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MATCH REPORTS 2001/02
Pre-Season | August | September | October | November | December | January | February | March | April
OCTOBER 2001
Scarborough (A) | Margate (H) | Hereford (H) | Morecambe (A) | Doncaster (H) | Barrow (A) Cup
Saturday 27 October 2001
Barrow 1 Chester City 0
FA Cup fourth qualifying round
Attendance: 2,833 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Lancaster, Blackburn, M.Rose, Haarhoff, Halford.

Barrow:
Bishop, Shaw, Maxfield, Hall, Hume, Anthony, Housham (Bullimore 67), Gaughan, Peverell, Warren, Holt. Subs not used: Doherty, Rogers, Jones, Bown.
Chester City: Brown, Ruscoe (Wright 82), M.Rose, Porter, Halford, Lancaster, Ruffer, Blackburn, Haarhoff, Spink, Kerr (Beesley 61). Subs not used: Kilgannon, Woodyatt, Jago.
Referee: S.Castle (Wolverhampton).

[Match Programme]Oh dear, oh dear. Just when we thought it was safe to come out of the woods after the impressive start to Steve Mungall's managerial career, the boys put on a performance like this. In truth Chester were awful and deserved nothing from the game. Ok Barrow are no great shakes, but by heavens they were up for his and battled and eventually outfought Chester. Obviously, the Vaughan factor had a lot to do this which whipped up the local support for this game (for a Unibond side Barrow have excellent support), and together with a sub standard pitch, you have a situation there for the taking.

Mungall's side was weakened by the loss of three cup-tied player's plus the absence of a not fully fit Beesley, who was quite wisely was left on the substitutes bench. Spink retained his place up front and had what can described as one of his poorest days! In fact Barrow started the stronger with Brown making a fine save from Peverell, who along with his fellow forward Holt ran Chester ragged all afternoon. City then got a grip in midfield and really should have been a couple of goals up by half-time, as Haarhoff and Ruscoe shot narrowly wide while Spink was guilty of a bad miss when clean through.

The second half was different ball game, Barrow (remember part timers) upped the tempo and dominated. It should have been a different story if Bishop had not saved brilliantly from Haarhoff. The awaited goal came on 58 mins when Holt headed in from a corner poorly defended by Chester. Instead of City moving up a gear the performance degenerated into a farce, just like the referee who managed to book nine players in a game which there was not a bad tackle. Beesley was thrown on in a desperate attempt to save something and had a shot cleared off the line, but in truth Barrow could have added to their lead in the closing stages.

The supporters vented their frustrations on the players at the end of the match. A bit harsh, but everyone is entitled to pay their money and voice an opinion. Conference survival is now a priority, aided by some new faces......please!!!

Alan Parry-Jones

Saturday 27 October 2001
Chester City Youth 1 Rotherham United Youth 6
Football League Youth Alliance

Chester City:
Louie Mackin, Brendan Nunnery (Tom Coulson), John Davies, Paul Conolley, James Dean, Scott Bagnall, Kevin Towey, Carl Rodgers, Mark Howell (Sion Griffiths), Chris Hopwood, Lee Reece.

The youth team were thrashed 6-1 by Rotherham United on Saturday in their worst performance of the season, to date. Rotherham scored three goals in each half with Scott Bagnall scoring Chester's consolation goal.


[Youth Alliance]        
Table as at 30/10/01
P
W
D
L
F
A
GD
Pts
 
Rotherham United
7
5
1
1
15
5
10
16
 
Port Vale
6
5
0
1
17
5
12
15
 
Stockport County
7
4
2
1
18
7
11
14
 
Mansfield Town
7
2
3
2
10
8
2
9
 
Macclesfield Town
6
1
4
1
8
6
2
7
 
Shrewsbury Town
6
2
1
3
9
11
-2
7
 
Lincoln City
6
2
0
4
6
14
-8
6
 
Chester City
7
1
3
3
7
16
-9
6
 
Chesterfield
6
0
0
6
5
23
-18
0
 

Saturday 20 October 2001
Chester City 1 Doncaster Rovers 1
Nationwide Conference
Attendance: 2,148 Half Time: 0-1
Booked: Haarhoff, Lancaster, Halford.
Sent Off: Spink.

