Saturday 28 November 1998
Brentford 2 Chester City 1
Anderson, Watson, Mahon, Quinn, Bates, Freeman, Hebel,
Owusu, Rowlands, Folan. Subs not used: Fortune-West,
Chester City: Cutler, Davidson, Cross, Reid
(Carson 77), Crosby, Lancaster, Moss (Jones 85), A.Shelton,
Murphy, Aiston (Wright 70), Smith.
Referee: M.Halsey (Welwyn Garden City).
It was a very young Chester side that
took the field at Brentford as manager Kevin Ratcliffe
was forced to make several changes with injuries and
suspensions piling up. Martyn Lancaster was given his
full debut in defence and fellow youth team players Danny
Carson and Darren Moss also took part in their first
senior games for the Blues.
Heavy rain all morning had taken a
toll on the pitch which was completely saturated under
the surface making for quite a few errors on the passing
front. Sam Aiston looked lively on the Chester left wing,
it was clear City's plan was to get the ball to him early
and his probing runs forced a couple of free-kicks and
corners though Chester were unable to take advantage
of any. At the back Martyn Lancaster fitted in well and
looks to have a good future.
The Bees took the lead midway through
the first half when Lloyd Owusu, Brentford's leading
scorer, claimed his eleventh of the season. A cross from
the right was deflected into the air off Davidson's knee
and Owusu beat Neil Cutler to head home.
Chester started well again after the
interval but again lacked any punch up front and failed
to create a clear-cut chance. Manager Kevin Ratcliffe
used all his subs in an effort to change things but it
was Brentford who extended their lead on 73 when a Rowlands
shot from 20 yards took a deflection off Andy Crosby
through a ruck of players before finding the far corner
of the net .
Chester's consolation goal came in
the last minute with Ross Davidson powering home an unstoppable
header from six yards following an inswinging Andy Shelton
corner to give the large noisy travelling contingent
something to shout about. The patched-up Blues left the
field to a tremendous reception for their efforts in
these troubled times, but we must start picking up points
urgently to halt the slide to the wrong end of the table.
It's two months now since the last league win, and, should
they play at Plymouth on Saturday the about-turn must
This was Brentford's sixth successive
home victory, five of them in the league. Owner-manager
Ron Noades said after the game: "We've got five
injuries, four of them defenders but we got away with
it, it was a game we could easily have lost."
Full marks to Ron Noades for organising
a collection for Chester on Saturday. When details of the
sum raised are released it will be mentioned on the ISA
Saturday 21 November 1998
Chester City 1 Rochdale 1
Chester City: Cutler, Davidson,
Cross, Richardson (Reid 48), Crosby, Woods, Flitcroft, Priest,
Murphy, Wright (Jones 66), Smith (A.Shelton 86).
Rochdale: Edwards, Bailey (Holt 45), Sparrow,
Hill, Monington, Farrell, Carden, Painter, De Souza (Diaz 65),
Bryson, Peake. Sub not used: Jones.
Referee: B Jordan (Tring).
The Blues got off to the Wright start with
a goal on 24 minutes, but their inability to convert chances
into goals and a creaky defence conspired to deny them the victory
For 73 minutes, Chester, playing neat one-touch football, created chance
after chance after winning the midfield battle.
But only Darren Wright was able to make Chester's domination count as
Priest, Murphy, Flitcroft and Smith all wasted chances.
Rochdale also had their moments and Cutler was hardly a spectator in
the first half, but the keeper dealt with everything the Dale attack
could throw at him very comfortably.
Jonathan Cross's howler midway through the second half, however, allowed
the visitors to salvage a point. Cross failed to clear another harmless
looking punt up field and substitute Holt popped up to guide the resulting
cross past Cutler.
Chester pressed forward after the equaliser and both Flitcroft and substitute
Jones was unlucky to see their efforts come to nothing.
Chester ought to consider being sponsored by
Vernons pools or the Lottery yet another score draw at the
Deva Stadium. And once again City failed to kill off inferior opposition
and left their fans bitterly disappointed.
Although I missed it, Gary Sheltons engagement to newly redundant
commercial manager Joanne Stanley was announced before the match the
players gave him the bumps.
History was made at the Deva on Saturday the first occasion when
the experimental flourescent yellow winter ball was used. It matched
exactly the Rochdale kit a cunning piece of camouflage. The players
seemed to see the ball all right, though Dale had great difficulty
keeping it in the ground. We thought, as three balls disappeared over
the main stand in the space of thirty seconds that Rochdale had someone
catching them in the car park because they couldnt afford any of
their own. But the supply appeared to be endless does the administrator
It was a dour game, with a gusty wind not making passing easy. Play was
generally confined to the middle of the park where the traffic was extremely
congested. Best chances for City fell to Richardson and Crosby from a
pair of Flitcroft corners the first was headed wide, the second,
On twenty four minutes Murphy was put through the inside left channel
by Richardson and pulled the ball back for Darren Wright to pounce. He
trapped the ball then tucked it past the keeper for his first senior
goal. Hats off for the best celebration ever at the Deva as Dazza did
a cartwheel and double salka backward somersault.
