining head injuries, were abhorrent. We hope that lessons are learned by all parties to prevent this from happening on future occasions.

We are aware that Lancashire and Cheshire Police are conducting enquiries into the events both in the lead up to and on the day of the game. The Board of Chester FC has agreed and decided to take the following action:-

1) Any Chester fan convicted following the incidents at Chorley will be banned from The Exacta Stadium and all other Evo-Stik grounds.

2) Any Chester fan identified by the Police as contributing to the damage to the ‘segregation barriers’ or encroaching onto the pitch at the end of the game will also face a potential ban from the Exacta Stadium and all other Evo-Stik grounds.

Chester FC will co-operate fully with any enquiry which may result in further action being taken. In the meantime the Club would like to thank the vast majority of our 1200 fans of all ages who attended the game and behaved in the manner we have come to expect.”
CROWD TROUBLE MARS GREAT WIN
It was a commanding performance from the Blues on Saturday who maintained their superb unbeaten away league record with a 1-0 win at second placed Chorley to open up a nine point lead at the top of the League.

Chester were in control for most of the match and created numerous efforts throughout before Robbie Booth turned home a ball from Michael Wilde five minutes after the break to score the deciding goal. The home side were restricted to only one real effort late on when substitute Jordan Stepien stabbed the ball over the bar from six yards out to the relief of the Chester fans packed behind the goal.

Manager Neil Young said: “We got a bit of criticism when we played Chorley at our place for relying on set pieces. That was the only time they looked dangerous today, when they were just putting balls into the box whether it be from a corner, throw-in or free-kick. Each to their own. I thought we played all the football. On another day it could have been 3-0.”

“We’ve hit the bar, Carl Ruffer should have scored at the far post and we had a few chances in the first half when we should have scored. It wasn’t a picture in terms of football, but every one of my players stood up and we thoroughly deserved victory.”

The big day was marred however by crowd trouble before and after the match which resulted in five arrests. A mob of ‘fans’ from both sides attempted, and succeeded, in pulling down a flimsy looking segregation fence along the grass bank down the side of the ground which was being manned by stewards with no police presence whatsoever in the ground at that point prior to kick-off. Police reinforcements soon arrived in time for the start of the match which had been delayed 15 minutes to allow the 1,200 away following to pass through one turnstile.

One 72-year-old Chester supporter was felled by a missile thrown from outside the ground, before the end of the game saw a pitch invasion by around 80 home supporters held back on the half-way line by stewards and police. Around 15 Chester fans also went on the pitch but were ushered back by stewards.

Fighting again broke out in the park outside the ground after the match with a number of Chester supporters trying to find the coaches (which had been moved during the game) being ambushed, and there were other outbreaks of trouble on the road to the station with the police helicopter hovering overhead.

League table
| More pictures
OPERATION FOR HOWARD
Winger Ian Howard is due to undergo a small operation today on a six inch laceration on his ankle that will keep him out of the side for two-four weeks. The injury was sustained midway through the second half at Chorley on Saturday. Howard has been in tremendous form over recent weeks and the club are hoping he’ll sign a new contract this weekend.
18 February 2011
GRITTON SIGNS

Chester have boosted their squad with the signing of 32-year-old former Chesterfield forward Martin Gritton. Gritton has been playing on loan at Torquay United this season where he made 12 appearances but returned to Chesterfield last month and was released from his contract by mutual consent

The Scottish born striker began his career at Plymouth Argyle and also played at Yeovil Town and Torquay United before heading north to further his career at Grimsby Town, Lincoln City, Mansfield Town, Macclesfield Town and Chesterfield.

Picture © Evening Leader (pictured at Chorley)


TOP TWO CLASH
ChorleyChester travel to Chorley tomorrow for what promises to be a tight tense match at the top of the Evo-Stik Division One North. There will be a crowd of over 3,000 at Victory Park, with Chester’s entire allocation of 1,200 being snapped up in a matter of days.

Chorley of course inflicted the first defeat of the season for the Blues when they won 2-1 at the Deva back in September. Goals from Russell and Dorney were enough to beat a Chester side who had equalised through Rob Hopley and seen Grundy in the Chorley goal pull off a string of fine saves to deny Neil Young’s side a point. Playing for the visitors that day was Chester striker Chris Simm who had a loan spell with Chorley whilst at Southport.

The Blues embarked on an unbeaten eleven match run following that defeat to take over from their Lancashire promotion rivals at the top of the league. Chester currently have a six point lead having played a game more that tomorrow’s opponents.

Manager Neil Young is relishing the opportunity to manage his side in what should be a great atmosphere. He told the Chester Chronicle: “It’s always good to have rivalry in football but we’ve just got to make sure we do our talking on the pitch.”