Chester City:
Brown, M.Rose, Halford, C.O'Brien, Lancaster, Kilgannon (Ruscoe 46), Porter, Blackburn, M.O'Brien, Spink, Haarhoff (Wright 90). Subs not used: Baxter, Ruffer, Jago (Gkpr).
Doncaster Rovers: Richardson, Marples, Barrick, Hawkins, Ryan, Carden, Owen, Watson (Jackson 46), Paterson (Caudwell 67), Campbell, Whitman (Barnes 69). Subs not used: Squires, Warrington.
Referee: A.Marriner (Birmingham).

[Match Programme]The biggest Conference crowd of the day was at Deva Stadium to see the two former Football League sides battle out a hotly contested 1-1 draw. There's no doubt that the visitors were on top for the opening period, but City came out in the second half determined to get something from the match and finished with a creditable point against a strong Rovers side.

Mark Beesley failed to make City the line-up, a niggling groin strain keeping him sidelined while Dean Spink returned to the side to lead the line. City also had a new reserve keeper from Liverpool, Jago, on the bench.

It was City who had the earliest chance with Andy Porter's long range effort flashing just wide of Richardson's post, but the visitors looked the stronger set-up and almost took the lead on ten minutes before a superb saving tackle by Steve Halford on the penalty spot rescued City as Whitman seemed certain to score.

It came as no real surprise when Rovers took the lead on 12 minutes. Whitman broke down the right and crossed for Campbell to slot the ball home after brushing off Lancaster's challenge, his double fisted celebration (complete with spit) in front of the home fans didn't go down too well. Campbell, had already been booked (with Halford) for a tussle on the halfway line minutes earlier and was escorted by the referee back to his own half.

Throughout the half Rovers were given far too much space down the right, the source of most of their moves.

On 27 minutes the game exploded with two red cards in 60 seconds. First to get his marching orders was Campbell after he appeared to raise an arm over Mike Rose's face right in front of the dug-out's and the fourth official, a second yellow card was followed by red.

Campbell was still being waved off when Dean Spink flattened Tim Ryan as the teams prepared for a free kick. A straight red card for the assistant manager who should have known better.

Chris Blackburn did have the ball in the net for City, lobbing the keeper from 25 yards but the flag was already up for an infringement.

City came out for the second half kicking towards the Sealand End and were soon on the offensive. With Spink now off, Chris Blackburn was pushed forward from midfield to help out Jimmy Haarhoff who had run his legs off all afternoon. Mike Rose went close with a shot into the side netting after cleverly making an opening for himself.

Scott Ruscoe replaced Wes Kilgannon and almost immediately was on hand to score City's equaliser. A fine move down the right saw Blackburn's inch perfect through ball find Ruscoe inside the box on the right, he cut inside and unleashed a hard low shot that seemed to go through 'keeper Richardson.

Haarhoff was chasing everything and twice he set up great chances with crosses that eluded everyone in the box.

Doncaster's main threats came from set pieces; they had several corners and Justin Jackson's header over the bar was the closest they came to regaining the lead.

Mike O'Brien and Blackburn both went close for City before the Blues missed a golden opportunity in the last minute to seal victory. Haarhoff broke clear midway in the visitors half and bore down on goal as a defender came across to close him down, Blackburn was unmarked to his left but the diminutive striker elected to shoot for goal and his cross-shot flashed agonisingly wide of the right post.

