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Saturday 26 November
Scarborough Athletic 1 Chester 3
National League North
Attendance: 1,905 (261 Chester) Half Time: 0-0
Booked: .

Scarborough Athletic: Cracknell, Burton, Thornton, Gooda, Watson, Maloney, Glynn, Jackson (Plant 70), Tear (Weledji 61), Colville (McGuckin 56), Coulson. Subs not used: Bancroft, Bramall.
Chester: Tyrer, Morgan, Williams, Edwards, Heywood, Roberts, Weeks, Murray (Devine 77), Caton, Hall, Willoughby (Thomas 90+2). Subs not used: Kenyon, Dudley, Lynch.

Referee: Dane McCarrick.

A statement win from Chester, as goals from Kole Hall, Charlie Caton and Kurt Willoughby inflict a first home defeat in 26 matches on The Sea Dogs.

Chester gave a first start to Charlie Caton and recalled Iwan Murray at the expense of Joe Lynch and Adam Thomas who started on the bench.

The home side started brightly with Harry Tyrer the busier of the two 'keepers early on. Ash Jackson saw an effort deflected and Kieran Burton saw a well struck shot go just wide as Tyrer cleared from a ling throw.

Chester's first effort came from hall who had a couple of efforts in as many minutes, his first saves by Joe Cracknell in the home goal before firing the second wide.

Kurt Willoughby saw an effort go wide and Matty Williams headed inches over the bar from a Declan Weeks corner as Chester finished the half he stronger team.

Five minutes into the second half Chester opened the scoring as Hall met Murray's left wing corner to send a powerful curling snap-shop just inside the post, giving Cracknell and the defender on the line no chance.

Chester doubled their lead on the hour as Willoughby broke away from a Boro attack, he squared the ball to the unmarked Caton in the centre who raced through to score.

Willoughby and Caton both saw efforts hit the side netting before the home side pulled a goal back. Kieran Weledji won the ball on the right and fed Kieran Glynn who in turn set up Ryan Watson to power a shot past Tyrer.

Chester looked dangerous whenever they attacked and wrapped up the points in the final minute as Weeks' run into the box saw the midfielder square the ball to Willoughby who gave Cracknell no chance and seal the three points.

Picture © Rick Matthews

League Table | Match photographs |
Tuesday 22 November
Farsley Celtic 0 Chester 2
National League North
Attendance: 422 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Edwards.

Farsley Celtic: Dearney, Turner, Butroid, Johnson, Butler, Allan, Scales, Atkinson, Ubaezuonu, Mulhern (Dube 90), Parkin (Assenso 85). Subs not used: Clayton, Mason.
Chester: Tyrer, Morgan, Weeks, Willoughby, Thomas (Caton 60), Roberts, Williams, Lynch (Murray 88), Hall, Heywood, Edwards. Subs not used: Kenyon, Dudley, Divine.

Referee: -.

Chester move up to fifth as second half goals from Kole Hall and Kurt Willoughby bring victory at The Citadel as Farsley finish with nine men.

Picture © Rick Matthews

League Table | Match photographs | Match highlights [YouTube]

Saturday 19 November
Chester 2 Lancaster City 1
FA Trophy Round 2
Attendance: 1,475 (127 Lancaster) Half Time: 0-1
Booked: -.

Chester: Tyrer, Morgan, Kenyon, Edwards, Heywood (Caton 46), Roberts, Weeks, Devine (Lynch 46), Murray, Dudley (Hall 60), Willoughby. Subs not used: Thomas, Williams, Hall, Daly, Nelson.
Lancaster City: Waller, Bailey, Brownhill, Allington, Mellen, Gallagher-Allison, Carroll (Sloan 82), Cowperthwaite, Norris (Carsley 85), Whitham, Evangelinos (Lawson 77). Subs not used: Anderson, Likoy, Hubbold, Jarvis.

Referee: Matthew Scholes.

Another penalty shootout was looming for Chester when Willoughby ran clear in stoppage time to round Lancaster’s keeper for an unlikely winner. The relief on the home terraces was palpable after a struggling performance by the Blues.

Chester began the tie on the front foot and Kenyon had a couple of headed chances to score but could get neither on target. As the game settled and Chester were stifled from playing the ball through, their opponents grew in confidence. Whitham and Bailey had shooting chances but were well wide of the mark.

A clever dummy by Dudley led to Heywood breaking down the left but his low cross could not find a striker. The move ended with Weeks firing wide. Both Morgan and Heywood were shown inside as they attacked and were restricted to shooting with their weaker foot. A Heywood effort was spilled by Waller in the Dolly Blues’ goal but he recovered the ball in time to complete the save.