“It is a game between two good sides who have been going hammer and tongs since day one. Chorley are really going toe-to-toe with us so I’m looking forward to what should be a great game. The best atmosphere since I’ve been at the club was the friendly we had at home to FC United of Manchester.”

“That night there were two sets of fans chanting – not just our own – and it’s going to be the same on Saturday. It will make for a proper atmosphere and I just hope the two sides produce a good game – and that we come out the victors.”

Young is waiting to see if experienced defender Carl Ruffer can overcome a bruised foot to make the match squad. The weather forecast isn't looking too clever with snow and sleet predicted in the area all day!
PRESIDENT’S CUP
Chester will travel to Lancaster City on Tuesday for their semi-final of the President’s Cup, kick-off 19:45hrs. Lancaster defeated Curzon Ashton 3-0 in last night’s quarter-final.
EARLY KICK-OFF
The home game against Harrogate Railway Athletic on Saturday 26 March will kick-off at 13:00hrs to avoid a clash with the televised England v Wales Nations Cup match at 15:00hrs.
17 February 2011
WOODLEY DATE
The re-arranged match at Woodley Sports will be played on Tuesday 5 April, kick-off 19:45hrs. Woodley propose to give Chester a batch of free tickets for the new date (the number will be decided once the attendance figure from last Tuesday is confirmed), and a further batch of tickets at the reduced rate of £4.00. Woodley have also donated 50% of their takings from golden goal tickets to the collection raised following Chester director Richard Wightman’s funeral. The other 50% goes to the British Heart Foundation, in memory of former Woodley Sports FC director, Neil Rourke.
15 February 2011
WOODLEY MATCH POSTPONED
Tonight’s match at Woodley Sports was postponed at 20:30hrs due to floodlight failure. The lights failed prior to kick-off and although they came on again for a few minutes soon went off. The original start deadline of 20:15 came and went and the referee gave the home club until 20:30 to get the lights on or the game would be called off, which they couldn’t.

Woodley secretary Wayne Ashworth apologied saying: “We had been planning the match since the start of the season. We wanted to make it a match that – when Chester are back in the Football League – their fans would remember. But unfortunately it will be remembered for the wrong reasons.”

League table

14 February 2011
CHORLEY TICKETS SOLD OUT
Chester’s complete allocation of 1,200 tickets given by Chorley for Saturday’s match have now all been sold. The final 20 were snapped up this morning.Those wishing to use the official Away Travel on the day should note the club are running coaches to Chorley that leave the Exacta Stadium at 11.45, with the cost per seat £8.00. Please call 01244 379011 if you would like to reserve a place on the coach - no calls after 20.00hrs please.
SEASON TICKET RECORD
The club have announced that they now have 1,001 season ticket holders, a Chester/City club record.
9 February 2011
CUP PROGRESS FOR BLUES
Chester progressed to the semi-final’s of the President’s Cup following last night’s 3-0 success at AFC Fylde. Goals from Iain Howard (pictured), Kyle Wilson and Robbie Booth helped book an away semi-final tie against either Lancaster City or Curzon Ashton. Should the Blues play Lancaster the match will take place on Tuesday 22 February, if they travel to Curzon Ashton the match will be the following night.

I delighted manager Neil Young said: “I think the last two performances were our best combined performances of the season. We will take some stopping if we continue to show the same appetite week in, week out. Fylde are one of the best sides we have played and they are going to be there or thereabouts, but if we look after ourselves we will win this league.”

After three successive away matches Chester are at home this Saturday when they entertain fifth placed Clitheroe. Young may consider giving a debut to 25-year-old loan signing Jason St Juste who joined this week from Garforth Town. Juste is a pacy left winger who has been traiing with the squad and is on loan until the end of the season.

Young said: “We had him involved in a behind closed doors match and I thought he did well. I’ve been looking for a left or right-sided winger for a while and I have enquired at one or two clubs about players, but the price was too high and I would be wanting Football League players for the prices thrown at us.”
“Jason is very keen to come to Chester so we’re going to take him on loan until the end of the season with a view that if he does well then a permanent deal may be struck in the summer. The agreement is in place so all we have to do is wait on Garforth to complete the paperwork with the FA.”

Those Chester or Clitheroe supporters who can’t make the game tomorrow can, thanks to the backing of the Chester Exiles, hear free match commentary via the Blues Live website.

Picture © Evening Leader

4 February 2011
TEAM EFFORT BRINGS THREE MORE POINTS
A fourth hat-trick of the season by Michael Wilde gave Chester victory at Durham City on Saturday but manager Neil Young was full of praise for the entire squad after the Blues put the disappointment of the midweek Leigh display behind them.

The team stayed the night in Durham in preparation for the game, played on an artificial pitch, and the move paid dividends as victory, coupled with Chorley’s home draw with Witton Albion, saw the Blues extend their lead at the top to six points.

Goalkeeper Adam Judge was given a full debut and put in a solid performance that will have pleased the large 400+ away support that made the long journey north.

