Shrewsbury Town 3 Chester
Attendance: 5,430 Half Time 2-1
Shrewsbury Town: Hart, Herd, Whitehead, Hope, Ashton, Tolley,
Sorvel (Edwards 33), Smith, Jackson (Hogg 73), McMenamin, Stallard (Langmead
Subs not used: Cowan, Thompson.
Chester City: MacKenzie, McNiven, Artell, Dimech, Hessey,
Vaughan (Walker 49), Davies, Dove (Richardson 60), Curtis, Branch, Lowe.
Subs not used:
Curle, El Kholti.
Referee: C.Oliver (Northumberland).
Gay Meadow hoodoo continued on Saturday as the
Blues came away pointless for the first time on
their League travels this season. Only on one occasion
have City tasted victory at Shrewsbury, and it
was always going to be a struggle after poor defending
had gifted the home side a two-goal lead in just
Both Gregg Blundell, who picked up another
injury in training on Friday, and Carl Regan were expected to play
but neither was included in the
back from a poor
display at home to Bury seven days earlier.
In the opening seconds City conceded a free
kick as Luke Dimech fouled Colin McMenamin. The kick was swung over
to the back post where it
was met by Stallard who nodded the ball down for McMenamin to slot
home after just 34 seconds in front of a large away contingent of City
fans behind the goal.
City responded and were awarded a corner two
minutes later but Ben Davies’ outswinging effort was comfortably
dealt with by the Shrews defence.
Five minutes later and City found themselves
2-0 down following another defensive error. Stuart Whitehead played
a long hopeful ball down the
pitch from midfield, defender Dave Artell beat the onrushing Stallard
to the ball but his header back to Chris MacKenzie fell short and
striker slipped the ball past the keeper from 12 yards.
Jamie Tolley almost added a third on ten minutes but his lobbed shot
from 25 yards just cleared the bar.
City still enjoyed plenty of possession and when
they went forward they looked threatening without testing Hart in the
home goal too much.
Davies had the first real effort pouncing on a far post cross from
ex-Shrew Ryan Lowe but he planted his header wide.
The home side were forced into two substitutions
around the half hour before Lowe pulled a goal back for City, and what
a good goal it was. The Blues were awarded a free kick outside the
box on the right, Sean Hessey dummied to take it but it was Lowe who
stepped up to send his shot around the wall and past the unsighted
Hart and into the net.
Moments later Lowe found himself in the referee’s
notebook for throwing the ball at Herd. MacKenzie denied Town a third
goal on the stroke of half-time as he collected a free kick that had
been well struck
past City’s wall.
Just after the interval Stephen Vaughan had to be
replaced following a challenge from dave Edwards, Vaughan left the
pitch with blood streaming from a head injury and was replaced by Justin
City had a great chance to level matters on 55 minutes
but Davies saw his shot from 12 yards brush the outside of the post.
Two minutes later City found themselves 3-1 down. McMenamin flicked
on a long goal kick into the path of Langmead, he jumped over Walker’s
sliding tackle to score past MacKenzie.
With City running out of ideas it was the home side
that looked like scoring again. Langmead had a goal ruled out for offside
and McMenamin flashed a header wide following a teasing cross from
Ben Smith. Tolley went close with a 20 yard volley that fizzed over
Marcus Richardson, on for Craig Dove, shot wide
when well placed with seven minutes remaining that was to prove City’s
last chance of another disappointing display.
Pictures: Sue Choularton
Bury U18 2 Chester City
Youth Alliance North and Midlands West Conference
Half Time 1-3
Bury: Grundy, Wedge, Taylor, Bentley, Glennon, Clarkson, Worral, Quigley,
Smith (Stephens 45) Stepien, Mainwaring (Williams 67). Subs not used: Pauls,
Chester City: Lake, Potter, Marsh-Evans, Roberts, Cadwallader,
Scales (Newton 41), Linford (Wilson 63), Wade, Noon (M. Humphreys 91), Holroyd,
Rutherford. Subs not used: Armstrong, Morgan.
Referee: R. Hargreaves.
Although Chester started bright enough they failed to win that vital ‘second
ball’ and consequently put themselves under pressure. This inability only
heightened anxiety amongst certain players who continually resorted to aimlessly
whacking the ball in a blind panic.
On the ten-minute
mark Bury had strong appeals for a penalty turned down, when the ball dropped
out of the sky and landed on the right arm of
Marsh-Evans. In all fairness I’ve seen
them given, but it was clearly apparent that
Marsh-Evans knew nothing about the incident and
referee Hargreaves waved away the protests in
favour of a corner.
Having been on the back foot for the opening
minutes, it was Chester who took the lead on
the quarter hour mark with a stunning finish
from Holroyd. For the first time, the ball was
played out to Rutherford on the left wing. In
feinting to go up the line he jinked inside leaving
the two defenders for dead, and his cross was
met by the head of Wade, who cushioned the ball
back; Holroyd then hit it first time on the volley
and the ball flew into the top right corner.
