Town (H) | Dartford
(A) | Aldershot
Town (A) | Alfreton
Town (H) | Southport
(H) | Luton
Town (A) | Tamworth
(H) | Welling United (A)Saturday
29 March Welling United 2 Chester 0
Attendance: 706 (206 Chester) Half Time 0-0
Booked: Hobson, Bond, Rooney. Welling United:Butcher, Fazakerley,
Hudson, Taylor, Williams, Beautyman (Wakefield 63), Gallagher,
Karagiannis (Ajala 58) , Clarke (Healy 63), Sho-Silva,
Lafayette. Subs not used: Turner, Day. Chester: Chapman, L.Turner, Kay, Linwood,
Heath, Rooney, Jarrett (N.Turner 70), Bond, Mahon, Hobson
(Menagh 63), Seddon (Carlton 60). Subs not used: Danby,
Ashworth. Referee: Daniel Cook (Portsmouth).
was just like the good old days of the late Chester
City. A short trip for us Southern Exiles meeting up
with familiar fellow supporters in chosen real ale haunts
and a dire ninety minutes of football which interrupted
the social occasion!
Chester are in real relegation
fight after this latest defeat to a ten man average
Welling side, who quite frankly where there for the
taking being on a bad run themselves. After a quiet
start, the game changed with the harsh sending off Welling’s
Gallagher on the half hour for a late challenge on Jarrett.
Welling reverted to one up front and were content to
hit Chester on the break.
It worked to a treat. Chester
were clueless in how to break the opposition down hoofing
aimless balls forward which were gobbled up Welling’s
giant centre backs. Apart from a Linwood header and
two Seddon efforts, the Welling keeper remained untroubled
and Chester’s second half performance was woeful,
dreadful and quite frankly tactically inept. There was
an air of inevitability about Welling’s opener
from Karagiannis who finished well after latching on
to a long goal kick.
The game was settled a minute
from time when Lafayette scored his first goal since
er, the first Chester Welling encounter! However the
game was technically over by then as Chester wouldn’t
have scored if they had played until midnight and the
frustration grew on and off the pitch. The lack of acknowledgement
to the travelling support at the final whistle said
it all. These supporters deserve better.
This match began as a tentative ‘six-pointer’
with neither side wanting to make a real impression.
In fact, it’s hard to remember anything memorable
from the first half.
If I struggle to think, I can recall
a few chances each for the two relegation strugglers
in the first 45 minutes. Chester ‘keeper Aaron
Chapman had no trouble turning a couple of Tamworth
shots round the post, while Cameron Belford used his
legs to keep out a Jamie Menagh strike at the other
The start of the second half immediately
woke up the 1,731-strong crowd. A Tamworth header looked
goalbound, but Chapman made an instinctive save to keep
the score level.
Soon after, Tamworth’s Lloyd
Kerry had another chance to put the visitors ahead.
But his shot went well wide and Chester could live again.
It was as if that spurred the Blues
into action, and a well-timed John Rooney pass to Lewis
Turner resulted in an own goal when Turner fizzed the
ball across the box. If Tamworth’s Ben Richards-Everton
had not put his foot in the way, it would have found
another Chester player anyway. There was a real sense
of relief from the home supporters when the ball found
the net for an own goal.
Soon after, it was 2-0 to Chester
when a Rooney free kick found Craig Hobson and he managed
to get the ball past Belford.
Chester fans know that a two-goal
lead by no means leads to a certain victory –
not with 25 minutes left to play. So it was good to
see the home side continuing to press for a third goal.
Rooney had a couple of chances of his own, including
hitting the cross bar from a free kick.
Thankfully Tamworth looked well-beaten
as the clock ran down. They bought on a couple of substitutes,
but neither could make any impression on the Chester
defence. It’s now time for the victorious home
side to keep firing on all cylinders as the season enters
its final phase.
will reflect that the final scoreline doesn’t
do justice to the battling effort they made in holding
off league leaders Luton Town for a large part of this
match. The Blues gave as good as they got in the opening
period despite picking up five yellow cards from referee
Both Craig Mahon and matty Brown missed
the game through injury while striker Gareth Seddon
also missed out after falling ill on the coach journey
In front of a crowd of nearly 8,500
it was Nathan Turner who had the first sniff of goals
only to pull a shot wide while Andy Bond also sent an
effort over the bar on ten minutes following good approach
play by Jamie Menagh.
