Chester City: Danby, Rule (Owen 61),
Flynn, Ryan, Ashton, Kay (Blundell 57), Roberts, Beesley,
Keltie, Chadwick (Meynell 67), Coulson. Subs not used:
AFC Wimbledon: Pullen, Lorraine, Judge (Johnson
73), Inns, Ashton (Montague), Wellard (Godfrey 73), Gregory,
Taylor, Moore, Main, Kedwell. Subs not used: Brown. Referee: Andy Hendley (West Midlands).
Chester League victories seem like waiting for a night
bus home. Just when one arrives, another comes around
the corner when you are least expecting it. Well, that’s
how unlikely the home win against AFC Wimbledon felt to
But City’s first back-to-back
league win in more than two years was actually almost
a stroll in the park, especially after they went 2-0
up inside the first 15 minutes.
Chester, kicking away from the home
end, scored the first goal on 10 minutes when a Michael
Coulson cross was met by unmarked Nick Chadwick, who
had no trouble scoring from a few yards out.
The 1,034 home fans were barely getting
used to being ahead when the AFC Wimbledon defence were
embarrassed again. A Mark Beesley cross hit a Dons’
defender and his own subsequent goal made it 2-0 to
AFC Wimbledon tried to get back into
the game - first own-goal scorer Steven Gregory saw
a shot well saved by John Danby, then Ricky Wellard
came close when a powerful shot towards goal was cleared
for a corner by Tim Ryan. It may have just missed the
target anyway, but Ryan (nicknamed Rat Man, as revealed
in the programme) did the right thing in making sure.
However, AFC got a goal back not long
after that chance. Referee Andy Hendley (who intriguingly
says the best game he has ever officiated was Chester
v Doncaster in the Conference play-offs) somehow found
two minutes of injury time, during which AFC won a free
kick. It was only partly cleared and the cross back
into the danger area was easily fired home by Jon Main.
AFC Wimbledon made a more determined
start to the second half and within three minutes, Danby
had to make a good save from Main. The resulting corner
saw the 662 away fans start to celebrate a goal when
the ball went in the net – only for Mr Hendley
to blow for a foul.
The Dons continued their assault and
not long after another Danby save, their attacker Luke
Moore had a good chance to score, but put the ball well
over the bar.
The action-packed game then switched
to the other end and a thunderous Clark Keltie drive
from 20 yards out beat the red-clad AFC ‘keeper,
James Pullen, but hit the bar and post. The ball somehow
rebounded away to safety from the on-rushing City attackers.
Gregg Blundell, who came on as a 57th
minute substitute for Adam Kay, took a while to get
into the game, but laid on a fantastic cross for an
unmarked Beesley. But Beesley somehow managed to miss
At the other end, a goal-bound Wimbledon
strike looked for all the world like it was saved by
the post, but AFC fans assured me after the game that
Danby actually made an excellent stop with his foot
to keep the ball out of the net.
Chester secured the much-needed
three points on the 77th minute with an unstoppable
Blundell shot from inside the box. He looked mightily
relieved to have scored the winner as though he needed
it as a confidence boost. Let’s hope it’s
done the same for the whole team and they go on to make
it a hat-trick of wins when they make the long trip
to Essex on Saturday.
scoreline was harsh on Chester who were well in contention
in this match until a disastrous couple of minutes in
the second half. The referee awarded a free kick in the
penalty area when Danby picked the ball up following a
touch by a City defender. It was hardly a back pass but
the referee had given the benefit of the doubt on two
Bond rifled the free kick through
the wall to give Barrow the lead. Soon after it was
double trouble as the referee then awarded a soft penalty
for a trip on Kamara. Walker made no mistake from the
City heads went down and when Kamara
crossed from the right for Bond to head in off the bar
– the game was all up for City. Substitute Cook
added a fourth to rub salt in the wound after Ryan and
Flynn got in each other’s way.
It could all have been so different
if City had taken their chances earlier. Ellams was
the worst culprit, after Beesley had worked an opening
and his shot was parried, Ellams could only shoot weakly
from six yards straight at the keeper.
Barrow started the stronger until
City settled mid way through the first half. But too
often Chester were guilty of giving the ball away and
over elaborating on the ball. In the second half City
seemed to be getting the upper hand but then disaster
struck and there was no way back.
It was a thoroughly demoralising result
in the end and a disastrous one for the Vaughan regime
who were surely relying on the payout from this evening
and a home tie to Eastleigh to go some way to paying
the debts that hang over the club like the Sword of
Chants of “Vaughan out” when the goals went
in seemed harsh but were symptomatic of the fans’
frustration with the club at the moment. Ironic then
that City’s demise was at the hands of Vaughan’s
former club Barrow – there seems little love lost
between them either.
and Barrow must meet again at Deva Stadium on Tuesday
night for the right to play Eastleigh in the first round
of this season’s FA Cup competition. Both managers
will look back on missed chances that cost their sides
an outright victory but a draw was probably a fair outcome
on the day at a wet and windy Holker Street.