There was still time for a flurry of corners at the other end but City defended well and earned their point against one of the better sides played this season. Jimmy Haarhoff was rightly named as the sponsors Man of the Match.
Saturday 20 October 2001
Chester City Youth 1 Stockport County Youth 1
Football League Youth Alliance

Chester City:
Louie Mackin, Scott Bagnall, John Davies, Paul Conolley, Lee Reece, Lee Sefton (Brendan Nunnery), Kevin Towey, Carl Rodgers, Mark Howell (James Dean), Chris Hopwood, Rico Richards (Levi Kennedy).

The youth team drew 1-1 with Stockport County on Saturday taking the lead immediately after half time with a well taken goal by trialist Rico Richards. Stockport drew level from the penalty spot with 20 minutes remaining. Both teams had chances to win the game.


Saturday 13 October 2001
Walsall Youth 6 Chester City Youth 1
Youth Alliance Cup (Group stage)

Chester City:
Louie Mackin, Scott Bagnall (Sion Griffiths), Paul Conolley, James Dean, Brendan Nunnery, Adam Kelly, Chris Hopwood (Tom Coulson), John Davies, Lee Reece, Kevin Towey, Gethin Lloyd.

The youth team were hammered 6-1 in their second group match of the Youth Alliance Cup by a very mature and powerful Walsall team. They trailed 4-1 at half time with their equaliser coming from Kevin Towey. Two more goals were conceded in the second half and they were denied a consolation goal when Tom Coulson's finish was strangely given offside.


Saturday 13 October 2001
Morecambe 0 Chester City 3
Nationwide Conference
Attendance: 1,764 Half Time: 0-1
Booked: Halford, M.Rose, M.O'Brien, Blackburn.

Morecambe:
Mawson, Fensome, McGuire, McKearney, Colkin, Drummond, Gouk, Rigoglioso (Eastwood 51), Talbot, Norma, Black. Subs not used: Arnold, Curtis, Willcock, Hardiker.
Chester City:
Brown, Halford, M.Rose, Kilgannon, Porter, Lancaster, C.O'Brien, Blackburn, Haarhoff, M.O'Brien, Beesley (Ruscoe 77). Subs not used: Baxter, S.Rose, Wright, Berocchi.
Referee:
R.M.Pollock (Liverpool).

{Match programme]City carried on at Christie Park where they left off at the Deva on Tuesday night with another encouraging performance and three more points to lift the Blues out of the relegation zone.

Two second half goals by Mick O'Brien and a superb free kick in the opening period by Michael Rose certainly gave the 300 City fans who made the trip something to shout about, and also boosted the credentials of caretaker manager Steve Mungall.

The early action belonged to the home side, indeed Wayne Brown was called into a save in the opening minute from a smart Andy Gouk free kick. Semi-Pro International Brown was in the thick of the action soon after with a double save to deny Ryan-Zico Black and Stewart Drummond.

Jimmy Haarhoff, the forgotten man during Gordon Hill's managerial rign, was causing all sorts of problems down the right with his tricky runs. Twice he set up Mark Beesley but home 'keeper Craig Mawson denied the striker.

City took the lead on 34 minutes. Haarhoff was bundled down outside the box by Paul McGuire and Michael Rose launched a superb left-footed free kick into the top right corner.

The Shrimps almost drew level through long-range efforts by Andy Fensome, which Brown saved well, and Lee Colkin whose shot just skimmed wide of the post.

Mike O'Brien, having another good game for City, extended the Blues' lead on 64 minutes. Haarhoff had colided with Mawson in the home goal leaving the 'keeper poleaxed, while he was down injured the ball fell to Mike O'Brien who shot home from just inside the box.

Morecambe were reduced to ten men when Dave McKearney was red carded for a tackle on O'Brien. The forward exacted his revenge on 82 minutes scoring superbly from a 20 yard free kick to secure the points for City.

Tuesday 9 October 2001
Chester City 2 Hereford United 0
Nationwide Conference
Attendance: 1,143 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Lancaster, Halford, Beesley.