John Rooney saw a free-kick headed
away for a corner by Steve McNulty and from the resulting
kick Jason Jarrett failed to control the loose ball
and a chance was missed.
Goalkeeper Aaron Chapman pulled off
a fine save to deny Hatters captain Ronnie Henry and
Chapman was also well positioned to save from Paul Benson
as Luton came more into the match. benson was causing
problems for the Chester defence and Michael Kay cleared
a goalbound header to keep the scores level.
Good work from Craig Hobson and Nathan
Turner set up Rooney whose shot appeared to be handled
by McNulty but Whitton turned away the penalty appeals.
Rooney sent a half-volley just wide of Mark Tyler’s
goal and at the other end henry fired over when well
placed before the half came to an end.
Champan wade an early save from Scott
Griffiths after the restart before the Blues won three
successive corners and saw captain Paul Linwood’s
header tipped over the bar by Tyler.
Andre Gray saw an effort blocked
by Chapman as the home side applied the pressure and
the opening goal came out of the blue on 70 minutes
as substitute Matt Robinson’s left wing cross
sailed over everyone and into the far corner of the
Chester hit back and Rooney forced
a fine save from Tyler following the midfieder’s
free kick and Craig Hobson sent a header over following
Joe Heath’s cross.
Chapman denied Gray again following
a one-on-one before the Luton striker added a second
moments later firing home from 18 yards. The Hatters
wrapped up the points in injury time as Benson charged
down a Linwood clearance to add the third goal.
Chester fought out a fiercely competitive relegation
scrap with near neighbours Southport and had to count
the cost in terms of injuries by the end of the night.
Both sides had to be content with a single point in
the end but the result could have easily gone either
Right from the word go this was an
end to end game – almost the complete opposite
of the Alfreton game on Saturday. Chester struck first
as Rooney went close in the first couple of minutes
at the near post, almost immediately the Sandgrounders
attacked at the other end and went close and so it continued.
Linwood crashed a shot against the bar following a corner
but soon had to be replaced as he was carrying an injury,
Kay coming on to take his place at centre back.
City took the lead after 34 minutes
when good work by Craig Mahon set up Seddon for a shot
on the left. His shot was parried by Hurst but Hobson
was on hand to score his first goal for the Blues. Seddon
nearly added another but was foiled when George got
his head in the way of his close range shot. Ledsham
nearly headed into his own goal from a left wing cross.
The visitors went closest with a direct free kick from
distance but City held on to the lead until half time.
It was difficult to believe there
weren’t more goals to come in the second half
and so it proved. Chester forged further ahead through
a brilliant goal by Mahon, running at the defence and
then firing low into the corner.
As a waning gibbous moon, golden in
colour rose behind the main stand so Chester seemed
to fade and Southport fought doggedly to get back into
the game. All of a sudden City seemed to be overwhelmed
in midfield and the Sandgrounders came sweeping forward.
Ledsham halved the arrears on 57 minutes when he nodded
in unmarked past Chapman.
Shortly afterwards Matty Brown was
badly injured, leaving the field with a brokennose and
Chester had to rearrange their defence once again. This
time Jarrett dropped back while Nathan Turner came on
to play in midfield.
The visitors increased the pressure
as they searched desperately for an equaliser. Hattersley
got in Chapman’s way at the left hand edge of
the box and threw himself to the ground. The linesman
flagged for a free kick but the referee deemed it to
be inside the area and pointed to the spot. The decision
seemed a travesty but justice – in the eyes of
a seething Harry Mac Stand – was seen to be done
when Ledsham crashed the penalty against the bar and
Chester were struggling now and the
visitors made more chances. Chapman tipped Hattersley’s
diving header over the bar and clawed away Osawe’s
shot just inside the post. Then he saved with his legs
from Hattersley’s shot on the turn. Ledsham was
then booked for a crude challenge on Mahon which left
him with a suspected broken collar-bone.
Just as the Blues seemed to have weathered
the storm, the dangerous Osawe gotbehind the defence
on the right and sent in a low cross which went right
through,was returned by O’Sullivan on the left
and Ledsham slotted the equalising goal. This was in
the 89th minute but there were still seven minutes of
added time to go. The last chance of all fell to Hattersley
who scythed his shot well wide of the goal.
Southport will have been happiest
with the point but City can take pride from theway they
played and coped with several unfortunate injuries.
How many fully fit players are available after this
bruising match will be a headache for Steve Burr.
lost this tight encounter with Alfreton as the visitors
gained revenge for the Blues’ unlikely win at
their home earlier in the season. The game was dour
and hard fought and had nil-nil written all over it
until Town were awarded a penalty on the hour mark.
