Chester: Danby, Baynes, Horan, Taylor,
McGinn, Wright (McNeil 72), Brown (Booth 46), Smith, Howard,
Rainford (Simm 60), Wilde. Subs not used: Brownhil, Judge. Frickley Athletic: Billard, Bleau, Cyrus
(Callery 62), Walsh, Adams, Gray, Malton, Ashmore, Grayson,
Ryan (Watts), Whitehouse. Subs not used: Jones, Saynor. Referee: Paul Marsden (Preston). It
was a cunning ploy by Frickley to turn out at the Deva
in blue and white stripes as Chester shed their usual
strip for a shocking pink number in an effort to raise
funds for a breast cancer charity. Home fans and players
seemed subdued as the game unfolded at a lethargic pace
– perhaps the visitors’ kit subliminally confused
those so used to urging the team in blue on.
City had made changes though and this undoubtedly had
its effect. Smith replaced the energetic but yellow-card-prone
Powell who was suspended and Wright came back into the
team on the left with Howard dropping back into midfield.
Rainford started in place of Simm who is nursing a broken
wrist; Baynes continued at right back.
Chester played a patient passing game wherever possible
against cautious opponents but, one sublime Christian
Smith pass apart, failed to get behind their defence and
carve out clear cut opportunities. Frickley’s tireless
hounding of City’s back four as they passed the
ball from side to side amongst themselves eventually paid
off when Ryan caught Taylor taking one touch too many
and cut along the goal line on the right. Danby hesitated
and allowed Ryan to touch the ball past him and then crumple
into the keeper’s prone body. The referee bought
that one and awarded a penalty which Ashmore converted
Might that be the kick up the backside that City needed?
We hoped so and it only took them six minutes to equalise.
Wright found Rainford with his back to goal on the edge
of the penalty area and he spun to chip a shot over the
keeper and into the far corner of the net.
At half time a group of pantomime characters conducted
a penalty shoot-out at the home end. The nuances of this
were lost on the Harry McNally Terrace as the sound system
gave up the ghost. But there was one clear pantomime villain
for the home crowd in the second half and that was Frickley’s
keeper Adam Billard. He made it a rule to take goal kicks
from the opposite side of the goal and generally fritter
away as much time as possible.
Frustration was compounded when Grayson pounced on a rare
mistake by Horan, took the ball past Danby and stroked
it home into an unguarded net. By this time however Simm
and McNeil had been introduced into City’s attack
and they combined to lend more urgency and width to the
Pinks’ forward play. McNeil and Howard combined
well down the right to allow the latter to send over an
inviting cross. We expected Wilde to score but instead
it was McGinn who timed his run to perfection and nodded
City then created a procession of chances to notch the
winner but they all eluded them. Wilde and then Horan
hit the bar in rapid succession; Billard somehow knocked
Wilde’s glancing header over the bar; and McGinn,
after being teed up by Howard, shot too high. Despite
play being extended for five minutes due to substitutions
and time wasting antics the match ended all square.
In terms of ability Chester could and should have outshone
their visitors but in terms of application only looked
pretty in pink for the last twenty minutes or so. If only
they had started the game as they had finished, City might
have reaped three points instead of just the one.
Chester booked their place in the second qualifying round
of the FA Trophy with a victory over Ashton United though
manager Neil Young was slightly critical about the performance
saying: “Probably getting the early goal worked
against us, because we didn’t reach the levels of
performance that we expect. Admittedly it’s another
win, so we can’t be too harsh on the players but
we’ve told them that we require more from them.”
The early goal came in the
second minute as Iain Howard was given time and space
after a run to shoot home from the edge of the box.
Jamie Rainford, starting in place of Chris Simm, failed
to capitalise on the opportunities that came his way.
In the eighth minute he headed a Robbie Booth cross
wide and was later denied by Terry Smith (sic) in the
visitors goal who rushed out to block a one-on-one with
A double substitution after the break
saw Michael Wilde and Simm (wearing a plaster cast on
his wrist) replace Booth and Matt McNeil as Chester
went with three strikers up front.
The Blues eventually doubled their
lead through Wilde after 62 minutes as the striker headed
a Matt McGinn free-kick superbly past Smith.
The visitors reduced to ten men five
minutes later as Kyle Harrop saw red after a heavy two-footed
challenge on Alex Brown.
Despite being a man down Ashton then produced their
best spell of the match. They pulled a goal back from
the penalty spot on 72 minutes after Howard was penalised
for pushing Burna in the box. The Blues player was probably
lucky only to receive a yellow card, and not red, for
the foul. Peter Wright converted the spot-kick.
Wilde tried an overhead kick as Chester
looked to kill the tie off but the best chance in the
closing minutes fell to Ashton substitute Sam Madeley
who skied the ball over from six yards in added time
when it looked easier to score.
15 October FC United of Manchester 2 Chester
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Attendance: 3,112 (Chester 1,093) Half Time 2-1
Booked: Taylor, Brown, Horan, Powell.
