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THE LAST MATCH AT ‘THE STADIUM’ SEALAND ROAD
28 April 1990
Chester City 2 Rotherham United 0

Football League Division Three
Scorers for Chester – Gary Bennett 16, Graham Abel 25.
Attendance: 3,827

Chester City: Stewart, Butler, Woodthorpe, Hamilton, Abel, Lightfoot, Pugh, Barrow, Dale, Bennett (Painter 75), Croft. Sub not used: Reeves.
Rotherham United: O’Hanlon, Pickering, Cash, Grealish, Johnson, Robinson, Buckley, Goodwin, Williamson, Mendonca, Hazel. Subs not used: Evans, Barnsley.
Referee: M.Peck (Kendall)


CITY BOW OUT IN STYLE
[Match programme]Sizzling City snuffed out the shadow of relegation that has cast even more gloom over doomed Sealand Road.

And today it’s time to salute the side that pulled Chester away from the dreaded drop zone. They are the men who should be in the spotlight every week rather than the behind-the-scenes businessmen plotting the club’s future.

Rotherham, in with a sniff of the play-offs, had everything to play for themselves. But they were packed off home as the unwelcome gatecrashers at a celebration party.

It was difficult to believe that they were the side that roasted Chester 5-0 back in November. Five months on and the boot was on the other foot.

Harry McNally had the luxury of an unchanged side but shuffled his pack with Colin Woodthorpe shifting to right back to rope in John Buckley and later Dez Hazel. Woodthorpe stuck to his task superbly and there was a polished look all round from a defence which has had its fair share of jitters this season.

Billy Stewart still had plenty to do, pulling off five excellent saves mainly from Clive Mendonca.

City could have been three up in six minutes after a fuel-injected start from the blocks. Brian Croft, revelling in front of the buzzing crowd, cut loose from a Graham Abel hooked clearance and flashed a shot inches wide. Chris Lightfoot headed over the bar and Gary Bennett did likewise as the blue shirts poured forward.

“I thought we could be in real trouble when we didn’t put them away. It starts to nag at you when you miss clear opportunities like we did”, defender David Hamilton said later.

And skipper Graham Barrow admitted: “I was relieved when we put one in. It worried me that we didn’t score early on”.

Bennett headed City in front after 15 minutes powering a Croft free kick in after keeper Kelham O’Hanlon flapped at thin air.

Croft was provider for Abel nine minutes later with a smartly struck corner which the big man smashed past O'Hanlon. McNally had done his homework and it was blatantly obvious Rotherham couldn’t cope with quality set-piece pressure.

Stewart’s acrobatics prevented any comeback before half-time and 21 seconds after the restart Carl Dale, busy and dangerous throughout, pushed a shot wide of O'Hanlon. Croft cannoned a drive off defender Ronnie Robinson with ten minutes left but the celebrations had already started.

Scenes at the finish were reminiscent more of promotion than avoiding the drop as dazzling camera flashes welcomed the players off the pitch for the last time. It was a truly fitting way to play out the last rites at The Stadium.


Harry McNally takes the ovation from the crowd following the game and City’s survival.

Report by Nigel Wiskar – from the Chester Tonight newspaper
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