Yeovil Town 4 Chester City
Attendance: 5,741 Half Time 1-0
Booked: Belle, Harris, Branch, MacKenzie, Ellison.
Yeovil Town: Weale, Rose, Miles (Guyett), Fontaine, Terry, Caceres (Lindegaard),
Way, Johnson, Williams, Jevons, Stolcers (Gall). Subs not used: Collis, Tarachulski.
Chester City: MacKenzie, Edmondson (Harris), Bolland, Hope,
Hessey, Drummond, Carden, Davies, Ellison, Belle (Rapley), Branch (Clare).
have to be brutally honest and admit I can’t
remember when I last saw City play as badly away
from home – certainly not last season
or so far in 2004/5.
On the eve of Halloween, the contingent of 300
Chester fans must have felt like it was like watching
a horror movie unfold before their eyes as an impressive
Yeovil side ran the Blues ragged all afternoon.
Both City and Yeovil made their intentions obvious
inside the first ten minutes. Yeovil were stroking
the ball around the midfield, while as soon as
Chester got the ball they were thwacking it upfield
towards Cortez Belle.
The Glovers won the first corner of the afternoon,
with striker Phil Jevons having his first attempt
on Chris MacKenzie’s goal as a result.
But his header went wide. Soon after MacKenzie
made his first stop of the game when Darren Way
an easy chance and hit straight at the Chester
By now City were making the rest of their game
plan clear – to make their physical presence
felt against the smaller Yeovil side. Belle was
and soon found himself getting a deserved talking
to by referee Richard Beeby. By that stage he’d
already kicked the ball away after a free-kick
was given and clattered into one of the Yeovil
players in an off-the-ball incident.
The Blues won a corner soon after and when the
ball came out to Kevin Ellison he seemed to snatch
at it and his shot went wide. The City drummers
urged their team on, but were soon quietened when
the ball came across the Chester box to a totally
unmarked Adrian Caceres. It looked inevitable that
a goal would be scored right in front of the away
terrace, but he headed the ball against the crossbar.
But a Yeovil goal did come just two minutes
later when Gavin Williams ran into the box
to be challenged
by Darren Edmondson. Right on cue, Williams
took an impressive swallow dive and the Blues’ fans,
well-placed to have seen the incident, were
amazed when the ref awarded a penalty. Jevons
the ball softly, but accurately, into the right-hand
corner as MacKenzie dived the other way.
Yeovil were now on fire and Jevons soon found
himself with an opportunity to score a second.
about five yards out with only MacKenzie to beat – but
shot wide despite a near open net. Just a few
minutes later, and the travelling fans had a smile
to their faces when Way made a total ‘airshot’ inside
the Chester box.
It would have been a good opportunity for the
Blues to pounce, as Yeovil’s confidence juddered
slightly and half-time edged nearer. Ian Rush
the City formation – replacing Edmondson with Andy
Harris and switching from 4-4-2 to 3-5-2. Soon
after Michael Branch did have a shot on target,
but Yeovil ‘keeper Chris Weale parried
the ball out and Ellison wasted the rebound
shot way above the bar.
The second half followed a familiar pattern. Stuart
Drummond seemed particularly out-of-place with
the 3-5-2 formation, but no-one in a yellow shirt
could really hold their head high with their
Jevons soon found himself free in the area, but
had a poor shot. Then MacKenzie was called on
to make the save of the afternoon when he made
dive to stop a powerful Yeovil shot after yet
another excellent passing combination by the Glovers.
By now, the Yeovil fans were booing every move
that Belle made, as well as yelling ‘hoof’
everytime the Blues thwacked the ball forward
passing the ball to feet. It happened quite a
lot, I’m sorry to report.
then made it 2-0 with a bizarre shot that rebounded
down off the underside of the crossbar
and out of the goal. For a few seconds, it
went quiet when everyone assumed the ball hadn’t
crossed the line. But the linesman thought different
and the goal was given.
There seemed no way back for the Blues and when
I saw Daryl Clare and Kevin Rapley coming on,
I hoped they’d be combining with Branch
to give us
some attacking flair. But Branch was taken
off, along with Belle.
