Chester City 0 Notts
Attendance: 2,599 Half Time 0-0
Sent off: David Artell.
Chester City: Gillet,
McNiven, Artell, Dimech (S.Vaughan 71), Regan, Lowe, Drummond, Curtis, Davies,
Richardson (Blundell 61), Asamoah. Subs not used: Curle, Walker, Corden.
Notts County: Pilkington, Wilson, Baudet, Martin, Palmer, Pipe, Crooks,
Edwards, Needham (O’Callaghan 51), Dadi, DeBolla (Scoffham 67). Subs not
Friars, White, Marshall.
Referee: J.Moss (West Yorkshire).
Jekyll & Hyde season continued with this defeat to Notts County. A midweek
win at Field Mill had ended a dismal sequence of results but they could not
build on it here. City did not play badly but were undone by an unfortunate
and harsh penalty when Dimech was adjudged to handle the ball. It was unfortunate
because it was an unlucky bounce of the ball and harsh because City did not
deserve to be behind.
The real problem for Chester has been scoring goals. They have not taken the
lead in a game for eleven matches and they struggled to create openings in
this one. When City were able to get the ball out to the flanks they looked
more convincing. Regan did well down the right in the first half though his
threat was stifled in the second. Lowe had the best chance to score but wanted
a second touch and was tackled just as he shot. Chances were few and far between
at the other end too but there was a sticky moment when hesitant defending
let Dadi run through on goal. Dimech managed to push him wide and his cross
was plucked to safety by Gillet. Pipe found space on the right and drilled
a hard shot wide. Gillet then miskicked completely as the ball bobbled but
recovered in time to concede a corner.
Curle changed things round a bit into the second half. He brought Blundell
on for Richardson and moved Lowe into the forward line and Asamoah to right
wing back. Asamoah was less effective here but Blundell and Lowe were beginning
to spark before the penalty was awarded. Baudet made no mistake with the spot
kick and City had to chase the game. Lowe might have equalised immediately
but this time his first time shot went high over the bar. Dimech was withdrawn
in place of Vaughan who played in midfield with Curtis dropping to full back
and Regan into the centre. A neat interplay which ended with Davies crossing
from the left for Drummond to head towards goal was the closest City came to
When Artell’s desperate tackle on Dadi resulted in another penalty and
a red card many of the home faithful had seen enough and headed for the exits.
It was another dispiriting defeat. Yet this is more or less the same side that
defeated Carlise and Peterborough and drew at high flying Wycombe. There is
no doubt that injuries to Blundell and Branch (suspended for this game) and
the suspension of Lowe have disrupted City’s rhythm. They need to find
the confidence of earlier in the season and their scoring touch again.
Colin Mansley [report & pics]
Chester City Under
18 0 Burnley Under
Youth Alliance Cup Round 3 (Quarter Final)
Half Time 0-1
Chester City: Brookfield,
Cadwallader, Potter (M. Humphreys 87), Roberts,
Marsh-Evans, Scales, Rutherford, Linford (Owen
58), Anderson (Wade 70) Holroyd, Newton. Subs
not used: Kelly, Craig Vernon.
Burnley: Crossley, Henby, (Turner 66), Casey, Smith, Blackler, Reilly,
Underwood, Platt, Hawley (Craig 70) Kay (Stott 66) Rodriguez.
Burnley riding high in the Youth Alliance League,
Chester where always going to be the underdogs
in this cup Quarter Final.
Burnley started the game
with a 4-5-1 formation, and controlled the
pace of the game with relative ease. It was
evident from very early on, that Nicky Platt
was the lynch pin of Burnley’s midfield,
with everything going through him. Given copious
amounts of time to stroke the ball around,
Platt simply dropped off deep and sprayed the
ball around with ease. In the first ten minutes
Burnley squandered a few half chances, when
Hawley failed to convert at least three half
chances. After that, despite all their possession
Burnley rarely threatened Chester’s goal.
