Wednesday 29 January 2003
Chester City Reserves
6 Accrington Stanley Reserves 0
Chester City: Jon
Worsnop, John Davies, Paul Connolly, Peter Dogun, Phil
Bolland (Ian Lathom), Shaun Carey, Michael Brown, Steve
Brodie, Michael Twiss (Danny Byrne), Mark Beesley (Dean
Buckley), Adam Griffin.
Goals from Michael Twiss (2), Mark Beesley (2), Steve Brodie and Dean Buckley
gave City a comprehensive home victoty to lift them to fifth spot, eleven
points behng leaders Southport with four games in hand.
Saturday 25 January 2003
Scarborough 0 Chester City 1
Attendance: 1,938 Half Time 0-0
Scarborough: Walker, Shepherd, Holdsworth, Dryden, Hotte,
Ormerod, Henry (Pounder 42), Stoker, Brassart, Campbell (Blunt 74), Rose.
Subs not used: Woods, Dempsey, Scott.
Chester City: W.Brown, Guyett, Ruffer, Hatswell, Collins, Davies,
Carden, Kelly, McIntyre, Clare (M.Brown 90), Sugden. Subs not used: Carey,
Twiss, Clifford, Brady.
Referee: P.Canadine (Rotherham).
ever-present and persistent Daryl Clare stuck in a late goal to give Chester
the three points.
Clare headed in off Ben Davies’ inswinging
corner two minutes from the games conclusion as news
was spreading amongst the travelling Chester fans
of Yeovil Town’s draw with Nuneaton Borough.
A Kevin McIntyre corner after 14
minutes headed wide by Scott Guyett was the first
attempt on goal by Chester.
Ormerod and Stoker for Scarborough
had chances late in the first half but failed to
test Wayne Brown.
Dryden (Scarborough) fouled Clare
on the right and Davies’ free kick was just
denied by the woodwork off the head of Wayne Hatswell.
Chester City, who as the game went
on seemed to be getting the better of Scarborough
created a few opportunities and Guyett could have
scored with a header from Hatswell’s cross
with ten minutes to go. It was Guyett who again went
close three minutes later, heading an impressive
Danny Collins’ cross just wide.
But then two minutes from time
victory was sealed by that man Clare!
Overall a scrappy game and at times
looking all the world like a no score draw in the
making. Worthy of note were Impressive individual
performances by Danny Collins and Jimmy Kelly.
Saturday 25 January 2003
Chester City Youth 0 Macclesfield
Town Youth 0
Youth Alliance North Central
Chester City: Louie Macken, Paul Connolley, John Davies, Ian Lathom,
Adam Hunter, Adam Kelly, Mike Simpson, Matt Cook, Peter Dogun (Danny L
Ventre), John Moore (Danny Ventre), Dean Buckley.
The youth team drew 0-0 at home against Macclesfield Town on a windswept
Saturday morning, which contributed to a scrappy game. Despite making the
better of the chances they failed to capitalise and were forced to share
18 January 2003
Chester City 1 Barnet 1
Attendance: 1,944 Half Time 0-1
Booked: Kelly Carden, Guyett.
Chester City: W.Brown, Ruffer, Collins, Clifford (M.Brown
60), Guyett, Davies, McIntyre (Griffin 72), Kelly, Clare, Carden, Sugden
(Twiss 72). Subs not used: Brady, Carey.
Barnet: Naisbitt, Hendon, Yakubu, Heald, Midgley, Doolan,
Soloman, Flynn, Gower, Agogo, Purser (Oshitola 67). Subs not used: Baimass,
Pluck, Toms, Millard.
Referee: N.Bannister (Goole).
was a surprise before the start of the game with the news that manager
Mark Wright had recalled forward-turned-defender Danny Collins from
his successful loan spell at Vauxhall Motors. There was also a debut
for Mark Clifford, on loan from Boston United, and a place on the
bench for young loan signing from Oldham Athletic Adam Griffin. The
game, featured live on SKY TV, was played in front of City’s
second lowest League crowd of the season – Saturday night football
not too popular with the locals!
City couldn’t have got off to a worse start
falling behind after just four minutes. John Doolan’s shot
was deflected for a corner on the right off Scott Guyett. The resulting
inswinging flag-kick wasn’t cleared by the City defence allowing
Greg Heald to score with ease from six yards. Still shocked by
the early setback, the Blues almost conceeded a second from another
corner soon after as a flick-on was cleared from the line.
Three minutes later scorer Heald was booked for
a heavy challenge on Ryan Sugden as City looked to settle down
in the windy conditions. It was Collins who was in the thick of
the action though doing well to block shots from both Wayne Purser
and the busy Mark Gower.