Young said: “The lads were fantastic from first minute to last. They went out there and did exactly what was asked of them and, when you’ve got a striker with the ability of Michael Wilde, if you keep the back door shut you will always have a chance.”

“Fair play to the club for financing this trip – the fans as well as it’s their money. We brought a big following up here so I’m just glad Durham will be lit up in blue and white this evening. It’s just a pity we couldn’t have got the club to get us another night here!”

“As there was considerable expense from the club, there was a little bit more pressure to do well. But to be fair to the lads they have all been spot-on, and the weekend has culminated in a fantastic performance.”

“Adam (Judge) is a hard working lad with great attitude and he deserves all the praise he got at Durham because he’s obviously waited for his chance and he probably thought the chance wouldn’t have arrived as soon as it did, but I’ve got great faith in him.

“His catching impressed me when he played against us for Leigh earlier this season and he is good at making a decision of when to punch or catch.”

Chester take a break from league action on Tuesday night when they travel to play AFC Fylde in the quarter-final’s of the President’s Cup. The winner’s of the tie, which will be played to a conclusion tonight, have an away semi-final at either Lancaster City / Skelmersdale United or Curzon Ashton.

League table


Picture © Evening Leader
4 February 2011
CHORLEY TICKETS
The club will shortly receive their allocation of 1,100 tickets for the match at Chorley on Saturday 19 February. The cost of the tickets has been revised and are now £7 each, there are no concessions for Chester supporters at this match. Tickets are expected to sell out very quickly.

Tickets will go on sale, one ticket per person, at the club office at the following times:
Monday 7 through to Friday 11 February (10.00-16:00hrs daily): Season Ticket Holders (on production of Voucher D)*
Saturday 12 February (10.00-12:30hrs): Season Ticket Holders (on production of Voucher D)
Saturday 12 February (17:00-17.30hrs): General Sale
Monday 14 through to Friday 18 February (10.00-16:00hrs daily): General Sale.


The ticket office will be closed on Thursday 10 February, the day of Richard Wightman’s funeral.

2 February 2011
SIMM SAVES BLUES
A goal five minutes from time by Chris Simm ensured that Chester’s away league unbeaten run continued but it was two points dropped for the Blues who found the going tough at Leigh Genesis. Around 700 supporters made the journey to Crilly Park and they will have left disappointed at both the performance and end result, though no doubt relieved that Simm’s late great effort brought at least a point.

Away victories for both promotion rivals Chorley and AFC Fylde have narrowed the gap at the top of the table to five points.

An angry manager Neil Young pulled no punches after seeing his side turn in a poor performance. He told the Chester Chronicle: “The majority of the players thought we could walk in, take the three points and then walk back out again – to say I’m fuming is the understatement of the year.”

“I didn’t give the players a chance to hold their hands up. I got after them and then walked out and let them argue between themselves.”

“Nobody likes losing games, nobody likes drawing games, but it happens and you accept it when your team gives it everything they have.”

“I don’t want to do them down too much as they’ve done very well this season, but maybe it’s the wake-up call they needed as let’s face it, the last two teams we’ve beaten are a 10-man Wakefield team and – without being disrespectful – a poor Ossett side.”

Young continued: “You can’t legislate for mistakes and Richard (Whiteside) made a howler for their goal. As I told him, I thought his concentration levels were woeful from the first minute.”

“But he wasn’t the only one. The front two didn’t hold a thing up; the widemen didn’t put good crosses in when they were in great positions and the two midfielders never got about people. From 1-11, we didn’t come out with any credit.”

League table | More pictures

Picture © Evening Leader

AWARDS EVENING SOLD OUT
The club have announced that tickets for the end of season awards night on Saturday 7 May hosted by BBC’s Colin Murray have already sold out.

1 February 2011
LEAGUE EXTENDED
The Evo-Stik Executive Committee have announced that the Division One North league will be extended by five days to include the Bank Holiday Friday 29 April. All the games postponed last Saturday, and two other midweek matches, will now be played on that new date. This will see Chester finish their season at Garforth Town and not AFC Fylde. This is the same day as the Royal Wedding and all games will kick-off at 15:00hrs.

The First Division North Play-Off semi-finals will now take place on Bank Holiday Monday, 2nd May with the play-off Final on Thursday 5th May.

31 January 2011
RICHARD WIGHTMAN
The sad news was announced last night of the death of Richard Wightman, a popular board member at the football club. Richard passed away at the age of 33 following a serious illness. Richard, who supported the Blues all his life, was the Membership Officer with City Fans United and like many others, voluntarily gave his time and dedication to the cause and was instrumental with the setting up of our new club.

A minute’s applause for Rich will be held at tomorrow night’s match at Leigh Genesis and at the next home match on 12 February against Clitheroe.

Picture © Evening Leader

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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