As half time approached Lancaster raided down the right wing. Whitham’s deep cross was met by Brownhill’s looping header and Bailey stole in unmarked to volley it into the roof of the net. There was still time before the break for Whitham to hit the bar with a header. Mercifully for Chester, Norris hammered the rebound wide.

Chester came out early after the break and with a couple of changes. Lynch replaced Devine and Heywood made way for new loanee Charlie Caton, as Roberts dropped back. Lancaster weathered the storm that Blues whipped up as the second half began. Despite increased energy Chester were restricted to long range efforts from Lynch and Kenyon. Lancaster continued to make chances of their own. One through ball split City’s defence to see Carroll through on goal. Tyrer saved superbly to prevent further damage. Next, the Dolly Blues broke from a Chester corner. Evangelinos won a foot race to the ball with Roberts and Lancaster worked it across to Brownhill on the left. His shot deflected off the lunging Morgan onto the bar. Harry Tyrer reacted amazingly to knock the rebound away from Evangelinos as he raced in to head home.

City were living dangerously but then, out of nothing, they scored. Edwards’ defensive header was flicked forward by Caton. Willoughby was quickest to react and latched on to guide his shot through the legs of Waller for an equaliser. Now City built a bit of forward momentum. Murray shot wide from outside the box. Willoughby’s whipped cross from the right caused panic but was cleared. Weeks then weaved his way round and chipped a cross. Morgan’s spectacular bicycle kick was over the bar – frustratingly Willoughby, behind him, was better placed to score.

As the game entered the second minute of stoppage time Chester conjured a winner – again out of very little. A long clearance down the right was flicked on by Caton’s header which Willoughby anticipated well and he ran clear. Chester’s number nine was coolness personified as he rounded Waller to stroke the ball into an empty net. The home faithful, already psyching themselves up for the trauma of a penalty shootout, cried with disbelief.
It had been a largely difficult afternoon for Chester but the burgeoning understanding that Caton and Willoughby formed promises to unlock more of the latter’s potential. They can await the draw for the next round on Tuesday whilst preparing to visit Farsley in the League.

Colin Mansley

Picture © Rick Matthews

Match photographs | Match highlights [YouTube]

Tuesday 15 November
Runcorn Linnets 1 Chester 1 (Runcorn win 5-3 on penalties)
Cheshire Senior Cup Round 1
Attendance: 679 Half Time: 1-0
Booked: Morgan.

Chester: Tyrer, Morgan (Coates 85), Burke, Williams, Coulton, Devine, Daly, Lynch, Turner (Griffiths 54), Stephenson (Hall 63), Thomas. Subs not used: Ashworth, Nelson.

Referee: G.Kearney.

Chester score a late equalised through Joe Lynch before they are beaten 5-4 on penalties.

Saturday 12 November
Chester 1 Leamington 1
National League North
Attendance: 2,238 (75 Leamington) Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Weeks.

Chester: Tyrer, Weeks, Kenyon (Burke 77), Willoughby (Lynch 90), Dudley, Roberts, Coates (Morgan 46), Murray, Hall, Heywood, Edwards Subs not used: Thomas, Devine.
Leamington: Hawkins, Meredith, Hall, Mayer (Clarke 73), Streete, Lane, Williams (Hewlett 83), Walker, Reid (Turner 73), Edwards, Kelly-Evans. Subs not used: English, Taylor.

Referee: J.Maskrey.

Chester paid the price for not adding to Declan Weeks’ superb strike when they conceded a Leamington equaliser in stoppage time.

The match followed a familiar pattern when City, despite improved intensity, found the opposition hard to break down and – for the twelfth home match in succession – could not find the back of the net in the first half. Leamington, always a tough nut to crack, were well organised and physically robust. Chances were few and far between. Weeks crossed for Willoughby to glance narrowly wide. Dudley had a rasping shot from the edge of the box but the effort was blocked and Edwards could only prod the rebound gently goal-wards. The Brakes were restricted to wayward long range efforts and took the first booking of the afternoon when Lane was yellow carded for hauling back Murray on the break.

After the interval City attacked down the right with fresh impetus with Morgan having replaced Coates at the break. They took the lead when they broke from defence to attack in a sweeping move which culminated in Hall setting up Weeks. City’s skipper took a touch and then curled a shot into the far post – the ball taking a slight touch off a defender to take it past Hawkins in the Brakes’ goal. After City had worked so hard it seemed like a vital breakthrough.

Leamington responded and Tyrer had to get down to save smartly from Kelly-Evans as he worked his way through to shoot. City then tried to build on their lead. The irrepressible Murray was fouled on the edge of the box but his free kick, up and over the wall, narrowly cleared the bar. Dudley broke down the left and played a neat one-two with Hall but his shot was not strong enough to beat Hawkins. Willoughby powered a shot narrowly wide when set through and then just failed to get on the end of a driven cross by Heywood. The already cautioned Lane was dealt with leniently by referee Maskrey when he tangled with Chester’s number nine as he broke through on another occasion.

