BLUES WELL BEATEN AS GOAL DROUGHT CONTINUES
came away from their last visit to the Vetch Field with nothing as a goal either
side of half-time killed off the contest and any
trying to hang on for a point against one of the promotion favourites.
City went to frustrate Swansea, and for forty or
so minutes the game plan seemed to be working as the Blues, without creating
any clear-cut openings themselves, restricted the home side to a couple of efforts
wide of the target.
However, Lee Trundle’s
free-kick over the wall just before the break and a
Paul Connor effort just after killed off the game as
a contest with City creating nothing of note in the
second 45 minutes. Paul Carden, sitting this one out
in the stands thanks to his red card last week, was
badly missed today. The Swans added a third later and
City were thankful to a series of Chris MacKenzie saves
that kept the scoreline down in the end.
Midfielder Michael Brown had to be stretchered off
the field after lengthy treatment after appearing to
fall on his neck as he and new signing George Elokobi
both cleared an attack. Brown swallowed his tongue
and suffered concussion in the incident that was quickly
attended to by physio Clive Goodyear. Brown probably
not be allowed to play for two weeks.
Swansea manager Kenny Jackett said
following the game: “Chester made it very difficult
for us and were hard to break down because there was
for our front men but once we were ahead there was
only ever going to be one winner. They can have few
complaints about the scoreline and our defence fully
deserved the clean sheet.”
City have failed to score in
their last four league matches, and have won only
one out of their last 14 league games now. They will
be desperate to put that right as they begin a month
of crucial matches on Tuesday night with the visit
from Cheltenham Town. This is followed by back-to-back
games against fellow strugglers Rushden & Diamonds
(H) and Kidderminster Harriers (A). Table toppers
Yeovil Town then make the trip to Deva Stadium and
City finish the month with two more important away
trips to Grimsby Town and Shrewsbury Town.
His Counterpart Rush
said: “For 40 minutes we did very well but the
goals either side of half-time were killers. The system
used was working well until the first crucial goal
and although Swansea played good football my players
battled away and came back into the game very well.”
STAMP SIGNS FOR STEVENAGE
luck to striker Darryn Stamp who has signed for Nationwide
Conference side Stevenage Borough on a permanent basis.
Signed for City in August 2003 from Northampton
Town for an undisclosed fee Stamp proved his worth
an impressive goal return of 20 in 38+3 matches last
season including the decisive winning goal to clinch
the championship against Scarborough.
Stamp formed a
formidable partnership with fellow striker Daryl
Clare as the pair netted 50 goals in City’s
title clinching season. However a pre-season injury
a return to the side for the start of the season
and his appearances were limited to just 2+2 in the
team and 5 in the reserves, he also spent a month
on loan at Kidderminster Harriers earlier in the
as he strived to regain his fitness.
Postscript: Darryn scored twice on his debut for
Stevenage against Farnborough Town on Saturday.
TOUGH GAME FOR CITY
City have a tough task tomorrow
as they look for only their second league win in 14 games
to help lift them clear from the relegation zone. The
last ever visit the the Vetch Field to play in-form Swansea
City. Chester and Swansea have met in the league on 33
occasions with the Blues just edging it by 14 wins to
currently lie in third place and have won nine of their
season. Back in early October the teams drew 1-1 at Deva
Stadium. Kevin Rapley opened the scoring for the Blues
only for Lee Trundle to equalise for the visitors from
the penalty spot after the break. The game saw the highest
attendance at the Deva this season of 3,803. A crowd
of around 10,000 is expected for tomorrow’s
Chester’s match against Shrewsbury
Town at Gay Meadow on Saturday 26 February has been made
all-ticket for City fans. Prices are: Terrace: Adult £12.00,
concession £7.00. Seats: Adult £14.00, concession
COMPLETES LOAN MOVE
Preston North End striker Joe O’Neill
has joined City on a one month loan from Preston North
End and goes straight into the squad for tomorrow’s
match against Swansea City. O’Neill
has been at Deepdale since 2001 and has previously had
loan spells at Bury where he made 11+16 appearances scoring
3 goals, and Mansfield Town 5+12 appearances, 0 goals.
27 January 2005
DEFENDER SIGNS ON LOAN
City have signed Colchester United
defender George Elokobi on a one month loan. The Cameroon
defender, 19 next week, signed for the U’s in the
summer from Dulwich Hamlet and has been a regular in the
reserve side this season playing at either left back or
central defence, as well as making the first team bench
on several occasions.