Having let Burnley dictate
the tempo, Chester started to claw their way
back into the game and in particular Rutherford’s
work rate in closing numerous players down
didn’t go unnoticed. Evidently this attitude
started to give the team a lift and soon Scales
and Anderson where matching his efforts. On
17 minutes Chester won a free kick some six
yards outside the Burnley penalty area in a
central position, unfortunately Linford didn’t
live up to his reputation of Saturday and struck
the ball straight at the wall. For a few minutes
Chester broke down Burnley’s game plan
and shut down quite rapidly, forcing the odd
error here and there. After one such error
Scales picked the ball up in the centre circle
and switched play to Newton out on the left
wing. In turn Newton delivered a delightful
first time ball into the Burnley penalty area
where Holroyd got to the ball first and rounded
a stranded Crossley in the Burnley goal, all’s
that remained was for Holroyd to score and
he duly obliged. Unfortunately his celebrations
where short lived when the assistant ruled
him offside, judging by the response on the
Burnley bench they knew it was a let off!
For the remainder of the
half neither team really produced anything
of quality, and it looked as if the half would
end all square, that was up until the 41st
minute when Platt got on the end of a through
ball and raced clean through. 1v1 with Brookfield,
Brookfield spread himself well and saved with
his legs. However, inside the first minute
of time added on Chester where guilty of a
error when Marsh-Evans failed to clear properly
and the ball fell to Smith some eight yards
outside the penalty area, skipping past two
half-hearted challenges he then coolly slotted
the ball past an onrushing Brookfield.
With Chester being rationed
to only one chance in the first half, Jim Hackett
changed the formation in the second half to
4-3-1-2, with Rutherford now playing in the
hole behind the front two of Holroyd and Anderson.
The effect was instant and Chester started
playing as if they where top of the Alliance
League, taking the game to Burnley.
In the 55th minute Holroyd
struggled to get the ball out from under his
feet, and he failed to get any power into his
shot from inside the six-yard box. A minute
later and Holroyd was the provider, crossing
the ball from the right wing, Rutherford met
his cross in full stride where his left foot
cushioned volley went just inches over. A few
minutes later, and Chester won a free kick
out on the left wing. In a crowded penalty
area Potter’s delivery caused mayhem
resulting in Blackler heading the ball onto
his own crossbar, when the ball bounced back
out Marsh-Evans hit the rebound over.
As the half developed Chester
held siege to Burnley’s goal and had
numerous efforts, Newton put a shot wide and
Holroyd lobbed over. Rutherford also contested
a 50/50 ball with the keeper, which resulted
in the ball falling to 15-year-old James Owen
who scuffed his shot. With time running out
Chester threw everything at Burnley and caused
untold unrest in the Burnley back four. There
was some confusion on a corner in the 83rd
minute, with the referee positioned on the
back post the ball hit him in the chest and
the referee declared the ball to be out, albeit
it looked like he was still on the pitch when
the ball hit him.
Having thrown everything
at Burnley, and had a strong penalty appeal
waved away for handball in the last minute
Chester failed to relent in their quest to
find an equalising goal, and in time added
on Rutherford unlocked the Burnley defence
with a mazy run deep into the Burnley box.
Picking the ball up outside the area, and being
urged on by Bill Gerrard, he ghosted past four
defenders and made his way into the back of
the six yard box where he set a delightful
ball up just inviting someone to slam it home.
With an array of players lining up in the six
yard box ready to side foot the ball into the
net, Holroyd attempted to flick the ball in
with his instep and the ball deflected to a
defender who thumped it clear.
In respect to Jim Hackett
and Bill Gerrard, I think at the start of the
game a 1-0 defeat would have been acceptable,
especially against a team who are taking the
league by storm. However, after the second half
display, where they totally overwhelmed the opposition
one couldn’t blame them for feeling hard
Mansfield Town 1 Chester
Attendance: 3,219 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Blundell, Curtis.
Mansfield Town: Pressman,
Buxton, Baptiste, Hjelde, Jelleyman, Uhlenbeek
(Birchall 74), Dawson, Coke, Rundle, Barker (Brown
74), Reet (Russell 68). Subs not used: White,
Chester City: Gillet, McNiven, Artell, Dimech, Regan, Asamoah (Vaughan
78), Curtis, Drummond, Davies, Lowe (Branch 90), Blundell (Richardson 82). Subs
Referee: K.Hill (Hertfordshire).
a difference a few days can make as Keith Curle
returned to familiar territory again – this
time emerging as the victorious manager at the
end of an acrimonious game against his last club,
Although it was a bitterly
cold evening, the 178 travelling Blues fans
were heartened from the start to see Stéphane
Gillet in goal after his red card at Bristol
Rovers was rescinded earlier in the day.
