Chester are a team aiming to improve their home form,
and in Wycombe, came up against a side battling to better
their away form. Before kick-off, the Chairboys had only
won seven points on the road, with City riding high in
the table despite only gaining eight points at the Deva
So the betting fraternity might have this one down as
a cast-iron draw and that’s how it ended, as two
entertaining teams failed to find a winner despite 14
shots on target.
City fielded the same starting XI as at Edgeley Park,
and Wycombe were without striker Jermaine Easter, recently
loaned out to Plymouth Argyle.
Both sides settled down to a steady start, with no serious
threat on goal until Wycombe pressed forward on the 15-minute
mark. A strike by Sergio Torres looked to be well covered
by Chester ‘keeper John Danby, but it took a deflection
from a City defender and ended up in the back of the net.
But wait...lineswoman Amy Raynor was flagging for offside,
and as the Wycombe players celebrated, Blues fans breathed
a temporary sigh of relief. Then referee Graham Horwood
consulted with her and her offside decision was over-ruled.
Cue the second celebration from the red-and-white quartered
City livened up in an instant and within a couple of minutes,
the ball was at the other end. Tony Dinning attempted
to replicate the Torres strike and a deflection fell straight
to Chris Holroyd. It was easy pickings for him as he slotted
the ball home to make it 1-1.
Ms Raynor came in for a lot of stick during the first
half – but it was referee Horwood who missed John
Murphy being held back in the box by a Wycombe defender.
Both right-wingers had an excellent game. Richie Partridge
started making his presence felt towards the end of the
second half, and Wycombe’s pint-sized Martin Bullock
was difficult to handle. He jinked round two or three
City defenders into the box at one stage and just when
he could have fallen for a potential penalty, he passed
the ball – only for it to go wide.
It was actually Partridge who found a winning run first
when he got the ball on the 40th minute. He crossed perfectly
to Murphy, who headed the ball home at point-blank range.
The second half began much as the first, with City looking
like they wanted to keep things settled at 2-1. But Wycombe
had other ideas and after Holroyd lost the ball needlesly
in midfield, Wycombe pounced. A Torres header in a box
packed with players spilled out to John Sutton, who had
no trouble finding the net. I wonder if his father Mike,
an ex-Chester player, was there to see his goal?
Chester tried to fight back and there was a goalmouth
scramble soon after which had everyone in the main stand
on their feet as it looked inevitable a City shot would
somehow find the net. But it wasn’t to be.
Simon Yeo replaced a tiring Holroyd on the 67th minute,
but it was a nervous end for City, especially after defender
Simon Marples and Danby collided. Marples was chair-lifted
off by two stewards, with the doctor close behind, and
there was lengthy treatment on the pitch for Danby.
Kevin Roberts came on for injured Marples and Yeo looked
determined to prove his fitness. But Chester never really
looked like scoring again. The closest they came was when
a off-target Murphy shot daisy-cuttered its way past the
post as all looked agonisingly on.
A draw was probably a fair result, in a game in which
both sides had their fair share of chances. It is refreshing
to see exciting football at the Deva Stadium these days,
if only a few more came along to enjoy it.
maintained their excellent form on their travels, thanks
to a brace of quality goals by Richie Partridge at
Stockport’s Edgeley Park.
Partridge was a dangerman throughout, with a couple of good shots in the first
30 minutes and an excellent cross for Mark Hughes.
The Hatters also had their chances early on, with an opening minute corner and
a close-range header. They piled on the pressure after the half-hour mark and
went into the dressing room 1-0 up.
A Jason Taylor shot on the 45th minute was smothered by City ‘keeper John
Danby, but after discussion between the match officials, the ball was adjudged
to have gone over the line.
City replied not long after the re-start when that man Partridge found himself
in space after a visionary pass by Kevin Ellison. Partridge ran down the wing
and fired an unstoppable shot past Stockport’s Conrad Logan.
Chester came close a few minutes later when an Ellison header rebounded down
off the underside of the crossbar and then striker John Murphy failed to make
the most of the loose ball. Murphy came close not long after with a header which
Goal number two for Partridge came on the 81st minute and it was another top
drawer effort. A cross by Tony Dinning saw Partridge go on another run, before
firing the ball into the top corner to send the City fans into ecstasy.
From then on, Chester held on, to earn another three points against local rivals
and keep them undefeated in their League Two travels.
biggest Deva Stadium crowd of the season turned out
on Friday night to see second placed Hereford and third
placed Chester battle for the three points that would
have taken them to the top of the League. As it was,
after an entertaining 90 minutes both sides had to be
content with just a point, and both will rue missed
chances that could have given them maximum.
City manager Bobby Williamson presented
17-year-old Paul McManus with a full home league debut
and as expected Paul Butler, Kevin Ellison and John
Murphy were recalled to the side after sitting out the
midweek game at Brunton Park. Former City goalkeeper
Wayne Brown received a good welcome from the home fans
on his return.