FC United of Manchester: Spencer, Jacobs,
Jones, Stott, Neville, Wolfenden, Cottrell, Carr, Roca
(Chadwick 63), Deegan (Mulholland 82), Norton. Subs not
used: Platt, Battersby, Grimshaw. Chester: Danby,
Brownhill (Baynes 57), Horan, Taylor, McGinn, Booth (Rainford
68), Powell, Brown, Howard, Simm, McNeil (Wilde 68). Subs
not used: Ormrod, Judge. Referee:
David Midgley (Huddersfield).
goal from captain George Horan in the finalminute gave Chester the
edge and all three points in this five goal thriller that
was a credit to both sides. Blues manager Neil Young made
two changed to the side that drew at Buxton in midweek,
as striker Chris Simm and defender Matty McGinn returned
to the starting X1 in place of Michael Wilde and Wes Baynes
who both started on the bench.
problems in the area meant a delayed kick-off for the
match that eventually got underway at 3.15. Nearly 1100
supporters had made the trip from Chester and there
was only 90 seconds on the clock when they were celebrating
as Simm rose unchallenged to head home a McGinn right-wing
corner from six yards and give the Blues a dream start.
Chester continued to press after taking the early advantage
and Matty McNeil saw another goal bound effort deflected
wide just two minutes later as the home defence failed
to clear the danger. Another corner, this time from
the left by from Robbie Booth, caused all sorts of problems
as Michael Taylor headed it wide at the back post.
It was ten minutes before the home
side mounted their first real attack as John Danby turned
a long-range Jake Cottrell effort round the post for
a corner. The home side began to settle and came more
into the game. Danby was soon tested again Carlos Roca
tried his luck with a free-kick outside the box that
the Chester 'keeper pushed away for another corner.
Danby’s opposite number Jamie
Spencer in the home goal did well to prevent Chester
doubling their lead as the impressive Simm saw his goal
bound header tipped over the bar at full stretch, and
midway though the half the United ‘keeper did
well to stop a powerful McGinn 25-yarder. McGinn and
Simm combined to set up Horan with a far post header
by the defender couldn't quite get above the ball and
headed over, moments later the home side leveled matters.
Ben Deegan was adjudged to have been
fouled in the box by Alex Brown and Roca stepped up
to send Dandy the wrong way from the spot kick to make
it 1-1. Brown was booked in the process.
Five minutes later the game swung
to the home side as Roca scored his second. Horan conceded
a free-kick in a dangerous area outside the box and
Roca stepped up to curl a delightful effort over the
Chester wall and into the top left hand corner that
gave Danby no chance.
Spencer was forced into another important
save from Booth on the stroke of half-time as the Blues
tried to restore parity before the break
The home side almost snatched a third
goal moments after the restart but Roca shot just wide
after beating McGinn. Chester, now kicking towards their
support, bounced back and Michael Powell missed a great
opportunity to equalise as he steered the ball wide
after good build-up play from Iain Howard. Spencer produced
to good saved to deny Howard and McGinn whose long ranger
efforts brought the best out of the home ‘keeper.
McNeil mis-hit a shot when well placed
before the home side were reduced to ten men in the
63rd minute as Adam Jones received a second yellow card
in as many minutes. Despite Chester dominating for much
of the second period Danby was called on to make another
save to deny Mike Norton and concede a corner.
Young made some substitutions bringing
on Jamie Rainford and Michael Wilde at the expense of
Booth and McNeil and twelve minutes from time the equaliser
their second half play deserved finally came as Baynes’
deep cross was headed down by Horan for Simm to score
his second goal from close range to the wild delight
of the fans behind the goal.
Another good save from Spencer denied
Simm his hat-trick as the striker raced through on goal
with three minutes remaining. There was still danger
at the other end as a poor clearance from Danby fell
to Matty Wolfenden who shot wide of the target from
With the game heading into stoppage
time Chester sealed victory. A free-kick was played
wide to Baynes, he took the ball forward and delivered
another quality cross deep into the box which wasn’t
cleared and Horan turned to steer the ball home past
the advancing Spencer from six yards to bring victory
and set up unforgettable scenes of jubilation amongst
the away ranks.
12 October Buxton 1 Chester 1
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Attendance: 602 Half Time 0-1
Booked: Baynes, Powell, Wilde.
Buxton: Hartley, Black, Williams, Horne,
Wilde, Stevens, Maxfield, Towey, Ridley (Pemberton 79),
Reed, Lugsden. Subs not used: Taylor, Liversidge, Ovington,
Hopkins. Chester: Danby, Baynes, Horan, Taylor,
Brownhill, Booth (McGinn 57), Powell, Brown (Rainford
66), Howard, Wilde, McNeil (Simm 57). Subs not used: Ormrod,
Marc Perry (Sutton Coldfield). Chester’s
winning run came to an end on the wet surface at Buxton
in a match they could easily have lost, but managed to
claim what could be a vital point.
It was a game which also saw the end of John Danby’s
remarkable run of clean sheets, when Buxton’s Josh
Wilde netted their equaliser on the 55th minute.