City also lined up with five former Stags
players on the pitch, ensuring it was a lively
second half to say the least.
The action didn’t
really quite get going in the first half
and both teams played out a largely dull
game of cat-and-mouse, with both sets of
defenders doing a good job of protecting
the goal. Ex-Stag Luke Dimech seemed inspired
by playing at his former club and made a
couple of excellent challenges.
Reet had his team’s best early chances
in the first half, but Gillet made a good
stop for one of them and the other hit the
side netting – foxing
many of the hopeful Stags’ fans.
Chester did put some pressure
on the Mansfield half, but it wasn’t
until just before the half-time whistle that
they had their best chance. It came when
Ryan Lowe pounced as two Mansfield defenders
were confused at a throw-in, but his opportune
strike wasn’t ever going to threaten
Stags’ goalkeeper Kevin Pressman.
The second half was a much
more exciting spectacle almost from the off,
with two Chester corners in the opening minutes.
The second was taken short and resulted in
two close-range City attempts on goal – from
Stewart Drummond then Ben Davies. The players
in the packed Mansfield penalty area somehow
kept the ball out.
Soon after, a good Mansfield
manoeuvre saw Reet clear about six yards
in front of goal. He had no trouble scoring
past Gillet. But City heads didn’t
drop – backed
up by the rousing chants from the away supporters
behind the goal they were attacking.
Just three minutes later
they got their reward. Ex-Stag Scott McNiven
played a one-two with Gregg Blundell and
when the ball came back to McNiven about
25 yards out, he volleyed a perfect strike
into the back of the net. It was his debut
goal for City – and
what a place to score it! The away supporters
were delirious – accidentally
knocking the advertising hoardings down as
they rushed to congratulate the team.
And there was still more
drama to come. Five minutes later, Blundell
and Mansfield’s Jon Olav Hjelde were
grappling on the floor on the Mansfield goal-line.
Both players were yellow carded.
Soon after, referee Keith
Hill was showing his red card at Mansfield's
Richard Barker, who was dismissed for a second
bookable offence for apparently elbowing
Davies on the right-hand touchline. The Stags’ fans
were incensed at the sending off – some
running the length of the stand to say their
piece to Davies.
Three minutes later, Chester
won a free-kick in the danger area and Davies’s
free-kick was sweetly headed home by 5ft
6ins Derek Asamoah who somehow managed to
tower above the Mansfield defence.
For Chester, it then seemed
like a matter of defending and nine minutes
later, Asamoah was replaced by Stephen Vaughan
Junior. The Stags nearly equalised moments
later when a great shot from the right-hand
side somehow hit both the crossbar and the
left-hand side of the post.
Blundell was replaced by
Marcus Richardson on the 83rd minute and
it was looking like three points were certain
for City. There was a nervy four minutes
of injury time in which Gillet ensured victory
with an excellent diving save across the
face of the goal.
Lowe was replaced by Michael
Branch in the dying minutes – cue
accusations of time-wasting from the home
stands. But Branch had barely chance to touch
the ball before the referee blew for time
and three much-needed points were in the
bag, with the losing run ended.
The Stags’ fans didn't
go home quietly and made their presence felt
as Curle and the team made their way off
at the far corner. You could say they seemed
like bad losers in this part of Nottinghamshire – let’s
hope the supporters of the county’s
other L2 team are feeling the same way on
Sue Choularton [report & pics]
Saturday 21 January
Bristol Rovers 2
Chester City 1
Attendance: 6,310 Half Time 2-0
Booked: Branch, Curtis; Sent-off: Gillet.
Bristol Rovers: Shearer,
Lescott, Edwards, Elliott, Carruthers,
Campbell, Igoe (Mullings 85), Disley, Haldane
85), Walker, Agogo. Subs not used: Book,
Chester City: Gillet, McNiven, Artell, Dimech, Regan, Branch, Drummond,
Curtis (Richardson 85), Corden (Davies 45), Lowe, Asamoah (Vaughan 74). Subs
not used: Blundell, Walker.
