As wintry weather enveloped the Deva Chester fans could
be forgiven for thinking that Christmas had come early
as City humbled high flying Brentford by three goals to
nil. A quick glance at the liturgical calendar revealed
that this was not Yuletide but the feast day of St Simon
and St Jude – the latter is, after all, the patron
saint of lost causes.
The match did not get off to the best of starts for Chester
after Linwood gave away a free kick on the edge of the
box and Harris was booked extremely harshly for encroaching
after just eleven seconds. Brentford, unbeaten in the
League since the first day of the season moved the ball
around slickly and occasionally found too much room for
Chester’s comfort. MacDonald clattered in to the
back of Danby as a cross came over and the game was delayed
while the keeper received attention.
At the other end City were looking more threatening than
usual. A real turning point in the match occurred in the
twenty-fourth minute. Poole whipped in a low cross from
the left and Mr(Marcus) Bean ghosted in to the area. His
shot cannoned off the underside of the bar and away to
safety. Within a minute Chester took the lead as Johnson
flicked on a forward ball from Linwood and Lowe ran on
in the inside right channel to finish past Hammer in the
You felt that the next goal would be crucial to the result
– mercifully it went City’s way. Lowe was
nudged off the ball by City’s right corner flag.
Bennett protested his innocence so vehemently he was still
wittering on at the ref when the free kick came over and
Roberts dived to meet Lowe’s cross with a sublime
header to make it two-nil. Even better was to follow a
few minutes later when Lowe sprung through the Bees’
offside trap and nicked a shot past Hamer and in off the
Three-nil to City and there was still half an hour to
go! Brentford continued to have a lot of possession but
their play was continually broken up by the business of
Mozika, Hughes and Harris in midfield – all of whom
gave immense performances for the Blues. In the end Lowe
and Johnson both went agonisingly close to adding to City’s
total but neither went quite as near as substitute Rutherford
who ended a flowing move from Lowe and Ellison by striking
the foot of the post with his shot.
The final whistle was greeted with a huge cheer and prolonged
applause for a superb City performance. Icing on the cake
was provided with the news that Eastwood Town had secured
their place in the first round proper of the FA Cup (at
the expense of a certain Welsh club down the road). The
Harry McNally Terrace fans who had kept the chanting going
for the full ninety minutes continued in good voice all
the way down Bumpers Lane.
was one of those games where the scoreline wasn’t
a true reflection of the performance of both sides, but
the Gills fans won’t care about that.
Chester, with two changes from the 6-1 midweek drubbing
at Rochdale, put in a creditable first-half showing
and with a bit more luck could have sneaked a draw
from their long trip to Kent .
The Blues, cheered on by a
small, but vociferous, away following, certainly
had the best of the game’s
opening spell. Ryan Lowe, one of the Chester man-of-the-match
contenders, had a tame shot on target in the first
Soon after, Damien Mozika brought
all sides of the impressive Priestfield Stadium out
into smiles when
a wild shot cleared the impressive Rainham End Stand.
It was an ‘achievement’ that can’t
be witnessed many times in a season.
Still, he had a lively afternoon, and was often in
the thick of the action. The five fouls he committed
at least showed a determination on his part.
Otherwise, the first half saw
Eddie Johnson have a shot easily held by Gillingham
goalkeeper Simon Royce,
before City’s John Danby made a good block from
a Gills’ strike. Kevin Ellison had the best chance
of the half when he was unmarked in the area, but shot
over the bar.
The second half started much as the first,
until Gillingham manager Mark Stimson bought on substitute
on the 54th minute. He made an immediate impact, drawing
James Vaughan into a challenge that earned him a booking.
The onus now seemed to be with
the Gills, and Stimson’s
second substitution on the 63rd minute, when the unpopular
Adam Miller was replaced by Stuart Lewis, led to another
On the 70th minute, City failed
to deal with an on-rushing Jarrett and after at least
three chances to clear the
ball, it was put into the back of the net by a Gills
player. Even the matchday commentator couldn’t
decide who to award the goal to, but it was Andy Barcham
who claimed it.
