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31 January 2004

City’s Nationwide Conference match at Telford United on 14 February looks set to be postponed. The Bucks Head side are now scheduled to play their postponed FA Trophy fourth round game against Weston-super-Mare on that date, the day of the fifth round. Official confirmation is still awaited.
30 January 2004
City manager Mark Wright has said in today’s Non-League Paper that he hasn’t applied for the forthcoming managerial job at Southampton, one of his former clubs. “It would be a dream job for me. Who wouldn’t want the job? I had some great years with the Saints as a player and would love to get back as manager. It would be a dream come true but I have not applied for the Southampton vacancy and won’t be doing so. I have a job to do at Chester and I am fully focused on the task in hand at this club. I am committed to getting Chester into the Football League and hope to achieve that aim this season.” said Wright.
28 January 2004
Danny CollinsCongratulations to Danny Collins who has been selected for the National Game X1 squad who face Italy’s Under-23 side at Telford United on Wednesday 11 February, kick-off 19:45hrs with free admission. The full squad is:

Jon Kennedy [GK] (Accrington Stanley), James Bittner [GK] (Exeter City), Anthony Charles (Farnborough Town), David Perkins (Morecambe), Jon Boardman (Woking), Danny Collins (Chester City), Peter Cavanagh (Accrington Stanley), Gareth Sheldon (Exeter City), Sam Ricketts (Telford United), Adam Miller (Aldershot Town), Scott Kerr (Scarborough), Robert Purdie (Hereford United), Luke Rodgers (Shrewsbury Town), Roscoe D’Sane (Aldershot Town), Karl Murray (Woking), James Coppinger (Exeter City).

Team manager Paul Fairclough said: “On 11 February I would hope that all football fans and families who want to enjoy a great game of football come out in force to support the whole team, as well as Sam (Ricketts) and Luke (Rodgers) who will be local England heroes. A growing number of players are using this team as the launchpad into League football, and you may well see some of the future stars of English football at Telford, as we attempt to beat the best young talent in Italian football.”

However City manager Mark Wright isn’t happy with the situation. He told the Chester Chronicle: “I don’t get it. This is just a friendly match for England and while I am all for players representing their country like I did, why can’t friendlies be played at the end of the season? Danny Collins is integral to our plans this season and I am very worried he will come back injured. My chairman wouldn’t be pleased if that happened and neither would I. I don't want him involved. We have a lot to play for this season and we have only 17 players. I will be getting in touch with the England management and explaining our feelings about this. I would like to know why Hereford and Barnet, for example, don't have any central defenders in the squad.”
27 January 2004
Ian McCaldonManager Mark Wright’s hunt for a goalkeeper continues after it seems he’s failed to persuade Ian McCaldon to stay for an extra few weeks before he emigrates to Australia. McCaldon, who has commanded a regular first team place since Wayne Brown broke a bone in his foot in mid December, officially played his last game for the club on Saturday. However, since it was announced that Brown's return to training and first team action was going to take longer than had been first expected, the club have been trying to persuade the six-foot shot stopper to delay his departure even longer, he was due to leave a couple of weeks ago.

Manager Wright said: “Saturday was Ian McCaldon’s last game for us. He has been offered a great opportunity and a new life in Australia, and we wish him well. He did us a favour by postponing his departure for a couple of weeks, and I thought he was outstanding against Northwich at the weekend. He came for crosses, and his talking and kicking were good. I would be happy if I didn’t have to look for another goalkeeper if we can convince him to stay, but that’s going to be a hard decision because he’s made the decision to go to Australia and live out there. It’s that time of his life when he thinks he’s got to move on, but everyone at Chester hopes he’ll stay around, because he was a big plus for us at Northwich.”

A possible replacement being linked to the Deva is experienced 32-year-old shot-stopper Tony Pennock. Swansea-born Pennock, currently at League of Wales outfit Carmarthen Town, would require International clearance to play for City, but with no game until 7 February that will give the club some breathing space. He began his career in 1994 at Hereford United before moving to Yeovil Town where he made 95 appearances in the following five years before moving to Rushden & Diamonds. He made just 3+2 appearances for the Nene Park club before joining Farnborough Town (initially on loan) in 2002 where he made 55 appearances.