The game was only three minutes old
when Hereford defender Dean Beckwith suffered what turned
out to be a broken jaw in an aerial collision and had
to be replaced by John McCombe.
towards the home fans City began in a positive fashion
Richie Partridge was seeing a lot of the ball down the
right and delivering some great crosses into the Bulls
box, one, a free-kick met by Paul Linwood produced a
smart quick reaction save from Brown. Partridge himself
then forced a save from Brown as he played a one two
with McManus cut inside the box and sent a low drive
to the near post.
Another fast flowing move saw a superb
crossfield pass to Partridge, the ball was centred and
knocked back to Ellison who volleyed from 25 yards,
Brown parried the ball three yards out but there was
no blue shirt on hand to apply the finishing touch and
the ball was cleared from danger.
City were enjoying the majority of
the possession but the visitors, kicking towards their
600+ following, still looked dangerous on the break.
There was a huge roar for the visitors for a penalty
midway through the half after the ball appeared to hit
Linwood from close range but referee Oliver waved play
Partridge and McManus swapped wings
and McCombe was on hand to deny John Murphy a shot at
goal with a blocking tackle as Chester continued to
It was Hereford though who had the
best chance late in the half as Steve Guinan headed
through for Clint Easton to bear down on goal but John
Danby was quickly off his line to narrow the angle and
force the shot over as the half came to an end.
City attacked from the off again and
saw Laurence Wilson hit the side netting with a free
kick from the edge of the box. Seven minutes after the
break Simon Yeo replaced Paul McManus, the youngster
leaving to a great reception after a debut to remember.
Just three minutes later Yeo was on
hand to open the scoring. A right wing cross was headed
down by Ellison at the far post to Murphy, before he
could control the ball he was tackled but the ball fell
to Mark Hughes whose effort was charged down but the
ball was prodded across goal by a defender straight
to Yeo who turned and poked the ball home under the
dive of Brown.
Brown denied City a second goal minutes
later saving from a Murphy header.
Bulls manager (and former Chester
defender) Graham Turner reacted by bringing on Lionel
Ainsworth on the right wing and he immediately caused
problems for the City defence and especially Wilson
who was left marking two players at times as Hereford
dominated the next 20 minutes.
Both Guinan and Robinson saw efforts
saved by Danby before the equaliser came 13 minutes
from time. A right winger corner was swung in, the ball
was flicked on and hit Linwood and deflected back towards
goal, Toumani Diagouraga reacted quickest to force the
ball home past two defenders on the line.
City survived a number of scares
before hitting back in the closing stages. Paul Rutherford
and Chris Holroyd were introduced and both saw efforts
stopped by Brown late on. Brown also saved at the feet
of Ellison following a free-kick and pushed a last-gasp
Butler shot wide to deny his former club all three points.
played Shrewsbury just two days earlier, manager
Bobby Williamson used the occasion of this second
Paint Trophy tie to give striker Paul McManus his first
senior start and fellow former youth team players Glenn
Rule and Adam Walker a place on the bench at Brunton
Park.Paul Butler, Kevin
Ellison and John Murphy were all rested.
A mistake by Paul Linwood
in the opening minutes almost gave the home side
a dream start. The City defenders back header
fell short of John Danby who managed to race
out to deny Graham, forcing the ball for a corner.
The home side didn’t
have to wait long to break the deadlock
which came in the 11th minute. Kevin Gall
played a one-two that split the City defence
to leave Gall time and space to beat Danby.
Four minutes later City
had a great opportunity to strike back
as Mark Hughes rounded ‘keeper Westwood
but with the open goal at his mercy inexplicable
Chester were enjoying plenty
of possession and drew level on 19 minutes as
Richie Partridge swept home McManus’s cross after a fine move down
McManus himself had two chances to put City ahead, first he sent a rising shot
over the bar following good work from Simon Yeo, and followed that by forcing
a fine save from Westwood after shooting from a narrow angle.
The home side restored
their advantage on 37 minutes as Marc Bridge-Wilkinson
collected the ball from Arnison, cut inside and
drilled a low shot into the bottom corner fro the
edge of the box.
City started the second half
well with Tony Dinning testing Westwood before
the Cumbrians extended their lead in 53 minutes.
Bridge-Wilkinson’s outswinging corner was
met my Livesey, his powerful header was parried
by Danby, Gall was first to react and slotted home
his second goal of the night.
A minute later it was four as another telling Bridge-Wilkinson pass picked
out Danny Graham who raced through to beat Danby.
young side continued to battle and McManus hit
a shot straight at Westwood before substitute Chris
Holroyd pulled one back. Holroyd had replaced Mark
Hughes just a matter of seconds before he headed
home a cross from Paul Rutherford for his first
senior goal for the club.
The game continued with both
sides trying to play and create chances. Gall almost
completed a hat-trick but dragged a shot wide of
Danby's post and Rule, who replaced Laurence Wilson
earlier, sent a shot over. The last effort of the
night fell to Simon Yeo who saw a shot saved low
down by Westwood in the final seconds.
So a second round exit for City who will take a lot of positives from this
gutsy display from a young side who all took their chance to impress well.