Elokobi is expected to go straight into the squad for
Saturday’s match at Swansea. Manager Ian Rush is
also trying to tempt Preston North End striker Joe O’Neill
to come on loan but that move is not confirmed yet. Meanwhile
Tranmere midfielder Gary Jones has turned down a move
26 January 2005
RAPLEY JOINS FOREST GREEN ON LOAN
Kevin Rapley (left)
has joined Nationwide Conference
side Forest Green Rovers on a one month loan. Rovers are
managed by former Chester coach Alan Lewer. Fellow striker
Darryn Stamp looks set for a loan move soon as well with
Stevenage Borough the likely destination.
the club are waiting to hear if Tranmere Rovers midfielder
Gary Jones is coming to the Deva. Jones was given a
deadline of 14:00hrs this afternoon to give a decision
over a move to Chester after the two clubs agreed terms.
Chairman Steve Vaughan said: “We
basically need a decision from Gary quickly so we can
move on, if he signed by two o’clock on Wednesday
then fine, we would be very pleased, if he doesn’t
then so be it. We have other options that we will investigate.
I will not allow the matter to drag on.”
CALL UP FOR DANNY
Congratulations to former favourite
Danny Collins whose career took another step-up today
when he was named in John Toshack’s first Welsh
senior squad for their forthcoming friendly with Hungary
on 9 February in Cardiff.
• There’s an interesting
interview with Danny in The Journal which you can read
reserves were beaten 4-0 at Oldham Athletic this afternoon.
All the goals, at Hyde United’s Ewen Fields ground,
came in the first half. The Blues were expected to
a trial game to 22-year-old Preston North End striker
Joe O’Neill. O’Neill has played 5+12 games
on loan at Mansfield Town this season, without scoring,
and played against City in the league match at Deva Stadium
back in August. The Reserves drop to ninth following
LARGE CROWD FOR VETCH ENCOUNTER
Swansea are expecting a
possible capacity crowd for Saturday’s game against
the Blues. Due to the large amount of pre-booked tickets
(in order to qualify for a ticket at the last game of
the season) the club have made the game all-ticket for
Chester supporters have been allocated half of the West
Terrace behind the goal (the other half is for home fans)
and are able to pay on the gate. Adult: £11, concession:
£6.00. This will be our last ever visit to the Vetch
Field before the home side move in to their brand new
20,000 all-seater stadium on the outskirts of the city
in the summer.
24 January 2005
BLUES PAY FOR ILL DISCIPLINE
Rush’s small squad will be stretched further with
two more red cards yesterday during the 0-0 home draw
against Rochdale. Striker Cortez Belle (left)
has been suspended for five games after receiving a straight
red card for violent conduct. The automatic three match
ban from that, is added to by a further match from each
of his previous red cards this season. Midfielder and
club captain Paul Carden was also dismissed, and has been
given a two match ban. Both players will miss Saturday’s
match against high-flyers Swansea City at the Vetch Field.
On the two incidents yesterday, manager
Ian Rush said: “I think Paul Carden was frustrated
and as for Cortez Belle, I’ve
looked at the video and it didn’t
look a sending off”. The Blues currently top the
cards charts with 67 yellow and 5 red to their name.
Given the numerical disadvantage
late in the game, Rush will no doubt be happy with a point
and another clean sheet.
23 January 2005
YOUTH TEAM DRAW
City’s youth team
drew 0-0 at home to Chesterfield on Saturday morning.
The youngsters have one match left in the Youth Alliance
North Central Conference this season, away at bottom club
Notts County. A win there may see City finish runners-up
to Port Vale. The young Blues then embark on their Merit
League fixtures on 12 February.
21 January 2005
CITY WAITING ON JONES
players have finally shaken of last weeks flu bug as they
prepare for the visit of Rochdale to Deva Stadium tomorrow,
kick-off 15:00 hrs. However, Darren Edmondson and Darryn
Stamp, who both featured for the reserves in midweek,
are still unfit and will play no part tomorrow.
Manager Ian Rush was hoping to have
Gary Jones on his teamsheet for the visit of Dale.
The Chester-born Tranmere Rovers midfielder has had
talks with City this week and an undisclosed fee has
been agreed between the clubs, it would appear the
decision to move rests with the player.
The sides met on Boxing Day at
Spotland when a superb goal from Michael Branch earned
City a point in an entertaining game that finished 2-2.