Manager Jim Harvey made two changes from the side that
impressed at Gateshead last week, in came Adam Kay for
Michael Lea and Ben Wilkinson for the injured Gregg Blundell.
It was the hosts who had the better of the early stages,
Jason Walker and Andrew Bond both saw long range efforts
go wide before John Danby was well placed to save an effort
from on-loan Carlisle striker Jon Shaw. At the other end
Adam Kay saw an effort tipped over the bar from Bluebirds
‘keeper Simon Tomlinson as City countered quickly.
City opened the scoring on 16 minutes through Jonathan
Flynn. Tomlinsopn failed to collect an Anthony Barry left-wing
free-kick that held up in the wind, leaving Flynn to head
home from close range in only his second game for the
Blues.The home side continued
to create chances though and Simon Spender went closest
when he saw a long-range free-kick flash over Danby’s
bar, while Danby also produced a smart save to deny Logan.
The final effort of the half fell to Mark Beesley, who
after creating an opening for himself shot weakly at Tomlinson
who was able to save with ease.
Shaw had a great chance to level matters in the opening
stages of the season period but he blasted wide when well
Chances were now falling to either side. Ex-City midfielder
Paul Rutherford shot over the bar after a run from the
half-way line after winning the ball on half-way and weaving
his way to goal and moments later at the other end Michael
Coulson missed a great effort to double the lead when
he screwed a shot wide in a one-on-one with Tomlinson.
That miss was to prove costly as the home side drew level
moments later on 65 minutes as Rutherford fired home from
18 yards after Ben Wilkinson had been dispossessed, Danby
had no chance in the City goal.
Good work from Neil Ashton on the counter attack produced
another opening for Coulson minutes later, after controlling
the ball the on-loan Barnsley striker forced a good save
out of Tomlinson. He was in the action again just three
minutes later though this time his shot flew just wide
of the right hand post. Both sides were looking for the
winner. Shaw produced another fine save from Danby who
pushed his dangerous shot away for a corner.
City were on the back foot for the closing stages, Malvin
Kamara and Boys both posed questions of Danby but City
held their line and the clubs must start all over again
on Tuesday night.
turned in their best performance of the season as a second
half Mark Beesley goal brought the double over Gateshead
and the first away victory for the Blues this season.
Manager Jim Harvey selected
both new loan signings Jonathan Flynn and Michael Coulson
in his starting X1 to replace the suspended pair of
Glenn Rule and Nick Chadwick, both red-carded last Saturday.
The home side also included two loan players on debut,
ex-City favourite Daryl Clare and Peter Winn.
City got off to a tremendous start
and would have opened the scoring in the first minute
through Anthony Barry had the home ‘keeper Paul
Farman not produced an excellent save from his long
range curling shot.
Farman was again in the action midway
through the half turning a Beesley shot round the post
after he’d nutmegged James Curtis.
The home side offered little in the
opening half though Michael Lea did head off the line
to deny Winn a debut goal following an Alex Francis
On the stroke of half-time good approach
play from Gregg Blundell and Beesley set up Coulson
whose rising effort, sliding in at the far post, hit
City started the second period in
the same fashion as the first as Beesley brought out
another fine save from the over-worked Farman when a
goal looked inevitable.
Blundell shot wide and Kevin Roberts
sent a free-kick just over the bar as City pressed for
the opener and it duly arrived on 57 minutes as Beesley
turned home a loose ball from close following another
shot from Barry that wasn’t cleared by the home
With the lead secured City began to
sit-back and invite the home side back into the game.
Curtis headed over while Clare pulled a shot wide after
turning his marker in the box.
Substitute Armand One sent a 25-yarder
across the face of goal and just past the far post as
the home side ended with a flourish.
The City defence held firm though
to sent the 78 travelling support home happy.
Harvey’s first game in charge of City ended in defeat
as the Blues lost by a solitary goal to Rushden &
Diamonds at Deva Stadium. The new boss watched from the
main stand as he served the last of a three match touchline
ban picked up from his days at Forest Green Rovers. To
compound City’s problems two players, Glenn Rule
and Nick Chadwick were red-carded by an over fussy referee
and will both now serve three match automatic bans.
Harvey sprung a surprise before the
first whistle by starting with Nick Chadwick and Kevin
Roberts on the bench. Coming in to replace them were
Mark Beesley, back at Deva Stadium on loan from Cambridge,
and youngster Kristian Platt. Captain Tim Ryan was available
after serving a one match ban at Hayes & Yeading.
Chester couldn’t have got off
to a worse start falling behind after just four minutes.
Diamonds Jamie Stuart had already posed problems for
City heading wide before the visitors were awarded their
third corner kick on the right. Lee Tomlin played a
one-two with Paul Terry from the flag kick and cut along
the edge of the City box before unleashing an unstoppable
shot past John Danby.