Despite taking the lead
Chester still struggled at times, with Cadwallader
and Potter continually
showing indecision and opting to lump the ball
out of harms way. Thankfully Roberts
brought much needed stability to the back four
with a cool head and a willingness to play out
from the back. On 23 minutes Chester nearly went
two goals up when Noon narrowly failed to latch
on to a loose pass back, Grundy in the Bury goal
just getting there in the nick of time. From
his clearance, Roberts controlled the ball and ‘Hansen’ like
carried the ball forward where he put a delightful
ball straight into the path of Holroyd who had
beaten the offside trap. With only the keeper
to beat Holroyd slipped the ball under his body
and into the bottom left hand corner.
With two goals under their belt Chester started
to control the game and five minutes later went
three up. Noon received the ball on the halfway
line and played a square ball to Holroyd. He
in turn linked up with Linford, who then put
Noon through, one on one with the keeper. On
steadying himself Noon slotted the ball with
precision into the bottom right corner.
Straight from kick off Rutherford intercepted
a through ball and went on a mazy run, which
culminated in him dinking the ball over the flat
back four and into the path of Noon. Grundy this
time was quicker off his line and the danger
Chester’s continued dominance
brought panic to the Bury defence and in the
37th minute Scales
was about to unleash a shot, when Clarkson hit
him with a savage airborne two-footed challenge.
With memories of the Rochdale game fresh in mind,
and Neil Carroll’s red card for a much
lesser challenge one was certain that Clarkson
would see red. In not agreeing with the referee’s
decision Clarkson then came out with a mouthful
to the referee and one was certain that he was
in for an early bath. However, for some reason
Hargreaves only produced a yellow.
Despite returning to the pitch, Scales was unable
to carry on and limped off a couple of minutes
With Chester’s pattern
now disrupted momentarily, Bury mounted an attack
down Chester’s left
flank and the ball was put out for a throw-in.
From the resulting throw the ball was crossed
into the penalty area, where Newton only half
cleared to Stepien. Not looking a gift horse
in the mouth Stepien curled his shot past Lake
and into the bottom corner.
You didn’t need to be
a rocket scientist, to realise that Bury would
take the game to Chester
in the second half, and it was for this reason
that it was in City’s best interest
to try and get another goal. When Rutherford
intercepted the ball on the halfway line in the
49th minute he looked to have split the Bury
defence when he threaded a lovely ball through
to Holroyd who was marginally offside.
A little later, and Chester
rode their luck when Bury crossed the ball in
from the left wing.
Marsh-Evans on the back post had a rush of blood
and headed the ball back across the face of his
own goal, directly into the path of Quigley,
whose shot miraculously went wide. From that
minute on Chester always looked to be on the
back foot, with them continually being overrun
in midfield, as a result of which Linford was
replaced by Wilson and Chester reverted to a
4-5-1 formation in an attempt to protect their
two goal cushion.
With Bury now throwing
everything at Chester they inevitably left
gaps at the back, and in
the 68th minute Rutherford won a tussle in midfield
and in coming out with the ball should have chanced
his luck and took on the defenders. However,
in seeing Holroyd in a better position he played
Holroyd through who for some reason just stopped
in his tracks and the chance went begging. Cadwallader
then failed to deal with the keeper’s kick
and only succeeded in slicing his header out
for a throw in. From the throw in, the ball was
delivered to Stepien who turned and hit the ball
first time from 35 yards out. The resulting shot
caught Lake flat footed and he could only parry
the ball into his top right corner.
Despite being under a fair amount of pressure
Chester continued to dig in and during the final
stages could have added to their tally. Holroyd
in particular could and probably should have
put the game beyond doubt on a couple of occasions.
The most apparent when Rutherford again broke
up a Bury attack and put the ball in behind the
left back for Wade to run on to. Wade put a delightful
ball into the box, and Holroyd should have taken
full advantage of his free header from only five
The youth team are at home (Airbus UK) this Saturday
against Blackpool at 11am. A good opportunity
to kill two birds with one stone; drop the
missus off at Tesco and get yourselves along...
Chester City 1 Bury 1
Attendance: 3,471 Half Time 0-1
Chester City: MacKenzie, McNiven, Artell, Dimech, Hessey,
Lowe, Walker (Vaughan 63), Curtis, Davies (Bolland
89), Branch, Richardson (El Kholti 63). Subs not
used: Brookfield, Dove.
Bury: Edwards, Scott, Challinor, Woodthorpe,
Kennedy, Whaley, Flitcroft, Mattis, Buchanan,
Adams (Barlow 85), Youngs (Burke 79). Subs not
used: Grundy, Fitzgerald, Sedgemore.
Referee: M.Messias (South
Keith Curle considered his side lucky to pick
up a point after his side turned in a below-par
performance. Missing Stewart Drummond
in midfield and Gregg Blundell up front the Blues rarely threatened
the Shakers to any great effect throughout
a dull 90 minutes.