A core of the travelling army turned against the Blues
and within a few minutes, Gillingham won a rare home
corner. Again there seemed to be confusion in the City
defence and the ball found its way into the net.
Chester heads dropped as all around
realised there was no way back from 2-0 down with 17
minutes to go.
Lowe, Ellison and Johnson all had efforts on goal,
but there seemed to be no real danger of a point being
From the post-match banter with the Gills fans,
we had obviously flattered their team and they were
without praise for Chester. But as an away fan, it
was one of those days when the pre and post-game meeting
pubs were more exciting than the match.
conceded six goals for the second time this season as
they were left humiliated at Spotland following this drubbing.
Dagenham hit Chester for six on the opening day of the
season and the Blues have won just twice since then as
their poor start continued here.
Simon Davies recalled James Vaughan, suspended for Sunday’s
defeat by Port Vale, and brother Stephen at the expense
of the injured Shaun Kelly and Anthony Barry who took
a seat on the bench.
In the wet and windy Rochdale conditions
City were given a chance in the opening minute but Paul
Linwood was unable to take advantage of a Ryan Lowe’s
inswinging corner and headed over.
The home side took the lead on 13
minutes with an individual goal from Chris Dagnall,
picking up a ball from Gary Jones before turning and
firing in a shot past John Danby from long range.
City’s cause wasn’t helped
just before the half hour with the dismissal of Glenn
Rule. The youngster was shown a straight red card following
a lunge on Joe Thompson on half-way. Three minutes later
they paid the penalty.
Dagnall received a through ball from
Thompson, lost his marker to score with ease past Danby
and give the home side a two goal advantage.
Lee Thorpe almost added a third but
he just failed to connect with a teasing cross from
Scott Wiseman. As half-time approached Kevin Ellison
brought out a good save from Sam Russell who ensured
the home side took their two-goal advantage into the
City started the second half well
and pulled a goal back on 53 minutes. Lowe swung in
a free-kick from the left and Rory McArdle headed the
ball past his own ‘keeper Russell.
Any thoughts City had of a fightback
were wiped out minutes later and Dagnall completed his
hat-trick striking home following a cross from the impressive
Linwood was on hand to head off the
line as City came under the cosh and it wasn’t
long before the Blues conceded again as Thorpe headed
past Danby on 63 minutes. Four minutes later the ball
was in the net again with substitute Adam Le Fondre
meeting a lobbed pass to shoot past the exposed Danby.
Le Fondre made it 6-1 a minute later
converting Thompson’s cross from the right. City
had conceded four goals in the space of just 11 minutes.
With the game well and truly gone
manager Simon Davies decided to change things bringing
on Barry for Eddie Johnson.
Danby denied Le Fondre his hat-trick
with a fine save and William Buckley saw a 20-yarder
come back off a post in the last minute as did Keiran
Toner in stoppage time.
19 October Chester City 1 Port Vale
Attendance: 3,102 (1,536 Port Vale) Half Time 0-1
Booked: S.Vaughan, Hughes, Roberts.
Chester City: Danby, Rule, Kelly (S.Vaughan
35), Linwood, Roberts, Mozika, Hughes, Barry (Taylor 71),
Lowe, Johnson (McManus 80), Ellison. Subs not used: Harris,
Rutherford. Port Vale: Anyon, Stockley, McCombe,
Prosser, Paul Edwards (Richman 57), McCrory, Howland
(Rodgers 72), Griffith, Davidson, Dodds, Richards. Subs
not used: Martin, Glover, Lawrie. Referee: Scott Mathieson (Stockport).
suffered their third home defeat of the season as they
once again paid a heavy price for defensive errors.
Striker Eddie Johnson made his debut for City and with
James Vaughan suspended youngster Glenn Rule made his
first appearance of the season at right back.
For City it was certainly a game of two halves, the first
45 saw a lackluster effort with the Blues hardly creating
any problems for the visitors and generally being out
muscled all over the pitch. After the break, with Ryan
Lowe fired up, they took their game to Vale well and could
well have taken a point from the game.
After an opening stalemate the visitors opened the scoring
on ten minutes. Ross Davidson split the City defence with
a through ball that found Marc Richards on the left edge
of the box and the Valiants skipper advanced before curling
a shot across John Danby in to the opposite top corner
of the net to the delight of the 1500 traveling support.
