Saturday 26 October 2002
Mansfield Town Youth 2 Chester
City Youth 1
Youth Alliance North Central
Chester City: Louie Macken,
Adam Hunter, Tom Coulson (Danny Ventre), Paul Connolley,
Ian Latham, Danny L Ventre, Adam Kelly (Tony McGlaughlin),
Matt Cooke, Lee Reece (Mike Simpson), John Moores,
The youth team went down 2-1
away to top of the league Mansfield Town
on Saturday. They took an early lead through Dean Buckley
but Mansfield drew level before the break. The winning
Mansfield goal was scored midway through the second
26 October 2002
Radcliffe Borough 2 Chester City 4
FA Cup Fourth Qualifying
Attendance: 1,138 Half Time 0-0
Radcliffe Borough: Hurst, Battersby (Keeling 64), Whealing, S.Kelly,
Diggle, Bean, Spooner, Eilson, Hardy, Banim, Price. Subs not used: Kay,
Elliot, Landun, Felgate.
Chester City: W.Brown, Guyett, Bolland, Hatswell, Brady (M.Brown 60),
Davies, Carden, Blackburn, McIntyre, Tate (Cameron 60), Sugden (Ruffer
81). Subs not used: Carey, Twiss.
Referee: D.Richardson (Halifax).
match came six years too late for me. I’d lived in Radcliffe for
five years but never actually made it in to Stainton Park, much to my regret.
Mind you, a bit of local knowledge was quite useful in trying to find this
venue, tucked away on a housing estate between the Bolton and Ainsworth
Roads. We met up with old friends Mark (An Exeter City exile) and his son
Richard. “Watch out for a home win if it’s 0-0 at half time” he
warned. The pitch had quite a slope on it but as yet Radliffe haven’t
managed to use it to home advantage in the Unibond this season.
Inside the ground there was a carnival
atmosphere with a burger van straight from the fair
ground and a beer tent in one corner of the terracing.
We could hear the players’ studs clacking on
the floors of their portacabin dressing rooms. “They
don't come any bigger than Chester City”, said
Boro manager Kevin Glendon in his programme notes.
I’ll never get used to Chester being Goliath
instead of the customary David.
The match got underway with City
kicking up hill. Whilst we were still migrating towards
the goal at which City were aiming, Blackburn got
through but couldn’t drag the ball out from
under his feet to get a better shot in. Chester went
purposefully on the attack and moved the ball about
crisply. It took half an hour for Radcliffe to get
the ball in Wayne Brown’s area.
City’s biggest threat came
from set pieces. Bolland nodded down a corner but
Guyett scooped it over the bar from close range.
Sugden looked as though he was bound to score as
Blackburn’s cross-field pass found him clear
but he dragged his shot wide of the target. Then
the home side won a few tackles in midfield and enjoyed
their best spell. Twice the ball fell to Banim and
then Wilson but their shots were blocked well by
Brown. But the home fans began to sniff an upset
as Radcliffe weathered the early storm and went in
for half-time level.
Boro continued well after the break
with Brown having to parry Banim’s fierce free
kick over the bar. But the turning point of the game
came with a City free kick on the right. McIntyre
looked to have over-hit it but while the ball was
in the air the referee noticed that we were trying
to bring on a couple of subs and blew for it to be
retaken. On came Micky Brown for the ineffective
Brady and Cameron replaced the struggling Tate. They
had barely taken up position for the kick before
City were ahead. McIntyre got the range right second
time and Sugden’s backward header looped in
to the top corner.
Minutes later Brown bustled through
on the right and nutmegged the full back before being
brought down. Again McIntyre found Sugden’s
head from the resulting free kick and his near post
header flew in the back of the net. Three minutes
later Sudgen did the spade work retrieving a ball
on the left and crossing for the unmarked Cameron
to head home.
3-0 was a little unfair on the
home side and Banim reduced the deficit two minutes
later when he lashed a spectacular free kick into
the top corner to give Brown no chance. The home
fans’ cheers had barely died down before Cameron
put Sugden through to complete his hat trick.
