The corresponding fixture last season produced an eight
goal thriller back in September 2018. Bradford were then
play-off contenders. Today they visited in bottom position
albeit striving for a revival with Mark Bower recently
returned as manager and having progressed in the FA Trophy
last Saturday by beating Gloucester. Their league form
was still poor however and they started the game as definite
City began on the front foot but found their opponents
stubborn and ready to graft and deny the Blues space.
Soon City were struggling to make headway despite dominating
possession and when Bradford broke they carried a threat.
Johnson stabbed the ball wide when well placed and then
Griffiths was forced to palm Hurst’s speculative
shot wide for a corner.
From the set piece the visitors took the lead. The delivery
was low and skimmed under the radar as defender Priestley
prodded it through a thicket of legs and found the back
of the net. The Blues’ response was sluggish and
disjointed. Debutant Ngwatala got hold of the ball and
went on a rambling foray but his resultant shot lacked
venom and hardly troubled the Bradford keeper.
City emerged from the break with a flea in their ear and
a bit more urgency to boot. Jackson began to menace down
the right and the crowd livened up. Dudley was played
onside by a defender’s flick and latched on to shoot.
His effort was too strong for Green in the goal and it
went through him for the equaliser.
Soon afterwards Chester had the lead when Asante, with
minimal back-lift powered a shot from the edge the area
which took a slight deflection as it looped over Green
and dipped under the bar. City were now rampant and Taylor
progressed down the left and launched a tantalising cross
that Asante met and crashed against the cross bar. A defender
nodded it out for a corner.
But that was the summit of City’s achievements as
they slipped back into torpor for much of the rest of
the game and Bradford harried and hustled in search of
an equaliser. A surreal mist crept over the west stand
and slumped on to the pitch, symbolic of City’s
lethargy. In the dying embers Bradford’s Marriott
received a second yellow card for a mistimed challenge
on Stopforth. Their threat tended to peter out with the
Chester had made very heavy weather of beating Bradford
but they had got there in the end. Taylor scooped the
Man of the Match award for another committed performance
and on the day when the new stadium name (If not yet the
signage) was announced as the 1885 Arena, the attendance
was an almost appropriate 1875.
goal from substitute Anthony Dudley was just enough to
send Chester through to the first round of the FA Trophy
and an away tie at Hednesford Town.
Chester made three changes from the side that beat Alfreton
Town with Scott Burton, Jamie Morgan and Gary Stopforth
all making the starting X1.
It was the home side who had chances in the opening period
with Danny Livesey clearing a Lee Ndlovu effort after
the Brackley striker had seen his shot go under the out
rushing Russell Griffiths in the Blues goal.
The Blues gradually got into the game and Livesey headed
wide from a Matty Waters cross and Burton also saw an
effort go wide following a Waters corner.
Shep Murombedzi sent a tantalising cross across the face
of the Chester goal but fortunately no one was able to
get a touch on it and the danger was cleared.
Early in the second period Griffiths produced a fine save
to deny Ndlovu and Matt Lowe saw two efforts go close
without troubling Griffiths.
The only goal of the game came on 73 minutes as Dudley,
introduced from the bench six minutes earlier, met an
inch perfect pass from Bradley Jackson to shoot past Lewis
in the Saints goal.
Despite pressure from the home side in the closing staged
the Chester defence held firm to book their place in the
9 November Chester
3 Alfreton Town 0
National League North
Attendance: 1,687 Half Time: 1-0
Booked: G.Roberts, Taylor.
Chester: Griffiths, K.Roberts, Livesey,
Grand, Taylor, Waters (Dudley 75), Glendon, G.Roberts
(Stopforth 66), Jackson, Waring, Hughes (Elliott 75).
Subs not used: Morgan, Burton. Alfreton Town: Andrew, Clackstone, Thacker,
East (Grice 59), Smith, Qualter, Killock, Clarke, Blake
(Bacon 64), Morgan-Smith, Johnson (Witham 66). Subs not
used: Atkinson, Bennett. Referee: Richard Holmes.
Blues ended a seven match sequence without a win as they
fought hard to overcome a dogged Alfreton Town.