At half time Barrow, noticeably greyer than in his Deva days, brought
Holt (On loan from Preston) on up front and he began to make an impression
on the game. But still Cutler had not been called upon to make a save.
The match was error strewn. Dale fans were beginning to get on the players backs.
Richardson, who had looked out of sorts was replaced by Reid. Barrow
was booed when he took off the impressive Miguel deSouza who had been
operating in a forward role and at times looked like Dion Dublin with
his breathtaking pace. On came Isidro Diaz, one of the former Wigan three
amigos and he soon proved Barrow a master stroke. Diazs cross from
the right was met perfectly by Holt and his header sailed into the top
With fifteen minutes to go Chester were now scrambling desperately to
get in front in a game they should have been coasting. Rochdale looked
very shaky at the back. Priest put a header wide. Davidson cut through
to the by-line but fluffed his cross, having done the hard work. A minute
or two later he hammered a curling piledriver towards the top corner
only to see it finger tipped round the post by the flying Edwards.
Davidson was named man of the match for his efforts, Murphy ran him close
with a commanding display in the air. Priest was busy, so was Flitcroft
but he didnt really seem to know what his position was (Hmm).
Another frustrating result to a game we were desperate to win. City were
the better side but they dont seem to be able to make it tell when
Wednesday 18 November 1998 FA
Youth Cup Round 1 Replay
Manchester City 2 Chester City 0
Chester City: Conkie, Hughes,
Doughty, Carson, Lancaster, Moss, Roberts (Cooper 83), Blackburn,
Lloyd (Moore 75), Williams (Hopwood 66).
Chester Citys Youth team were knocked out
of the FA Youth Cup last night at Maine Road but provided a stern
test for a slick Manchester City outfit. Despite a spirited performance
the young Blues didnt recover from the shock of conceding
a first minute goal and were always chasing the game.
Disaster struck when City were guilty of a lack of concentration and
the defence failed to deal with a vicious in swinging corner and the
ball was forced home at the far post.
City responded with more pride and passion than
the Blues senior side at present, but before they could get fully
into gear they found themselves two down after 11 minutes. Once
again a lapse in defence provided the always dangerous Leon Mike
a free header from 6 yards which left keeper Matthew Conkie with
no chance. Indeed it was only the agility and versatility of Conkie
that kept City from conceding more goals as he denied the marauding
home forwards on a number of occasions.
In spite of the early setbacks the young Blues
battled hard and did much to contribute to a lively and entertaining
game and could well have pulled a goal back on 13 minutes. Skipper
Danny Carson split the Man City defence with a superb pass to Chris
Blackburn and his cross was met by Wes Kilgannon who, unmarked
on the 6 yard line, shot tamely at the keeper.
City were constantly under pressure as the home
side controlled the midfield and their pace up front and down the
flanks were always a threat.
The Blues rallied well though in the second half,
confining Man City to long range efforts as Citys midfield
and defence began to gain in confidence. However it was Conkie
who was the busier of the two keepers and he produced a number
of fine saves to keep his side in the game. The young Chester side
never let their heads drop and were denied a deserved goal on 80
minutes when Hodgson in the home goal produced a wonder save to
keep out a Kilganon shot after excellent build up play featuring
Blackburn and the impressive Chris Hopwood.
So City fall at the first hurdle but they
gave a good account of themselves. It will be something these young
players will remember for a long time and the experience gained will
stand them in good stead for the future. Performances like this give
great hope for the Club and are a welcome bonus in troubled times.
Monday 16 November 1998 Cheshire
Senior Cup Round 2
Altrincham 3 Chester City 0
Harris, Adams, Timons, Ellender, Robertson (Tobin), Gallagher, Power,
Ward, Carmody (Donnelly), and Chambers (Hardy).
Chester City: Brown, Davidson, Cross, Reid, Crosby, Woods, Flitccroft,
Priest, Wright, Richardson. Subs: Smith, Jones, A.Shelton.
Saturday 14 November 1998 FA
Cup Round 1
Cardiff City 6 Chester City 0
Cardiff City: Hallworth,
Delaney, Ford, Mitchell, Young, Carpenter, Fowler (Cadette
83), O'Sullivan, Williams (Roberts 83), Nugent, Middleton.
Subs not used: Eckhardt, Eamshaw, Kelly.