Referee: M.Russell (Hertfordshire).
Bristol boy Keith Curle
did not have a happy homecoming as he watched
his Chester side outclassed for most of
the game by a strong Bristol Rovers team,
who deserved their 2-1 victory.
It was the seventh league
defeat in a row for the Blues, leaving
the 183 travelling fans struggling to find
some positives from the game. Certainly
if the team had started the match at the
tempo in which they finished it, it may
have been a different story.
Chester ran out with
three changes from the midweek FA Cup exit – Gregg
Blundell, Ben Davies and Justin Walker
were all on the bench, replaced by recent
loan signings Derek Asamoah and Wayne Corden,
plus Ryan Lowe following his return from
Lively Asamoah made a
reasonable impression throughout the match
and inside the first two minutes had the
first Chester attempt on goal. But it wasn’t
long before City’s poor defending let them
First Rovers’ Sammy
Igoe won a corner from a good Luke Dimech
clearance. It was taken short and the cross
easily found the head of long-haired Christian
Edwards. He looked like he earned his “Swanny” nickname
from his long neck (not his Swansea roots)
as he rose virtually unmarked to thwack
the ball home.
So it was only nine minutes
gone and it was already feeling like there
was no coming back for City. Ex-Chester
favourite Junior Agogo had a shot on goal,
soon followed by Igoe, then Craig Disley.
Rovers won another corner, and Stéphane Gillet – possibly inspired by the
Luxemburg flag fluttering on the away terrace – made
an excellent point blank save to tip the
ball round the post. But it was backs to
the wall for Chester at this stage and
from the next corner, Lowe had to clear
the ball off the line.
Chester won a couple
of corners themselves, but they didn’t
result in any real threat and it seemed
like City needed Davies to come off the
bench. Lowe had a run on goal on the half-hour,
but his 20-yard shot was easily saved by
The only other real first
half opportunity for the Blues came from
another Asamoah strike. His shot was parried
by Shearer and City were unlucky that the
ball did not fall kindly for them.
The action was soon back
at the other end and a neat Rovers move
resulted in the ball landing well for Disley,
who was only about seven yards out and
given the space to control the ball on
his chest, then feet, then turn and volley
it into the net to leave the home side
2-0 up and coasting at half-time.
The second half started
with Davies replacing Corden, who hadn’t
made his presence felt at all in the opening
45mins. Scott McNiven and Carl Regan also
swapped flanks for the second half. Davies
was immediately in the thick of it, forcing
a corner almost straight away. But it was
another disappointing one, and as Chester’s
chances seemed to be ebb away, there was
dismal talk on the sunny away terrace of
going to the pub as soon as the third Rovers’ goal
Agogo looked more and
more threatening – I don’t
think he thought much of the chants: “You’re
just one of Terry’s rejects”!
He forced another good save from Gillet
on the 65th minute.
Just five minutes later,
and Agogo and Gillet were in the action
again. Agogo just caught onto a long ball
as Gillet ran forward to meet him. The
two collided and Agogo fell to the floor,
with Gillet being red-carded for denying
a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
Defender Dave Artell
donned the green jersey and barely put
a foot, or hand, wrong in the 20 minutes
he spent between the sticks. It led to
an exciting final spell, with the ten men
of Chester pressing to get something out
of the game.
Artell was called on
to make a couple of saves as well as a
few kicked clearances. He definitely gave
the appearance of someone who's been in
goal before. City’s spirit was finally
rewarded not long after Marcus Richardson
came on as a late replacement for Tom Curtis.
It wasn’t long
before ‘Rico’ made his presence
felt and his quick free kick found Rovers’ defence
napping and Davies in space. He slotted
the ball home to make it 2-1 and give City
a real feeling that they might leave the ‘Mem’ with
a valuable point. They continued to press
and the referee’s addition of four
minutes added time made us hope for a repeat
of the Cheltenham FA Cup away draw.
But it wasn’t to
be and soon after attempts by Michael Branch,
Stuart Drummond and Lowe, the referee blew
for full-time and it was ‘Goodnight
Irene’ to City’s attempt to
break the losing spell.
