31 January 1998
Shrewsbury Town 1 Chester
Shrewsbury Town: Edwards,
Seabury, Tretton, Gayle, Hanmer, Taylor, Evans, Preece,
Dudley (White 60), Steele, Barkley. Subs not used:
Chester City: Sinclair, Woods, Jenkins, Richardson,
Whelan, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, Rimmer, Flitcroft, McDonald
(Thomas 66). Subs not used: Giles, Murphy.
Referee: A.Bates (Stoke-on-Trent).
A screamer of an equaliser from Matt
Woods earned City a point in a game that could have
gone either way. The point extended City's unbeaten
away run to four matches, and brought their first away
draw of the season.
Spencer Whelan returned to the heart
of the City side with Matt Woods dropping to right
back, Iain Jenkins playing on his left. Rod McDonald
started in place of Rod Thomas up front. Once again,
City played in last season's second strip of yellow/blue,
and how good it looked too!
Shrewsbury took the lead on seven
minutes when ex-Northwich striker Lee Steele lobbed
Ronnie Sinclair after Spencer Whelan had hesitated
over a long through ball. Twice Sinclair was left in
no-mans land as the flat back four looked as though
they hadn't met before. Spenner made amends later in
the half when he made a timely tackle to rob the same
striker of a similar scoring opportunity.
Like last week, Dave Flitcroft was
booked for a clumsy challenge before Gary Bennett and
Chris Priest both had efforts off target. Benno hasn't
scored for three months now and the strain is beginning
to show. Both McDonald and Alsford headed over from
good positions, while City's best chance fell right
on half time with a Stuart Rimmer effort, neatly set
up by Dave Flitcroft, from four yards being bravely
cleared off the line by Kevin Seabury..
City's equaliser on 70 minutes
was a classic. Matt Woods picked the ball up just in
the Shrews half before beating two players and unleashing
an unstoppable low shot from 25 yards right in front
of the City supporters (numbering up to 1,000). Rod Thomas
and Dave Flitcroft both had chances to secure our first
ever win at Gay Meadow but it was not to be, and the
draw (which was the fairest result) lifts City above
Rotherham United into sixth place.
27 January 1998
Chester City 0 Cardiff City 0
Chester City: Sinclair, Jenkins,
Giles, Richardson, Woods, Alsford, Bennett (Murphy
70), Priest, Rimmer, Flitcroft, Thomas. Subs not used:
Cardiff City: Hallworth, Middleton, Beech, Young, Harris, Eckhardt, O'Sullivan,
Penney, Saville, Partridge (White 70), Carss. Subs not used: Stoker,
Referee: Brian Coddington (Sheffield).
A truly forgettable game played in front of City's second lowest crowd
of the season. The Blues had a great chance to move into the heart of
the promotion pack, but, and we've seen it all before, they failed to
take advantage. Saturday's goal hero Rod McDonald made way for Rod Thomas
and Martin Giles replaced the injured Neil Fisher at left back.
Richardson let fly on 20 minutes
with a 25-yarder that was just over the bar, and the
midfielder had City's only real effort of note in the
first half came just before the break when he was sent
through, though Hallworth saved in the Bluebirds goal.
Up front, Thomas was making little impression on the
left wing, while, over on the right Dave Flitcroft
had another poor game.
Richardson, Priest and Woods all
had chances to give City the lead after the break but
Sinclair was called into action on
the hour to make a good save from the menacing Scott
Partridge. Penney and the veterans Andy Saville and
Steve White also went close for the visitors
With 20 minutes remaining John Murphy
replaced Gary Bennett but, as in the Barnet game, City
were unable to break down a resilient defence.
With Macclesfield winning and
Rotherham scoring twice in the last minute to peg back
Cambridge, City have now slipped down to seventh in the
table. While home performances have taken a nose dive
in recent weeks, the Blues will be looking to continue
their fine current away form at Shrewsbury on Saturday,
but they'll have to play a lot better than this if they
are to record their first-ever victory at Gay Meadow.
24 January 1998
Cambridge United 1 Chester City
Cambridge United: Barrett,
Duncan, Wilson, Ashbee, Joseph, Campbell, Wanless,
Brebner, Taylor, Kyd, Beall (Barnwell 65). Subs not
used: Preece, Youngs.
Chester City: Sinclair, Jenkins, Fisher, Richardson,
Woods, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, Rimmer, Flitcroft, McDonald..
Subs not used: Murphy, Thomas, McKay.
Referee: S.G.Bennett (Redhill).
A dramatic last-gasp winner from
Rod McDonald gave City their first-ever League victory
at the Abbey Stadium. Until that last minute strike,
it looked as if the Blues were to be denied of all
three points after United were awarded a controversial
penalty for hand ball nine minutes from time.