The lively Beesley worked an opening
but shot wide as City looked to counter the early Rushden
pressure. City's best chance in the opening period fell
to Ben Wilkinson. Good approach work from Gregg Blundell
and Beesley set up the youngster with just Nathan Abbey
to beat but he could only shoot straight at the keeper.from
just inside the box.
That was a rare opportunity though
as the visitors looked more likely to double their advantage
in the opening 45. The dangerous Tomlin forced another
fine save from Danby and Aaron O’Connor should
have done better when he blasted high and wide after
Platt had slipped.
City started the second period as
they had the first, on the back foot. Aaron O'Connor
thought he'd won a corner after seeing his shot blocked
and at the other end Beesley was denied by Curtis Osano
in front of a sparsely populated Harry McNally Terrace.
On the hour mark the Blues were reduced
to ten men. Tomlin and Rule scrapped for a loose ball
and as the opposing midfielder shielded the ball on
the ground Rule put a foot in trying to retrieve it.
Referee Clark saw this as dangerous play and gave the
young defender a straight red card.
Reduced to ten men, Harvey took the
opportunity to reshuffle his pack. On came Chadwick
for Blundell and Roberts for Wilkinson. City immediately
appeared more of a threat up front with Chadwick and
Beesley linking well.
Ten minutes from time that threat
was eradicated as referee decided to wield another red
card. Chadwick chased down a long through ball and as
Abbey came out to collect the the two clashed and City
were reduced to nine men.
There was no coming back now for
City as the visitors played out the final ten minutes
before referee Clarke called and end to the game and left
the field knowing in no uncertain terms what the home
faithful thought of his performance.
3 October Hayes &
Yeading United 0 Chester City 0
Attendance: 351 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Rule, Keltie, Chadwick.
Hayes & Yeading United: Overland,
Mulley, Cadmore, El-Abd, Green, James (Fraser-Allen 67),
M.Canham, Marwa, Binns, Fitzgerald, S.Canham (Daly 86),
Fraser-Allen (Mehmet 90). Subs not used: Baker, Gradwell.
Chester City: Danby, Rule, Kelly (Platt 54),
Roberts, Ashton, Barry (Ellams 78), Keltie, Kay (Wilkinson
69), Lea, Blundell, Chadwick. Subs not used: Murphy, Owen.
Referee: Mathew Mclaughlin (Bedfordshire).
This match was a stark reminder of how far City have fallen
down the football pyramid. I’d never have thought
there’d be so few fans wanting to watch the Blues
that both the home and away supporters could use just
a single turnstile.
fans it didn’t really improve from there. Stand-in
manager Tim Ryan was himself suspended for the game,
with Glenn Rule, Anthony Barry and Gregg Blundell making
the starting line-up following the home defeat by Forest
City started with the wind behind
them and did put on some early pressure. The first decent
goal opportunity fell to Barry, whose volley was tipped
round the post by United goalkeeper, Simon Overland.
Barry came close again after some
neat work by Adam Kay gave him a great sight on goal.
Barry’s 20-yard strike just failed to dip in time
and this time the crossbar was Overland’s saviour.
The attention almost immediately switched
to the other end when Kevin Roberts tripped Scott Fitzgerald
in the penalty box on the 28th minute and diminutive
referee Matt McLoughlin blew for a penalty.
But Sean Canham delivered a penalty
in the style of Kevin Noteman at Middlesbrough . It
was so high it must have almost troubled the flight
path of planes taking off at nearby Heathrow!
The game really seemed to be swinging
Chester ’s way when United’s Ram Marwa was
given a straight red for fouling City’s on-loan
player, Clark Keltie. But they failed to capitalise
on their advantage in the 12 minutes left before the
referee blew for half-time.
The break for half-time gave City
fans another reminder of the level the team are now
playing at – for the fans of both teams swapped
ends at half-time. I can barely remember that being
permitted during our last spell in the Conference. But
the attendance of just 351 – with perhaps 70 City
fans included, said it all.
The second half saw City lacking the
ability to finish on several occasions – typified
by a golden opportunity for an unmarked Nick Chadwick,
who somehow managed to head the ball over from three
Not long after that the game was almost
gifted to Chester on a plate when the referee sent off
Fitzgerald after he floored Neil Ashton. Including injury
time, City now had 20 minutes to play against a team
of nine part-timers!
But the first chance to score after
the second red card actually fell to Hayes and Yeading.
First a chest back to John Danby from Ashton led to
the keeper having to tip the ball round the post for
a corner. Then the corner led to a header which hit
the crossbar. City were living dangerously.
They finally put the pressure on in
the last 10 minutes, but they just couldn’t get
the ball into the net. One melee in the box saw a United
defender clear the ball off the line. A later chance
saw Overland make a great save from a goal-bound Wilkinson
After four minutes of injury time,
the referee blew to leave City counting their missed opportunities
for a much-needed victory. Those City fans who did make
the trip will know what they are likely to expect next
season. It’s looking like we’re going to have
to get used to sub-1,000 crowds and swapping ends at half-time.