Within a few minutes, Clare was doing what
good at – winning free kicks. Ellison took
the opportunity to have a thunderous free kick
the resultant rebound could have gone anywhere
– but didn’t quite find a Chester
But it was soon game over when Yeovil were
awarded another penalty. This time two Chester
seemed to get in each other’s way in
the box, then MacKenzie was pulled up for fouling
took a more powerful penalty strike and it
Guess what happened a few minutes later? There
was yet another penalty. This time it was given
after Ellison made a half-hearted dive in the
box. He didn’t appeal for a penalty and
looked as surprised
as anyone when it was given.
Clare stepped forward and scored a consolation
goal. Ben Davies scrapped with Weale to get the
ball out of the net and back to the centre circle.
But it was too little, too late. Chester had run
out of ideas and the rout was complete when Jevons
scored his hat-trick with a 90th minute header.
So Rush’s 10-match unbeaten run comes to
an inglorious end. Let’s just hope this game
acts as a wake-up
call. But City fans who completed a 400+ mile
round trip to support their team can’t
be blamed for
failing to find any crumb of consolation.
• Latest League
26 October 2004
Chester City 3 Kidderminster
Attendance: 2,968 Half Time 1-0
Booked: Belle, Edmondson, Davies.
Chester City: MacKenzie,
Edmondson, Bolland, Hope, Hessey (Vaughan 73), Drummond
Carden, Davies, Ellison, Belle (Clare 60), Branch. Subs not used:
Kidderminster Harriers: Darby,
Jenkins, Burton, Sall, Advice-Desruisseaux (McHale
53), Keates, Christiansen, Keene (Foster 60), Cooper,
Hatswell, Langmead (Diop 60). Subs not used: Lewis,
Referee: M.Cowburn (Lancashire).
It was a case of friends reunited
as Chester and Kidderminster met for a first ever league
clash. Club captain Wayne Hatswell was well received
he led out the Harriers and Ian Foster was back to
sit on the bench. Ben Davies for Chester lined up against
City made swift inroads as Branch shot just past
the post as he met Ellison’s cross. Ten minutes later Branch
was clean through on goal after good work by Belle and
Davies but put his shot narrowly over the bar and into
the throng of visiting supporters. Chester weren’t
having it all their own way, however, often giving
ball away and Harriers won a succession of free kicks
in threatening areas. They only forced one shot on
though, when Keene's overhead kick was cleared by
The deadlock was broken on twenty seven minutes and
thirty five seconds to be precise, when Branch, surprisingly
free of attention, glanced a header from Davies’ right
wing corner into the net. The pattern of play continued
to stutter as the over officious referee punctuated
game with a succession of unnecessary free kicks.
He incurred the ire of the home support when he booked
for petty infringements.
The game turned definitely in City’s favour when
Belle’s header over the top set Branch through.
Hatswell turned and lunged for the ball but his scything
tackle only succeeded in felling Branch. It appeared
Mr Cowburn was merely going to book Hatswell but, to
people's surprise, the colour of the card he showed him
was red. The stand rose to offer sympathetic applause
to Hatswell, still a popular figure here. When Ellison’s
venomous shot from the resulting free kick found
of the Kidderminster net, the game was as good as
Belle was withdrawn, in case he attracted a second
yellow card and Daryl Clare replaced him. He was
in on goal in his customary predatory mode and did
well to hold off a defender and get a shot in. Danby
Harriers’ goal parried the ball to the edge
of the area where Davies returned it and managed
through a ruck of players to score against his former
City took full toll of their numerical advantage
and ran Kidderminster ragged. Clare might have added
more goals if he was up to full match fitness. Drummond
blazed a shot narrowly over. Clare and Branch began
combine with some delicious forward play. Man of
the match award went to Davies which must have been
for him – he enjoyed the congratulations of
both current and former team mates at the final whistle.
also solid performances from Belle, Ellison and Edmonson
and the rest of the team in general. Ian Rush and
team have engendered a good spirit and this is producing
rewards now as City moved into mid table with this
• Latest League
23 October 2004
Chester City 2 Grimsby
Attendance: 3,233 Half Time 2-1
Booked: Belle, Hope.
City: MacKenzie, Edmondson, Bolland, Hope,
Hessey, Drummond, Carden, Davies (Harris 86), Ellison,
Belle (Rapley 90), Branch (Clare 82). Subs not used:
Grimsby Town: Williams, McDermott,
Whittle, Forbes, Gordon, Parkinson, Fleming (Coldicott
79), Pinault, Sestanovich, Cramb (Reddy 77), Daly. Subs
not used: Bull, Jones, Marcelle.