Bury Under 18 1 Chester
Youth Alliance North and Midlands West Conference
Half Time 1-0
Wedge, Taylor, Quigley, Clarkson, Platfeld,
Chetcuti, Worral, Stepien, Burk, Williams.
Subs: Holms, Blackman, Potter, Gregson, Bentley.
Chester City: Brookfield, Sean Kelly (James Owen 65), Potter, Roberts,
Marsh-Evans, Scales (M. Humphreys 83), Steve Anderson (Newton 46), Linford
Cadwallader, Holroyd, Rutherford. Subs not used: Armstrong.
Referee: D. Adamson.
attacked uphill in the first half, and in
fairness had the better of the early exchanges.
Marsh-Evans breaking up play on the halfway
line then drove at the Bury defence, where
he got to the dead ball line and whipped
in a low cross. The ball eventually curved
back out of the penalty area to Anderson
who blasted the ball well over.
On the quarter hour mark,
Bury had a half chance when Chetcuti hit
the ball first time on the volley, his effort
going high and wide. Two minutes later, and
Chester spurned a good opportunity, Brookfield
kicked the ball up field where Rutherford
played a delightful first time cushioned
volley straight into the path of Holroyd.
With only one thing on his mind, Holroyd
opted to go it alone and hooked his shot
into the side netting on the near post.
Despite the terrible state
of the pitch, Chester at times played some
good football with Rutherford, Linford and
Potter linking up well. After some good short
crisp passing between the three, Potter was
unlucky when Linford’s back heel fell
just behind him, on what would have been
a clear run in on goal. Rutherford continually
looked lively and posed a threat when he
went on a delightful run down the left wing,
mesmerising the left back with an array of
step-overs before delivering the ball into
the box where Holroyd sliced his shot wide.
However, it was Bury, who
took the lead in the 25th minute with a free
kick that caught Chester sleeping. With the
ball a good 35 yards out on the left-hand
touchline there seemed little danger when
Worral dinked the ball over the wall, but
instead of defending the kick Chester tried
to play offside and failed dismally. Burk
reacting the quickest was left with an easy
side foot shot into Brookfield’s bottom
Chester responded positively
and straight from kick off Cadwallader should
have levelled the scores but instead thumped
his shot straight into the arms of the keeper.
Ten minutes from the half and Cadwallader
missed a golden opportunity, this time when
he miss-kicked from close range. Scales also
had a long-range effort comfortably saved
by Smith in the Bury goal.
At half time Chester where
lucky to come in 1-0 down, after Brookfield
produced a magnificent save in the dying
stages. With Marsh-Evans miss-kicking his
clearance the ball fell to Williams with
only Brookfield to beat. It seemed a foregone
conclusion when he smacked the ball goal-bound
for the top right corner, but Brookfield
showed great agility diving to his right
and parried the ball onto the upright and
the crossbar, the ball being eventually cleared
Chester started the second
half apprehensively and rode their luck in
the early minutes with Burk breaking clean
through only to shoot wide. After a dismal
opening ten minutes Chester had their best
chance of the game so far! With the ball
being chipped into the penalty area from
the right hand side, it went over the head
of everyone and Rutherford swivelled and
was about to send the ball into the unguarded
net when for some unearthly reason Cadwalleder
nipped in and took the ball of his foot.
Cadwallader then stood there motionless as
the defending player whacked the ball clear.
With immediate effect Cadwalleder was sent
packing to play his more familiar role at
centre half, Marsh-Evans was moved to left
mid with Rutherford moved up front.
The longer the game went
on you just sensed that it wasn’t going
to be Chester’s day, and with Bury
now breaking frequently Jim Hackett moved
Rutherford to centre mid. This seemed to
have the desired effect and Chester soon
began to stabilise themselves and started
to get back in this game, putting Bury on
the back foot. Having fought their way back
into this game Chester where awarded a free
kick with 18 minutes to go, with the ball
positioned out on the left wing Linford delivered
an in-swinger into the crowded penalty area
where the keeper misjudged the flight and
the ball sailed into the top left hand corner
to make it 1-1.
