Chester City: Danby, Kelly, Linwood,
Roberts, J.Vaughan, Harris, Hughes, Barry, Ellison, Lowe,
Partridge (Rutherford 87). Subs not used: Dinning, Mitchell,
McManus, Jones. Gillingham: Royce, Lewis, Bentley, King
(Richards 46), Nutter, Southall, Weston (Peters 73), Miller,
Barcham, Jackson, Oli (Mulligan 63). Subs not used: Julian,
Richards, Steer. Referee: David Webb.
City’s current lack of a goal poacher was exposed
again as their inability to convert their chances proved
costly against Gillingham. The Kent side completed the
double over the Blues with a goal eleven minutes from
time through Andy Barcham. It was a battling performance
from the Blues, and a game they didn’t deserve to
Team selection options
were restricted from the start with both Laurence Wilson
and Glenn Rule absent through suspension, while Damien
Mozika was ruled out with a hamstring injury as City
looked to readdress the midweek disappointing defeat
at Vale Park.
Wright was however able to recall
both Shaun Kelly from injury and James Vaughan from
Vaughan was called upon to make a
clearance in the opening seconds of the game as Dennis
Oli was given a shooting opportunity from the kick-off.
Jay Harris, starting his first match
of the year, headed straight at Simon Royce in the Gills
goal after good approach work involving both Vaughan
and Richie Partridge on the wing.
City enjoyed plenty of possession
in the opening period but their best chances were restricted
to long range as Kevin Ellison and Harris both fired
The Gills had a great chance to break
the deadlock just after the break but Simeon Jackson
shot well over from close range when well placed. Minutes
later Adam Miller missed the target as the visitors
started to press for an advantage. John Danby got down
well to save another Miller effort and was relieved
to save a Jackson effort at the second attempt soon
At the other end Royce produced a
good save to push away a low shot from Partridge. Paul
Linwood also came close but saw his header from a pin-point
Lowe corner sail just wide.
The decisive goal came eleven minutes
from time. Substitute Jaime Peters skipped past a Paul
Linwood challenge out on the right wing and his cross
was met by Barcham who steered the ball into the roof
of the net from six yards.
In the dying minutes the Blues
almost snatched a deserved equaliser but Kevin Roberts
saw his looping header cleared off th eline by both Stuart
Lewis and the crossbar to safety after looping over Royce.
27 January Port Vale 3 Chester City 0
Attendance: 4,448 (262 Chester) Half Time 0-0
Booked: Rule, Roberts, Barry, Dinning, Linwood. Sent-off:
Port Vale: Anyon, Griffith, Collins,
Owen, Edwards, Richman, Brammer (Davidson 65), Brown,
Howland (Taylor 46), Glover, Thompson (Lawrie 75). Subs
not used: Martin, Prosser. Chester City: Danby, Rule, Roberts, Linwood,
Wilson, Partridge (Rutherford 80), Hughes (Owen 86), Barry,
Dinning (Harris 66), Ellison, Lowe. Subs not used: Jones,
Rawlinson. Referee: Andy Hall (West Midlands).
by their battling point at Sincil Bank on Saturday the
Blues made the short trip to Vale Park for their first
league visit there in 17 years. Manager mark Wright was
able to recall defender Laurence Wilson following his
suspension though a hamstring injury forced the absence
of midfielder Damien Mozika. Tony Dinning kept his place
in the side following his weekend recall.
a side one place above them in the table City started
the better of the two sides at a rain soaked Vale Park,
with Ryan Lowe, Richie Partridge and Kevin Ellison all
pushing up front the Blues kept Vale on the back foot
for long periods.
Indeed, both Lowe and Ellison saw
long range efforts fly just wide in the opening ten
minutes. At the other end ‘keeper John Danby was
on hand to collect a Steve Thompson header with ease
as the hosts produced a rare break.