Chester City: Brown, Halford, M.Rose, Kilgannon (Wright 60), Porter, Lancaster, C.O'Brien, Blackburn (Ruscoe 90), Haarhoff, M.O'Brien, Beesley. Subs not used: Baxter, Woodyatt, Berocchi.
Hereford United:
Baker, Clarke, Capaldi, Goodwin (Gardiner 57), Wright, T.James, Quiggin (Webb 29), Snape, Parry, Voice (Elmes 68), G.Williams. Subs not used: K.James, Evans.
Referee: D.Foster (Newcastle).

[Match Programme]Steve Mungall's caretaking of Chester City got off to the best possible start with this exhilarating win against Hereford. A couple of changes were made to the line up from Saturday – Kilgannon came in for Woodyatt; Blackburn started the game and so too did Haarhoff who partnered Beesley up front. Chris O'Brien played a holding role in the centre of defence. The side had a solid look to it and the level of commitment and energy was vastly improved on recent performances.

Mike Rose, for instance looked a different player, finding plenty of space out on the left all evening and tackling like fury. It was a combative battle in midfield with chances few and far between to begin with. Porter had a tremendous game and Mick O'Brien's influence grew as the game wore on until he was the play maker in the centre of midfield.

Chester began to get the better of things and some chances fell to Mick O'Brien and Beesley who tested the keeper. On forty minutes Beesley latched on to the ball following a defensive error and was hacked down in the penalty area. The offender was booked for his pains but there the punishment ended as Beesley, despite a run up as long as Glen McGrath's, hit the ball close to the keeper who was able to save.

Both teams were applauded off at the break – Chester because of their much improved performance and Hereford fans no doubt thrilled by the penalty escape.

Hereford began the second half by taking the attack to City. But soon Chester had a numerical advantage when Tony Capaldi (On loan from Birmingham City) was sent off for two bookable offences in the space of three minutes. His first misdemeanour was to trip Haarhoff in full flight as he ran at the box. Then, as he tried to cut out a cross field pass, he appeared to handle and the referee gave him – rather harshly in my opinion – his marching orders. Manager Robinson brought on Matt Gardiner to shore up the defence.

Chester played patiently but with urgency as they tried to breach a stubborn defence. Blackburn got half a touch on Rose's cross and it was almost inadvertently put into his own goal by Matthew Clarke.

The breakthrough came with quarter of an hour to go with a delightful goal from Jimmy Haarhoff. Mick O'Brien cleverly held the ball on the edge of the box and released Beesley on the right, he pulled it back to find Haarhoff nipping in at the near post to clip it home.

Hereford responded strongly and Rob Elmes came on to cause several problems with his aerial power. He should have done better with a free header at the far post and John Snape also headed over with the goal at his mercy.

A fine team performance was capped however when Ruscoe, on for the last few seconds, steered Rose's cross past Baker for a second goal. You would think we had won the FA Cup by the reaction of the fans (Into four figures again) at the final whistle.

Colin Mansley
Sunday 7 October 2001
Chester City Ladies 2 Scunthorpe United Ladies 2
Northern Combination League

Chester City Ladies:
Laura Edwards, Rachel Mckenzie (Clare Reynolds), Linda Grainger, Joanne Reynolds, Annette Jones, Michelle Brady, Michelle Hounslow (Michelle Berry), Leigh Bradbent, Helen Cann, Sarah Tyson, Caly Reid. Subs not used: Laura McWilliams, Jenny D'Arcy, Gemma Teasdale.

The girls didn't look at the races first half. They allowed the Scunthorpe United midfield to run things and suffered two body blows in the first half hour after being guilty of not closing down opponents quick enough. Second half the girls were encouraged to close down the Scunthorpe midfield and make it difficult for them to play.

The girls responded superbly and showed real character. Sarah Tyson brought just reward from 35 yards, when the Scunthorpe and ex England international keeper failed to hold a wet ball which squirmed in at the right hand post. Scunthorpe were really finding it difficult coping with the close attention of this revitalised Chester team and when Helen Cann was put through, she chipped a tremendous shot over a stranded keeper to make it two a piece.