Despite getting themselves
back into this game Chester lived dangerously
and with ten minutes left Scales lost out
to Quigley who put Burk clean through with
Brookfield. Brookfield hesitated and by the
time he had decided to come out Burk deftly
lobbed him and stood agonisingly watching
as his effort bounced wide of Brookfield’s
In the closing stages Chester
had chances to take all three points, the
first when Marsh-Evans received the ball
from a throw in and got to the goal-line
opting to smash the ball into the side netting
instead of cutting it back. And in injury
time when Cadwallader yet again foiled a
Rutherford effort, this time a venomous goal
bound volley that he charged down with a
great defensive block leaving Cadwallader
sprawled out on the floor.
All in all, this wasn’t
one of Chester’s better performances
and they’ll have their work cut to progress
further, when on Wednesday they play Burnley
in the quarterfinals of the Alliance Youth
Chester City 0 Cheltenham
FA Cup Round 3 Replay
Attendance: 5,096 Half Time 0-0
Chester City: Gillet,
Artell, Regan, Curtis,
Walker, Dimech, McNiven, Drummond, Davies, Branch, Blundell. Subs: Brookfield,
Vaughan, Richardson, Bolland, El Khoti.
Cheltenham Town: Higgs, Gill, Caines, Wilson, Finnigan, Guinan, Bird,
Townsend, Odejayi, Armstrong, Melligan. Subs: Spencer, Brown, Connolly, Vincent,
Referee: A.Hall (West Midlands).
FA Cup dream ended as they were smothered
by an efficient and hard-working Cheltenham.
The match was described by Stephen Vaughan
as the biggest since winning promotion from
the Conference. The financial rewards for
winning through to the next round were immense
for both clubs with the chance for glory
against Newcastle beckoning.
As the queues to get in snaked around the Deva the match got underway. The ball
was soon cleared uncermoniously over the main stand, it quickly reappeared as
one of the many who couldn't get in tried to return it from the car park.
The atmosphere was tense, the play scrappy but City shaded the first half. They
were allowed little time to dwell on the ball by the visitors but when they did
move the ball round quickly on the ground they looked to threaten. Branch caught
the eye with his running off the ball and a couple of times got behind the Cheltenham
defence. Davies and Curtis had shots from the edge of the area, Regan’s
cross was tipped off Drummond’s head by the keeper.
Shortly after the break City went behind and never really recovered. Like the
match, the goal was attritional and scrappy. Chester couldn’t clear the
ball following a corner and a header returned to the corner of the pnealty area.
Drummond and Guinan went for the ball – it was difficult to see who it
came off – but it looped towards the penalty spot. Odejayi – a nuisance
all night – reacted first and his, first time, left foot shot across goal
beat Gillet’s dive.
Cheltenham succeeded in stifling the play by making sure that no City player
had time on the ball. City could not develop any fluency. Blundell was rendered
ineffective, often on his own up front until Richardson was brought on to replace
Walker. City’s confidence seemed low after their atrocious League form
and, while not lacking effort, didn’t have the guile to break down a stubborn
Cheltenham. Davies bore down towards goal and might have taken the ball further
but released it to Branch instead who was soon closed down. This typified Chester’s
The sponsors chose Davies as the man of the match but should have chosen Gillet
who kept the Blues in the game with two great saves at the feet of Odejayi. City
went out then not so much with a bang as a whimper. The disappointment of the
the players and fans was huge. Where now for this season which promised so much?
Chester City 0 Boston
Attendance: 2,956 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Walker, Regan.
Chester City: Gillet,
McNiven, Artell, Regan, El Kholti, Walker
(Davies 45), Drummond, Curtis (Branch 72),
Corden, Asamoah, Richardson (Blundell 45).
Subs not used: S.Vaughan, Bolland.
Boston United: Logan, Canoville, White, Ellender, McCann, Rusk, Talbot,
Hall, Galbraith (Holland 70), Keene (Silk 87), Joachim. Subs not used: Maylett,
Referee: T.Leake (Lancashire).
was another disappointing display from
a City side that looks a pale shadow of
the exciting one that swept into the top
three of League Two during the first few
months of the season.
Manager Keith Curle
gave debuts to both of this weeks loan
signings, Wayne Corden (pictured) and
Derek Asamoah, at the expense of Ben Davies
Blundell who started on the bench. With
Luke Dinech suspended Carl Regan was
given the central defensive role in preference
to Phil Bolland who sat with Davies and
City attacked first and
forced a corner on four minutes though Walker’s
outswinging flag-kick was cleared with ease.
