28 November 2000
Plymouth Argyle 1 Chester City 2 (AET)
AXA FA Cup First Round replay.
Attendance: 3,264 Half-time 0-1
Plymouth Argyle: Hodges, Fleming,
Beswetherick, Wotton, Taylor, Phillips (M), Barlow (Gritton
109), Leadbitter, Peake (Stonebridge 68), Guinan (Wills 81),
McGregor. Subs not used: Sheffield, Barrett.
Chester City: Brown, Fisher (Ruscoe 93), Doughty, Lancaster, Ruffer,
Beesley (P), Carden, Blackburn (Woods 76), Beesley (M), Whitehall (Wright
101), Porter. Subs not used: Moss, Gaunt.
Referee: P.Prosser (Gloucester).
A goal 13 minutes from the end of extra-time
bought City a first ever victory at Home Park. Scott Ruscoe's
late winner was reward for a battling performance from a
City had a share of the opening exchanges
forcing several corners in the opening 10 minutes.
Whitehall was in defensive action as he
was on hand to clear off the City goal-line after Craig Taylor
had beaten Wayne Brown. Brown was having an outstanding game
though with a series of close range saves to deny the home
Minutes later though, on the stroke of
half-time, Whitehall gave City the lead. Mark Beesley received
a Paul Carden cross-ball in acres of space on the left of
the box. He turned a defender and shot low on goal; 'keeper
Hodges failed to hold his shot and Whitehall was on hand
to sweep the ball home from six yards.
After the break Argyle stepped up a gear
and Brown was forced into action making fine saves from Fleming
City's dogged defence was breached on 73
minutes. A through ball from Stonebridge sent McGregor clear
and he made no mistake from 18 yards.
Both sides had chances to grab the winner
in the frenetic last 10 minutes, but City held on to force
Penalties were looming when Martyn Lancaster's
ball into space found Scott Ruscoe, he chested the ball round
'keeper Hodge and cooly volleyed home from a narrow angle to
send the small band of City fans behind the goal wild.
20 November 2000
F.A.X1 4 Unibond League X1 0
Scorers FA X1 Brodie (2), Campbell,
Attendance: 209 Half-time 2-0
F.A.X1: Brown (Chester), Marples (Doncaster),
McIntyre (Doncaster), Guyett (Southport), P Beesley (Chester),
Ryan (Doncaster), Carden (Chester), Blackburn (Chester), Campbell
(Doncaster), Brodie (Scarborough), Hawes (Altrincham). Subs Miller
(Doncaster), Woods (Scarborough), Doughty (Chester), Jones (Leigh
RMI), Arnold (Southport).
All the subs were introduced at half time for
Brown, Guyett, Carden, Campbell and Hawes.
A handful of Chester fans travelled to the Giant
Axe at Lancaster to see the unusual sight of five Chester players
appearing in England shirts. The selection of Wayne Brown, Paul
Beesley, Paul Carden and Chris Blackburn for this representative
match was well publicised but the late inclusion of Matt Doughty
came as something of a surprise. This game was the first of three
matches, played on successive nights this week, from which an England
semi-professional squad will be selected for end of season international
games against Italy, Wales, Holland and the Highland League of
Although the FA X1 won the game convincingly
it proved an entertaining match and all the Chester players can
be happy with their contributions. Pick of the bunch was Paul Carden
who had a superb 45 minutes before being substituted at half time.
There is little doubt that his performance will have impressed
the selectors and he should be in with an excellent chance of making
the final squad. Wayne Brown had a reasonably quiet 45 minutes
before being replaced by Andy Woods of Scarborough but he put in
a confident performance and handled the ball well at all times.
On the one occasion he was called into serious action he produced
a magnificent save by tipping the ball over the bar when a Unibond
player was put clean through. Chris Blackburn put in a solid rather
than spectacular performance, particularly in the first half when
he benefitted from playing alongside Paul Carden. He worked hard
throughout the game and was not over-shadowed by the more experienced
players around him. Paul Beesley was steady at the centre of defence
but it seems unlikely that he will be selected for the final squad.
As an added bonus he didn't get booked. Matt Doughty came on for
the second half but tended to be isolated on the wing although
he did manage a couple of promising runs.
The FA X1 scored the first goal after two minutes
when Steve Brodie scored from close range and added a second on
20 minutes when Neil Campbell followed up Paul Carden's magnificent
chip shot which rebounded off the crossbar. Ian Arnold added a
third just after half time with a long range shot and Steve Brodie
scored the fourth in a one on one with the keeper.
Besides Paul Carden the most impressive players
on display were Southport's centre-back Scott Guyett who won everything
in the air and Scarborough's Steve Brodie who always looked dangerous.