The visitors should have doubled their lead as the Blues
defence failed to spot a quick short-corner routine that
saw a far post cross find the unmarked Richards who saw
his volley clip the top of the bar and fly over.
Manager Simon Davies was forced into a substitution ten
minutes before the break as Stephen Vaughan replaced the
limping Shaun Kelly. Chester created very little and on
the rare occasion they did threaten failed to trouble
Anyon in the Vale goal, they were also guilty of falling
time and time again to the offside trap. But with half-time
approaching they showed signs of life with both Lowe and
Johnson shooting wide.
After the break City were a different proposition all
together and should have drawn level in the opening 30
seconds as Lowe was sent through one-on-one with the keeper.
His shot beat Anyon but bounced back off the post to Johnson
who with the goal at his mercy blazed over from ten yards
Ten minutes later the Blues thought they’d drawn
level. Johnson saw a shot fumbled by Anyon and Lowe pounced
to net the rebound only for his effort to be ruled out
for offside by the linesman.
Lowe continued to make a series of probing runs forcing
a series of corners and free-kick’s. But the Blues
were left to rue those missed opportunities as the visitors
scored a second goal very much against the run of play.
Paul Linwood failed to clear a Roberts effort, substitute
Luke Rogers picked up the loose ball and fired in a goalbound
shot, Kevin Roberts did well to clear the ball off the
line but was powerless to stop Simon Richman blasting
the rebound home from six yards.
A neat bit of skill beating three players from substitute
Paul Taylor sent Lowe through six minutes from time and
the striker, making his 50th appearance in a City shirt,
slotted the ball home for his 22nd goal.
The ball was in the City net again in the dying moments
as vale caught City on the break, however referee Mathieson
ruled the effort out. Quite bizarrely Anyon had raced
half the length of the pitch to celebrate the ‘goal’
with the Vale fans down the side totally unaware that
it had been ruled out. He was still being mobbed by supporters
as Chester broke clear from the free-kick but with the
Vale defence chasing back in numbers the Blues were unable
to take advantage as the visitors held out for three points.
Manager Simon Davies received good news before the match
as midfielder Damien Mozika was passed fit to start against
the Spireites after recovering from a groin injury. However
Richie Partridge and Paul Taylor – who phoned in
ill in the morning – were missing allowing a recall
for both Ryan Lowe and Shaun Kelly to the side that played
Morecambe in the week.
was the home side who were in the thick of the early
action, the crossbar came to City’s rescue inside
the opening five minutes as Jamie Ward saw an effort
beat Danby but bounce clear. A minute later he lost
Kevin Roberts to force a corner the result of which
saw Derek Niven shoot wide.
Despite being under the early pressure
it was City who took the lead on 17 minutes. A needless
foul by Luke Boden on Mozika presented the Blues will
a free-kick on the left. Lowe arrowed the ball in for
Paul Linwood to rise and head home his second goal of
the season past a stranded Trevor Carson.
The goal gave Chester a lift for the
remainder of the half but they couldn’t add to
their tally. The Blues did force two late corners but
Ellison saw a header cleared by Jack Lester at the foot
of the post.
Chesterfield made a double substitution
ten minutes after the break changing their midfield
formation with the introduction of Lloyd Kerry and Winter.
The move paid off as six minutes later the home side
were level. Jamie Lowry sent in a right wing cross that
was missed by Kelly, Ward appeared to have plenty of
time to control the ball before shooting past Danby.
Two minutes later the City ‘keeper was called
into action again as he saved from Kerry’s 20
The home side began to do all the
pressing as City brought on Jay Harris for Paul McManus
in an attempt to counter the Spireites in midfield.
Lowe saw a shot blocked by Lowry and Ellison was penalised
for a foul following an inswinging Lowe corner.
Chances for Chester were at a premium,
the best one falling to Lowe who saw his shot saved
by Carson following a fine through ball from Harris.
Lowry was on hand to make another
timely block as he prevented Mark Hughes’ shot
reaching the target following a quick Lowe free-kick.