The weather conditions were pretty atrocious, cold, wet
and windy to boot which will have had an effect on the
attendance but did not dampen the spirits of those who
were there. After a silent tribute to the fallen on this
weekend of remembrance, City began attacking the clock
end. The Reds pressed City high up the field and were
stubborn competitors in the middle, generally quicker
to the second ball on the rare occasions that it landed
on the ground. Alfreton were also adept at winning free
kicks in threatening positions and saw this as their principle
route to goal.
Griffiths was rarely troubled, however, and the closest
Alfreton came to breaking the deadlock was Shane Killock’s
header from a corner which skimmed the top of the crossbar.
As half time approached it was Chester’s turn to
win a free kick over on the right. Waters launched a curling
ball towards the far post. Waring knocked it down and
then, following a scramble, the ball ended in the back
of the net. It was difficult to see how and for a while
it was hard to believe a goal had been scored. It must
have been one of the most underwhelming reactions to a
home success at the Deva for a long time. The goal was
initially attributed to Grand but replays showed that
a defender’s clearance rebounded off a prone Livesey
to make him the scorer.
Shortly afterwards City should have doubled their lead.
A clever flick by Roberts set up Glendon to cross from
the right, Waters, headed on and gave the unmarked Waring
the chance to volley. Unfortunately his effort was high,
wide and handsome as the ‘goal of the season award’
flashed before his eyes.
In the dying embers of the half, Amari Morgan-Smith –
who tormented City last season in a Telford shirt –
ran with the ball towards goal. Gary Roberts won the ball
with his tackle on the edge of the box but as Morgan Smith
stumbled and went down in stages, Mr Holmes the referee
awarded a free kick. To rub salt in the wound he showed
Roberts the yellow card (Meaning a suspension). A truly
harsh decision considering some persistent offences from
the visitors. Still, Johnson’s free kick sailed
over the cross bar and Mr Holmes was greeted with a chorus
of boos as he stepped off for half time.
Blues began after the break on the front foot and were
soon two goals to the good. Livesey was again the scorer,
drilling the ball home the Reds had struggled to clear.
Gary Roberts returned the ball into the area, and Grand
nodded down for Livesey to notch his, and his team’s
second of the afternoon. Skeins of geese flew northwards
across the stadium as Chester too swept forward looking
for a decisive third. Substitutes Elliott and Dudley added
fresh impetus to the attacks.
When the third goal did arrive it was in the most bizarre
of circumstances. As City forced a succession of corners,
Reds’ keeper Andrew came under pressure. He had
a lucky escape from one effort as he fumbled at the far
post and the ball went out between his legs for another
corner. Next time Taylor’s kick curled beyond Andrew’s
despairing grasp and straight in. Some, on and off the
pitch thought that a goal had been given, others that
Mr Holmes had awarded a free kick for an infringement.
Andrew assumed the latter, took it quickly and passed
to a defender who, (thinking that it was a goal and it
had to go back to the centre circle) helped it casually
forward – straight to Danny Elliott. The Chester
forward had the presence of mind to beat another defender
and stroke a left footed shot past a frantic Andrew. This
time the goal stood but the confusion was comical.
The rain continued to pour and the wind to blow but City
fans were at last re-acquainted with that resultant warm
inner glow following a home win.
took at early lead at a wet and windy St James Park before
battling to a deserved draw with Brackley Town, a point
that keeps them second in the league. Brackley, who are
unbeaten at home in 11 months, fell behind to a fine strike
from just outside the box by Bradley Jackson in the ninth
The home side equalised on 20 minutes as a Shane Byrne
free-kick fell for Thierry Audel whose shot took a slight
defection taking it past Russell Griffiths in the Blues
goal. Byrne almost added a quick second goal, as the Blues
failed to clear a dangerous cross, but his shot from 25
yards out went inches wide of the Chester goal.
Lee Ndlovu missed a golden chance
to give the Saints the lead on the stroke of half-time
as he shot wide with just Griffiths to beat.
Chester were forced into a change
with Jamie Morgan replacing the injured Danny Livesey
at half-time. Griffiths produced a smart save to deny
Ellis Myles early in the second period, while Morgan
and Gary Roberts both blocked efforts as the home side
Both side created half chances
with Luke Fairlamb shooting just wide from a free-kick,
and Matty Hughes just failing to latch on to a George
Waring knockdown in the dying minutes as Chester finished