It was City who started
on the attack with Edwards rising well to cut out
a cross from Ryan Lowe and
Michael Branch worked his way into the box. At
the other end MacKenzie saw a free kick curle round
the post before the visitors took the lead on nine
minutes with Dwayne Mattis heading home from close
range and Buchan had pulled back a cross.
Bury could, and should,
have increased their lead further as the half
progressed. Dave Challiner
headed over from a corner when well placed and
ex-City player David Flitcroft, having a good
saw a long range effort go just wide.
Shaun Hessey saw a long-range effort go straight to Edwards as the Bury ‘keeper
dealt comfortably with any threat City could
The Blues did force a
free-kick on the edge of the box just before
the break but saw the kick deflected for a
corner. From the resulting flag-kick Scott
McNiven blasted a shot over the bar and the
roof of the north stand.
The Blues started the
second half with more urgency and almost pulled
a goal back after a snap-shot from Justin Walker
following a goalmouth melee was headed over
the bar from
on the line
With City proving ineffective
in midfield Curle made a double substitution
on 63 minutes bringing on Stephen Vaughan and
Abdou El Kholti for Walker and Marcus Richardson
who had struggled all afternoon.
On 76 minutes City levelled
as Branch chasing a through ball from Curtis
to the edge of the box was fouled by the onrushing
After a couple of minuets treatment to the
injured striker, Ryan Lowe stepped up and coolly
slotted the spot-kick home sending Edwards
the wrong way.
Ben Davies, who had a quiet
game for City, almost snatched the lead minutes
later but he just couldn’t
get on top of the ball and he headed over high
and wide at the back post.
City threw everything at
Bury in the final ten minutes, Vaughan played some
fine through balls, Lowe shooting just wide from
one, and defender Phil Bolland came on as a
makeshift centre forward but Bury held firm for
a deserved point.
3 Chester City 0
LDV Vans Trophy Round 1
Attendance: 1,224 Half Time 0-0
Cambridge United: Howie, Morrison, Duncan, Peters, Okai (Angel 88),
Bridges, Smith, Hanlon, Quinton, Westcarr (Atkins 86), Nolan (Onibuje 86). Subs
not used: Behcet, Davies.
Chester City: MacKenzie, Bertos, Bolland, Hessey, El Kholti, Rutherford
(McNiven 69), Walker, Vaughan, Dove, Richardson, Curle (Davies 79). Subs not
used: Brookfield, Dimech, Curtis.
Referee: G.Sutton (Lincolnshire).
was a night to forget for the 83
City souls who made the journey
to the Abbey Stadium for this first
LDV Vans Trophy tie. Just two players
who started the match at Underhill,
Chris MacKenzie and Marcus Richardson,
took to the field here as manager
Keith Curle used the rest of his
squad to take on a Cambridge United
side 15th in the Nationwide
along with captain on the night
and Abdel El Kholti are all former
U’s players. There was
also a debut to Paul Rutherford,
an 18-year-old regular in the
youth and reserve teams this
out on the right
The City fans had
hardly taken to their seats before
United had forced the first corner
of the match after just 20 seconds.
That flag-kick was cleared but minutes
later there was another moment of
danger as Hessey blocked a Westcarr
shot and MacKenzie did well to save
the follow up from Nolan. The keeper
was well placed again soon after
to make a close range double save
from Quinton as the away goal came
far too much room on the wing, provided
a teasing cross for Nolan who should
have done better than volley over
when well placed as City’s
defence was once again stretched.
Leo Bertos, playing at right back,
was at times allowing Okai far too
much room on the wing and he provided
another telling cross that Westcarr
headed over from close range.
As an attacking
force City were almost non-existent.
The nearest they came to a goal was
a shot from Walker, booed all night
by the home fans, that curled wide;
and a mazy run by Rutherford that
was snuffed out by the home defence.
MacKenzie was called
upon to make several more saves as
City were glad to get to the interval
still on level terms.
The second half
with City pushing forward and they
were rewarded with a free-kick on
the edge of the area but Sean Hessey
saw his effort blocked by the wall.
Normal service was soon resumed though
for long periods.
Nolan forced another
great save from MacKenzie and United
forced a series of corners that were
scrambled away by a shaky City defence.
On 63 minutes the deadlock was broken.
MacKenzie saved well from Hanlon
following a free kick but the ball
rebounded off a post into the path
from close range.
made a steady promising debut was
replaced by Scott McNiven as City
looked to bounce back but all the
action was at the other end with
MacKenzie saving Quinton’s volley
Phil Bolland found
himself in the referee’s notebook
for handball and Thomas Curle was
replaced by Ben Davies before the
home side doubled their lead with
Smith shooting home from
the edge of the box with the ball
taking a deflection off Bolland to
take it past MacKenzie.
With the rain falling
and City fans heading for the exit,
substitute Onibuje took control in
the box before beating two defenders
and scoring from a narrow angle in
the last minute to cap a miserable
night for a disjointed City.