Graham Barrow and Joe Hinnigan were both watching the game and
Graham was in discussion with Southport's Mark Wright at half-time,
hopefully trying to persuade him to let us have Ian Arnold and
18 November 2000
Chester City 1 Plymouth Argyle 1
AXA FA Cup First Round.
Attendance: 2,393 Half-time 0-0
Chester City: Brown, Fisher (Ruscoe 70
(Gaunt 85)), Doughty, Lancaster, Ruffer, P.Beesley, Carden, Blackburn,
M.Beesley (Wright 59), Whitehall, Porter. Subs not used: Moss,
Plymouth Argyle: Hodges, Wotton, Beswetherick, Leadbitter,
Adams (Wills 77), Taylor, Fleming, Barlow, Guinan (Stonebridge
82), McGregor, Phillips (Peake 67). Subs not used: Barratt, Sheffield.
Referee: P.Prosser (Gloucester).
were a yardstick for us against which we could measure our current
footballng stock. There didn't seem to be much between the teams
on the evidence of this ninety minutes. For Plymouth, with their
green and white kit and familiarity with the M5 on their travels,
you could have subsituted Yeovil (Mind you, given the Glovers crushing
result against Colchester that is doing them down).
Whereas we fancied our chances against a side
that had been struggling in the Third Division and hadn't won away
since their slender victory at the Deva last season, Plymouth had
just replaced their manager so were likely to be newly enthused.
In looking for a new footballing challenge, Paul Sturrock could
not have got much further away from Dundee in the UK if he had
City dominated the first half, applying decent
pressure on the Greens' back four who, as they attempted to play
the ball around, were often guilty of hitting woeful passes. Chester
seemed to have more fluency with Lancaster operating at right back
and Ruffer alongside Beasley in the centre. Plymouth looked lively
on the break but only made one genuine chance blasting comfortably
over when well placed. Beasley collected his customary booking
early in the first half. Harshly treated I felt, the ball was there
to be played, the momentum of Guinan's turn made him fall over
and if Beasley made contact with him rather than the ball which
I doubt it was his first offence. If that was a harsh decision
then so too was the sending off of the Plymouth captain after a
handbags at five paces brush with Porter.
The closest Chester came to scoring in the first
half was when Doughty's inswinging corner appeared to elude eveyone
and come off the foot of the post. City went in for a cup of tea
on top and with every chance of knocking their League opponents
off their perch.
But after the interval City struggled to make
their advantage in numbers tell. At times they played some lovely
football Carden volleyed over from a narrow angle after
a seven man move. But Plymouth dug in and City's midfield, dominant
in the first half found it difficult once again to link up with
our forwards. A disappointing Mark Beasley was replaced by Darren
Wright. And a disappointed Fisher was replaced by Roscoe. Dazza
it was who pounced on Hodges fumble with ten minutes to go to bundle
the ball into the net.
Earlier Lancaster had rescued City when he hacked
a goal bound shot off the line. Brown too had played a stalwart
role at corners and crosses.
After the goal, Chester seemed to be coping comfortably
enough until Paul Beesley was booked a second time for an innocuous
tap of the ball at the award of a free kick. Ill-disciplined no
doubt, especially given Beasley's experience and Mr Prosser's volatility,
but completely uneccesary. Roscoe was hastily withdrawn so that
Gaunt could be thrown on to shore up a now creaking defence.
But with five minutes of added time looming we
feared the worst as Plymouth began to see a chink in Chester's
armour. Sure enough Mr Prosser gave them a free kick on the edge
of the box and Jason Peake curled in the perfect shot into the
So honours even, yet another 1-1 draw, Mr Prosser's
idiosyncracies had been applied equally. A long-haul on a Tuesday
night for the replay but at least, with a blank Saturday coming
up, City have ten days in which to prepare. Terry will probably
take the opportunity to take them all to that army camp again.
11 November 2000
Chester City 1 Stevenage Borough 1
Attendance: 1,708 Half-time 0-0
Chester City: Brown, Ruffer, P.Beesley,
Woods, Fisher (Ruscoe 84), Doughty, Carden, Blackburn, Porter,
M.Beesley, Wright. Subs not used: Moss, Kerr, Woodyatt, Lancaster.
Stevenage Borough: Wilkerson, Kirby, Trott, Smith,
Bunce, Metcalfe (Miller 64), Martin, McMahon, Clarke, Hay
(Leadbeater 78), Armstrong (Illman 89). Subs not used:
Referee: R.M.Pollock (Liverpool).
is Terry Smith on? Chester fans must have asked themselves that
question many times when reading his legendary programme notes.