City gifted the Pilgrims two free-kicks soon
after. The first, for a handball by Tom Curtis
was caught by Stéphane Gillet making
his home debut in goal, and minutes later
Gillet was on hand again to save an effort
from Simon Rusk after Stewart Drummond committed
a foul six yards outside the box.
The was a close call on
15 minutes as Stewart Talbot saw a cross-shot
fly over after quick approach play by David
Galbraith and Rusk.
At the other end City
created little. New signing Asamoah showed
of his pace when he broke down the left,
cut inside, and sent in a powerful shot
straight at Conrad Logan in the visitors
Julian Joachim missed a
gilt-edged chance to give Boston the lead
five minutes before the break but he shot
wide from 15 yards after Gillet could only
parry the ball from a James Keene shot.
Curle made changes at half-time
bringing on Davies and Blundell at the extense
of Justin Walker and Marcus Richardson.
It took Blundell only a couple of minutes
to get into the action, his shot being pnched
away by Logan. Logan was on hand again to
catch an inswinging Corden corner as City
pressed. Despite having the better of the
possession though chances created were few
and far between.
On a rare break, Drummond
tested Logan from a Curtis cross but it was
Gillet who was the busier of the two ‘keeper’s
having to save from both Keene and Peter
Till to keep the scores level.
Michael Branch was introduced
with 20 minutes remaining but City still
failed to craete any meaningful chances
of note. Jochim agains missed a chance
the visitors before they grabbed the only
goal of the game eight minutes from time
as Rusk evaded three City defenders on
the six yard line to clip home a right
from Stewart Talbot past Gillet in front
of a very small away following.
There was still time
for City to make one last push but Asamoah
unable to fully control a through ball
from Drummond in the dying minutes and City
left to reflect on a sixth successive league
Cheltenham Town 2 Chester
FA Cup Round 3
Attendance: 4,741 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Artell, Dimech.
Cheltenham Town: Brown,
Gill, Caines, Townsend, Victory, Melligan (Armstrong
70), Finnigan, Bird, Wilson, Odejayi, Guinan
(Spencer 76). Subs not used: Taylor, Vincent,
Chester City: Gillet, Regan, Artell, Dimech, McNiven (Bolland 79),
Drummond, Walker, Blundell (Vaughan 90), Curtis, Davies (El Kholti 79), Richardson.
Subs not used: Dove, Brookfield.
Referee: D.Drysdale (Lincolnshire).
The two sides live to fight
another day after City staged a late comeback
to force a replay from a classic cup-tie that
looked to be slipping from their grasp.
The home side dominated for
long periods but failed to convert a number of
chances and found Luxembourg goalkeeper Stéphane
Gillet in fine form on his Chester debut.
The tall shot-stopper was called
into action after just five minutes saving well
low down at the near post following a snap shot
from Brian Wilson. Minutes earlier Tom Curtis
had tried his luck at the other end with a 30-yarder
that was comfortably saved by Scott Brown, also
making his debut in the home goal.
Wilson was in the action again
volleying over the City bar when well placed and
Scott McNiven cleared a dangerous Milligan free-kick
as the home side applied more pressure. The pacy
Kayode Odejayi was causing problems for City and
he set up Wilson again but Gillet was quickly
out to save.
On a rare chance for City Gregg
Blundell saw a shot charged down by Gavin Caines
but it was the City goal seeing most of the action
in the first half. Odejayi headed over and Luke
Dimech cleared a dangerous inswinging Milligan
The game sprung to life with
a controversial opening goal on 59 minutes.
Cheltenham were awarded a free-kick
35 yards from goal, Caines rifled the ball through
the wall but Gillet made a great save at his feet
to keep out the dipping goalbound shot, the ball
looped into the air for Odejayi. whose header
was palmed away one handed by the recovering Gillet.
The ball was marshalled out by Drummond but to
everyones amazement referee Drysdale spotted an
infringement and pointed to the penalty spot.
John Melligan stepped up to send the keeper the
wrong way and open the scoring.