After this Blackburn went close
on a couple of occasions with shots from outside
the area. But it was left to Radcliffe to complete
the scoring in the final minute when substitute Landon’s
persistence on the left set up Hardy to score with
a lethal cross shot from the edge of the box.
Back at the Papermakers’ Arms
a knot of City fans gathered to watch the draw
for the next round – live on the BBC. Several
false alarms made our hearts flutter before the
numbing prospect of a trip to Colchester sank in.
The locals tried to cheer us up and all but persuaded
the woman behind the bar that the visitors were
expecting some butties to be sent down. “Do
they normally get butties?” she said, believing
that we were perhaps a visiting dominoes team.
If we’d been drawn at nearby Bury we could
have ensured solid refreshement as well as the
delightful Holt’s bitter awaited us. Perhaps
we’ll get them in the Second Round.
22 October 2002
Chester City 1 Plymouth Argyle 2
LDV Trophy Southern Section
Attendance: 1,126 Half Time 1-1
Chester City: McCaldon, McIntyre, Bolland, Guyett, Hatswell, Carden,
Blackburn (M.Brown 87), Brady (Woodyatt 87), Davies, Beesley (Sugden 45),
Twiss. Subs not used: Lancaster, Carey.
Plymouth Argyle: McCormick, Connoly, Malcolm, Adams, McGlinchey,
Phillips, Broad, Beresford, Lopes, Lowndes (M.Evans 76), Keith. Subs not
used: Chapman, Martin, Wills.
the difficult windy conditions, with a gale blowing down from the home
end, this match proved quite entertaining. Scott Guyett returned from injury
and Ian McCaldon was given a game in goal as his month loan spell draws
to an end. There was no place though for Steve Harkness and Carl Ruffer,
both have not quite recovered from injury.
The Blues took the lead on 28 minutes
as Guyett headed home a pinpoint free-kick from Kevin
McIntyre at the far post. Earlier McCaldon had kept
the scores level by saving well from Beresford.
City couldn’t hold their
lead for long though. Five minutes later The Pilgrims
were level as Mario Keith shot past McCaldon from
a narrow angle to send the sides in level at the
Mark Wright replaced Mark Beesley
with Ryan Sugden for the second period as the Blues
looked for more punch up front but it was the visitors
who looked more likely to score and hit the post on
two occasions before netting the winner with five minutes
remaining, as City’s defence failed to clear
a corner from McGlinchey and substitute Evans was on
hand to score.
Saturday 19 October 2002
Chester City Youth 1 Wrexham
Youth Alliance North Central
Chester City: Louie Macken, Tom Coulson (Danny Ventre), John Davies,
Paul Connolley, Adam Kelly, Mike Simpson (Trialist), Matt Cooke, Lee Reece,
Trialist, Gethin Lloyd, Trialist.
The youth team went down 2-1 against local rivals Wrexham on Saturday.
Wrexham took the lead on 15 minutes with John Davies equalising five minutes
later only for Wrexham to regain the lead on 25 minutes. Chester were then
reduced to ten men when John Davies was sent off following an incident
with a Wrexham striker. The ten men battled through the remainder of the
half and had the better chances in the second period but were unable to
19 October 2002
Woking 1 Chester City 0
Attendance: 2,019 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Hatswell, McIntyre. Sent off: Hatswell, McIntyre.
Woking: Jalal, Allman (Piper 68), Simpembe (Patmore 77),
S.Smith, Boardman, Collins, Kember, Hamilton, N.Smith (Banger 80), Sharpling
Sbbey. Subs not used: Farrelly, Payne.
Chester City: W.Brown, Bolland, Hatswell, Lancaster, Blackburn,
Carey, Brady, McIntyre, M.Brown (Beesley 60), Cameron (Davies 60), Sugden
(Twiss 60), Subs not used; McCaldon, Guyett.