Chester City: Cutler, Davidson, Cross
(Lancaster 65), Richardson, Crosby, Woods, Reid (Jones
58), Flitcroft, Priest, Murphy, Wright. Subs not used:
Brown, Moss, A.Shelton.
Referee: Paul Danson (Leicester).
Well it can't get much worse that this.
Quite frankly the scoreline could have been nearer double
figures as Cardiff, having sussed where Chester's weakness
lies, ran straight through the middle of our defence. Time
after time Cutler was left exposed as both Woods and especially
Crosby in the heart of the defence were left standing, this
partnership clearly isn't good enough. We've not looked good
in this department since the departure of Julian Alsford,
and what would we give now for another Peter Jackson.
The game was effectively over in the first
15 minutes. By then the home side were 2-0 up. Fowler opened
the scoring on 10 minutes latching on to a through ball,
shrugging off a half challenge from Ross Davidson and rounding
Cutler to side-foot the ball into the empty net. Two minutes
later we were two down. A weak clearance by Matt Woods who
close to head rather that boot the ball clear fell straight
to O'Sullivan. He threaded the ball to Middleton who turned
Crosby on the edge of the box before slotting the ball home.
Two point blank saves by Cutler, who was
often left cruelly exposed kept the scoreline down until
just before the break. John Williams raced clear of the Blues
defence wide on the left and his powerful shot was parried
to Cutler but the ball fell to Fowler six yards out who shot
past Cross on the goalline. Chester's only efforts of note
in the first 45 were a Richardson left foot cross/shot that
went narrowly wide and a Chris Priest 25-yarder that was
Things picked up for a little after the
break. Richardson had a far post header clawed away at the
foot of the post and a Priest shot was cleared off the line
by Scott Young that was as good as it got.
On 55 minutes the Bluebirds added a fourth.
A right wing cross was poked home by John Williams who lost
his marker and beat Neil Cutler to the ball from six yards.
Five minutes later it was five. Delaney gathered the ball
from keeper Hallworth, raced up field through our defence
round Cross then shot home from a narrow angle for the goal
of the game.
Chester brought on Martyn Lancaster for
his debut replacing full back Jon Cross. The youngster showed
some good strong touches and with the current form of the
centre-backs he may be set for a regular run in the side
Cardiff closed the scoring on 70 minutes
when John Williams shot home from 15 yards. Many of the 200
Chester fans had drifted away by then after witnessing our
worst first round performance in over 40 years, and, no doubt
frozen like the rest of us!
Tuesday 10 November 1998
Halifax Town 3 Chester City 2
Halifax Town: Martin,
Thackeray, Bradshaw, Sertori, J Murphy, Stoneman, Paterson,
Hulme, Williams (Lucas 84), Guinan, Brown. Subs not used:
Chester City: Cutler, Davidson (A.Shelton
90), Cross, Richardson, Crosby, Woods, Flitcroft (Reid
74), Priest, Murphy, Beckett (Wright 78), Smith.
Referee: Tony Leake (Darwin).
City were desperately unlucky to come away
emtpy handed. This latest defeat after Saturday's setback
and several draws which should have been wins, leaves us
at the foot of the table. This result put Halifax top of
the division, but any neutral would have said that Chester
looked the better side. Apart from two saves late in the
game, Neil Cutler had little to do other than pick three
shots out of the net. All three were undoubtedly good strikes but
in fairness could have (and would have) ended up in the stands
in most games.
The first half was fairly even with the
teams testing each other in the middle of the field as the
game became compressed by two offside traps. The only player
to really impress was Richardson who had his best game of
the season. Halifax were lucky to go in a goal up after a
snap volley outside the box flew past a group of players
into the corner. Chester had the latest in a string of good
penalty shouts turned down.
City opened the second half on fire and
really took the game to the home side. Richardson won the
ball well and threaded a direct ball through to Beckett,
who took the ball on and fired past the advancing keeper.
His celebrations with the impressive away supporters (a turn
out in excess of three hundred) left no-one in any doubt
of how much it meant to him.
The game was marred mid way though the
half with a brawl involving all the players (except the Halifax
keeper) and most of the benches. This resulted in two players
sent off Chris Priest and Kevin Hulme from Halifax.
John Murphy scored a well taken headed
goal from a Smith cross as Chester continued to dominate.
The reply from Halifax was sickeningly familiar as they went
straight up the other end and smashed the ball into the net
from a narrow angle.
This was followed shortly afterwards by
number three which was very similar.
To their credit, Chester's heads never
dropped and they continued to dominate and make chances to
the end. Reid replaced Flitcroft, Wright came on for Beckett
(who limped off with what looked worryingly like a series
leg injury) and Shelton came on for Davidson late on.
Davidson, Smith, Murphy and Richardson
all went close, but it was one of those nights in the end.