The nearest City came in the opening stages was
when visiting keeper Darren Naisbitt flapped at a couple of high
crosses in the windy conditions, one that he missed entirely bounced
off his shins and out for a corner. Soon after Ryan Sugden was
caught offside after being slipped a superb through ball from Daryl
Jimmy Kelly tested Naisbitt was a shot from the
edge of the box that was parried, fortunately for the Bees, no-one
in a blue shirt followed up. Minutes later Kelly found his name
in the referee’s notebook after a challenge on Neil Midgley
that required treatment.
Wayne Brown saved well as John Doolan tried his
luck from 30 yards and at the other end Sugden sent a flick agonisingly
wide of the left hand post after being set up by Danny Collins’ knock-down.
City returned from the break in a determined
fashion though it was Midgley and Purser who had the first two
efforts of the half. On the hour Mark Wright introduced Micky Brown
to the attack at the expense of Clifford.
Sugden and Clare both saw 18 yard efforts saved
before the Blues got the equaliser their second half display had
deserved on 71 minutes as goal-machine Daryl Clare slotted home
Ben Davies’s right wing cross at the second attempt. Clare
celebrated by eating a Milky Way while 20 Exiles in west London
raised the roof in the Famous Three Kings!
Wright immediately replaced Sugden with Michael
Twiss and Kevin McIntyre with Adam Griffin but the Deva cheers
were almost silenced a minute later as Gower just failed to connect
with a teasing cross from ex-City player Junior Agogo.
City piled on the pressure and would have taken
the lead but for a superb save by Naisbitt who finger tipped Guyett’s
header round the post just as it was entering the top corner of
the net. From the resulting corner Heald cleared to Kelly whose
volley from 18 yards was again tipped over.
Griffin, who looked impressive in the short
time he was on, almost capped a fine debut as his low shot deep into
injury time clipped the outside of the post.
Saturday 18 January 2003
Chester City Youth 2 Rotherham
United Youth 4
Youth Alliance North Central
Chester City: Louie Macken, Paul Connolley, John Davies, Ian Lathom,
Adam Hunter (Danny Ventre), Adam Kelly, Mike Simpson, Matt Cooke, Lee Reece
(Danny L Ventre), John Moore, Dean Buckley.
The youth team lost at home to Rotherham United on Saturday. Despite making
a bright start with Adam Kelly hitting a post in the opening two minutes,
they fell behind after ten minutes. Rotherham increased their lead on 20
minutes with the 3rd coming immediately after the break. A long forward
punt from Dean Buckley midway through the second half saw the Rotherham
keeper make a complete mess of an easy catch to make the score 3-1. Rotherham
increased their lead some ten minutes later with Dean Buckley scoring his
second with a close range header in the dying minutes.
15 January 2003
Chester City 1 Worksop Town 2
FA Umbro Trophy Round 3
Attendance: 1,393 Half Time 0-0
Chester City: W.Brown, Lancaster, Ruffer, Guyett, Carey,
McIntyre, Kelly, Twiss, Sugden (Byrne 87), M.Brown (Cameron 59), Woodyatt
(Brady 80). Subs not used: Worsnop.
Worksop Town: McCarthy, Ludlam, Barnard, C.Smith,
G.Smith, Kotylo, Davis, Whitehead, Roberts (Muller 81), Townsend, Todd.
Subs not used: Peacock, Beesley, Caudwell, Balente.
Referee: J.Tatton (Liverpool).
lacklustre City seemed to have rescued a draw from this tie with Worksop
until deep into injury time. Brown’s reluctance to come off his line
forced McIntyre to concede a corner and the Tigers threw everything into
this one last opportunity to settle the match on the night. Todd, the gangling
left winger who had been a thorn in City’s side all night, painstakingly
teed the ball up by the corner flag. His lofted kick to the far post was
not dealt with by the City defence and after an almighty scramble the ball
popped across the six yard line for Gavin Smith to tap it into a gaping
It was a desperately disappointing
finish for the home support who disappeared from
the terraces and stands rapidly and drifted silently
into the night. At the other end the persistent visitors
celebrated with unbounded glee. It was a sight we
have grown accustomed to over the years though not
since Mark Wright has taken over at the Deva. He
was reportedly furious after this performance and
one could see why. Too often City were pedestrian
in their approach play. Kelly and Carey worked reasonably
hard but there was little forward drive to push Worksop’s
part-timers on to the back foot.
From early on in the game Wayne
Brown made it obvious he was troubled by an injury.