City's best, indeed only, effort
in the first half came in the opening minute with Rod
McDonald slicing wide. Cambridge had the better of
the play in the first period but failed to take any
of several chances. The defence, with Matt Woods in
for the injured Spencer Whelan looked decidedly shaky
and City keeper Ronnie Sinclair struggled against a
swirling wind, though, when he was called upon, he
made several great saves. Gary Bennett was booked early
on and was followed by Dave Flitcroft for a heavy challenge,
though Campbell was lucky to escape the same punishment
following a heavy challenge after Neil Fisher had bravely
headed away from a corner.
Chester took the lead on 53 minutes
with Stuart Rimmer being sent through on goal after
a neat flick by Gary Bennett. Rimmer outpaced Ashbee
and Joseph before cooly slotting the ball home past
Barrett in vintage Rimmer style.
Cambridge were now rattled, questioning
every decision by the referee. They brought on Barnwell
for Beall (who had earlier been booked for a challenge
on Bennett) and set about for the equaliser. City didn't
make it easy for themselves by sitting back and defending
too deep. But cometh the hour, cometh the man, and
Ronnie Sinclair made several superb saves to keep City's
lead intact. However with nine minutes to go, United
were awarded a penalty after the linesman insisted
that Brebner's cross had hit Neil Fisher's hand harsh
to say the least. Wilson, who had been the brunt of
the City fans' stick in the second half, after his
continual moaning, converted the spot kick via the
Within seconds of the restart Rimmer
was sent through on the right and was blatantly chopped
down in the box by Marc Joseph right in front of the
City fans. It was also right in front of the linesman
who refused to raise his flag.
However, in the final minute a left
wing cross by Fisher, from a quick throw-in, was headed
back by Flitcroft for Rod McDonald to lash the ball
home from close range (even he couldn't miss from there!)
and celebrated by ripping his shirt off and running
over to the City fans to remind us he was still around.
Scenes of wild joy accompanied the
final whistle a few seconds later. Our first ever victory
at Cambridge follows our first ever wins this season
at Cardiff and Hull. Let's hope for the same at Gay
Meadow next Saturday.
Man of the match had to be Ronnie
Sinclair, his second half performance was inspired. Unfortunately,
Cambridge don't produce video's of home matches (I rang
to enquire!). Shame, I think there may have been a few
takers for this one!
21 January 1998 Pontins
Chester City Reserves 1 Scunthorpe United
Chester City: Brown, Warrington, Fisher (Williams
64), McKay, Woods, Thompson, Wright (A.Shelton 75), G.Shelton (Price
45), Murphy, Jones, McDonald.
Chester Reserves went down 2-1 at the Deva against
a Scunthorpe side whose manager fielded their first team following
their bad defeat at Macclesfield earlier in the week.
A volley from six yards after just five minutes
put the Irons in front and Jonathan Jones shot narrowly wide in
Scunthorpe took a 2-0 lead on 14 minutes when
a punch out from Wayne Brown went in on the rebound, and the visitors
were denied a third six minutes later for offside.
City got on the scoresheet in style on 27 minutes
when Neil Fisher neatly curled his free kick into the bottom right
hand corner and they almost drew level shortly after when Jones
saw his snap shot go just wide.
A minute after the break, Rod McDonald's header
went the wrong side of the post after Jones won a corner. City's
only other real chance in the second half came when Jones was surprised
to find the ball at his feet after a corner.
This was a gritty performance from City, particularly
in the second half which coincided with the introduction of trialist
Chris Price who looked confident on the ball. A major disappointment
was another booking for Matty McKay who now faces a ban just after
he was beginning to establish himself.
Kim Fair, Evening Leader
17 January 1998
Chester City 0 Barnet 1
Chester City: Sinclair, Fisher,
Jenkins, Richardson, Woods (McKay 77), Alsford, Bennett, Priest,
Rimmer, Flitcroft (McDonald 68), Thomas. Sub not used: Murphy.
Barnet: Harrison, Goodhind, Harte, Heald, Howarth,
Basham (Stockley 34), Doolan, Wilson, Devine, McGleish (Charlery
70), Simpson. Sub not used Searle.
Referee: Chris Foy (St Helens).
It was back down to earth with a bump for City
who seven days earlier at Lincoln had looked real promotion candidates,
but on this performance have a lot of hard work left if they are
to mount a serious challenge to the leaders.
Manager Kevin Ratcliffe was forced to make changes
with Matt Woods coming in for the injured Spencer Whelan and Neil
Fisher filling in at left back for the injured Ross Davidson.
Barnet, with the impressive Sean Devine, Scott
McGleish and Phil Simpson in attack had the better of the chances.
It was Simpson who had the first effort after just five minutes
but Ronnie Sinclair saved well. The Barnet keeper Lee Harrison
also had to be alert keeping out Rod Thomas's curling effort.
Most of City's chances were coming through winger
Rod Thomas, but unlike recent matches, the midfield of Nick Richardson
and Chris Priest was non-existent. The visitors Phil Simpson was
running the show from midfield. Dave Flitcroft had yet another
disappointing game though he did test Harrison with a 25-yarder
in the first half. Despite their possession City found it hard
to break down a well organised Barnet defence.