Clare Reynolds replaced the injured Rachel McKenzie with 15 minutes to go and was unlucky to not win Chester all three points in injury time.

It was great to see George Rogers at the game and was well entertained. Great advert for Women's football this one, especially as it was the first points Scunthorpe United have dropped this season and again against Chester, the team that knocked them out of the FA Cup and beat them in the Combination play-offs last season!

Saturday 6 October 2001
Chester City 0 Margate 3
Nationwide Conference
Attendance: 828 (about 30 from Margate) Half Time: 0-1
Booked: M.O'Brien.

Chester City: (Sky & Navy Blue – rumour has it that as this kit has not been registered with the Conference that we could be reverting to Blue and White again in the near future. Hurrah!) Brown, Halford, M.Rose, C.O'Brien, Lancaster, Baxter (Kilgannon 46), Ruscoe (Porter 46), Woodyatt, Wright (Hopwood 60), Beesley, M.O'Brien. Subs not used: Roberts, S.Rose.
Margate:
(In fetching flourescent lime green) Turner, Blackford, Lamb, Edwards, Porter, Williams, Munday, Graham, Saunders, Collins (Sodje), Braithwaite. Subs not used: Beard, Hafner, Azzopardi, Spencer.
Referee: L.Mason.

[Match Programme]Chester struggled to make headway against a robust Margate side. Every one of the heavyweight vistors looked as though they had just walked off a building site. City were lightweight in comparison.

The four new signings all made their debut but the team did not play as a cohesive unit. Perhaps to be expected with such a big infusion of new blood. Halford and Lancaster struggled to cope with Collins and Braithwaite up front for Margate. After City failed to get the ball away cleanly on the left hand side they were caught napping as the burly Collins nipped in and was given time to turn and hammer the ball past Brown from a narrow angle for the first goal of the afternoon.

City rallied a bit and tried to find some width. But Margate were comfortably able to get bodies behind the ball and deny Chester room to manoeuvre. Ruscoe cut in from the right but his shot was tame. Beesley did well to make space in the box but blasted his shot narrowly wide.

Margate's second goal came from a corner on the right wing. The far post cross caused problems and from the knock back one shot was blocked on the line before Saunders swept the ball into the back of the net.

Minutes later Baxter found himself through on the keeper but his shot was easily smothered.

Porter and Kilgannon came on straight after the interval for Baxter and Ruscoe. Woiodyatt seemed to drop back to sweeper. City made a better fist of it with Porter and the Liverpool Academic O'Brien showing some nice touches. Clear cut chances were few and far between though. Porter narrowly failed to get on the end of a driven cross by Rose and later managed to put the ball in the net only to be ruled offside. Beesley drove a shot narrowly over the bar. It came as no surprise when Braithwaite latched on to a poor clearance and beat Brown for the third goal with four minutes left.

That seemed to put the tin lid on things and the drummer boys took up residence behind the dug out and led the "Hill Out!" chants which now reverberated round the ground. The manager departed to jeers and boos while the players were, pointedly, applauded off the park.

During the second half text messages and phone calls were swapped back and forth as reports of England's stumbling performance against the Greeks were relayed. In sombre mood we made our way into the club after the game to watch the dying embers of the game at Old Trafford on the telly. With 93 minutes on the clock Beckham shaped to take a free kick fully ten yards outside the penalty area. He surely won't score this time we thought.

Colin Mansley

Tuesday 2 October 2001
Scarborough 2 Chester City 1
Nationwide Conference
Attendance: 783 Half Time: 1-0
Booked: M.Rose, Lopez.