Dale currently lie 12th in League Two and have a good
record on their travels this season having won on five
occasions at: Wycombe Wanderers (3-0), Grimsby Town (1-0),
Oxford United (1-0), Shrewsbury Town (2-0) and Darlington
(3-0). Rochdale will be without top scorer Grant Holt
who starts a two match ban tomorrow.
20 January 2005
STAMP OF APPROVAL
second half goal from Darryn Stamp gave Chester a 1-0
victory at rivals Wrexham in the Pontins Holiday Cup last
City fielded a mixed side including Darren Edmondson who
is recovering from a recent injury. Stamp’s headed
goal ensured that City finished second in Group 6 behind
Shrewsbury Town. The Blues’ only chance of progressing
through to the knock-out stages though will be if they
finish as one of the best placed runners-up.
Chester City: Wayne Brown, Darren Edmondson (Ian Lathom
46), Danny Ventre, Luke Foster, Sean Hessey, Andy Harris,
Shaun Whalley, Mark Cadwallader, Kevin Rapley (Gavin
Lynch 46), Darryn Stamp (Darren Jones 88), Cortez Belle.
Subs not used: Ryan Brookfield, Kieran Deane.
19 January 2005
RESERVES IN DERBY CUP ACTION
reserves are in Pontins Holiday Cup (group six) action
tonight when they travel to the NEWI Cefn Druids’
Plaskynaston ground to play neighbours Wrexham, kick-off
19:00hrs. Admission is £3.00 (adult) £1.00
The Blues were beaten 2-1 by Shrewsbury at the Deva in
their first group match, The Shrews have also defeated
Wrexham 1-0 to complete their fixtures.
With most of the first team still finding their way back
from last week’s flu outbreak several fringe players
are expected to be given a chance to show what they can
18 January 2005
BLUES TARGET TWO PLAYERS
Chairman Steve Vaughan
has announced that the club are looking to bring in two
players this week. One is 19-year-old Fulham left-sided
midfielder Sean Doherty, who began his career as a youngster
with Everton. He is yet to make a first-team start for
the west London side and would be invited to come initially
on loan terms if he impressed for Fulham reserves in
their 2-2 draw at Leicester last night. The other player,
unnamed, is believed to be a north-west League One striker.
CITY DRAW A BLANK
City fielded a near full
strength side at Cambridge United on Saturday, although
several players appeared to still be suffering from the
flu bug that hit the squad last week. Only Phil Bolland
appeared not to have made the trip, though youngsters
Robbie Booth and Mike Walsh were added to the side. City
came away with a point following the goalless draw to
remain in their now customary 19th place in League Two.
City had goalkeeper Chris MacKenzie to thank for the point
with the shot-stopper making some fine saves, particularly
in the first half, to deny United. City had strong claims
for a penalty turned down in the dying minutes as Michael
Brown was upended in the box but referee Melin chose to
book Brown for diving instead!Manager
Ian Rush was full of praise for the City side who turned
out despite not being able to train for most of last week.
“Overall I thought the lads were first class. They
ran their hearts out and again we were denied a stone-wall
penalty at the end.” he told the Daily Post.
GAME GOES AHEAD
may have a depleted side when they visit bottom club Cambridge
United tomorrow. The BBC reports that only seven first
team players are available after a flu bug hit the squad
yesterday. City had their request to postpone the game
refused by the Football League today. Some reserve and
youth team players are expected to travel with the squad
in case any players fail fitness tests ahead of the game
at the Abbey Stadium.
Although bottom with just three wins to their name all
season, Cambridge have picked up two useful away draws
in the last week at Mansfield Town (0-0) and Bristol Rovers
(1-1). Our record against United is poor. In the 24 previous
league meetings we have won only twice, on the first occasion
the teams met at Sealand Road in 1970 (2-1) and at the
Abbey Stadium by the same scoreline in 1998. Bizarrely
we have beaten Cambridge on one other occasion away in
1992/93 when a goal from John Kelly gave City a victory
in the Cambridgeshire Professional Cup.
Meanwhile Luton Town defenders Ian Hillier and David Bayliss have extended their
loan spells at City for another month.
13 January 2005
ELLISON COMPLETES MOVE
Kevin Ellison has signed
a two and a half year contract at League One leaders Hull
City. The £100,000 transfer was completed today.
The official Hull City website
states that two players who were due to come to Chester
on loan will not now be making the trip. City will receive
a straight transfer fee instead.
