Saturday 8 May 1999
Chester City 1 Rotherham United
Chester City: Cutler, Moss (Reid
55), Cross, Richardson, Crosby, Woods, Flitcroft, Priest
(A.Shelton 84), Murphy, Beckett, Fisher (Wright 71).
Rotherham United: Pollitt, Williams (Ingledow 77), Beech, Varty, Knill,
Dillon, Scott, Thompson, Fortune-West (Sedgwick 55), Warne (Berry 80),
Referee: R.Styles (Waterlooville).
It made no difference to City's league
position that they once again snatched a draw from
the jaws of victory but they deserved to win - having
been by far the better side. But then again if you
can't finish teams off then this is what tends to happen.
Most City fans I spoke to afterwards thought the 1-1
score was fitting because it was typical of the season
as a whole. The number of home draws we have had -
having taken the lead in most matches - is testament
to our lack of a killer instinct and a leaky defence.
If Luke Beckett had been fit all season City would
have been in with a great chance of the play offs.
He is a natural goal scorer. He creates opportunites
out of virtually nothing. On top of this Luke plays
his heart out every match - he's a real asset. His
goal on Saturday was superbly taken. The build up had
been a bit laboured with Priest playing the ball back
out to the left wing one time too often - or so it
seemed. But Fisher dinked one of his subtle crosses
in and Dillon could only head the ball across goal.
Quick as a flash Beckett volleyed it into the far corner.
This was on the stroke of half time.
It sparked a brawl at the Rotherham end during which
several arrests were made. Presumably the Millers were
making merry mayhem amongst themselves.
Further half time entertainment was
provided by the ISA half time draw. Bob Delgado (Via
a visit to the men's room) and Lucy Meacock did the
honours. It was a source of some amusement to many
that Cleggy read out the full address of the winner
of the video - the local burglars in the crowd would
surely have taken note.
City were pepped up by the goal and
came out after the interval to pulverise the Millers.
Being charitable, the visitors were conserving their
energies for the play offs for which they had already
qualified. I can't believe they have played like they
did on Saturday all season because they looked very
weak - nothing like play off material.
Priest worked his socks off and was
really unhappy to be substituted a few minutes form
the end just after he had been booked. This strange
decision by Ratcliffe seemed to hand the initiative
back to Rotherham when Scott equalised from a free
header at a corner with two minutes to go. We'd seen
it all before I'm afraid.
As for the accusations of racial
abuse by City players against Fortune-West - they should
be properly investigated. We have got to make every
effort to tackle racism at every level, especially
as we do not have a spotless record on this score.
But Ronnie Moore should substantiate the allegations
he has made. Otherwise we might suspect that he is
using them as a smoke screen to mask his team's poor
performance. It appeared to me that Fortune-West was
throwing his substantial weight around quite a lot
and he seemed to feign injury when challenged (Rashly
admittedly) by the pint-sized Moss, in order to get
At the end we invaded the pitch for
our customary end of season salute to the players. "At
last" said Cleggy, "The news you have been
waiting for". We braced ourselves for an announcement
about an offer being made for the club... "The
players will be out in five minutes". Still, they
deserved the applause - they have been brilliant this
Thanks lads. Let's hope most
of you are able to be offered new contracts with
Chester pretty soon.
Saturday 1 May 1999
Darlington 1 Chester City 2
Liddle, Heckingbottom, Bennett, Tutill, Himsworth, Ellison
(Dorner 60), Oliver (Campbell 14), Carruthers, Naylor,
Atkinson, (Brumwell 78).
Chester City: Cutler, Moss, Cross, Richardson,
Crosby, Woods, Flitcroft (Reid 46), Priest, Murphy, Beckett,
Fisher (A.Shelton 80).
Referee: G.Singh (Wolverhapmton).
City ended their seasons travels with
a deserved win at Darlington, their seventh away victory
of the season.
The Blues almost took the lead early
on when ex-Darlo defender Andy Crosby his the bar with
a spectacular overhead kick. It wasn't long though before
the first goal and that went against the run of play
to the home side. The City defence stood still as Glen
Naylor put his side 1-0 up, the Blues adamant that both
Naylor and Martin Carruthers were offside in the build
up. City almost fell two behind as Lee Ellison set up
naylor for a simple tap-in but he somehow side-footed
the ball wide from six yards out.
Chester drew level on 36 minutes through
Dave Flitcroft. Darlo failed to clear a City corner and
Flitcroft fired in an angled drive from the edge of the
John Murphy and Luke Beckett caused
major problems for the Darlo defence and Beckett was
denied by the fingertips of David Preece in the home
goal on the stroke of half-time.
Shaun Reid replaced the injured Flitcroft
at the interval. Flitcroft has a foot injury which leaved
him doubtful for saturday's final game of the season
at home to Rotherham.
The Blues took the lead on 59 minutes
through Luke Beckett.Again the home side failed to clear
from a City corner kick leaving Beckett with a simple chance.
The strike almost added to his total with a 20 yarder later.