City ramped up the pressure but could not find that elusive second goal. Leamington continued to resist resiliently and carried a threat on the break and from set pieces. Jack Edwards forced a save at full stretch from Tyrer when his header met a free kick from the left.

As the game entered stoppage time Willoughby put another opportunist shot just wide of the post. A long clearance from Hawkins set the Brakes forward for one last desperate effort. They worked the ball out to the right where, throwing players forward, they worked an overload. Meredith found space to drive the ball across and, through a thicket of legs it found its way to left back Louis Hall at the far post. Tyrer could only divert Hall’s effort into the roof of the net and the Brakes had a last gasp equaliser.

It left City deflated and, on reflection, rueful of the chances they had missed. No such worries for the visitors for whom this was their eighth away draw out of ten league fixtures this season. Their players thronged the Blues Bar afterwards – even standing drinks to Chester supporters – before making their way back to the Midlands.

Colin Mansley

Picture © Rick Matthews

League Table | Match photographs | Match highlights [YouTube]
Tuesday 8 November
Banbury United 2 Chester 2
National League North
Attendance: 835 Half Time: 1-1
Booked: Dudley.

Banbury United: Harding, Hickman, Radcliffe, Williams, Brown, Acquaye (Reilly 83), Smile, Babos, Rasulo, Walsh, Spasov. Subs not used: Taylor, Landers, Hawtin, Dugmore.
Chester: Tyrer, Coates (Burke 85), Edwards, Kenyon, Heywood, Roberts, Lynch (Dudley 61), Weeks, Murray (Thomas 46), Hall, Willoughby. Subs not used: Morgan, Devine.

Referee: Liam Corbett.

The prospect of a new ground to ‘tick off’ attracted a bumper crop of Chester fans for a midweek November match some 125 miles from the Deva Stadium. They were rewarded with a hard-earned point as Anthony Dudley netted an 87th minute equaliser right in front of the travelling faithful.

It otherwise wasn't a particularly memorable performance on the pitch, with the first 15 minutes passing by without any side making a real impression. It gave us the chance to take in the surroundings of the Spencer Stadium, which was approached by a single track dead-end road, hemmed in by trainlines and the River Cherwell. Although it was a cold night, it was a relief there was no rain as the small main stand only housed 250 people and other cover options looked limited.

The game came to life on the 18th minute when tricky Iwan Murray drew a foul in the box to earn Chester a penalty. It was well dispatched by Kurt Willoughby, making it his 13th goal of the season. However it immediately became apparent that Banbury would have been better making this a segregated game as there was some trouble on the terrace behind the goal when Willoughby found the net.

Once the game re-started, Banbury stepped up a gear and within five minutes they were back on level terms. A low cross into the box from Banbury's Sam Brown deflected off Liam Edwards and into the Chester net.

Chester pressed to get back into the lead, and Joe Lynch had a good chance but saw his shot go on the wrong side of the left post. The Puritan’s Louis Walsh also had an opportunity to score, but missed the target.

The second half saw Banbury made a livelier start, with Harry Tyrer being called on to make a save in the first few minutes. The strike he saved from Alex Babos came as a result of a move from dangerman Ben Acquaye. He continued to be the main Banbury threat, and on the 67th minute he helped put the hosts ahead when his cross found Giorgio Rasulo. His strike went into the net via an unlucky Chester deflection to give Banbury the lead.

Chester didn’t let their head drop though and pressed for an equaliser, urged on by around 150 Chester fans (although that’s just a guess because of the lack of segregation). They eventually got their reward, with wild celebrations to follow, when a testing cross into the box from Adam Thomas found Dudley’s head at the back post and he netted it home with three minutes to go.

The game was by no means over, as Banbury’s Slavi Spasov had an opportunity to score during injury time. But his shot was easily held by Tyrer, and neither side had another chance before referee Liam Corbett blew for full time. For their own safety, the Chester fans had to make a slow route out of the ground and along the single track road away from the ground. But their team’s precious point on the road made it all worth the hassle, and most of them were still smiling from Dudley’s 5th goal of the season.

Sue Choularton

Picture © Rick Matthews

League Table
| Match photographs | Match highlights [YouTube]
Saturday 5 November
Chester 1 Bradford (Park Avenue) 0
National League North
Attendance: 2,000 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Heywood.