Partridge came closest to opening
the scoring in the 13th minute when following a fine
Mark Hughes through ball he saw his clever lob over
the Vale shot stopper Joe Anyon bounce on top of the
bar and out to safety.
Anyon was better placed moments later
to gather an Ellison header after Partridge had done
well to beat Paul Edwards before crossing into the box.
Glenn Rule, Anthony Barry and Kevin
Roberts all found their way into referee Andrew Hall’s
notebook in the opening period.
Ellison and Partridge both saw goalbound
efforts deflected wide as City looked to turn their
first-half dominance into goals. Their last real effort
of the half saw Lowe volley high and wide after Gareth
Owen had miss- timed a clearance on the edge of the
City were to rue their missed chances
of the opening half when the home side took the lead
on 59 minutes as Danny Glover took advantage of a mix-up
between Danby and Roberts to score past Danby. The striker
almost doubled the advantage moments later shooting
just wide following a miss-placed Barry pass.
Chester hit back as Ellison headed
over from another Partridge cross and Hughes saw an
effort from the edge of the box go wide.
The game changed dramatically though
in the space of three minutes as City were reduced to
nine men and Vale doubled their lead.
On 69 minutes Wilson was given a straight
red card following a two-footed lunge on Steve Thompson
and a minute later Rule saw red after picking up his
second yellow card of the match following a late tackle
on the lively Glover.
A minute later the game was effectively
over for City as substitute Robert Taylor shot past
Danby from six yards after meeting Glover’s pin-point
In the closing minutes the home
side made it three as fellow substitute James Lawrie curled
a 20-yarder past Danby to complete City’s second
24 January Lincoln City 1 Chester City
Attendance: 3,760 (113 Chester) Half Time 0-1
Booked: Ellison, Rule, Dinning, Mozika.
manager Mark Wright was happy to see his team pick up
a point at Sincil Bank after being forced to make several
changes to his side caused by injury and suspensions.
James Vaughan and Laurence Wilson both sat out the match
through bans while promising defender Shaun Kelly is sidelined
nursing a knee injury.
with Kevin Ellison playing in defence, it was a reshuffled
team with Tony Dinning making an appearance. Youth team
players Ben Jones, Connell Rawlinson and James Owen
took their places on the bench.
As you’d expect it was the home
side that started the stronger with Geoff Horsfield
heading over and John Danby pulling off a fine save
to deny Scott Kerr’s free-kick that seemed destined
for the top corner of the goal.
Horsfield again caused problems for
City beating John Danby but Paul Linwood was well placed
to clear his effort from near the goal line.
At the other end ex-Imp Kevin Ellison
had Chester’s first real attempt on goal sending
a trademark long-range free-kick just wide, but moments
later the Blues opened the scoring in spectacular fashion.
Anthony Barry picked up a short free-kick
from Dinning on the left, he cut inside unchallenged
before unleashing an unstoppable 35-yarder giving Rob
Burch no chance in the home goal. It was the midfielder’s
first senior goal for the club and it couldn’t
have been bettered.
Danby went on to make saves from both
Janos Kovacs and Lee Frecklington to keep City in front
at the interval.
Lincoln drew level just three minutes
after the break through Frecklington who headed home
unmarked in the six yard box as the Blues failed to
defend Aaron Brown’s right wing corner.
With 30 minutes remaining City were
forced to replace Damien Mozika with Jay Harris as the
popular French midfielder picked up a hamstring injury.
The home side continued to press and
Danny N’Guessan was guilty of shooting wide when
Danby was again well placed to
keep out a late Horsfield strike as the patched up City
defence held firm to glean a point.
The harsh realities of Chester’s current position
were felt in this match which they were unlucky to lose.
With quarter of an hour to go and with an entertaining
game in the balance, the visitors were able to bring on
two substitutes who, between them turned the game in their
favour. In contrast City’s bench included two sixteen
year olds – one of whom, Ben Jones, made his debut
for the last few minutes – but, by then the game
had been taken out of City's control.