City fought back well and almost
snatched an equaliser minutes later as Blundell
failed to convert after good work from Richardson
With 15 minutes remaining the
Robins doubled their lead, again from the penalty
spot. Craig Armstrong’s left wing free-kick
was headed on to the far edge of the box by Odejayi.
Ben Davies looked set to head clear but inexplicably
stuck out an arm to deflect the ball away for
an obvious spot-kick. This time John Finnigan
stepped up to convert the kick.
A minute later though the Blues
were right back in the game as Richardson rose
six yards out between two defenders to powerfully
head home Curtis’ pinpoint chipped delivery.
Chester continued to pile
forward looking for the equaliser. Six minutes
time were indicated, presumably some for time-wasting,
and four minutes into it City’s comeback
Curtis set Regan away down
the right, the defender whipped in a low near
cross that Drummond met on the half-volley
to sidefoot the ball past Brown from eight
out to spark a mini pitch invasion from the
some of the ecstatic celebrating City fans
There were appeals for a penalty
as Richardson tumbled to the ground and the
side also saw a Wilson shot flash over the bay
in the dying seconds as the game finished in
0 Oxford United 1
Attendance: 2,624 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Curtis, McNiven, Blundell.
City: Ruddy, Regan
Kholti 82), Artell, Dimech, McNiven
(Bolland 89), Davies, Walker
(Dove 70), Drummond, Curtis,
Subs not used: Vaughan, Curle.
Oxford United: Tardif, Stirling, Ashton, Willmott, Robinson,
Bradbury, Quinn, Mansell, Griffin, Sabin, Basham. Subs not used: Hackett,
Davies, Roach, Fitzgerald, Turley.
Referee: T.Kettle (Berkshire).
poor run of results continued with this 1-0 home
defeat at the hands of Oxford United. It was a
fifth defeat on the trot for the Blues who are
still without several players through injury and
suspension. This latest reverse leaves City lying
mid-table in 12th position, two points from the
Manager keith Curle was forced
into one change from the side that lost at Macclesfield
on Saturday with Justin Walker replacing Ryan
Lowe who began the first of a four match ban following
his Moss Rose red card.
As on Saturday, and in the second
half at Cheltenham on Boxing Day, City were left
to rue missed chances and paid the penalty conceding
a goal in 74 minutes that they were unable to
It was the visitors who started
the brightest and Chris Willmott was well placed
when he headed over Ruddy’s bar from an
outswinging corner after just three minutes, a
further two minutes later it was the turn of Marcus
Richardson at the other end to head powerfully
over the target following a pinpoint cross from
Blundell was soon in the action
forcing Jude Stirling to turn an effort out for
a corner, Davies’ flag-kick was easily dealt
with at the near post though. Chris Tardiff in
the visitors goal was kept on his toes saving
a 20-yarder from Davies.
Jude Stirling found himself
in the referee’s book with a yellow card following
a foul on Davies, however Carl Regan’s free-kick
came to nothing.
was almost punished for a poor clearance that
went straight to Lee Bradbury, the U’s player
tried his luck with a first-time effort from 25
yards, fortunately Ruddy got back in time to save
the effort and spare his blushes.
Two minutes before the break
the visitors almost took the lead as Matthew Robinson
fired a free-kick just wide after Davies had been
penalised for handball.
Marcus Richardson saw a shot
deflected for a corner as the Blues opened the
second period strongly, despite a lot of possession
though they were struggling to break down a well
organised Oxford defence. At the other end Adam
Griffin eyed up a shot from all of 25 yards which
crept just over the bar.
Bradbury saw a close range header
saved by Ruddy before Curle changed his line-up
introducing Craig Dove for Walker. Regan saw a
shot from just outside the box pushed wide for
a corner but once again a near-post corner routine
came to nothing and the chance was wasted.
Sixteen minutes from time Oxford
broke the deadlock. Adam Griffin saw a shot well
saved by Ruddy who could only parry the ball into
the path of Steve Basham who reacted quickest
to the loose ball took his chance.
Phil Bolland and Abdou El Kholti
were introduced at the expense of Scott McNiven
and Regan as Chester pushed to salvage a point
with an equaliser. City created several chances
but Tardif was in inspired form in the visitors
goal saving well from Stewart Drummond before
referee Kettle wrapped things up to signal another
defeat for City.