Referee: K.Woolmer (Kettering).
was like an accident waiting to happen. Chester hadn’t so far
conceded a goal in their away games, while opponents Woking had seen
37 goals scored against them.
Woking’s poor start to the season had seen colourful
manager Geoff Chapple resign earlier in the week, and Glenn Cockerill
step into his shoes for a trial period. Chester needed to buck the football
tradition of “new manager=first match victory” if they were
to press their challenge against Yeovil at the top of the league.
Chester fielded Woking’s ‘bete noire’ winger,
Jon Brady, who walked out on a two-year contract at Kingfield for “personal
reasons” just a few weeks ago – only to sign for Chester
the following day.
So the scene was set for a head-on collision. But for
Chester there was no 999 crew on hand to give them resuscitation when
Kettering referee Andy Woolmer awarded a controversial penalty to The
Cards in the 84th minute.
Goalkeeper Wayne Brown dived the right way, but couldn’t
keep out Ben Abbey’s shot. To make matters worse, Kevin McIntyre
was sent off for furiously disputing the penalty decision with the referee.
He had to be restrained by his Blues colleagues, and eventually led off
the pitch by physio Joe Hinnigan. The accident had happened – and
the Blues were the team left licking their wounds in casualty.
You could argue that the match hinged on that controversial
penalty decision. I had a good view of the edge-of-the area tussle between
McIntyre and Nicky Banger that led to the ref pointing to the spot – and
it certainly looked like a harsh decision. Both players were battling
for the ball, and Banger made the most of Macca’s attempts to get
round him and clear the ball, by tumbling to the ground. Penalty, and
But the penalty decision mustn’t be the only
talking point. Chester put on a poor display and should have been well
in charge of the match when lacklustre Woking were gifted their penalty.
The first half was a dismal performance by both teams,
with neither goalkeeper being particularly troubled until the last five
The only excitement in the first 40 minutes came from
the Woking fans’ constant barracking of Brady. He seemed too desperate
to score against his former club – swapping wings with Mickey Brown
throughout the half. And it was Brady who seized at the chance to take
a free kick towards the end of the half, but he shot well wide.
Chester’s only real first half chance came soon
afterwards when Ryan Sugden found himself close in on Woking ‘keeper
Shwan Jalal, but Jalal blocked the ball at Sugden’s feet.
Woking then came close when a whipped-in cross was
thwacked towards the goal at point-blank range. It happened so fast that
it looked like diving Brown had made a fantastic save – but I’m
assured that it was Wayne Hatswell who headed the ball off the line.
The second half trundled along in much the same way
as the first – with the Blues not really responding to the encouragement
of the travelling (and segregated) 400 fans. A Conference outsider would
never have believed that Chester are challenging for the title, while
Woking are already battling against relegation – worrying. It had
to change, and on the 60th minute, Mark Wright responded by bringing
on Mark Beesley, Michael Twiss and Ben Davis.
The pace then quickened, and within a few minutes of
Beesley’s return to first-team action he was in a one-on-one with
Jalal. But the inevitable happened, when Jalal parried Beesley’s
shot. Michael Twiss also had a couple of half chances, and it was beginning
to look like the game would go our way.
Chris Blackburn continued to be tireless in midfield – although
responsible for more than his fair share of poor passes, and I’ve
rarely seen Beesley’s face filled with such determination. Phil
Bolland was the usual rock in the centre of defence. But the penalty
decision came, and the team caved in.
Hatswell soon followed McIntyre into the early bath
when he was sent off for a second yellow card. His first yellow card
was a harsh first half decision, and the second made it inevitable that
Chester’s fantastic away record would come to an end.
Our away trip was due to end with chairman Stephen
Vaughan meeting the Exiles supporters in the Woking bar. But he was nowhere
to be seen – whether it was due to disappointment or disinclination,
it meant our day was an all-round let down.
The Blues were kept in the changing room until around
5.30pm. With just one point from the last three games, they’re
not playing like promotion candidates, and the midfield seemed particularly
directionless without Jimmy Kelly. Let’s hope they’ve been
inspired by those post-match changing room “discussions”.