Chapman was judged by referee England to have brought
down hulking forward Akinde and Harrad tucked the spot
kick away. Steve Burr was unhappy with the penalty award
– as were many Blues fans - but was honest enough
to admit that City didn’t offer enough to deserve
to win the game.
City began fairly brightly although
they had to change their plans after fifteen minutes
when Killock, playing in the unfamiliar position of
right back pulled up with a hamstring strain. “There’s
only one Ross Killock” chanted the sympathetic
home support as the Leeds loanee limped off in front
of them. The visiting fans responded with an echo of
the same words but with a hint of irony (Ross had been
on loan with them last season). New signing Hobson came
on to play on the right wing while Lewis Turner fell
back to fill Killock’s void.
Rooney had City’s best and almost
only effort of note on target in the first half ashe
shot low and true from Nathan Turner’s pass. Jon
Worsnop – who made one appearance for Chester
City – parried at full stretch. Matty Brown also
went closeat the far post from a corner. To be fair
Chapman was rarely troubled either but Alfreton were
quick to close City down and allowed little time on
the ball – especially to the danger of Mahon –
a marked man throughout.
After the break City had their best
spell as they took the game to the visitors but lacked
that final cutting edge. Seddon snatched at a half chance
and screwed it horribly wide. Mahon’s inviting
cross sailed across the goal untroubled. Chester were
still sorely missing the recalled (By Forest Green Rovers)
Matty Taylor. Not only was he in a rich vein of scoring
form, he linked the play up brilliantly with Rooney
and Seddon. City’s play was stuttering as a result.
Hobson was game and did well but is not the same type
of player by any means.
Harrad’s penalty got Alfreton’s
noses in front and they defended their lead resolutely,
breaking up the flow and grinding out the result they
needed. The wintook them up to second in the League
but then, at 6pm, three points were taken away from
them as a result of failing to register Worsnop in time
for a match against Kidderminster earlier in the season.
The fax they sent turned out blank at Conference HQ.
So ended a frustrating afternoon for both teams.
Chester’s lack of threat up
front is a concern and has seen them slip back into
the relegation scrap. It heightens the pressure on Tuesday’s
encounter with reviving strugglers Southport who leaped
over City after their convincing defeat of Macclesfield.
This was a disappointing performance from a Chester
team who never looked likely to scramble even a point
at fellow relegation rivals, Aldershot.
The absence of Matty Taylor, who was
recalled to home club Forest Green Rovers, made for
rather a large void in the Chester attack line. His
place was taken by Craig Lindfield, but he couldn't
make up for Taylor's departure.
The home side were on the front foot
from the off, and Chester – backed by 143 travelling
supporters - didn’t have a shot on target before
they went behind.
Aldershot’s first goal came
from the result of yet another set-piece. Aaron Chapman
failed to deal with a corner and the ball fell to the
Shot’s leading scorer, Brett Williams. He made
no mistake to put them ahead.
It was hard to think of any impact
that yellow-clad Chester had in the first half. So it
was hardly surprising to see Lindfield replaced by Jamie
Megagh on the 58th minute. The double substitution also
saw Brendon Daniels come on for Nathan Turner.
The arrival of lively Menagh did see
Aldershot’s defence opened up slightly. He kept
finding enough space to give Chester at least a hint
of a chance. Craig Mahon did have a chance on the hour-mark,
but his shot was well-saved by Aldershot’s Alan
The action soon switched to the other
end when a long ball found Aldershot’s Jaydon
Gibbs. Chapman came out to meet him, but he was rounded
to leave a gaping open net. However Gibbs somehow blazed
the ball way over the bar.
Both John Rooney and Mahon then had
chances at the other end, in Chester’s best spell
of the match. But they failed to make an impression
and it was soon game over for the visitors.
Williams found himself in space again
in the Chester box and had no trouble scoring on the
83rd minute. There was no way Chester were going to
score two goals in the closing minutes, and the game
petered out into a dismal defeat for Steve Burr's men.
It was no more than they deserved, and they’ll
need to show more spirit and determination as the season
comes to a head.