Referee: Michael Ryan (Limerick).
stretched their unbeaten run to nine matches under Ian
Rush as two Michael Branch goals in a three minute spell
just before half-time gave the Blues the edge over Grimsby
Town. Those two strikes lit-up a first half strewn with
fouls and offside flags as both sides battled on a pitch
that held up well considering the amount of rain it
had absorbed in the previous 24 hours.
Manager Ian Rush named an unchanged
side from the one that won at Rushden last week, with
the addition of on-loan goalkeeper Colin Doyle taking
his place on the bench. The Mariners included Stockport
County's on-loan striker John Daly in their starting
game got off to a scrappy start though City almost took
the led on six minutes as Ben Davies’s curling
left-footer cannoned off the bar to safety following
approach work by Branch. Cortez Belle unnecessarily
found himself in the book on 12 minutes for dissent
following a foul on Justin Whittle. Whittle had found
himself in the referee's notebook only minutes before
for a challenge on Branch.
Branch was causing a nuisance down
the left channel and almost set up Belle after cutting
in along the by-line only to see his effort scrambled
away. At the other end MacKenzie could only stand and
watch as a Dean Gordon 25-yarder screamed past the right
hand post. Minutes later Kevin Ellison appeared to save
his own shot as he tried to hook the ball in following
a right wing cross.
Frustratingly Belle and Branch were
being continually pulled up for offside during the first
period but City finally opened their account on 39 minutes
as the Blues counter-attacked. The ball was played forward
to Belle who held the ball up before laying an inch
perfect pass for Branch to run on to, he set himself
up before firing past 'keeper Anthony Williams from
just inside the box.
Three minutes later Branch added a
second, robbing Terrell Forbes of the ball outside the
box, advancing, and chipping the onrushing Williams
with aplomb in front of the traveling Town fans.
The game suddenly swung to the other
end. Richard Hope, having a fine home debut, MacKenzine
smartly saved from a low curling shot by Thomas Pinault
before being beaten with the game in added-on time.
Phil Bolland failed to clear a right wing cross, the
ball bouncing out off his knees to Daly. He shot straight
at goal, Bolland, trying to make up for his error, could
only stick out a leg and deflect the shot over MacKenzie.
Encouraged by their goal the Mariners
came out after the break determined to get back on level
terms. They forced a corner after 30 seconds that MacKenzie
dealt with. The visitors began to exert pressure though
Branch broke down the left and shot over and no-one
could get on the end of a teasing Ellison corner as
On the hour mark though Daly should
really have leveled. Unmarked and in plenty of room,
the on-loan striker shot over the bar from six yards
out, City's defence failing to clear a teasing right
wing cross. Shortly after, Hope came to City’s
rescue again with a well timed tackle inside the box
a Pinault corner. Daly, once again in space, shot wide
when well placed.
With a little under ten minutes
remaining Daryl Clare replaced man-of-the-match Branch
and Andy Harris replaced Ben Davies. Harris almost caught
Williams out with a speculative shot from the best part
of 40 yards that sailed just wide before referee Ryan
signaled the end of the game.
16 October 2004
Rushden & Diamonds
0 Chester City 1
Attendance: 2,735 Half Time 0-0
Rushden & Diamonds:
Turley, Connelly, Allen (Gier 45), Gulliver, Burgess,
Bell, Dempster, Gray, Dove (Mulligan 61), Hay, Broughton.
Subs not used: Worgan, Sambrook, Braniff.
MacKenzie, Edmondson, Bolland, Hope, Hessey, Drummond,
Carden, Davies, Ellison, Branch (Rapley 73), Belle. Subs
not used: McIntyre, Vaughan, Clare, Harris.
Ian Rush’s blue diamonds
were in top carat form as they cruised past their opponents
in an early season ‘six pointer’ at the
smart Nene Park ground.
City stamped their authority against
Rushden and Diamonds almost from the off – belying
the nerves of Blues supporters, who’d
had their confidence knocked when Wayne Brown was injured
in the warm-up.
Chris MacKenzie ably stepped in for
Brownie, alongside two other changes from last week’s
goalless draw at Cheltenham – Richard Hope replacing
Danny Collins, now at Sunderland, and Michael Branch
starting instead of Kevin Rapley.
