Chester: Shenton, Grand, Thomson, Howson,
Livesey, Roberts, Stopforth, Dawson (Smalley 66), Dudley,
Jordan (Mahon 66), Mooney (Marsh-Hughes 66). Subs not
used: King, Noble. Southport: Hanford, Richards, Ogle, Morgan,
Astles, Winnard, Charles (Homson-Smith 76), Wood, Green
(Mueller 87), Archer, Bauress (Parry 76). Subs not used:
Sampson, Tibbetts. Referee: James Bell.
were knocked out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle
as defensive mistakes were punished by Southport.
The Blues had the first opening which
saw Dan Mooney collect a long kick from Grant Shenton
only for the on-loan midfielder to see his shot saved
by Dan Hanford in the Southport goal.
Chester were slow to close the visitors down on 15 minutes
allowing Devam Green a long range effort that flew just
wide of the Chester goal.
Chester forced a series of corners
that saw Adam Dawson shoot wide from a good position,
Mooney then saw an inswinging corner bounce back off
the bar to Dawson, whose effort from 20-yards was gathered
Anthony Dudley sent an inviting cross
right along the Southport goalline but there was no
blue shirt to tap the lose ball home.
Seven minutes into the second half
the Sandgrounders took the lead as David Morgan picked
up a loose ball and unleashed a 30-uyarder that flew
past a static Shenton.
Two minutes later the visitors doubled
their lead as a poor back pass from Gary Stopforth was
intercepted by ex-Blue Luke Jordan who scored with ease.
Gary Roberts curled a free-kick just
over as Chester looked to respond but the Blues created
little to trouble the opposition who held on comfortable
to book their place in the next round.
24 November Southport
0 Chester 0 FA
Trophy Third Qualifying Round
Attendance: 914 (281 Chester) Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Howson, Grand, Dawson.
game followed the pattern of most of the Southport games
I can remember from recent years – where the activities
off the field were more interesting at times than what
was happening on the pitch.
turgid FA Trophy tie never looked like being anything
other than a draw and there wasn't really a shot on
target all game. Instead most of the 281 Chester fans
were entertained by the activities of a Southport supporter
standing near the away end. In the second half he started
sprinting along the terrace like a budding athlete –
giving much more amusement to the travelling Blues than
they were getting from watching the game.
The highlight of this game on the
field was the performance of academy graduate Matty
Thompson, who proved solid in defence and must have
been Chester’s man-of-the match.
But the busiest man in the first half
actually seemed to be the fussy referee, who booked
three Chester players in the match –
all arguably for challenges he could have let pass to
make it a more open game.
The second half saw the Blues shooting
towards their supporters and it was a better –
albeit goalless –
45 minutes from Chester. Dan Mooney made this presence
felt in this half, but often seemed to take one tackle
too many or pass the ball instead of making an attempt
on goal. It just felt like a frustrating afternoon all
Southport certainly had more corners
than Chester, but never realistically looked like scoring.
Grant Shenton made an excellent diving stop from a Southport
strike, but the attempt was declared offside. So both
sides will have another attempt to find the net on Tuesday
night, with a home tie against Solihull Moors awaiting
to the most isolated ground in football, I thought, as
I drove into Leamington’s New Windmill Ground for
Chester’s first ever visit. Situated nearly five
miles out of town and on a road with no footpath, the
only way in was by vehicular transport.
the distant location didn’t
stop the Blues fans turning up in their droves, to make
up more than a third of the unsegregated attendance
The ground had that familiar non-league
feel to it, with a bumpy pitch and quite long grass.
The floodlights, PA system and turnstiles had come from
old Manor Ground to add to that ‘old school’
atmosphere, but it was also the first ground where I’d
ever noticed pot-pourri in the ladies’
toilets and it also had a snazzy electronic scoreboard.
The travelling army positioned themselves
on the open terrace behind the goal or under a small
stand alongside the pitch for the first half. They were
rewarded with the first appearance of new signing Adam
Dawson. He made some good touches, but didn’t
make a startling impression and was replaced near the
end of the game by Deane Smalley.
Chester did have most of the play
in the first half and came close to scoring when a Simon
Grand header from a Dan Mooney free-kick thundered against
the crossbar. The rebound fell well for Chester, but
and goalkeeper Tony Breeden made an excellent stop to
keep the score level.