After a couple of early Chester chances, including a Michael
Wilde header cleared off the line, it was actually Buxton
who could have scored first. They made a rare first half
attack, when George Horan was pulled up for a foul in
I wasn’t close enough to judge if he had committed
an offence, but the Chester fans nearer the “crime
scene” seemed to think it was an incredulous decision.
But Steve Ridley screwed the spot-kick wide, leaving Danby
clinging onto his clean sheet record.
It got even better for the travelling Blues fans not long
after when a great move saw Wes Baynes whip in a cross
which Michael Powell just connected with to put Chester
1-0 up at half-time. It could almost have been 2-0 when
Matty McNeill had a goal disallowed for offside just before
The second half saw the match officials very much in focus
again, especially as Chester pressed for a winner following
Josh Wilde’s strike which had levelled the scores
not long after the re-start and ended Danby’s clean
sheet run on 781 minutes.
I have to admit it was difficult for the linesmen as there
were no white lines around the pitch - just indentations.
Presumably it had been too wet for the line-marker to
make an appearance, and the mower had also not been used
for a while.
But Buxton’s Mark Reed, recently of Chester, couldn’t
blame the conditions for a chance he missed to put the
Bucks 2-1 ahead. He had a great chance to score and blazed
his shot wide of the mark.
At the other end, Chester also had a real chance when
goalkeeper Scott Hartley dropped the ball in the area,
with Michael Wilde ready to pounce. But referee Mark Perry
blew for a foul on the ‘keeper, although it seemed
clear to all Chester fans that Wilde hadn’t barged
into him. Wilde ended up being one of seven players booked
during the match.
Chris Simm and Matt McGinn came on in the 57th minute
as Chester continued to press. Iain Howard had a great
run into the area, but his shot was blocked. Jamie Rainford
replaced Alex Brown on the 66th minute and he had a couple
of half-chances, but also failed to find the net.
Meanwhile Buxton were making the most of any challenge
against them, and were still looking likely to score.
In the end it was probably a relief for Chester when full-time
came, as they hadn’t looked like leaving Silverlands
with three points. And I was one of those who was actually
grateful they left with a point.
This was an ugly match with a beautiful ending from Chester’s
point of view. A frustrating afternoon trying to break
down a stubborn Chasetown defence came to an exciting
climax when Michael Wilde rose to nod the only goal of
the game with two minutes remaining.
The Scholars embraced in a huddle before the kick off
and their determination not to concede was evident from
the start. No quarter was asked or given as they marked
tightly and tried to deny Chester any room. City promised
most when they got the ball out wide. Baynes began at
right back in place of Brownhill who was filling in on
the opposite flank for the injured McGinn. And it was
Baynes who put in a couple of delightful crosses early
on. Simm converted one of them after just five minutes,
firing in off the post but Mr Darfi's flag was raised
Minutes later Simm beat the offside trap only to see his
effort parried by Price. Chasetown weathered this early
storm and grew in confidence as the game progressed and
Chester got sucked into an attritional encounter. The
Scholars did not venture forth very much but went close
when Danny Smith beat Brownhill in the tackle on the edge
of the box and drilled his shot just wide of the far post.
The second half settled quickly into a similar pattern
and a particularly turgid period of play, when the visitors
dragged out a series of throw-ins, was punctuated by Booth
being booked for retrieving the loose ball and thrusting
it into the lethargic full-back's face. The same player
pushed his luck too far when he ran away with the ball
to prevent a quick throw-in minutes later and, agreeably
to the home crowd, joined Boothy in the book.
Alex Brown threaded a delightful ball through for Simm
who, for the second time in the game was denied when one-on-one
by the ‘keeper. Rainford came on after the hour
to replace Simm but despite some good control could not
find the key to unlock the Chasetown door. Booth and Howard
seemed increasingly drawn in to the middle of the field
and the game continued with City’s moves breaking
down with a timely tackle or a misplaced pass. The crowd
- with the exception of the four hundred or so schoolchildren
in the Evans Halshaw Stand – became increasingly
Michael Wilde was introduced into the fray with ten minutes
to go and it was obvious that he had been champing at
the bit to get on. He launched himself into tackles and
chasing lost causes in an effort to make things happen.
It looked like the deadlock had been broken when Brownhill's
cross seemed to elude everyone and end up in the back
of the net. Once again Mr Darfi’s flag spoiled the
party – perhaps for a push, possibly for offside
it wasn't clear which. As the cheers died down the prone
figure of Richard Teesdale, The Scholars' club captain
was also in the back of the net looking like a beached
whale. He was finally extricated after having milked as
many moments as possible towards earning a precious point.
It looked like being one of those days and we fully expected
the visitors to deliver a sucker punch, probably in injury
time. Gary Birch, the experienced substitute nearly delivered
it when he trapped the ball and attempted to chip Danby
from just inside the half way line. The Chester ‘keeper
seemed at sixes and sevens but managed to parry the effort
away for a corner.
Instead it was City who conjured up the dream finish when
Brownhill crossed from the left and Wilde met it beautifully
to give Price no chance of saving it. Delirium reigned
on the terraces as City played out the four minutes of
injury time against a suddenly urgent Chasetown.
The winning streak continued for another game and the
manager of the month curse was held at bay.