Both Chester and Rushden were on the
attack at various stages in the first 10 minutes, with
Billy Turley making the first of a series of good saves
as Kevin Ellison struck a trademark thunderbolt effort
from the edge of the box. Turley, who rightly went on
to be named Rushden man-of-the-match, made another stop
a few minutes later – this time from Michael Branch.
best first half chance came with a close-range header
which went wide after MacKenzie misjudged a right-wing
cross. It was about his only mistake of the game – apart
from the small matter of having an uncanny knack
haphazard kicking clearances.
As the game settled down, I was relieved
to see both teams trying to play football – rather
than the ‘kick and
rush’ style of the
game we’d seen at
a style better suited to the likes of Ben Davies and
captain Paul Carden, who both put in solid midfield
City also had the advantage of being
cheered on by the hard-core faithful of 300-400 fans
who have been regularly backing their team on this season’s
away endeavours. It was certainly fortunate that Rushden
had a handy bar to help oil the fans’ sore throats
It was Rushden who had the first chance
to score in the second half when former Tranmere Rovers
player Alex Hay headed wide following a cross from David
Bell – their best outfield player on the day.
But it was another Bell – Chester’s
Cortez Belle – who really chimed his presence
with a top-class second half performance. He was at
the centre of almost every Chester attack – either
in the box or making handy crosses – as well as
taking his mammoth throw-ins and defending at all Diamonds’
As we got well into second half, Rushden
were increasingly on the back foot – Belle had
shot straight at Turley, Branch had hit the bar and
Turley had to block an Ellison strike. Branch then seemed
a certainty to score when a Ellison pass left him with
just Turley to beat – but the Diamonds’
keeper saved at close range as Branch tried to slot
At the other end, MacKenzie made
a cracking one handed save from Andy Burgess’s
25-yard volley. He confidently made sure he was first
to every cross in the second half – making it
obvious that he's a very capable replacement for Brown.
doubters made their feelings known to Rush when he introduced
Kevin Rapley at the expense of Branch on the 73rd minute.
The away following had just been chanting for last season’s
hero Daryl Clare to come off the bench.
But the boo-boys were soon hushed
when lively Rapley won a corner in front of the away
corner was met by an unmarked Stewart Drummond whose
deservedly put City 1-0 up with just 14 jangly minutes
It was almost game over just a few
minutes later when Ellison found himself clear, but
he couldn’t make
his shot count. Then Carden had a shot pushed onto the
bar by Turley. It was the most exciting spell I’ve
seen by the Blues in the League this season.
The only blackpoint of the day came
when Carden got himself booked for a nasty challenge
in the middle of the park. But that was soon forgotten
a few minutes later when the final whistle went and
the Blues celebrated their first ever win at Nene Park.
Mention must also go to Howard
Jolley – the Chester fan who left Northamptonshire
with perhaps the biggest grin of the day after he beat
all-comers to win the Exiles’ cheese skittles
competition – which this time took place at the
Locomotive pub in Wellingborough. He may get chance
to defend his crown when we visit Northampton in a month’s
time. Let’s hope City are still undefeated under
Ian Rush when we next return to cheese skittles country.
Sue Choularton | more
8 October 2004
Cheltenham Town 0 Chester
Attendance: 3,670 Half Time 0-0
Cheltenham Town: Higgs, Gill, Duff,
Brough, Victory, Devaney, Finnigan, Melligan, McCann (Guinan 77), Vincent (Wilson
84). Subs not used: Brown, Bird, Caines.
Chester City: Brown,
Edmondson, Bolland, Collins, Hessey, Drummond, Davies,
Carden, Ellison, Rapley (Branch 62), Belle.
Subs not used: Clare, Harris, Hope, Mackenzie.
stretched their unbeaten run to seven games but
will probably consider this as two
points dropped on
a night that saw several chances go begging in a game
played mostly in the air. Kevin Ellison returned
to the team at Kevin McIntyre’s expense following
his suspension to an otherwise unchanged side that
drew with Swansea City last week.
of Friday night football, with the England v
Wales international the following day, pulled
in their second highest crowd of the season,
3,670, including around 300 City fans.
With only two minutes on the
clock City had
a great chance to to open the scoring but striker
Kevin Rapley’s effort from inside the box
was cleared by Shaun Higgs in the home goal after
he was let in by a defensive mistake.
Wayne Brown was nearly caught
out by a long Higgs clearance that bounced off
the immaculate Whaddon Road turf and almost over
the on-rushing ‘keeper’s head, Brown
catching just in time.