Chester: Tyrer, Coates, Burke, Edwards, Heywood, Roberts, Devine (Lynch 60), Weeks, Murray (Hall 72), Dudley, Willoughby (Thomas 89). Subs not used: Morgan, Kenyon.
Bradford (Park Avenue): Sykes-Kenworthy, Lancaster, Staunton, Spencer (Odunston 80), Havern, Fieldring, Hopper, Richman, Dockerty (Blyth 63), Longbottom (Johnson 75), Angell. Subs not used: Church, Nowakowski.

Referee: D.Rogers.

Manager Calum McIntyre rated this narrow 1-0 victory as Chester’s most important win of the season. Although it was a match of few opportunities it was easy to see why he thought so. City had to work hard against a well-organised and in-form Bradford to build upon two fine away successes on the road.

Both teams emerged as the rain lashed down – more than enough to douse any bonfire night celebrations but thankfully the conditions eased soon into the game. As early as the first minute City forged arguably their best chance of the whole match when the excellent Coates scampered wide on the right and, despite the attentions to two defenders, managed a cross into the goalmouth. Burke won the header but couldn’t direct it on target and Willoughby’s lunge just failed to make contact as the ball squeezed past the post.

After that early scare the visitors were able to settle into a defensive rhythm with skipper Luca Havern directing operations at the back, encouraging his keeper to take time distributing the ball and making sure they were settled as a defensive unit. Up front Bradford offered an occasional but real threat. Longbottom turned and clipped a shot narrowly wide and Tyrer had to be alert to foil Dockerty as he beat Burke to a flicked pass. City, patient in their own build up found it difficult to play through the middle and were restricted to a long range shot over the bar from Murray.

The absorbing contest continued after the break with City continuing to try to break down Bradford’s stubborn rearguard. The breakthrough eventually came courtesy of a route one clearance from Harry Tyrer. Willoughby was second favourite to latch on to the keeper’s long kick but as Havern and Sykes-Kenworthy hesitated, “King Kurt” nipped in to curl a first time shot into the net.

Willoughby’s effort proved to be the match winner in this clash between two in-form sides. Lynch and then Hall came on to give Chester more forward impetus. Hall had a rasping shot saved by Sykes-Kenworthy. Hall also brought a tigerish commitment to winning the ball back and keeping City up the field. Weeks and Roberts were kept busy all match, strong in the tackle and seeking to pick their way through an often crowded midfield.

Bradford had one last attempt to equalise as the final whistle drew near. A cross from the left was met by Angell, flying in at the far post but his shot ended up safely in the side netting and City were triumphant. As Chester celebrated a win they had worked so hard for, the first rockets of the evening rose in the now clear night sky. There they joined the moon and the evening star and Chester ascended too – to fifth in the table.
Colin Mansley

Picture © Rick Matthews

League Table | Match photographs | Match highlights [YouTube]
Tuesday 1 November
Spennymoor Town 0 Chester 3
National League North
Attendance: 1,312 (88 Chester) Half Time: 0-2
Booked: Coates, Murray.

Spennymoor Town: Bellagambi, Lufudu, Tait (Anderson 78), Curtis, Greenfield (Preston 82), Taylor, Ramshaw, Kendall, Allan, Boyle, Blackett (Forbes 46). Subs not used: Flatters, Duxbury.
Tyrer, Weeks, Burke, Kenyon, Willoughby, Roberts, Devine, Coates (Morgan 80), Murray (Dudley 56), Hall (Thomas 70), Heywood. Subs not used: Williams, Lynch.
Referee: Helen Conley

Chester backed up their victory at Boston United with another win on their travels as the Blues came away form the Brewery Field with an impressive 3-0 victory to move up to fifth.

The home side dominated for the opening 20 minutes, They produced their first good chance of the game after just two minutes as Glen Taylor turned at the edge of the box and shot inches wide. Danny Greenfield saw a well struck free-kick saved by Harry Tyrer as the home side pressed.

It was against the run of play then when Chester took a 20th minute lead, as Declan Weeks’ free-kick found defender Harrison Burke who fired a shot that deflected over Gio Bellagambi in the home goal.

Seven minutes before the break Chester doubled their lead as Weeks saw a curling long-range free kick bounce back off the left post into the path of the onrushing Burke who had the simple task of scoring his second goal of the night from six yards out.

Just before half-time the home side were reduced to ten men as Iwan Murray raced through onto a long Chester clearance only for John Lufudu to haul him down and receive a red card from referee Helen Conley for his efforts.

With the extra man advantage, Chester dominated the play after the break and added a third goal on 69 minutes as substitute Anthony Dudley caught Rob Ramshaw in possession in his own box before rounding Bellagambi to score with ease – to the delight of the dedicated 88 traveling supporters.

League Table | Match highlights [YouTube]























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