Wednesday 16 October 2002
Chester City Reserves 7 Osset Town Reserves 0
Lancashire League Division One
Chester City: Worsnop, Woodyatt, Keegan, Lancaster (Connolly), J.Davies,
Blackburn (Kelly), B.Davies, Watkins, Twiss, Tate (Beesley), Brodie.
A comfortable win for City with goals from Twiss (2), Beesley, Woodyatt,
Blackburn, B Davies, and Watkins.
13 October 2002
Chester City 1 Gravesend & Northfleet
Attendance: 2,210 Half Time 1-1
Chester City: McCaldon, Ruffer, Bolland, Hatswell, Brady,
Carey, Kelly, McIntyre, M.Brown (Twiss 83), Cameron, Sugden. Subs not used:
W.Brown, Blackburn, Carden, Lancaster.
Gravesend & Northfleet: Wilkerson, Lee, Watts, Cole,
Jackson (Booth 23), McKimm, Strouts, Kwashi (Sodje 69), Barr, Stadhart,
Hatch (Grace 83). Subs not used: Turner, Owen.
Referee: G Mellor (South Yorkshire).
Steve Vaughan upped his offer for Boston’s want-away striker
Daryl Clare after City once again failed to convert a number of chances
to drop two points against Gravsend & Northfleet. The Blues dominated
for large periods, especially following the break, but were guilty
of not converting chances into goals in a frustrating performance.
Once again Steve Harkness and Scott Guyett missed out
through injurt though manager Mark Wright made a number of changes from
the side that lost its unbeaten record onTuesday. Ian McCaldon returned
between the sticks while Shaun Carey and Mickey Brown replaced Paul Carden
and Chris Blackburn.
As on Tuesday, the Blues alsmost fell behind again
in the first minute when Tostao Kwashi missed his kick from just 10 yards
after being set-up by Jimmy Strouts. Five minutes later Sugden saw City’s
first effort on goal deflected wide. The Blues were getting on top with
most of their chances being created down the right, and they looked like
they’d take the lead on 18 minutes. Rynn Sugden was put through
on goal by Jimy Kelly, he appeared to lose control of the ball but regained
his composure to blast a left footer towards the corner only for ’keeper
Wilkerson to make a great save to push the shot wide.
Kevin McIntyre and Sugden both missed half-chances
before, on 22 minutes, the stretcher bearers were called into action
for the first time. A strong 50/50 challenge between McIntyre and Jimmy
Jackson saw the latter carried off after a lengthy delay for treatment.
Great work by McIntyre on the half hour put in Sugden
whose pull-back for Dave Cameron saw the big striker waste another effort,
a minute later and the visitors took the lead. Gravesend broke quickly
and Kwashi was left unmarked in acres of space on the right, his near-post
cross was met by a stooping Booth who headed home in the corner past
McCaldon from six yards.
The Blues responded with an equaliser five minutes
later. McIntyre intercepted the ball near the corner flag, cut inside
and slipped a pass to Brown whose pull-back was slotted home by Syugden
into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
City could have taken the lead in the fifth minute
of injury time but Dave Cameron somehow managed to deflect Brown’s
goalbound header over the bar.
The Blues, no doubt suffering from half-time earache,
came out guns blazing and a great move in the opening seconds almost
brought dividends. Cameron raced down the right after a through ball
from Wayne Hatswell, his swift near post cross was met by Ryan Sugden
whose right foot first time shot was well saved by Wilkerson low down
at the foot of his left hand post.
Kicking towards the home end City piled on the pressure,
though more and more of thweir attacking play seemed to be halted by
the linesmans flag. Mickey Brown's left wing cross was headed over by
Cameron and McIntyre also went close with a long range effort, and Shaun
Carey, having a good game in midfield supported well.
On a rare Gravesend breakaway Phill Bolland came to
City’s rescue when he superbly marshalled Sodje to safety after
the substitute was almost left with a one-and-one on McCaldon.