At the other end, the Brakes won a series of corners,
but never really threatened to find the net in the first
half. As the sun set over the ground, we switched sides
for the second half and most of the Chester fans moved
to the covered terrace behind Breeden’s
The atmosphere was great, with the
City supporters in good voice throughout most of the
final 45 minutes. It was Chester’s
turn to win a number of corners in this half, and they
came close to scoring on several occasions. They saw
one cleared off the line, another strike sail over a
near open goal and then Breeden made an excellent save
to stop another attempt.
The ball was just not falling well
for Chester, and then it was Leamington who had the
lucky break of the match. A Shenton save re-bounded
out to trouble, and Colby Bishop was on hand to put
the hosts ahead.
There was only ten minutes’
of normal time remaining, and Chester substituted Dawson
and Anthony Dudley, giving the side a new formation
for the end of the game. But Smalley and Many Dieseruvwe
had little time to make an impression, with Leamington
getting behind the ball to preserve their lead and depriving
Chester of their first ever point at this football outpost.
early action was with Chester who saw Dan Mooney force
a save from Adam Bartlett in the home goal. Craig Mahon
saw an effort hit the post before Anthony Dudley shot
wide with another great chance for the Blues.
At the other end the Blues had a let-off
as Joe Ironside headed wide of the Chester goal when
The Blues made changes at the interval
with a debut for new signing Adam Dawson and Jon Moran
replacing Mani Dieseruvwe and Dominic Smalley,
but it was York who wasted the next effort with Ironside
again missing the target.
Gary Roberts saw a long range effort
drift wide and both Moran and Danny Livesey failed to
connect with a teasing Mahon centre as the Blues had
to be content with a point that saw them move fourth
and one point from leaders Bradford (Park Avenue).
missed out on the chance to go top of the league as their
11 match unbeaten league run was brought to an end by
The Robins started the game strongest
and Grant Shenton was forced into a save as early as the
fourth minute denying Andy White’s half volley.
It was short respite though as the visitors found the
net in the 11th minute as breaking down the left the ball
was fed to Jordan Hulme who shot low past Shenton.
Chester responded with Anthony
Dudley seeing a long range effort clip the bar and Dan
Mooney forced a save from Tony Thompson in the Alty goal.
On-loan striker Mani Dieseruvwe created a fine chance
for himself only to shoot straight at Thompson.
The Blues responded at the start of the second period
and drew level on 52 minutes as Gary Roberts free-kick
found Simon Grand who headed home unmarked from six yards
Chester were back in the game and Steve Howson headed
just over from a free kick and a last-ditch tackle prevented
Dudley from a sight of goal from just ten yards.
Against the run of play it was
Altrincham who scored next with Hulme netting his second
of the game from close range after a corner had been
The Blues brought on Dean Smalley
and Cain Noble late on as they chased an equaliser but
it was Altrincham who went closest to finding the net
as Owen Dale forced a smart save from Shenton.
breath-taking goals from Fleetwood loanee Dan Mooney made
this another trip to Brackley Town that will live long
in the memory of the travelling Chester fans.
second one was simply stunning with the ball coming
across behind him before he spun and volleyed an unstoppable
strike right into the top corner. His timing was perfect
as it came in the 5th minute of injury time and there
was barely a kick after the re-start before it was full-time.
The Chester fans, who must have made
up more than a third of the crowd, went absolutely wild
as his goal earned City a vital point, as well as making
it ten League games undefeated.
Until then, this was not a good spectacle
for a neutral, with the first half largely forgettable.
Chester's only change from the previous game was the
start for fellow loanee Emmanuel Dieseruvwe. He had
a few good touches when he looked like he had the makings
of a quality centre forward, but he never quite managed
to pose a threat.
There was actually no serious likelihood
of a goal until the 50th minute when Brackley opened
proceedings after a Grant Shenton block was pounced
on by Connonr Franklin to put the hosts ahead.
But not long after that Dieseruvwe
made a neat move on the left-hand side and crossed the
ball across goal. Mooney, who had largely been anonymous
until then, proved that he knows where the net is with
a shot into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Chester had barely settled from that
equaliser when they did what seems to happen all too
often. Less than a minute after Mooney's goal, they
allowed Brackley to run forward and a good pass to Sean
Byrne was slotted home to put the Saints back in front.
There was still half an hour
to go at this stage, and Chester had several corners
and free kicks without looking likely to score until
Mooney's goal-of-the-season contender on the 95th minute.
It was a strike more than worthy of the point that it