Blues chairman Steve Vaughan said: “Ian Rush and
I didn’t want to sell Kevin Ellison to Hull, but
we couldn’t compete with the wage that Hull were
prepared to offer, and our supporters must realise that
we can’t possibly stand in the way of a player wanting
to play one division higher than us.”
CITY HIT BY FLU VIRUS
Manager Ian Rush sent the
players home today after a flu virus hit the club. Only
four senior players, Stephen Vaughan, Paul Carden, Stewart
Drummond, and Cortez Belle are unaffected so far.
ELLISON HANDS IN TRANSFER REQUEST
Leading striker Kevin Ellison
has today handed in a transfer request and is free now
to talk terms with Hull City over a possible transfer
to the League One side.
Speaking on Radio Merseyside tonight, City reporter Neil
Turner believed that should the deal go through in the
next 24/48 hours then the two players coming over to the
Deva would be 24-year-old ex-Tranmere Rovers defender
Richard Hinds and 21-year-old striker Jonathan Walters
who has also played at Bolton Wanderers, Crewe Alexandra
TIGERS IMPROVE ELLISON OFFER
Steve Vaughan (left)
has stated that League One side Hull City have improved
their offer for Kevin Ellison to a six figure sum, in
the region of £100,000, plus two players. Ellison,
the top scorer this season, arrived in the summer on a
free transfer from Stockport County.
Vaughan said: “The revised bid from Hull has been
received. The financial offer has been increased to a
six figure sum, and the two players that have been offered.
Basically, if Kevin Ellison says he wants to move to a
club at a higher level, then we couldn’t stand in
his way. However, if he wishes to stay with us, then that
is fine. It’s always flattering when other clubs
show interest in our players, but as I always say at these
times, we are building a quality squad here at Chester
not dismantling it.”
is no stranger to Tigers manager Peter Taylor, he took
him from non-league Altrincham to Leicester City back
in 2001. Taylor told the Hull Daily Mail newspaper that
he wants to sign the 25-year-old left-winger in time
to face Peterborough on Saturday.
“I’ve thought about it
and he would be a very important player to help us push
on, so that’s why I’ve gone back in. They
want a couple of players on loan and it’s about
£100,000 for Ellison. What happens after that
with loans is separate. I’d like to get him in
the squad for Saturday. He’s a strong boy and
if I can get him I’d be absolutely delighted.
I think we’re getting much closer.” said
Of the two Luton Town players currently
on loan, Ian Hillier and David Bayliss, it looks like
City will be offering them permanent deals. Vaughan
told Sky Sports: “We’re
90 percent sure that we’ll be offering them terms and once we’ve got Saturday out of the way, we’ll see if they want to join us permanently.
One of the two may even sign before then. We’ve spoken to Luton and they’re
happy to come to a settlement with us.”
Meanwhile, one of Ian Rush’s
targets, Bury striker David Nugent has signed for Championship
side Preston North End for an undisclosed six figure fee.
GALLANT CITY KNOCKED OUT
FA Cup run is over after the Blues were beaten 2-1 in
the third round at Bournemouth on Saturday. Chester gave
a great account of themselves, playing their best football
of the season and dominating large periods of the game
against League One opposition, and will look to two mistakes
that eventually cost them the tie. Manager Ian Rush was
forced to shuffle the squad which saw Ben Davies play
at right back and Stephen Vaughan in midfield – both
seemed to adapt to their new roles well.
The opening goal, against the run of play, came as City failed to clear a corner
while the second was presented to the Cherries after goalkeeper Chris MacKenzine
failed to hold on to a cross. Kevin Ellison pulled a goal back for City with
20 minutes remaining but try as they might City were unable to force a draw. Manager
Rush said: “I felt we played very well and were
unlucky not to get a draw. It was probably the best football
we have played this season. We knew they were a very good
football team but we made them look very ordinary. We
had the chances to win the game but we made two mistakes
which they scored from. I cannot do nothing but praise
the lads – it was just the luck of the cup.”
7 January 2005
CITY PREPARE FOR CUP ACTION
team travelled down yesterday to prepare for Saturday’s
FA Cup third round match with AFC Bournemouth. The club
will utilising Southampton’s training facilities
today as they attempt to reach the fourth round for the
first time since 1986/87.