As the game entered the final
minutes Ward saw a free-kick go over the bar and in
stoppage time Mozika was on hand to clear the lively
Ward’s far post corner to safety and preserve
City’s hard earned point.
After being second best for most of the first hour of
the match against Morecambe, City were transformed when
Davies threw subs. Lowe and Taylor in to the fray. Before
this the visitors had been controlling the game. Chester
were limited to putting lofted balls forward for Ellison
and McManus but the Morecambe defence, led by Artell and
Bentley were dealing with this flimsy attacking play quite
Once Lowe and Taylor were introduced into the equation
the game became more stretched, the tempo increased; Morecambe
defenders were put under pressure; and a gap opened up
behind City’s forwards which the midfield began
to exploit. Chester’s fluid attacking was rewarded
when Taylor got hold of the ball in the inside left channel,
dribbled past a couple of players and pulled the ball
back for Ellison. The big man curled a right footed shot
low in to the far corner and City were level with eight
minutes left to go.
Ellison had one more chance to score again before the
final whistle but Roche beat away his angled shot. So
the tie was decided by penalties at which City succumbed
fairly feebly. Morecambe introduced a couple of subs near
the end and both (O’Donnell and Taylor), along with
Artell converted their spot kicks. Roche saved the efforts
from Barry and Roberts’ tired legs before Lowe scored
for Chester and Drummond had his shot saved by Danby.
But Morecambe’s fourth penalty was decisive after
Paul Taylor’s was parried by Roche.
Earlier, after a couple of decent strikes by Ellison and
Hughes, City had lapsed back into a similar display to
Saturday’s against Lincoln. Morecambe players had
time on the ball to pass and move while Chester had to
resort to airborne clearances and losing the ball too
cheaply. The Shrimpers took the lead just before half
time whn Roberts seemed to misjudge a long clearance from
Roche and Howe went through to lob over the on-rushing
City’s second half fight back was more encouraging
and may well have produced another goal in extra time
but now we’ll never know. Dreams of a trip to Wembley
via this route have been denied again.
good run which saw them unbeaten in September fizzled
out as the chill October wind whistled round the Deva
Stadium. Lincoln breezed in and dominated the game from
Speaking after the game, Manager Simon Davies said that Chester never got started
and that was how it seemed to us on the terraces too. City never got out of first
gear and had no answer to a Lincoln side who were quicker to the ball, stronger
in every department, strung passing movements together and kept City penned back
in their own half.
City’s attacking moves were sporadic, relying on the odd long ball over
the top. McManus dispossessed Kovacs, Lincoln’s Hungarian centre half (and
approximately four times his size) but could not go on to threaten goal. Another
time McManus got through and appeared to be tugged back by Hone but the referee
turned a blind eye.
At the other end, the visitors pressed and harried and gave City little time
on the ball and broke up any attempt at passing football. The Romanian striker
Patulea might have done better when the ball fell to him at the far post but
Danby blocked his shot and dealt with the subsequent rebound. For all Lincoln’s
dominance that was their most meaningful chance until the second minute of added
on time in the first half. A corner from Lincoln’s left seemed to be glanced
towards goal and under Stephen Vaughan’s foot on the line. No-one was sure
who had scored but Kovacs later claimed it.
Needing to get back in to the game after the break, City failed to get going
once again and when a sweeping move from left to right ended with first N’Guessan
miscuing and then Patulea with time to pick his spot while the Chester defence
was AWOL the home fans sensed there would be no way back.
Davies had been preparing substitutes when Lincoln got their second. When Taylor
and Partridge came on in the next couple of minutes it was a case of shutting
the stable door after the horse had bolted. Lowe was unhappy at being replaced
and ran straight down the tunnel. The new arrivals added a bit more urgency but
still City continued to misfire.
A more exciting finish might have ensued had Wilson’s thirty yard piledriver
not smashed back into play off the cross bar. Instead it was just the pitiful
play-acting of Imps’ ‘keeper Burch which rattled the home fans’ cage.
City were well-beaten. Although Lincoln were without an away win so far, former
City favourite Peter Jackson had them well set up for this game. The optimism
generated by Chester's September run evaporated into the autumn mist.