Barnet 1 Chester City
Attendance: 2,206 Half Time 0-2
Booked: MacKenzie, Branch, Richardson, Dimech. Sent-off: Drummond.
Barnet: Flitney, Batt, Hendon, Charles, Gross (King 73), Strevens (Norville
62), Bailey, Sinclair, Graham (Lee 62), Hatch, Grazioli. Subs not used: Tynan,
Chester City: MacKenzie, McNiven, Regan (Hessey 43), Artell,
Dimech, Branch (Curle 79), Drummond, Curtis, Davies, Richardson (Walker
46), Lowe. Subs
not used: Vaughan, Bertos.
Referee: A.D’Urso (Essex).
Chester City continued their impressive away form with
this 3-1 victory at a sunny Underhill. As expected Gregg
unable to play but there was a return to the heart of
the defence from
David Artell who played alongside Luke Dimech.
Barnet started the better with
Dimech doing well to rob Liam Hatch in the fifth
minute and Chris MacKenzie did well to block
a shot from Sinclair before City broke away and
almost took the lead on 13 minutes.
Fine inter-play between Michael
Branch and Marcus Richardson set up the big striker
but he saw his shot tipped over the bar from
close range by Flitney, it was a good save but
the striker should have hit the back of the net.
But the breakthrough came seconds later.
took the resultant short corner to Branch, the forward brilliantly
turned his marker to leave a clear
run along the byline, his cross was pulled back
for Richardson whose shot was blocked before
Branch could knock home the rebound with referee
that the ball had crossed the line before a Bees
defender cleared, Stewart Drummond
headed home anyway for good measure.
There was a scare for MacKenzie
as his momentum after catching a cross carried
him, and the ball, outside the box. Fortunately
the referee didn’t
see it as a deliberate act and booked the keeper.
The resulting free-kick on the edge of the box
went straight into the City wall
The game erupted on 35 minutes
following a clash between Drummond and Bees defender
Neil Bailey. 21 players took to the scuffle (Macca
watched from afar) and referee D’Urso
reached for the red card for Drummond and a yellow
Barnet pressed again and both
Hatch and Ben Strevens saw efforts missed and
MacKenzie was also forced to make a fine low-down
save to preserve City’s
lead and a minute from the break Giuliano Grazioli
saw an acrobatic effort bounce clear off the
On the stroke of half-time
City added a second crucial goal. MacKenzie’s
long goal kick was
knocked down by Richardson
up by Lowe who ran at the Barnet defence, superbly
turned a defender before shooting home, his effort
taking a deflection as it hit the back
of the net just inside the left hand post. Lowe
wheeled away to celebrate in front of the delirious
City fans behind the goal.
Carl Regan limped off to be
replaced by Shaun Hessey just before the interval
and Justin Walker replaced Marcus Richardson
just after as City reshuffled the 10-man pack.
Despite a lot of possession
after the break Barnet were given little opportunity
at goal by a resolute City defence. The tackles
were beginning to fly in and home defender Anthony
Charles saw red after a second bookable offence
following a clumsy challenge on Tom Curtis – who
made the home side pay a minute later with a
third well taken goal.
again found space and time in midfield to turn
on the ball and play a a defence-splitting
pass to Curtis on the right. He timed his
through run well
and drilled the ball past the unprotected Flitney
in the home goal for his first goal in City’s
On 77 minutes Grazioli pulled
a goal back sliding in at the far post to convert
a knock-down but apart from a couple of wide
efforts City held out comfortably for three
more points to remain fifth.
Chester City U18
2 Tranmere Rovers U18 2
Youth Alliance North and Midlands West Conference
Half Time 0-1
Chester City: Lake, Potter, Marsh-Evans, Roberts, Cadwallader, Linford,
Rutherford, Carroll (Scales 54), Noon (Newton 73) Holroyd, Wade (Wilson 61).
Subs not used: Armstrong, M. Humphreys.
Tranmere Rovers: Palethorpe, Vaughan, Lovell, Holmes (Jones 45), Johnston,
Henry, Curran, Jones, Corrigan, Garry, Holden (Williams 61). Subs not used: Ferguson,
Referee: A. Pownall.
With both sets of players having grown up in close vicinity and either played
in the same school district teams or against each other, there was personal
pride at stake. Hence, it came as no surprise that this game took on the
feeling of a typical derby match from the very first minute.
With Tranmere under
the guidance of ex-pro, and one time Chester
player, Shaun Garnett, and also the good
start that they have made in The Youth Alliance
they went into this game as firm favourites.
But what they didn’t count on was the
tenacity of this Chester team, which seems
to thrive on being the underdogs.
The first opening fifteen minutes was end-to-end
stuff, with both teams creating half chances,
with Chester slightly shading it. However,
it was clearly apparent that Tranmere have
been coached to keep the ball flowing and
to get into the faces of their opponents,
rarely giving them time to pass the ball
comfortably, something that Chester failed
to do. With the Tranmere defence having the
luxury of being able to pass the ball around
without pressure they started to create problems
for Chester, with Vaughan and Lovell feeding
the two wide men of Holden and Curran.