Clutching at straws, there must be something in the view
that your luck evens out over the season. If so we should
look forward to the second half with great optimism.
Culter 6, Davidson 6 (A.Shelton 6),
Richardson 9, Cross 7, Crosby 7, Woods 6, Smith 7, Beckett
6, (Wright 6), Flitcroft 5 (Reid 6), Priest 5, Murphy 8.
Saturday 7 November 1998
Scunthorpe United 2 Chester City 1
Scunthorpe United: Clarke,
Fickling, McAuley, Logan, Wilcox, Hope, Walker, Forrester,
Eyre, Stamp, Calvo-Garcia. Subs not used: Bull, Graves, Harsley.
Chester City: Brown, Richardson, Cross,
Crosby, Woods, Flitcroft, Priest, Reid, Murphy, Beckett,
Smith (Wright 82). Subs not used: Lancaster, A.Shelton.
Referee: M.Warren (Walsall).
City will be kicking themselves for not
getting at least a point from this game. With Nick Richardson
deputising for Ross Davidson al full back, we created half
a dozen good chances to score throughout the 90 minutes,
but gifted two goals through slack defending. Luke Beckett
will have been disappointed with his finishing. He was guilty
of a terrible miss early in the second half. A fine mazy
run had taken Chris Priest into the box, he drew two defenders
before slipping the ball to Beckett six yards out, he leaned
back however and sidefiited the ball over the empty net.
The Blues started brightly with John Murphy
going close and Chris Priest just firing over with a 20-yarder.
Beckett also did well to round the keeper but pushed the
ball to wide to give himself a shooting opportunity. Smith
also volleyed over when in a good position. The Blues fell
behind however on 11 minutes through the divisions top scorer
Jamie Forrester. City failed to clear a cross, in fact Matt
Woods' attempted clearance was charged down with an elbow
and Forrester fired home through a ruck of players. Wayne
Brown prevented an instant second goal with a superb tip
over following a powerful unchallenged close range header
by Russ Wilcox.
City bounced back and forced a series of
corners. These proved rather predictable however, though
Beckett went close with a header that was deflected over
from close range. Just when you thought that if City could
hold out till half time we'd get something, the second goal
went in. Once again the defence failed to clear a cross and
Berkley was given acres of space to head the second on the
stroke of half time.
City created more openings following the
break. Murphy was once again having a fine game up front,
shielding and laying the ball off well. Matt Woods headed
across goal from close range and there were several scrambles
in the Scunny box. The home side too had their chances. Wayne
Brown was almost caught out in possession on the edge of
his box and another shot was ballooned over the bar.
The introduction of Darren Wright (far
too late for most peoples liking) added an extra spark up front,
and it was his work that led to a Chris Priest cross being
headed home by John Murphy in the last minute. In injury time
City had a free kick knocked down on the edge of the box by
a Scunthorpe arm as their late chance for an equaliser went
Wednesday 4 November 1998 FA
Youth Cup Round 1
Chester City Youth 2 Manchester City Youth
Chester City: Conkie, Hughes
(Moore 80), Doughty, Carson, Pendleton, Lancaster, Roberts (Hopwood
64), Moss, Kilgannon, Blackburn, Lloyd (Williams 37).
Manchester City: Hodgson, O'Keefe, Holmes,
Waycock, Duff, Dunfield, Julsen, Wright, Mike, Kneen, Garfield
City's Youth Team came close to causing a major
upset here as they held their more illustrious opponents at the
Deva. Chester started superbly and raced into a 2-0 lead against
the Main Road team who were being watched by Joe Royle.
Centre back David Pendleton gave the Blues the
lead on 2 minutes as he headed home following Matt Doughty's corner.
Man City responded well creating two good chances but the Chester
defence remained solid.
On 31 minutes Chester were 2-0 up through Chris
Blackburn. Wes Kilgannon robbed full back Ged O'Keefe and curled
a shot towards the top corner. Keeper Steve Hodgson made a great
save but could only force the ball back out to Blackburn who shot
Two minutes later the visitors reduced the arrears
as Shaun Wright's shot was deflected in off Pendleton. Man City
created several chances and Blues keeper Matthew Conkie had to
be on top form to keep them out. However the pressure told in the
end and the equaliser arrived on 57 minutes. Chester failed to
clear the danger and Kneen held off two challenges before beating
Chester had a great chance to snatch glory 20
minutes from time but striker Wes Kilgannon was denied by keeper
Hodgson as he raced through one-on-one.
The game which was sponsored by the ISA
was watched by a healthy crowd of 482, and Manchester City chairman
David Bernstein generously agreed not to take his clubs share
of the gate receipts. The replay is expected to be on Wednesday
November 11th at Maine Road.