Well not food and water apparently. According to his bit in the
thicker than ever ("48 pages is like a Book") Matchday Magazine,
Terry's punishing schedule of 16-18 hours a day and 100 plus hours
a week means that he does not have the time to stop and eat or
drink even a glass of water. He's probably got a stash of
krypton stored away in his office somewhere.
Yet another 1-1 draw, our fourth in a row. The
pools punters must love us when the Conference fixtures
get to feature on the pools that is. But this was a vastly different
match from the most recent Deva stalemate against Leigh RMI. This
time City, chided by Barrow for only getting going when they go
a goal behind, seemed to start in the right frame of mind and took
the game to the visitors. Much of the play was confined to midfield
but Chester's midfield and defenders worked hard to be first to
the loose ball.
But though they threatened, they just could not
get the ball in the net. Darren Wright, in for the injured Whitehall,
was the culprit of missing an absolute sitter just before half
time. Not only did he blaze the ball over from just below the bar,
he actually got it out of the ground. Doughty and Beesley also
missed good shooting opportunities. At our end a bad slip by Ruffer
let in Dean Martin but Brown saved courageously.
City went in at half time to lukewarm applause,
having dominated but lacking the killer touch once again. It only
took them a minute of the second half to find it however. Goalkeeper
Wilkerson made a meal of a bouncing ball in the box and lost control
of it when he collided with Smith. Beesley struck the loose ball
into the empty net.
Inspired by this piece of luck City came sweeping
forward in an effort to grab another goal. Beesley was put clean
through on the right by Carden's clever flick but shot straight
at the keeper. Wright got through in the same position but his
squared ball was lacking a bit of pace and Wilkerson was able to
smother Beesley's effort. Wright stabbed a loose ball goalwards
but Smith booted it off the line as it threatened to creep over
When a lot of chances go begging a side is often
made to pay and that is just what happened to City. Boro threw
on Miller in the right wing back role and he was soon operating
in acres of space to cause City problems. For much of the game
play was concentrated in the central corridor and Chester struggled
to find any width. Porter, Carden and Blackburn worked admirably
hard but wereoften falling over each other in a densely packed
From a seemingly innocuous right wing cross Stevenage
equalised. Woods seemed to leave the ball but it went straight
to the unmarked Armstrong who gave Brown no chance of making a
Chester bustled forward in reply forcing several
corners (Stevenage did not have one all game) the closest
effort was when Doughty swept in from the left, his right foot
shot was heading for the top corer before Wilkerson finger tipped
Another extremely frustrating afternoon.
4 November 2000
Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Chester City
Attendance: 1,244 Half-time 0-0
Dagenham & Redbridge: Roberts,
Cole, Broom, Goodwin, Matthews, Terry, Janney, Cobb (McDougald
55), Shipp (Keen 86), Heffer, Jones. Subs not used: Brennan,
Chester City: Brown, Lancaster (Fisher 51), Doughty, Woods, Ruffer,
P.Beesley, Carden, Blackburn (Ruscoe 80), M.Beesley (Wright 59), Whitehall,
Porter. Subs not used: Kerr, Woodyatt.
Referee: S.Rubery (Ilford).
old Chester! Once again the Blues had an abundance of possession
but, not for the first time, failed to turn this dominance
into efforts on goal.
As against Leigh RMI and Forest Green Rovers
in recent weeks, Chester bossed the entire opening of the
match but had only one worthwhile effort on goal, that a
fine free-kick by Steve Whitehall which was pushed round
the post by home 'keeper Tony Roberts. Anything that the
home side created was dealt with comfortably by Doughty,
Ruffer and Paul Beesley at the back. Jones' free-kick being
the only real effort Wayne Brown had to save in the first
Soon after the break, City replaced Martyn
Lancaster with Neil Fisher and Mark Beesley with Darren Wright
and immediately a couple of half chances were created for
Dagenham took the lead out of the blue
on 72 minutes. City's defence failed to deal with a bouncing
ball in the six-yard box, Heffer's header wa cleared off
the line by Fisher but Danny Shipp was on hand to head home
the loose ball. The impressive Junior McDougald should have
doubled the lead soon after being put through on Brown but
Matt Doughty rescued the situation.
With time running out the Blues scored
a deserved equaliser. Darren Wright had a shot blocked with
the ball falling to Andy Porter just outside the box. Porter
unleashed a beauty through a crowd of players that flew into
the bottom right corner giving Roberts no chance.
Cue a mass brawl that saw a dozen players
trading punches and kicks, amazingly only one from each side
was booked, Matt Woods unluckily for City as he'd been on
the receiving end of most of the blows.