Before Chester knew
it they were on the back foot being rushed
into playing the long
ball, only to continually defend against
the fast attack of Tranmere, and one wandered
just how long it would be before Tranmere
took the lead. We didn’t have to wait
Having enjoyed a good five-minute
spell of sustained pressure Tranmere took
in the 20th minute through Garry, after
Marsh-Evans was caught knapping from a quick
throw-in. For the next fifteen minutes Tranmere
controlled this game with ease, with the
back four having ample time to pick out their
pass. Although continually overran Chester
continued to struggle, with the midfield
players in particular digging deep and giving
chance of the half came in the 37th minute
when Noon broke into
the penalty area. With keeper Palethorpe
diving in at his feet Noon went down and
his appeals for a penalty were waved away
by the referee. From the erratic clearance
the ball found its way to Carroll on the
edge of the penalty area, who drove the ball
goal-bound, only for Lovell to clear of the
line and behind for a corner. In the last
five minutes of the half Holroyd had two
decent half chances to level the score.
For the first quarter of an hour of the
second half neither team looked to take
and Scales replaced Carroll ten minutes
in. In the 61st minute Tranmere won a
which was driven in low to the front post
and Scales swung at it to clear up field,
only for him to miss kick his clearance.
With the ball precariously bobbling around
in the six-yard box, Corrigan was first
to react prodding the ball past Lake
Jim Hackett acted swiftly
and brought on Wilson for Wade and
4-3-3 formation. With a three-pronged
attack of Rutherford, Holroyd and Noon, Chester
took the game to Tranmere and two minutes
later got themselves back into the game.
With Noon again involved in a scramble
on the edge of the penalty area, the
free to Holroyd. For a moment Holroyd
to hesitate and his chance looked to
be gone when he turned back on himself.
in managing to spot a gap, he scuffed
his shot and what should have been a comfortable
save for Palethorpe, somehow managed
find its way past him, where it took
an age for
the ball to cross the goal-line.
With Chester now
in buoyant mood Scales saw a shot cleared
of the line in the 65th
minute, and when the rebound fell to Holroyd
he was pushed to the floor when he was about
to shoot and referee Pownall showed no hesitation
in pointing to the spot. Despite Jim Hackett
indicating for Marsh-Evans to take the penalty
Holroyd stepped up and sent Palethorpe the
wrong way. From this moment on Chester took
the game to Tranmere and looked by far the
better team, Rutherford now out on the left
always seemed to have space and at one point
jinked inside with ease where he set Linford
up with a delightful ball, Linford’s
shot hitting a defender and going behind
for a corner. However, in not wanting to
settle for a draw Chester at times left gaps
at the back, and at one such time when Tranmere
exploited this deficiency, Rutherford worked
back to dispossess Jones. On regaining possession
he jinked past Curran and knocked a fifty-yard
ball in behind the Tranmere defence, where
Marsh-Evans lobbed the out-rushing Palethorpe,
his shot dropping inches wide. For the remainder
of the half Chester continued to dominate
and had should have wrapped things up, Marsh-Evans
missed two good chances, the first being
an open goal and the second where he failed
in rounding the keeper.
a two-goal cushion Tranmere will be wondering
how on earth they let Chester
back into this game. The fact remains, that
Jim Hackett’s response to take a gamble
clearly paid dividends and restored belief
amongst his troops. With Chester dominating
for much of the last 30 minutes Tranmere
will be relieved that they got a point out
of this fixture!
City U18 0
Youth Alliance North and Midlands West Conference
Half Time 0-0
Rochdale: Rigby, McDonagh, Wood, Thompson, Liptrot, Bowden, Buckley,
Warburton, Wharton, Greenwood, Mapmodise Subs: Kay, Farmer, Coleman, Murray,
Chester City: Brookfield, Potter (Mealand 65), Marsh-Evans, Roberts,
Cadwallader, Linford (Scales 65), Rutherford, Carroll, Noon (M. Humphreys 73),
Holroyd, Wade. Subs not used: Armstrong, N. Humphreys.
City would have every reason to feel hard done by after their gallant
effort today. Chester started the brighter of the two, with Rutherford
being instrumental from the first minute to the last. With barely a minute
on the watch Rutherford picked the ball up some 40 yards out and played
one-two with Linford. Unfortunately the finish didn’t match the
build up play and his shot went wide.
From that moment
on Rochdale had their backs to the wall finding it nigh on impossible to
cope with the slick passing of Chester, and within minutes of
Rutherford’s effort Linford saw a chance rattle the crossbar. As the
half developed Rochdale were like the proverbial rabbit caught in the headlights,
not knowing which way to turn next.