City hade a geat chance to take the lead with 20 minutes
remaining. Once again Cameron was fed on the right hand side and his
low hard cross beat Wilkerson but Sugden coming in at the far post stumbled
on his shot from six yards and the keeper was able to smother the ball.
City also had two quick free-kick’s in succession but both chances
The Blues thought they had scored their second on 75
minutes when the ball was scrambled into the net following a corner,
once again though the raised linesmans flag brought fustrtation for City’s
fans and players alike.
Minutes later Fleet had their second player, Stadhart,
stretchered off after colliding with McCaldon on the edge of the box.
Despite nine minutes of added time in the second period, and a flurry
or corners, City were unable to turn chances into goals despite the visitors
being reduced to ten men in the dying minutes as the previously booked
Strouts was red-carded for flooring Cameron.
Saturday 12 October 2002
Chester City Youth 1 Chesterfield Youth 0
Youth Alliance North Central Conference
Chester City: Louie Macken, Tom Coulson, John Davies, Paul Connolley,
Adam Kelly, Mike Simpson, Matt Cooke, Lee Reece, Trialist, Gethin Lloyd,
The youth team secured a well deserved 1-0 home win against Chesterfield
on Saturday. Iain Jenkins’ work on the training ground appeared to
have paid off with a solid team performance with Chester dominating for
long periods. Victory was secured midway through the second half when a
deep cross from the left was volleyed home unerringly by midfield skipper
8 October 2002
Chester City 1 Nuneaton Borough 2
Attendance: 2,564 Half Time 0-1
Chester City: W.Brown, Ruffer, Bolland, Hatswell, McIntyre,
Blackburn, Kelly, Carden (Davies 80), Brady (M.Brown 80), Sugden (Twiss
80), Cameron. Subs not used: Lancaster, McCaldon.
Nuneaton Borough: MacKenzie, Thackeray, Squires, Angus,
Love, Woodley, Turner, Hunter, Lenton, Quayle, McGregor, Subs not used:
Hodgson, Jones, Lavery, Cooper, Peyton.
Referee: M.Williams (Hereford).
bright lights of the Sky media circus came to the Deva, the floodlights
were augmented with an extra row of bulbs, and like rabbits caught
in the glare of oncoming headlamps, City froze and were squashed.
What a let down! It was typical of Chester sides of
the past to falter when they found themselves in the spotlight but so
far the new improved version of this season has stood up well. True,
City were struggling with injuries Guyett and Harkness were sorely
missed but there is something more profound wrong with the way the team
play that was exposed by a desperate Nuneaton Borough. Desperate because
they had lost their last three games, the visitors were given a dream
Hatswell, making a surprsingly swift return from injury,
though both his damaged hands were still bandaged up, fouled in the first
minute. From the resulting free kick Kelly seemed to be clearing the
danger when he allowed himself to be dispossessed by Quayle. He got behind
the defence and passed for Terry Angus to bundle the ball over the line.
City swept forward, urged on by their biggest and most
enthusiastic crowd of the season so far. New signing Brady saw quite
a lot of the ball and made a couple of promising crosses but no one got
on the end of them and City hardly troubled the keeper for all their
huffing and puffing.
Cameron in favour following his goal at Margate
on Saturday put himself about a bit and fought off several defenders
in his efforts to hold the ball up. Angus was paying particular close
attention and after a series of niggling fouls and a talking to from
the ref, was booked for persistent fouling. Three minutes later Angus
recklessly felled Cameron again and was dismissed. City couldnt
make their man advantage tell though and went in to the break a goal
It didnt take Chester long into the second half
to get on level terms. A series of corners piled pressure on the Borough
and they cracked when Sugden converted McIntyres kick for the equaliser.
Cue City fans relieved celebrations and the expectancy of a winner
Strangely City simply could not build on their numerical
advantage to breakdown a resolute Nuneaton. Chesters approach play
was ponderous and predictable and, as in earlier home games against Kettering
and Scarborough, a well organised defence was able to frustrate them.