The only goal of the game came ten minutes after
the break, a well worked move that left Devine with a simple tap-in.
City were reduced to just one second half effort with Howarth saving
from Thomas, and like in the Wrexham game, once behind, never looked
likely to get back into the match.
Ronnie Sinclair deservedly got the Man of the
Match vote for several one-on-one saves which kept the scoreline
So City's unbeaten home record of 13 games
comes to a disappointing end. It doesn't get any easier either. Next
up is a trip to Cambridge where City have never won in the League
(we've only ever beaten them once and that was the first time we
played them at Sealand Road!), followed by the re-arranged home game
with draw specialists Cardiff City and a trip to Shrewsbury, where,
yet again we've never won!
17 January 1998 Lancashire
League Division Two
Everton B 2 Chester City A 0
Chester City: Conkie, Moss, Lloyd (Whitehead
65), Shelton, Thompson, Pendleton (Lancaster 65), Patterson, Warrington,
Kilgannon (Doughty 65), Wright, Williams.
Everton once again pinched all three points
despite an impressive display by City on Everton's Bellfield training
ground which suited Chester's neat passing game.
The Blues took control straight away with Wes Kilgannon, Scott Williams
and Darren Wright having opportunities to open the scoring, but on 15 minutes
Everton's first threat resulted in them taking a surprise lead.
Chester, however, still remained top and looked the more dangerous with
Phil Patterson's volley flashing across the goal, Craig Warrington shooting
over and Scott Thompson heading narrowly wide.
The second half began in very much the same vein as the first. Andy Shelton's
shot went just over and a minute later he was unlucky following up a Williams
With 64 minutes gone the Toffees scored their second goal against the run
of play as Chester struggled to clear. A disappointing result from a game
in which City's neat football and team commitment deserved at least a point.
10 January 1998
Lincoln City 1 Chester City 3
Lincoln City: Vauaghan, Barnett, Whitney,
Fleming, Holmes, Austin, Walling, Stones (Bimson 45), Alcide (Brown 45),
Thorpe, Smith. Sub not used: Gordon.
Chester City: Sinclair, Davidson (Thomas 78), Jenkins,
Richardson, Whelan, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, Rimmer, Flitcroft,
Woods. Subs not used: Murphy, Jones.
Referee: K.Leach (Staffordshire).
A superb all-round performance from the Blues as they
swept promotion rivals Lincoln aside to record their third victory on
the trot, and take them to 4th spot in the third division. We haven't
lost to Lincoln now in seven meetings between the sides. The match was
played on a heavy pitch which was passed fit following a 9.00am inspection.
Two late goals in the first half set up the victory.
Chris Priest and Iain Jenkins his first goal in senior football,
did the damage and Stuart Rimmer got a vital third as the home side came
back into the game after the break.
Sinclair was first into the action after only 30 seconds,
racing out to clear for a throw. A bizarre Lincoln corner soon followed
when Thorpe took the kick with the ball six feet outside the quadrant.
He tapped it forward then hit it again, the referee whistling for a foul!
Flitcroft shot high over roof after a Nick Richardson
free kick had set him clear. Bennett looked dangerous down the right
and forced a corner in the seventh minute. This was headed out to Woods
who prodded the ball out for a goal kick.
Chester took the lead on 37 minutes. Priest found space
on the left hand side of the box and with no challenge coming in calmly
slotted the ball home across Vaughan into the far corner. This was followed
by the first booking of the game, that of Austin for a foul on Bennett.
City had plenty of possession and Jenkins went close
with a header following a cross from Flitcroft. The Blues doubled their
lead on the stroke of half time. Richardson's cross from the right was
only half cleared and Jenkins sent in a 20-yarder which Vaughan reached
but could not prevent from hitting the back of the net to send the 200
City fans wild in the Linpave Stand.
Lincoln thought they'd pulled a goal back within seconds
but Fleming's effort was ruled out for offside after Sinclair could only
parry Alcide's shot.
As expected Lincoln started the second half on fire
and pulled a goal back on 49 minutes. A speculative cross from the left
wing was left by Jenkins to run out. Smith nipped in and cut the ball
back for Brown to deflect it into the roof of the net.
Sinclair was called upon to make two fine saves as
Lincoln pressed for the equaliser. Richardson did his best to take the
heat off with a couple of surging diagonal runs, the second of which
saw man-of-the-match Priest shoot straight at Vaughan from 12 yards.
Bennett, Woods and Richardson linked well for another attack which saw
Bennett just failing with a header.
Siinclair made another crucial save on 71 minutes when
Brown was sent clear. Sinclair blocked the shot then clawed the loose
ball away for a corner. A minute later the Blues were 3-1 up.
Bennett made a surging run down the right. His cross
looped over the goalkeeper and was left to go out by the home defence.
Matt Woods stepped in and swung the ball back to Rimmer who flicked it
in at the near post from four yards out. Flitcroft nearly made it four
with a dipping 20 yards that was just over the bar.
All in all a great effort with City's midfield of Richardson
and Priest again outstanding.