Good luck to Ian in his new venture.
Paul Carden picked up his tenth booking of the season on Saturday and will now receive an automatic two match ban from 7 February. He is scheduled to miss the home game with Farnborough Town and the game at Telford United a week later (though this match will be off should the Bucks Head team progress in the FA Trophy on Saturday). Meanwhile Peter Dogun has been suspended from all football until the Club have completed TEN matches from 02/02/2004 for an FA Charge. Darren Byers has also been suspended from all football until the Club have completed 2 matches from 02/02/2004 for an FA Charge.
24 January 2004
Darryn StampTwo goals from Darryn Stamp either side of half time helped City to their fourth double of the season as they overcame Northwich Victoria at Wincham Park. Daryl Clare missed from the penalty spot before the Blues took the lead just after the half hour with a Kevin McIntyre free-kick. Stamp doubled the lead just before the interval with a close range effort. Clare added City’s third on 49 minutes with Stamp completing the scoring three minutes later with a well taken goal following a one-two with Alex Smith.

After the game manager Mark Wright hinted on radio Merseyside that the current squad of 17 players could be strengthened, possibly this week, and probably a goalkeeper after Ian McCaldon announced his intentions to emigrate to Australia in the next few weeks.

With Hereford United not playing City have extended their lead to six points at the top of the Nationwide Conference though The Bulls have two games in hand. Of the chasing pack, Barnet overcame Margate 3-1, Aldershot were surprisingly beaten 4-0 in their local derby at Farnborough Town and Shrewsbury Town were held in a goalless draw at Halifax Town.
23 January 2004
City make the short trip across the county tomorrow for the visit to Northwich Victoria looking to complete a double over their Cheshire rivals and end a disappointing month with a win. Goals from Danny Collins, Paul Carden, Ian Foster and Kevin Rapley brought City a resounding 4-0 win against the Vics at Deva Stadium back in September as City recorded their sixth win on the trot.

For tomorrow’s game City will be without Carl Ruffer who misses the match through suspension though Scott Guyett should return following injury and Shaun Carey is available after a one-match suspension. City are expecting to take about 1,500 fans to the game and have been allocated the home terracing at Wincham Park with supporters urged to arrive early to avoid congestion, the gates open at 13:45hrs.

With Telford (and Scarborough) flying the Conference flag in the FA Cup their scheduled game with Hereford United tomorrow has been postponed giving City have a great opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the Nationwide Conference to six points.

Fixtures for weeks 15-19 are now available for the following teams.

Download Word document: under 11 | under 12 | under 13 | under 14 | under 16

22 January 2004

Fans will be disappointed to hear that goalkeeper Wayne Brown’s foot injury is not clearing up as quickly as first hoped. It had been thought that the England semi-pro shot-stopper might return to action in a couple of weeks but after a check-up on the broken bone in his foot it’s been advised on medical advice that his absence from the team could well extend until the end of February.
20 January 2004

Defender Carl Regan has returned to Hull City following his month on loan at City where he made 5+0 appearances for the Blues.
19 January 2004
Smith misses
Picture: Tony Arnold

The Blues suffered their third league defeat of the season on Saturday, going down 2-1 at managerless Forest Green Rovers. Daryl Clare had given City a half-time lead with a goal at the end on an uneventful first-half but, as against Leigh and Gravesend recently, they conceded two goal in quick succession midway though the second period and were unable to get back on level terms. Andy Harris came in for Scott Guyett who missed the game though injury while Jamie Heard was preferred to Carl Regan.

“I don’t think we performed from start to finish. Whether that’s down to them working hard or down to the pitch, or us playing bad, I don’t know. I think it was a little bit of everything. When you go 1-0 up, and then you get through one on one with the keeper, that becomes very important. That would have made it 2-0 to us, and then, in my opinion, the game is over. But we missed that one on one, we missed a few chances, including Daryl’s one on one in the first half which he lobbed wide of the post. It was a scrappy game, but you cannot get beat with just a big ball”. said a disappointed manager Mark Wright.

Former Chester player Ryan Sugden did City a favour with a last minute equaliser for Morecambe as they pegged back Hereford United for a 2-2 draw. The Bulls now lie three points behind City with a game in hand.

16 January 2004

City travel to Gloucestershire tomorrow looking to complete the double over Forest Green Rovers. The sides last met in mid-August when a last minute Ben Davies goal brought City the three points. For tomorrow’s return fixture City manager Mark Wright will have to do without the services of midfielder Shaun Carey who serves a one-match ban though Kevin McIntyre returns to the frame after serving a two game suspension. Defender Scott Guyett faces a race against time to be fit as he shrugs off a knee injury though City seem more confident that Daryl Clare will be fit to return following a bout of flu that kept him out of last weeks FA Trophy defeat. Meanwhile defender Carl Regan is due to play the last game of his one month loan spell from Hull City.

Rovers currently lie in 18th place with a home record that has seen three wins, five draws and five defeats this season. They are expected to field the ex-Cheltenham midfielder Hugh McAuley who signed this week. McAuley had been tracked by Mark Wright in the summer and has played just one game so far this season for Northwich Victoria back in November.