With Chester directing proceedings they nearly took
a well-deserved lead in the 16th minute when Holroyd managed to flick a header
on and Rutherford outwitted
the defender. With the ball bouncing up awkwardly, Rutherford lobbed the out-rushing
keeper only to see the ball fall agonisingly wide of the goal. ‘It surely
wouldn’t be long before Chester converted these chances and romped home
to victory!’ However, referee Tierney had other ideas and decided to
spoil the game with an irrational decision in the 24th minute. Having overran
the ball; Carroll tried to recover and caught Buckley late. Expecting the referee
to take the wet greasy conditions into mind and give Carroll a ticking off,
a yellow at most, he took everyone by surprise when he produced a red. ‘You
think Beckham was hard done by!’ Carroll’s treatment was harsh
compared to his. Credit to the lads though, who responded magnificently and
continued to take the game to Rochdale, with Rutherford dropping to centre-mid
and Holroyd playing up front on his own.
With the injustice of the red card still fresh in the mind, it was inexcusable
when the referee then failed to take action against Buckley who went through
the back of Noon some ten minutes later. Having worked their socks off and
still going in search of that elusive goal, Chester left one or two gaps, which
Rochdale exploited and created two late efforts. Fortunately, Brookfield was
more than up to the job!
The second half saw Rochdale introduce all three subs
and also a change in formation with them now employing a 3-4-3 formation;
the change bringing
them an early opportunity when Coleman saw his shot deflected wide for a
corner. From the corner, Potter cleared the ball up to Rutherford on the
right flank, where he got in behind the defender and crossed for Holroyd.
Unfortunately Holroyd lost his footing at the penultimate moment and the
chance was gone. Despite Rochdale’s change in formation, Chester continued
to take the match to them and Rutherford produced a moment of magic when
he outwitted the right back, only to see his cross half cleared. Not to be
deterred he got the ball back from Linford and again outwitted not one, but
two defenders with his lightening quick feet, to produce a quality cross
that was this time thumped away.
Having thrown everything at Rochdale, including the kitchen sink the lads
seemed to hit the wall momentarily, and from the 60th minute Rochdale had a
twenty-minute spell that Chester weathered well. Despite their tiredness Chester
defended stoutly giving everything they had! In the 78th minute however, the
lads rode their luck when Marsh-Evans and Cadwallader showed uncertainty, allowing
Coleman to exploit their indecisiveness and race clean through on goal, where
Brookfield spread himself well. With the ball rebounding back to the feet of
Coleman he steered the ball towards the empty net, only to see his effort turn
behind for a corner by Wade, who came sliding in to prevent a certain goal.
Having survived the ‘wake up call’ Chester
rallied and were unfortunate not to take the lead; firstly when Wade played
a ball up to Rutherford, who
chested it and turned to put Holroyd in with a delightful side foot volley,
the ball being a tad too heavy for Holroyd. Then in the last minute of the
game, Rutherford showed great determination to get something out of nothing.
Having received the ball by the corner flag on the right hand touchline, two
defenders tried to put him in Row Z. He outwitted both of them and
managed to find his way into the penalty area, with the same two defenders
breathing down his neck he stumbled to the ground. Despite the ever-presence
of his two burly minders and with Rutherford now on his backside he somehow
managed to pick out Holroyd inside a crowded penalty area; whose snapshot from
eight yards out produced a magnificent save from Rigby.
One can’t help but think that Rochdale would be
delighted with a point from this game, and should thank the referee for making
a match out of it,
with his controversial decision to dismiss Carroll. It could have been so easy
for the lads to crumble, but fact remains that they took this game to Rochdale
and deserved to take all three points. Jim Hackett can look back with pride
at his team’s tenacity and hopefully they can build on this display with
a similar performance against Tranmere Rovers at Airbus next Saturday morning.
Chester City 2 Rochdale
Attendance: 4,327 Half Time 0-1
Booked: Dimech, Curtis, Regan, Bertos.
Chester City: MacKenzie, McNiven, Artell (Bolland 72), Dimech, Regan,
Branch, Drummond, Curtis, Davies, Blundell (Lowe 4), Richardson (Bertos 80).
Rochdale: Gilks, Goodhind (Brown 74), Griffiths, Gallimore, Goodall,
Cartwright, Clarke, Jones, Jaszczun (Warner 52), Lambert, Holt. Subs not used:
again City were involved in another thrilling game. After last
week’s end-to-end affair at Wycombe, the entertainment continued
with this cracker. City supporters will be disappointed at the
result but could not fault the effort or entertainment of their
Kick off was delayed by five minutes to allow City’s biggest
crowd of the season to get in. Blundell latched on to Drummond’s
ball on four minutes and was clattered on the edge of the area
by ‘Dale ‘keeper Gilks. There was a lengthy delay while
Blundell was stretchered off. Gilks was fortunate to receive just
card. From the free kick, Davies shot got through but was turned
round the post.
City peppered the visitors goal with several chances. Davies looked
to have opened the scoring but his shot hit the bar and bounced
on the line only to somehow stay out. Drummond went close with
a header and Artell had two near misses. These were the pick of
a whole host of attempts. Rochdale took the lead, though, just
before half time with a smash and grab counter attack. Holt held
the ball up well for Jones to arrive from midfield and slot the
Chester came out fired up and laid siege to the visitors’ goal.