Guyett was dragooned to take his goal kicks for him – something
that I last remember seeing happen at Primary school
level. For once City had a goalkeeper on the bench
but Wright chose not to use him. Brown faded markedly
towards the end of the game. With a few minutes to
go – there was a premonition of the winning
goal when, following a chaotic scramble Brown gathered
the ball on the goal line. Wright, from his comments
in the press afterwards, clearly though Brown should
have been able to cope.
Though City dominated, particularly
in the first half, their final ball in to the box
often lacked quality and shooting was woeful at times.
Carey manufactured a great chance for himself but
saw his fierce shot parried by McCarthy. Micky Brown
finished a forceful run down the right with a shot
which blazed across the face of the goal. Worksop
were dangerous on the break and Townsend had a couple
of opportunities which a poor first touch spoiled.
City failed to raise their game
after the break and the visitors tenacity paid off
when they took the lead. Indecision in midfield led
to Kotylo crossing and Townsend’s looping header
deceived brown and flew in off the far post. Michael
Twiss restored parity six minutes later when he turned
and shot beneath the keeper. Guyett was inches away
from giving City the lead with a towering header
from McIntyre's free kick.
So everything was set up for
that hugely disappointing finale. We may try to persuade
ourselves that the Trophy is a distraction that we
could do without and could turn into a blessing in
disguise as far as our push for promotion goes – but
there's no getting away from the fact that it hurt
to lose this one. With several injuries and suspensions
City's squad is looking a little threadbare.
Saturday 11 January 2003
Chester City 0 Worksop Town 0
FA Umbro Trophy Round 3
Attendance: 1,614 Half Time -
Chester City: W.Brown, Lancaster, Ruffer, Hatswell, McIntyre,
Woodyatt, Kelly, Twiss, Davies, Cameron, Sugden. Subs not used: Worsnop,
M.Brown, Brady, Guyett.
Worksop Town: McCarthy, Ludlam, Barnard, Smith, Linnigan,
Kotylo, Davis, Whitehead, Roberts, Townsend, Todd. Subs not used: Peacock,
Caudwell, Muller, Beesley, Smith.
Referee: J.Tatton (Liverpool).
Match abandoned after 26 minutes due to a frozen
4 January 2003
Kettering Town 0 Chester City 1
Attendance: 1,788 Half Time 0-1
Kettering Town: Bowling, Howarth (Haran 82), Matthews,
Norman, Diuk, Inman, Goodwin, Murray, Piercewright (Asombang 67), Murphy,
Parker (Shutt 78), Subs not used: Dancy, Gourley.
Chester City: W.Brown, Ruffer, Bolland, Hatswell, Woodyatt,
Davies, Kelly, Carden, Twiss, Clare, Sugden. Subs not used: M.Brown, Lancaster,
Cameron, Brady, Worsnop.
Referee: G.Simpson (West Yorkshire).
things first. A visit to Northants provided the Exiles with the opportunity
to stage their annual Cheese Skittles competition. Steve Mansley
held the title after wresting it from Howard prior to the match with
Rushden last season. Now we returned to the Shire Horse where Howard
had won his crown two years ago.
Despite accusations of a Mansley brothers “stitch-up” by
debutants Giles and Les, Steve was declared the winner once again.
A brisk walk up Rockingham Road brought us to
the ground – looking rather aged and tinged with decay. One
time ambitions were clear as the size of the main stand shows – but
a whole swathe of unused grey seats at one end lend an air of dilapidation.
Kettering were one of those clubs that persistently knocked on
the re-election door of the Football League but were always turned
down rather like Altrincham – ironically they both meet in
the Trophy next week.
The pitch, though not waterlogged was cutting
up and difficult. It soon became clear that the passing game was
not an option. The ball was up in the air a lot but when it came
down, more often than not, Jimmy Kelly was there picking up the
pieces. Twiss made some headway down the left wing. Sugden looked
bright and full of energy following his three match suspension.
There wasn’t a lot of pattern to the play but Daryl Clare
showed the class of his control and touch whenever City threatened.
It was Clare who broke the deadlock as Bolland flicked on Davies’ corner
from the left – and Clare headed in at the far post. It was
a City ploy I first saw executed by Derek Draper and Billy “The
Whizz” Dearden and it proved enough to win the game on this
Kettering made most of the running in the second
half bearing down hill toward’s City’s goal but in
truth they hardly threatened to score. The biggest danger while
the lead remained slender was from a free kick outside the area
or that one slip might lead to a penalty. City held firm – Hatswell,
Ruffer Bolland and Woodyatt were all solid and did enough to bring
the points home.
It seems that Kettering’s financial resources
are at a low ebb at the moment – it’s hard to see them
escaping the relegation mire for the second time in three years.