Both Michael Branch and Andy Harris miss the game, each
serves a one match suspension, while there are doubts
over on-loan full back Ian Hillier who hobbled off on
Monday, his chances of playing are rated as 50/50. The
winners of the third round tie will pocket prize money
have met in the competition before, back at Moss Rose
in January 1991. On that occasion City were beaten by
a last minute Efan Ekoku goal presented to him by a
mistake from Blues goalkeeper Billy Stewart. With a
gale force wind behind him, Andy Jones had given the
visitors a 2-0 half time lead, but two goals in as many
minutes after the break from Brian Croft dragged City
back into the game before the last minute howler.
For those who can’t get to the
game tomorrow you can hear live internet commentary
via the FA website here.
Meanwhile the club say they have
turned down a cash plus two players offer from Hull City
for winger Kevin Ellison. Ellison arrived from Stockport
County in the summer and is the current City top scorer
with ten goals.
official Forest Green Rovers website confirms that Andy
Watson has returned to City following his loan spell at
The Lawn. He made 6+3 appearances.
5 January 2005
NO CITY FUTURE FOR STAMP
club have stated they they are to circulate clubs regarding
the availability of striker Darryn Stamp. Stamp, who scored
20 goals last season, has made just 3+2 first team appearances
for City this season and played five games on loan at
Kidderminster Harriers in November. On his return he was
injured playing for the reserves and hasn’t featured
since. One of Stamp’s former clubs Scarborough enquired
about the players availability recently and could be expected
to renew their interest.
Meanwhile chairman Steve Vaughan has hinted that other
player may soon also be on their way: “We need to
freshen things up in the squad, and it could well be that
a couple of other players who are not figuring in the
squad at the moment, will also be moving on. We have targeted
certain players who we consider will strengthen the squad
and hopefully positive news will be forthcoming soon.”
4 January 2005
RUSH: WE WERE MUGGED
will feel hard done by at losing all three points against
Lincoln City on Monday but they only have themselves to
blame for some slack defending that presented substitute
Simon Yeo a 92nd minute winner. A draw would have been
a fair result as both sides cancelled themselves out in
a dour game that did little to excite the 2,800 bank holiday
crowd. The few chances that City did create fell to Cortez
Belle early on and increasingly, as the match wore on,
to Kevin Ellison.
thought we were mugged. It wasn’t a great game,
but I thought we done enough to at least get a share
of the spoils. We had chances, and it just shows you
unfortunately what happens when you don’t take
your chances.” said manager Ian Rush after the
Rush has stated that he’s
after two more strikers but has heard nothing from Bury
since the club made an improved offer for their 19-year-old
striker David Nugent over Christmas. The club had initially
tabled a £50,000 bid. With Michael Branch suspended
for Saturday’s FA Cup-tie at Bournemouth the Blues’ lack
of strike power will once again be exposed.
DOUBLE DELIGHT FOR CITY
wonder goal from Kevin Ellison, his tenth of the season,
brought City victory at Moss Rose and with it the double
over their Cheshire rivals Macclesfield Town. It was the
Blues’ first League win for ten matches as, for
the third game running, City fought back from going a
goal down. City, trailing by a Mike Sheron effort at the
break, struck with two goals in four minutes from Stewart
Drummond and Ellison late in the game to notch a deserved
win in a game played in atrocious conditions. Despite
the win City remain 19th in League Two but will be hoping
to build on Saturday’s victory when they entertain
Lincoln City at Deva Stadium tomorrow, kick-off 15:00hrs.
1 January 2005
BLUES LOOKING FOR A CHESHIRE DOUBLE
kick-off 2005 with an away trip to Cheshire rivals Macclesfield
Town this afternoon. The game was originally billed as
all-ticket but this is not now the case and supporters
who haven’t pre-bought tickets can pay at the turnstiles.
The Silkmen are enjoying a successful season and are currently
fifth in League Two with 38 points, 12 more than City.
The Blues will be without Wayne Brown, Darren Edmondson
and Richard Hope who are sidelined through injury. Kevin
McIntyre, who signed for Macclesfield last week, will
not be allowed to play against his former club today due
to a clause in his contract.
Ian Rush will be hoping for a repeat of the performance
that saw the Blues beat Macc 1-0 in his first home game
in charge at Deva Stadium back in early September. On
that occasion it took a last minute goal from Danny
Collins to bring City all three points.
Following today’s game City
are in League Two action once again on Monday afternoon
when they entertain Lincoln City at Deva Stadium, kick-off