7 March Dartford 0 Chester 1
Attendance: 1,610 Half Time 0-0
Julian, Burns, Mitchel-King, McAuley, Sterling,
Woodyard (Noble 63), Stevenson (Collier 82), Cornhill
(Suarez 74), Bradbrook, Wall, Harris. Subs not used:
Clark, Ibrahim. Chester: Chapman, L.Turner, Killock,
Linwood, Heath, Rooney, Bond, N.Turner, Mahon (Lindfield
90), Taylor (Daniels 90), Seddon. Subs not used: Danby,
Bridge, Menagh. Referee: Kevin Johnson (Somerset).
Chester recorded their second win in a month in front
of the TV cameras as a stunning second half strike from
Gareth Seddon was one of the only talking points in
the entire 90 minutes. The first half was an instantly
forgettable event with both sides canceling each other
out for the opening 20 minutes and nether registering
a shot on target for the opening half.
Chester upped the tempo straight after
the break with John Rooney feeding Matty Taylor but
home ‘keeper Alan Julian rushed out to deny the
Blues striker. Moments later a fine run down the right
by Lewis Turner saw the fullback cross into the danger
area, the ball was flicked on to gareth Seddon four
yards out but he could only head over the unguarded
Seddon made up for his miss a minute
later with a strike that was fitting to win any game.
Andy Bond’s through ball was missed by Tyrone
Sterling, it fell nicely for Seddon who turned to blast
a dipping volley past Julian into the far corner to
the delight of the 150 travelling supporters behind
the goal in the smart Princes Park Stadium.
Dartford made a couple of substitutions
and responded well as Aaron Chapman, a spectator in
the first half, was called on to make a couple of smart
saves to deny Lee Noble and Alex Wall.
There were loud appeals for a penalty
as Ross Killock tackled Danny Harris on the edge of
the box but referee Kevin Johnson waved away the home
Four minutes from time Chapman produced
the save of the match diving at full stretch to deny
Noble whose shot from the edge of the area found its
way through a sea of legs and was heading for the bottom
corner before being turned round for a corner.
Chester survived five minutes of added
time to record a precious three points that keeps them
above the relegation zone for another week.
Confidence was high in the Chester camp after a thrilling
midweek victory against Tamworth. Blues fans turned
up anticipating their side giving high flying Nuneaton
a run for their money. Their hopes were soon deflated
however when Jason Jarrett was shown the red card by
referee Ben Toner after only eight minutes. My initial
reaction was that it was Nuneaton’s Walker who
had gone into the tackle with two feet but the referee
adjudged Jarrett the culprit rather than the victim
and City were left, as they say, with a mountain to
Nevertheless the controversy seemed
to galvanise them and they set about their task like
mountain gazelles. The Blues attacked at high tempo
and incredibly took the lead when Rooney stroked the
ball in off the post from the edge of the area following
a crisp one-two between Lewis Turner and Craig Mahon.
Playing some of the best attacking football of the season,
City continued to dominate the play-off hopefuls. Rooney’s
free kick deflected off the defensive wall to land just
on top of the net as City continued to press. But the
visitors took the wind out of their sails with an equaliser
on the half hour mark.
Debutant Bridge, having stepped up
three levels from Newcastle Town to join Chester, was
caught out of position at left back and allowed his
man to cross to the far post where Moult headed home
unchallenged. Undaunted City swept forward again. Mahon’s
left footed cross from the right bamboozled Belshaw
in the Nuneaton goal and Taylor pounced to thrash it
high into the net once it had rebounded off the post.
But then they were deflated once more
on the stroke of half time as York again crossed from
the right and this time Brown nodded in from an identical
position to his side’s first goal. The lack of
defensive cover was disappointing.
In the second half Town began to make
their extra-man advantage tell and put pressure on the
Blues’ goal with a succession of corners. City,
at times, defended desperately but held on and then
retaliated with pressure of their own. Joyously, Killock
hooked Rooney’s partially cleared corner through
a crowded penalty area to give the Blues the lead for
the third time this afternoon.
Nuneaton launched frantic efforts
for an equaliser and with four minutes remaining City
cracked. Chapman, so confident against Halifax, was
tentative at a corner and Brown lashed the loose ball
low into the net. “You’re going down with
the Tamworth” sang the erstwhile silent visiting
City slipped a place in the league
as a consequence while Southport were beating Dartford.
It was frustrating for the Blues and who can tell what
the score might have been if they had not had to play
without Jarrett for over eighty minutes? Despite feelings
of disappointment City fans stayed to give their team
a standing ovation for their superb efforts to win the
match. It made for one of the most entertaining games
of the season. Let’s hope it’s a Conference
fixture we can look forward to next season despite the
sentiments of the away support.