City moved third in League Two following this fine
second half showing that brought three goals against
With midfielder Tony Grant
injured, manager Bobby Williamson picked new signing
Tony Dinning in the starting X1 for a City debut,
Paul McManus also made his first appearance on
the bench after signing professional terms last
week. Nathan Lowndes, injured during the midweek
win at Grimsby was replaced by Kevin Sandwith.
It was the visitors who pushed
the ball quickly from the start but City who had
the first opening after six minutes when Kevin
Ellison found himself at the far post after an
interception by John Murphy, before clipping the
crossbar with his snap shot.
Shrewsbury continued to push
forward and Sandwith was well placed to head off
the line after a looping Hunt corner had been met
by Darren Kempson at the far post.
Neil Ashton twice shot over
from good positions as Shrewsbury continued to
press but at the other end Mark Hughes forced a
save from Glynn Garner in the Shrews goal after
being sent through by Laurence Wilson.
With the game heading towards
the break Ellison shot wide for City and Kempson
again headed just off target following an inswinging
The visitors almost opened the
scoring six minutes after the break as Pugh got the
better of Sandwith to cross for David Hibbert who
knocked the ball to Michael Symes who saw his shot
deflected for a corner. From the resulting flag kick
former City midfielder Stewart Drummond headed just
wide when well placed.
Murphy saw a header saved by Garner
just after the hour mark before Richie Partridge
gave the Blues the lead moments taking advantage
of a poor clearance onto a loose ball before crashing
the ball into the top corner from 20 yards out to
leave Garner no chance.
The lead lasted only seven minutes
though as former player Darren Moss headed home the
equaliser from six yards, flicking on Hunt’s
looping free-kick following a foul by Hughes.
No sooner had the Shrews equalised
then City regained the lead. A mix-up between Ashton
and Langmead allowed Murphy to race clear and slide
the ball under the advancing Garner. A minute later
City hit a third. The Shrews defence failed to clear
their lined and Dinning slipped a through ball to
substitute Simon Yeo who lashed the ball home from
18 yards to the delight of the Blues fans behind
City pressed for a fourth and it almost
came ten minutes from time as Murphy shot agonisingly
wide of goal. McManus came on for his debut replacing
partridge for the last seven minutes. Shell shocked
Shrewsbury still looked to get forward and Nicholson
was unlucky to see a shot drift just wide of Danby’s
post at the end of a pulsating second half.
the supporters bus breaking down prior to
picking up at Delamere Street earlier in
the afternoon, it
was a depleted band of City fans who could
make the journey to Cleethorpes. But for
those who could manage
to scramble alternative transport, the journey
was well worthwhile as goals from John Murphy
Ellison brought three more points for City
who move fourth as a result of this hard
Manager Bobby Williamson
changed Saturday’s winning X1 with
Neil Carroll dropping to the bench and
starting up front alongside John Murphy.
The Mariners produced a lively
start with Peter Till shooting wide in the opening
seconds following a through ball straight from
City created a couple of chances
themselves in the early stages that saw Mark Hughes
shooting wide on both occasions after good build
up play from Murphy, Paul Linwood and Ellison.
It was only ten minutes though before City opened
the scoring. Richie Partridge shook off his marker
and crossed for Lowndes, he flicked the ball to
Murphy who powered a header home past Phil Barnes
in the home goal. The linesman’s flag had
been raised in the build-up for a foul on the City
winger but referee Graham had waved play-on.
Town reacted in a positive fashion
and Paul Bolland was guilty of shooting high and
wide from inside the box after Till had got the
better of Laurence Wilson to get his cross in.
City were still dangerous on
the break with Partridge causing problems for the
home defence and shot straight at Barnes after
pouncing on Murphy’s knock-down.
The home side’s pressure
paid off in the 24th minute with a equaliser. Till,
down the right, once again proved the dangerman
and his cross was headed home unchallenged by Danny
Boshell with John Danby having no chance.
City had a great chance to restore
their advantage six minutes later as Ellison picked
up a loose ball and was allowed to run straight
through on goal before shooting wide from a good
In a game that was moving end
to end Danby came to City’s rescue saving
well to deny Isiah Rankin. Moments later the keeper
saved an angled effort from Ryan Bennett as the
home side applied the pressure before the break.
Just before the interval City
introduced Simon Yeo at the expense of Lowndes.
Grimsby continued the second
period where they’d left off and Danby saved
again from Rankin before Chester restored their
goal advantage on 47 minutes. Yeo saw a shot from
the edge of the box his the left hand post and
the rebound was slotted home by Ellison.
The home side made a couple of
changes as they looked for a second equaliser.
Boshell shot wide and Danby saved well with his
feet from Taylor after the substitute had been
sent clear to run on goal. Jones saw a looping
header deflect and drop just wide of the post as
Grimsby continued to probe.
To their credit though City still
searched for the third goal that would have sealed
the game and Partridge almost did that shooting
straight at Barnes after good play involving both
Murphy and Yeo before referee Graham brought the
game to an end.