Scarborough:
Woods, Atkinson, Keegan, Rennison, Ingram, Wilford (Jewell 46), Blunt, Faure (Windross 65), Stamp (Hogg 78), Brodie, Pounder. Subs not used: Swales, Newton.
Chester City:
Brown, M.Rose, Lancater, Porter, Hill, Kilganon, Ruscoe, Spink (Lopez 42), Malkin (Wright 30), Beesley, Woodyatt. Subs not used: S.Rose, Kerr, Berrochi.
Referee:
G.Mellor (Doncaster).

Let me spell out something very clearly – Chester's only aim for this season should be to live to fight another season in the conference. Survival from relegation looks far from certain after a performance at Scarborough last night that made me want to weep.

This was my first game this season and having supported City for 30 years I thought I would make the short 35 mile trip to the seaside to see if the doom merchants were following that very British trait of 'knocking' anything that walks or if the were right. Boy were they right. Sitting with the 50 or so battle weary fans in the west stand I found it hard to comprehend just what an awful legacy Smith has left Steven Vaughan. I only hope that the new chairman was there to witness what I could hardly believe, but what the fellow supporters around me wearily accepted with resignation mixed with anger.

Chester now field a side that is the worst that has ever worn a Chester shirt. It has at least six players who are clearly completely out of their depth. There is no experience, no one taking charge in this team of raw talent that should be on youth team duty. Sadly one such player is the manager's son – Sam Hill. Like the rest of the side he had clearly no tactical instruction at all and wandered aimlessly up and down right midfield, rarely chasing back or forward – a rather forlorn figure. This is not his fault – it is the managers. Gordon Hill is not employing the wrong tactics – he is employing no tactics. There was no interplay, players did not look for space, they did not get in the box for crosses until late in the second half when at last they started to use the right wing to any effect. At corners there was no movement in the box and as for the marking – the strategy was to hope that the Scarborough players were incapable of finishing when given open space. For much of the match this was the case – they were at best as bad as Chester!!

The bare facts of the game are thus. It started off at a quick pace, both teams finding it very hard to find shooting opportunities due mainly to an inability to find players with an incisive ball that would give them a clear shot at the old onion bag. Chester always defended with commitment but there was no-one to 'marshall' the young lads – no Beesley, no Hicks – no experience. The Scarborough goal came from a mistake – the Chester defender slipped on the ball leaving Stamp to round Brown and sidefoot neatly in.

The BBC report says that Chester dominated the rest of the half. I would say they had more of the play but it was mostly ineffectual with long hopeful balls, one glaring miss by Beesley (who had a good game), one excellent run by Mike Rose and little to suggest that a better side wouldn't have punished Chester three or four more times.

The second half followed the same frustrating pattern – short of talent players exchanging a few moves before giving the ball away. The one bright note was an excellent through ball by Beesley to Ruscoe who finished well for the equaliser. There was a nagging inevitability about the injury time winner by Rennison – caused by the inability of City to play down the clock and use a bit of experience to clear their lines.

Gordon Hill is like many of his squad – woefully short of experience and totally lacking any tactical know-how. There was no shape to his game and certainly no semblence of organisation amongst his players. The sooner Mr Vaughan humanely gives him his cards and gets a proper footballing brain in at the Deva the better, otherwise the lure of the Unibond will be easy to resist for any manager capable of getting Chester back into the League. After some of the games I have watched in the past – Hill is a very sad insult to the likes of Ken Roberts, Alan Oakes, Kevin Ratcliffe, Ian Atkins and Graham Barrow. Tragic, truly tragic.......

Nick Love

"They donít do the simple things Ė control, pass and move. They force the ball. Iíve got people just lumping it from one end to the other, yet Iím trying to tell them I want the ball at peopleís feet. We play off the floor. Our training sessions are geared to that, but either they donít listen or theyíre incapable of doing it. I will be going out and getting experienced players into this club. I will be speaking to the chairman, weíll be sitting down and looking at it, because that game should have been put to bed, and it wasnít. I will not stay down the bottom of this Conference. I can promise you that." – Gordon Hill.

City made a first appearance in their away strip, a rather garish yellow and black check shirts.
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