Once again City were slow to settle, disrupted no doubt
by the absence of Kelly, due to injury. The highly rated
Ward burst through to threaten goal before Roberts tackled
and a few minutes later his dangerous strike partner,
Lester, also got a shot in.
When Chester did establish a pattern, however, they took
the game to the Spireites and began to threaten. Vaughan
had a shot from distance deflected on to the base of the
post and Ellison’s diving header from Vaughan’s
cross just sailed wide of the far post. City’s attacking
play, especially down the left was showing promise with
Ellison, Lowe and Partridge combining to good effect.
It was from a spell of City pressure that Chesterfield
broke away and should have taken the lead. Vaughan and
Danby hesitated slightly and Ward was through to shoot
at the unguarded goal from a narrow angle. Unaccountably
he put his shot wide of the far post, leaving the £400,000
rated player with his head in his hands. Shortly afterwards
however, the visitors took the lead. A wickedly inswinging
corner from the right deceived Wilson in the flight at
the near post and his header flew into his own net. The
wind was now creating difficult conditions for both sides
and rain came lashing down with it.
City pressed for an equaliser and a few minutes after
the break it came. After patient build up play from right
to left, Hughes crossed into a crowd of players for Mozika
to send the deftest of glancing headers into the bottom
corner of the net. Chester were in the ascendant now and
looked like scoring again. Hughes went close with a header
of his own, but the best chance fell to Lowe after a superb
flick on by Ellison. Lowe, under pressure from a resilient
defender shot just wide.
Then came the turning point when Winter and Gritton were
introduced by Chesterfield. They helped the visitors step
up a gear and tip the balance in their favour. After failing
to clear the ball away properly, City went behind when
Winter picked it up and ran strongly to create an opening
before planting a shot firmly into the bottom corner of
the net. Worse was to follow a few minutes later when
Kerry’s shot from the right corner of the penalty
area took a cruel deflection and looped over Danby for
Gritton to walk it into the net.
Ben Jones came on for the last three minutes and looked
useful for a sixteen year old but by then the game had
drifted away from City. 3-1 was harsh because Chester
had played quite well but the Spireites strength in depth
13 January Chester City 2 Luton Town 2
Attendance: 1,652 (370 Luton) Half Time 1-2
Booked: J.Vaughan, Wilson, Kelly.
battled back from a two-goal deficit to claim a point
against Luton Town in a highly entertaining match. The
visitors, eager to get their points tally into the black
following their 30-point deduction, started as though
they meant business. They had Chester under pressure for
the first five minutes or so but then Ellison broke free
at the other end. He was caught by a defender, however,
and his shot under pressure was disappointing.
Luton took the lead when Chris Martin, on a season long
loan from Norwich, lost Kelly with a slick turn on the
corner of the six yard box and turned to fire powerfully
across goal and just inside the far post. Worse was to
follow ten minutes later when Luton were awarded a free
kick twenty five yards out. It was an innocuous award
as Roberts seemed to be the injured party as he tangled
with a Luton player. More controversially James Vaughan
was booked by the referee for encroaching when the ball
had been touched by a Luton player and was active. From
the re-taken kick, Emanuel drove a stunning shot through
the wall and low into the net.
The large Luton contingent were ecstatic, convinced that
they were on the way to another victory. But Chester had
other ideas and when Ellison was brought down in the box,
Lowe smashed the resultant penalty into the top corner.
The first half went into nine minutes of stoppage time
following an injury to Emanuel – who had to be stretchered
Five minutes after the break City were level when Lowe’s
right wing corner was met by Roberts. His header was blocked
on the line but Ellison was on hand to bundle it over.
City then pressed for a third – their best chance
came when Ellison broke clear beating two men on the way
and squared the ball for Lowe on the edge of the area
but by the time the ball reached him a couple of defenders
had raced back to block his shot. At the other end, Spillane
went close from a free kick.
It was a good contest, with City arguably finishing stronger
of the two teams but the draw a fair result in the end.