Worse was to come when Hatswell was caught flat-footed
and allowed a ball to drift over his head while Quayle skipped through
and smashed in a shot which beat Brown all ends up. City responded by
forcing some corners. Wright belatedly threw on all three substitutes
but all to no avail.
Although this result could be said to be an unfortunate
hiccup, I feel it reflects a deeper malaise. Failing to score and finish
teams off that we ought to beat is not the fault of the forwards but
an over-cautious approach to attacking. Midfield tend to sit too deep
and dont support the forwards enough. Blackburn was at his most
infuriating last night excellent work-rate but abysmal passing.
Mark Wright often calls for a new forward to rectify
this problem but the team as a whole need some more creativity and attacking
play from midfield. True we missed Harkness but Carey and Brodie have
the experience and ability to unlock stubborn defences and they werent
even on the bench. Wright faced similar criticisms when he was manager
at Oxford a sound defence but at the expense of goalscoring. It
would be a great shame if that pattern were to be repeated here and spoil
what has been an incredibly solid start to the season.
One of those nights! Twenty Exiles fans watch
the match in The Alexandra, Wimbledon.
Saturday 5 October 2002
Notts County Youth 6 Chester City Youth 0
Youth Alliance North Central Conference
Chester City: Louie Macken, Tom Coulson (Matt Cooke), John Davies,
Paul Connolley (Trialist), Danny Ventre, Adam Kelly, Mike Simpson, Lee
Reece, Trialist, Gethin Lloyd, Trialist (Danny L Ventre).
The youth team went down 6-0 away at Notts County on Saturday despite having
the better of the exchanges for the first half hour and having conceded
a 10th minute goal. Two further goals followed in the remaining ten minutes
of the first half time. Notts County notched a further three goals in the
second half to make it a long journey home from Nottingham.
5 October 2002
Margate 0 Chester City 1
Attendance: 925 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Carden, Harkness.
Margate: Mitten, Edwards, Porter, Sodje, Lamb, Shearer,
Keister, Saunders, Leberl, Braithwaite, Watts (Collins 79). Subs not used:
Munday, Perry, McFlynn, Turner.
Chester City: McCaldon, Lancaster, Bolland, Ruffer, Carden, Harkness
(Blackburn 60), Kelly, McIntyre, Brady, Sugden (M.Brown 70), Twiss (Cameron
70). Subs not used: Carey, Davies.
Referee: K.Stroud (Dorset).
win, another clean sheet, another three points. A late Dave Cameron winner
made it a very good day at the office for Chester in a potentially difficult
and hard away fixture. If City have any credentials to win the Conference,
they must come and win at places such as Margate (well Dover!), so in hindsight,
it was mission accomplished by Mark Wrights boys.
However in truth this was a terrible match entertaining wise. The first
half was full of misplaced passes and a dour midfield struggle, and with
two strong defences, chances were few and far between. In fact the only
chance of note in the half fell to Ryan Sugden, who blasted over, after
goalkeeper had fumbled a Carden shot. As the match dawdled along, the main
difference this season is that, despite looking disjointed going forward,
Chester build their success on a defence which does not concede. Indeed,
even with Hatswell and Guyett missing through injury, Martyn Lancaster
was able to fit into the defensive unit without any problems.
Much of the early moments of the second half brought little improvement
in the quality of the match. Blackburn replaced Harkness on the hour and
brought a fine save out of Mitten with a far post header. However the main
turning point of the contest came on 70 minutes with the double substitution
of Cameron and Mickey Brown, for the disappointing Twiss and Sugden.
Almost at once Brown shot over the bar from six yards, as there became
more movement up front as the opposition tired. Just as we all thought
that we were going to witness a rare 0-0 draw (!) involving Chester, up
popped the unmarked Cameron to head home a superb Mickey Brown cross, to
delight the away following, especially Sue C – see picture in the
At last, a bit of quality to lighten up a drab match. Still cannot complain,
as we would have taken unbeaten and in second place at the beginning of
October, if offered at the start of the season.