They drew level when Lowe stole in on the blind side and teed up
Drummond to equalise. A couple of minutes later Lowe played on
after Branch had been clattered and the Rochdale defence stood
still. Davies converted his cross at the second attempt, while
sitting on the ground.
The atmosphere was now white hot but Rochdale did not wilt and
came back at City. Richardson broke out of the Chester half and
went on a mazy run to set up Branch to run at goal from the left.
He had a golden chance to make it 3-1 but his shot was saved and
the rebound just eluded Lowe and Richardson.
City looked to tire and Rochdale began to get a grip on the game.
MacKenzie made a wonderful save from Jones’ volley but then
made a hash of a punch and Holt sidefooted the equaliser home.
Artell went off injured much to the home fans’ dismay. With
five minutes to go, the ever-dangerous Holt turned his marker and
in an angled shot. Mackenzie saved at full stretch but Lambert
scored from the rebound.
It was heartbreak for City but, as with the Grimsby game, they
must surely take heart from a thoroughly convincing performance.
If Gregg Blundell had remained on the field it might have easily
been a different story.
Wrexham Reserves 1 Chester City Reserves 1
Pontins Holiday League Division One West
Attendance: 250 Half Time 0-0
Wrexham: Jones, Harris, Done (Edwards 51), Roche, G. Evans, Mike Williams,
Fleming, Mackin, McEvilly, Reed (Marc Williams), C. Evans. Subs not used: Gray,
Chester City: Brookfield, Wade (Holroyd 85), Marsh-Evans, Roberts,
Bolland, Vaughan, Bertos, Dove, Rutherford, Curle, El Kholti. Subs not used:
Linford, Potter, Mealand.
Referee: I.Scarr (Birmingham).
With the pace being fast and furious from the off,
one felt that the crowd of 250 would be in
for a treat. In the second minute Chester had shouts
for a penalty turned down, when the Wrexham
Jones upended Rutherford. However, referee
Scarr saw differently and awarded Chester a throw
After the early scare, Wrexham were the quicker
to settle with McEvilly unsettling the Chester
defenders with some hefty aerial challenges and
harrying players with good effect. Being unable
to pass the ball out from defence Chester resorted
to playing long, and the front two of Curle and
Rutherford continually struggled with the aerial
dominance of the Wrexham back four.
For the first twenty minutes Wrexham where the
better team, with two or three good chances going wide or over. However,
as the half developed it was apparent
that Wrexham couldn’t keep up the work rate and Chester had a good spell
of possession that produced a couple half chances. Adam Wade in particular
went on a decent run where he cut inside Done, his final ball unfortunately
lacking the quality of his run. However, with the half time interval drawing
nearer neither team could break the deadlock and the teams went in all square.
The start of the second half seen a trio of yellow cards inside the first
two minutes, Gareth Evans and Curle were booked after a tussle, and then McEverly
for a late challenge on Wade. Once the game had settled down, Wrexham looked
the better team with chances falling to Reed and Mike Williams, both efforts
requiring Brookfield to be at his best. Despite having the better of the play
Wrexham failed to capitalise on their possession and frustration set in with
Mackin being booked in the 76th minute for dissent.
With Chester hanging on, they spurned a golden opportunity
to snatch the lead in the 80th minute when Curle put Rutherford clean through,
one on one with
Jones. With Rutherford lining up his shot Roche slid in to make a magnificent
last-ditch challenge, taking the ball off his toe. One couldn’t help
but wonder how costly this miss would be? A minute later we found out, when
El Kholti was caught in possession and the ball was played through to Marc
Williams who shot across the approaching Brookfield and into the far corner.
With time running out Chester brought on Holroyd and
went with three up front, a decision that would determine the outcome of
this game. With
the game deep
in injury time Chester won a free kick inside their own half and the ball
was thumped up field where Rutherford steered the ball through to Holroyd
the penalty area. With Holroyd lining up his shot his standing foot was whipped
from beneath him by Jones, an action that seen him sent off for denying a
goal scoring opportunity. After calm was restored Marsh-Evans coolly
and sent McEvilly the wrong way to steal a draw. Sweet revenge for the player
who was released by Wrexham two years ago!
3 Chester City 3
Attendance: 5,145 Half Time 2-2
Booked: Lowe, McNiven, Branch, Artell.
Wycombe Wanderers: Talia, Senda, Easton, Johnson, Williamson, Betsy,
Bloomfield (Stonebridge 77), Torres (Dixon 67), Oakes, Tyson (Burnell 45), Mooney.
not used: Williams, Martin.
Chester City: MacKenzie, McNiven, Regan, Dimech, Artell, Lowe (Blundell
63), Drummond, Curtis, Davies, Branch, Richardson (Walker 84). Subs not used:
Vaughan, El Kholti, Bertos.