City fans traveling by car tomorrow should try and arrive a little earlier at the ground and use nearby street parking as the Stroud College Car Park next to the ground will not be open for the game.
14 January 2004
City have tabled a £10,000 bid for Morecambe midfielder Stewart Drummond. Wright had been a long-time admirer of Drummond who is out of contract with the Shrimps at the end of the season. “Stewart Drummond would be a major asset to Chester City. He is 6ft 1in tall, mobile, and he scores goals. In my opinion he is one of the best midfielders in the Conference. His pedigree speaks for itself and he would be a major asset to us.” said Wright. Drummond is a one-club player having made nearly 200 appearances for the Lancashire side scoring 30 goals since stepping up from the youth ranks in 1994. Meanwhile Morecambe’s interest in Michael Twiss continues and it’s thought that they have upped their initial offer of £5,000 for the City midfielder who is also out on contract at the end of the season.
12 January 2004
For the third time this season City have been dumped out of a cup competition at Deva Stadium. Following on from defeats in the LDV and FA Cup, Halifax Town recorded a 2-1 victory in the third round of the FA Trophy. Wayne Brown, Daryl Clare and Scott Guyett were both sidelined through injury/illness and Kevin McIntyre was suspended for the tie but City still created enough chances to have won the game. The visitors started by far the better side and took an early lead Through Killeen on 12 minutes, Phil Bolland leveled the tie eight minutes later with a well placed header from an Alex Smith cross. Twiss and substitute Ben Davies both saw efforts saved before Farrell headed the winning goal eight minutes from time, bringing to a swift end City’s participation in this season’s competition.“When you have four senior players out of your side you naturally suffer. We had Daryl Clare stuck in bed through illness, and you miss the quality he gives you. It’s a bit like Liverpool being without Michael Owen, and United without Ruud van Nistelrooy. Halifax started brighter and sharper than we did, and I thought in certain areas we looked a little tired. But all credit to Halifax, they did well.” said manager Mark Wright after the defeat.

Carl Ruffer picked up his fifth booking of the season on Saturday and will be suspended for the away game at Northwich on the 28th. Shaun Carey misses this Saturday’s trip to Forest Green Rovers for the same reason. Meanwhile the club have turned down an offer of £5,000 from Morecambe for Michael Twiss who is out of contract at the end of the season.

If you want to keep a check on City’s remaining fixtures you can download some desktop wallpaper for your computer here. These are being updated with the results (though not good reading at the moment!)
9 January 2003
City take a break from Conference action tomorrow as Halifax Town visit Deva Stadium for a third round FA Trophy tie. The sides last met just a month ago when a great second half performance and goals from Ben Davies, Danny Collins and Daryl Clare helped give the Blues a 3-0 victory at The Shay.

While promotion to the Football League remains the top priority for the club, chairman Steve Vaughan has hinted this week to the importance of a good run in Non-League’s top knockout cup. Prize money for this year’s competition has been increased with the winners of tomorrow’s clash picking up £4,000 (it was £1,000 last season) and the chairman said: “A good cup run is vital to this club. A successful campaign that culminates in winning the FA Trophy could yield revenues in the region of £200,000. That kind of revenue is critical to Chester City Football Club.”

What side is picked tomorrow remains to be seen though Kevin McIntyre is ruled out as he serves the last game of his suspension. Visitors Halifax have selection problems with defenders James Dudgeon and Adam Yates both suspended after being red-carded against Scarborough recently, while Karl Colley is cup-tied.

The Blues’ best performance in the FA Trophy came in 2000/01, our first Conference season, when the club made it to the semi-finals (beating Mark Wright’s Southport on the way!) before disappointingly losing 4-0 on aggregate to the eventual winners Canvey Island. The winners of this season’s competition will pick up £50,000 prize money from the Villa Park final.

We take a look back at a classic FA Cup encounter between the sides back in 1969 here.
Chester v Halifax Town Top 10 Matches.

7 January 2004
Steve VaughanChairman Steve Vaughan has publicly stated that despite heavy investment the football club are currently losing a massive £65,000 per month. He said: “Despite Vaughan Trading’s £2.3million investment to date, the club still operates with average monthly trading losses of £65,000 on its total trading turnover, which Vaughan Trading have to underwrite on an on-going basis.

This is a huge deficit and reducing this burden is essential for the long-term stability and future of this club. We may well be top of the league but there is still a great deal to do. Our financial losses are too high, and we have to act collectively now. The easy option would be to cut expenditure and settle for mid-table mediocrity, but to give our manager the best chance of challenging for promotion, money is the key.