That would be a pity, they are a hospitable club (four real ales
on offer for one thing!) and carried the football flag in these
parts till the upstarts Rushden arrived on the scene.
So it was downbeat atmosphere amongs the
home fans afterwards but there was jollity at one end of the
bar as Steve Evans held a reunion with Daryl Clare and Micky
Brown. Evans did not look like a man with the cares of an FA
Enquiry hanging over him. Over his shoulder I glanced another
cheese skittles table – now only being used to store light
fittings. Should City and the Poppies meet again next season
we could issue a Chester cheese skittles challenge. Watch this
Saturday 4 January 2003
Accrington Stanley Reserves 2 Chester
City Reserves 2
Lancashire League Division One
Chester City: Louis Macken, Adam Hunter, John Keegan, John Davies,
Paul Connolly, Peter Dogun, David Pennell, Michael Simpson, Dean Buckley
(Danny Ventre), Matty Cook (Tony McLaughlin), Ian Lathom.
Goals by Paul Connolly and Michael Simpson (from the penalty spot) gave
the Blues a 2-2 draw to lift them to seventh in the Lancashire League with
23 points from 12 games.
1 January 2003
Chester City 2 Northwich Victoria 3
Attendance: 3,151 Half Time 1-0
Booked: Davies, Hatswell, W.Brown. Sent Off: Hatswell.
Chester City: W.Brown, Ruffer, Bolland, Hatswell, McIntyre, Carden,
Beesley (Cameron 46), M.Brown (Brady 67), Davies, Clare, Twiss (Kelly 67).
Subs not used: Woodyatt, Lancaster.
Northwich Victoria : Parry, Rioch, Ingram, Sedgemore,
Norris, Walsh (Garley 52), Came, Taylor, Quinn (McNiven 79), Blundell (Griggs
90), Devlin, Garvey. Subs not used: Connett, Jarrett.
Referee: S.Brand (Birkenhead).
Daryl Clare latched on to Cameron’s knock down, shook off
Shaun Came and bludgeoned the ball past Parry to make it 2-0 – it
seemed to be all over bar the shouting. Just a question of how
many goals City would rack up. Northwich had been pedestrian before
this with City’s passing movements unlocking their defence
with ease. Clare had given City the lead at the end of a neat move
down the right. His celebration got him into trouble as he ran
gleefully behind the goal – the Vics fans had been taunting
him about a wayward cross minutes earlier.
The visitors were soon back in the game as City
seemed to take their foot off the pedal and allow them to come
forwards. Still, there seemed little danger when Devlin crossed
from the right, and the ball deflected off a Chester defender past
a statuesque Wayne Brown. Now Northwich stepped up a gear and City’s
defence seemed to assume a brittle quality all of a sudden. Blundell
skipped through on to Quinn's header and should have equalised
but for a great save by Wayne Brown.
An innocuous free-kick on the right turned into
an innocuous penalty as, from the cross, Quinn went down as Ruffer
and Bolland both challenged him at the same time. Wayne Brown indulged
in a stupid bit of gamesmanship before the kick was taken and was
rightly booked. Quinn, too much of an old stager to be put off
his stride by such antics, smashed the penalty into the roof of
The momentum was now with the Vics but even they
could not believe it when they took the lead minutes later. Quinn,
now leading the line in rampant fashion, briskly laid the ball
out to the left and Garvey's cross eluded everyone except Blundell
who slid in to knock the ball past Brown to make it 3-2.
There was plenty of time left on the clock for
City to respond but – perhaps the most disappointing aspect
of the afternoon – they had nothing left in the locker. Wright
threw on Brady and Kelly for Micky Brown and Twiss respectively.
Kelly was still playing himself back to full fitness and Brady
could make no headway down the right past the amply-girthed Gregor
Rioch. Cameron had replaced the injured Beesley just before half
time and, though he laboured gamely, the forward line was not nearly
so mobile as before.
Worse was to follow for City as Hatswell was
sent off following a challenge on the keeper. He had been booked
a couple of minutes earlier for a prolonged whinge at Mr Brand
about a Northwich player encroaching on a free kick. Hatswell only
had himself to blame – frustration his only exuse.
Still there was time for Carden to break through
on the left bi-line but he delayed his shot and the chance was
Mark Wright has several headaches to cope
with after this result. The ease with which Quinn and Blundell caused
indecision in City’s defence and the shattered confidence of
squandering a 2-0 lead notwithstanding, there is also the question
of the pile up of injuries and suspensions looming up. At least the
Northwich fans tried to console us. “One team in Cheshire” they
chanted – a clear reference to Macclesfield’s heart-warming
win twelve miles down the road at the Welsh club.