Referee: K.Wright (Cambridgeshire).
was billed as the League Two match of the day and this exciting
encounter with Wycombe Wanderers certainly lived
up to expectations. The Blues (playing in black) twice took
the lead in the opening half
at the Causeway Stadium but in the end had to settle for a point
as they were twice denied by the woodwork.
Manager Keith Curle made
two changes from the Carlisle match starting
with Tom Curtis in midfield and Marcus Richardson
up front at the expense of Justin Walker and
Gregg Blundell who both took a seat on the
The game was only ten minutes old when City
opened the scoring. McNiven’s
short free-kick inside his own half up front to Lowe was lost
but quick work from Ben Davies chasing back robbed a Wycombe
to feed Lowe once
again, his shot
was deflected into the air to Richardson, the big striker
held off a defender well to chest the ball back to Drummond
who volleyed home
of the bar from 18 yards for a stunning opener.
The match was played at a high tempo and
both sides continued to push and miss chances. Chairboys top
scorer Nathan Tyson, who
a header wide and Ryan Lowe found the side netting when
both may feel they could have done better.
City almost gifted their hosts and equaliser
on 20 minutes. A through ball right down the centre of defence
was heading straight to to Luke Dimech but he allowed the
ball to bounce over his outstretched foot to give Kevin Betsy
a clear run on goal, fortunately Chris MacKenzie advanced
spread himself to save with his legs when a goal looked
It wasn’t long however until the equaliser
came. The City defence allowed the busy Torres too much time
on the left and his floated cross was met at the back post
Tommy Mooney who hammered the ball into the ground and over
Wycombe, buoyed by the equaliser created
a couple more half chances as they tried to seize the initiative.
Ten minutes later though City were ahead again.
Sergio Torres was robbed of the ball by
Lowe at a Wycombe corner, he raced away and fed
splitting ball to Richardson on the wide left wing, his
quick ball inside to Carl Regan was squared by the defender
who beat Talia to slide the ball home from the penalty spot,
a classic breakaway goal if ever there was one.
Minutes before the break City went close
to extending their lead as Branch’s opportunist effort
from a narrow angle came back off the inside of the post to
safety. On the stroke of half-time the home side drew level
again as Roger Johnson outjumped David Artell at the back
post to head home following a floated free-kick.
The second half was only five minutes old
when Wycombe took the lead for the first time in the match.
Betsy went on a jinking run along the byline before pulling
the ball back for Mooney to score from close range. Betsy
thought he’d scored himself minutes later only to see
his ‘goal’ ruled out for offside.
City refused to sit back though and parity
was restored on the hour mark. McNiven’s Long
throw in the right (running over the collapsed advertising
backwards by Drummond to Branch who swept the ball home
from ten yards to the delight of the City fans behind the
Both sides attacked looking for the winner.
MacKenzie made a fantastic save to push a Mooney volley wide
and then made a stunning block to deny Wilkinson’s close
range header. At the other end Richardson saw a header flash
just over the bar and substitute Gregg Blundell also caused
problems with a couple of runs on goal.
In the very last minute City almost grabbed
all three points. A long throw from the left was flicked on
the ball came out to Branch
box. With two defenders in front of him, he steadied
himself before clipping over a far post lob/shot that hit
the angle and dropped in the box, the ball pinged around before
Talia saved a snap-shot from the edge of the box in the last
action of a pulsating contest that finished honours even.
Chester City U18 0 Wigan
Athletic U18 1
Youth Alliance North and Midlands West Conference
Half Time 0-0
Chester City: Armstrong, Wilson, (Potter
69) Marsh-Evans, Roberts, Cadwallader, Linford, Noon, (M.Humphreys 79) Wade,
73) Holroyd, Rutherford. Subs not used: Mealand, Newton.
the Premiership new boys in town expectations were high, and Chester adopted
a 4-5-1 formation designed to contain the
supremacy of Wigan. Unfortunately Wigan didn’t live up to those
assumptions and rarely offered this game anything to mention.
It was a poor game played on the training pitch, and continually
spoilt by the blustery conditions and an over zealous referee, who
wanted to be bigger than the game. At times speaking to players in
manner, especially in the 23rd minute when he cautioned the Wigan
With the ball spending more time in the air than on the ground neither
team stamped their authority on this game, and although Chester shaded
the first half they failed to get numbers forward and never really
threatened the Wigan goal.
In the second half Chester started quite bright
for the first few minutes, with a half chance falling to Carroll,
whose first touch
let him down. Nevertheless, the longer this game went on the more
painful it was to watch, with the weather conditions getting worse.
With both teams struggling against the elements,
it wasn’t until the 56th minute that either team had a clear cut chance
when the referee
awarded Wigan a dubious penalty. Armstrong in the Chester goal was
up to the job diving to his left, tipping the ball on to the post.
With neither team creating much, the game had 0-0 written all over
it; that was until the 72nd minute when Wigan scored. Having won a
throw in on the left wing the ball was eventually whipped into the
and instead of trying to clear it the defence opted to play a dubious
offside, resulting in the number 6 aiming his free header into the
roof of the net from only eight yards out.