The playing contracts we have currently are agreements that were made prior to the Conference’s implementation of the salary capping scheme, and that is why we haven’t signed any new playing contracts since August.”
4 January 2004
City will be kicking themselves for some sloppy defending as Gravesend & Northfleet came from two goals down to draw at Deva Stadium on Saturday. The Blues looked to be cruising at half-time as two more goals from Daryl Clare, one from the penalty spot, gave City a deserved lead. Chances went begging to extend the lead after the break and the Blues paid the penalty as Chris Moore was allowed to ghost in and score twice for the visitors in a matter of minutes. Ian McCaldon failed to come out to collect a Lee Protheroe cross giving Moore the easiest of chances form six yards, the same two players combined for the leveler three minutes later as slack marking allowed the defender to score with ease from close range. Darryn Stamp almost snatched a winner five minutes from time, hitting the post after being put through by Michael Twiss.

“I can’t be over-critical of the players, even though they were 2-0 up and the game should have been over on Saturday. I’ve now given the players two days off because I believe they’ve all done brilliantly over the Christmas period. I was obviously disappointed about Saturday’s result because the players have put in a lot of work in. The players didn’t have a drink at Christmas and they didn’t go out at New Year, because they’ve worked tremendously hard, and everyone can see that in the way they have performed, so they deserve to have a couple of days off, and I’m proud of them.” said manager Mark Wright.

City’s lead at the top of the Nationwide Conference has been cut to four points following Hereford United’s last minute win over Stevenage Borough, the surprise score of the day being the 5-0 win for Dagenham & Redbridge over promotion contenders Shrewsbury Town.

1 January 2004
City attackAny doubts over Daryl Clare’s fitness were dispelled at Hilton Park today as the striker notched his second hat-trick in three games.

Manager Mark Wright named an unchanged team from the one that beat Leigh RMI 5-0 on Boxing Day and the Blues turned in another convincing victory, although there was a spell in the second half, when things looked a little shaky as The Railwaymen pulled back two goals in a short space of time after finding themselves three down.

Daryl Clare opened the scoring twelve minutes before the break lashing home a loose ball in the six yard box, minutes earlier the striker was guilty of a penalty miss after Martyn Lancaster was adjudged to have handled a cross in the box. City doubled their lead just before the break as Darryn Stamp turned a near post cross just beating Steve Redmond to the ball.

Stamp himself added a third just after the break and City missed some guilt-edge chances to extend their lead, most notably Alex Smith who hit the bar from close range before sloppy defending allowed the home side to pull two quick goals back midway through the second half. Ian Martin, making his home debut for Leigh made a string of fine saves before Darryl Clare headed home a fourth and completed a hat-trick in the last minute before a stunning Smith free-kick completed the scoring in injury time. Around 1,500 City fans made the short trip to Hilton Park as Leigh recorded their record Nationwide Conference attendance of 2,002.

All of City’s promotion rivals picked up points today, Shrewsbury Town won 2-0 at Northwich Victoria, Hereford United won 1-0 at Exeter City, Aldershot Town defeated Dagenham & Redbridge 2-1 and Barnet played out a goalless draw at home to Woking.
City’s free-scoring form in the last three games has got fans checking through the record books. The last time the Blues scored six away form home was on 12 October 1985 when Stuart Rimmer bagged four goals (and a gold watch!) on his 21st birthday to help the Blues win 6-3 at Preston North End. You have to go back 70 years for the last occasion that Chester scored five or more goals in three consecutive games when they defeated Rochdale (7-1), Accrington Stanley (7-0), and Darlington (8-0) all at Sealand Road. The last time players scores hat-tricks in three consecutive games was in February 1936 when Frank Wrightson scored four against York City (12-0), three against Barrow (4-2) and three against New Brighton (8-2).
Click here for the answer’s to the Boxing Day quiz.
Daryl ClareCity start the New Year with a match this afternoon at Leigh RMI and fans will be hoping that striker Daryl Clare recovers from a knock on the ankle received in the game with The Railwaymen last week. Should Clare not be fit then there are capable replacements in Kevin Rapley, Michael Twiss and Ian Foster, other than that City have no other injury worries for the game.

Manager Mark Wright was delighted with the players attitude at Christmas but has warned them not to be complacent following the 5-0 defeat of Leigh RMI on Boxing Day. “I am pleased with the way the players responded – the festive period is important to clubs and the players have shown true professionalism in they way they have responded and in the sort of performance they put in. I haven’t enough praise for the players, the level of performance was outstanding.”

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