Cortez Belle’s long throw-in’s
were to prove a nuisance all through the game
but the striker came close to scoring midway
through the half, rising above the home defence
only to see his goal-bound header cleared from
the line by McCann. Once again Belle was in the
thick of the action shooting over when well placed
as City continued to pressure with a series of
corners. The Blues weren’t having it all
their own way but Brown in the City goal dealt
with the Robins front line, though Vinent shot
wide when well placed in a first-half that was
littered with free-kick’s.
It was the home side
who came nearest to opening the scoring as the
half drew to a close. Devaney, slipped through
on the right, whipped in a superb cross, it
flashed across Brown and the incoming Phil Bolland
only for Spencer to glance the ball wide
a diving header from three yards out in front
of the City fans, a goal seemed certain.
The Robins, kicking towards
their own fans, started the brighter following
the break. Devaney and Melligan both shot wide
before Ian Rush introduced Michael Branch at
the expense of Rapley.
With the ball booming from
end to end, Belle headed wide when well placed
and seconds later Brown had to be alert to save
low down from the dangerous Devaney.
With the game entering added
time City almost snatched the winner. A great
piece of interplay by Ben Davies and Belle set
Branch free inside the box. From a narrow angle
he cleverly shot under the diving Higgs but his
effort, that seemed to take a deflection off
his legs was cleared from a yard out
Manager Rush was happy with
the point that extended City’s unbeaten run but,
with results elsewhere going against them, saw
the Blues slip to 22nd in League Two.
was happy with our point but we might have won
the game. I was happy that we kept a clean sheet
and we can’t be disappointed about that.
I knew that Cheltenham would be a hard side to
beat and that whoever scored the first goal would
win the game. I wasn’t too disappointed
take our chances because we’ve got players
who are coming back from injury. I’m not
disappointed, I’m happy about the way the
players battled – I couldn’t ask
for anything more from them.”
2 October 2004
Chester City 1 Swansea City
Attendance: 3,803 Half Time 1-0
Brown, Edmondson, Hessey, Bolland, Collins, Drummond,
McIntyre, Carden (Harris 88), Davies, Rapley, Belle
(Branch 65). Subs not used: Mackenzie, Hope,
Swansea City: Gueret,
Ricketts, Monk (Britton
62), Tate, Austin,
Forbes (Maylett 45),
O’Leary, Martinez, Robinson, Connor (Nugent
90), Trundle. Subs
not used: Fitzgerald, Murphy.
a mark of just how much City have progressed
over the last month
against third placed Swansea City is looked on
as two points dropped as opposed to one gained.
extended their unbeaten run to six games but could
have wrapped up all three points after a blistering
first half performance.
With Kevin Ellison suspended for
Kevin McIntyre resumed League action after his
eye infection. Manager Ian Rush elected to drop Darryn
Stamp to the bench and play the returning Cortez
Belle up front with Kevin Rapley.
City took the game to their visitors
from the off and forced a couple of corners in the
early stages, Both Ben Davies' flag-kick’s
being dealt with by Gueret in the Swans goal. With
long throw-ins causing all sorts of panic in the
Swans defence it wasn’t long before the break
Kevin Rapley picking up Drummond’s
flick-on and slotting the ball home from a narrow
angle, with Davies appearing to add the final touch
The Blues though they’d
doubled their lead minutes later but Drummond’s
effort was ruled out by Premiership referee Dermot
Gallagher for offside. Despite pressure from the
home side chances were few and far between, Kevin
Rapley shooting wide from the best
of them, and Phil Bolland just edging a shot wide following
another Belle throw.
As an attacking force Swansea
were rarely seen, a couple of late corners and
a shot from Adrian Forbes was the closest the visitors
came in the first half.
Swansea manager Kenny Jackett
rang the changes at half-time introducing Brad
Forbes and it was his handled cross in the penalty
area on 53 minutes by McIntyre that presented Lee
Trundle with the
chance of leveling things from the spot-kick,
which he duly did. The danger signs were already there
for City with Trundle forcing a save out of Wayne
Brown minutes earlier.
The visitors began to looked
more dangerous as the game progressed as City looked
to switch things with Michael Branch replaced Belle.
Trundle shot over the bar before Branch missed
to put City ahead, shooting just wide with nine
So City must be content with
a point, more sharpness in front of goal and they
would have had all three.
• Latest League