25 October 1997
Chester City 1 Macclesfield
Chester City: Sinclair,
Richardson, Jenkins, Fisher, Whelan, Alsford, Bennett,
Priest, McDonald, Flitcroft, Thomas (Rimmer 73), Subs
not used: Dobson, Murphy.
Macclesfield Town: Price, Tinson, Cooper, Payne,
Howarth, Sodje, Askey (Landon 37), Wood, Whittaker, Irving (Power
70), Sorvel. Sub not used Edey.
Referee: Eddie Wolstenholme (Blackburn).
A cracking goal by man of the match
Chris Priest with twelve minutes remaining salvaged
a well deserved point for City and put a stop to the
ridiculous "Guterman/Ratcliffe out" chants
from a small bunch of so-called fans on the home terrace.
City had the better of the first half following a shaky
opening 10 minutes, Sinclair making three good saves
to deny Irving, as the midfield, playing far too deep
invited Macc to attack. At the other end as the half
wore on, twice goalkeeper Price saved low down to deny
Rod Thomas, before Julian Alsford headed over from
a well worked free kick by Dave Flitcroft. Striker
Gary Bennett was unlucky with a flying header that
his the post just before half time. then Nick Richardson
shot over from an excellent position.
Macc took the lead through substitute
Richard Landon on 51 minutes. Following a throw in,
he beat the offside trap before lobbing over Ronnie
Sinclair. Despite having much of the play City never
really threatened with Sodje snuffing out Bennett for
long periods. The introduction of Rimmer for the ineffective
Rod Thomas brought more options up front and City's
equaliser came from Priest bursting through the Macc
defence before firing powerfully into the top corner
from 25 yards, despite Price just getting a hand to
the ball. An early condender for goal of the season
Before the match City chairman
Mark Guterman made a presentation to his Macclesfield
counterpart to mark the first meeting between the Cheshire
clubs, and show our appreciation for the two years spent
ground sharing at Moss Rose.
21 October 1997
Scarborough 4 Chester City 1
Kay, Heckingbottom, Snodin, Atkin, G.Bennett, Williams,
McElhatton, Robinson (Mitchell 77), Brodie (Campbell
61/Tate 89), T.Bennett.
Chester City: Sinclair, Richardson, Jenkins, Fisher,
Whelan, Alsford, G.Bennett (Rimmer 65), Priest, Murphy, Flitcroft
(McDonald 57), Thomas. Sub not used: Dobson.
Referee: John Kirkby (Sheffield).
City's dismal away run continues with their fifth defeat in six games on
their travels. First half goals from Liam Robinson and Paul Atkin and two
further efforts after the break from Gareth Williams gave Boro their first
league victory over City.
Rod Thomas gave City some hope as he made it
1-2 a minute after the break with a 15-yard drive. However the home side
restored their two goal advantage 60 seconds later and City were never
going to come back again.
Once again the centre half pairing of Julian
Alsford and Spencer Whelan failed to gel although it's unfair to single
them out after this performance. City manager Kevin Ratcliffe was furious
afterwards We've not competed and I could have taken any one of 11 off.
We didn't deserve to win. We got exactly what we deserved from the game.
I can't even bring one in although after last night I'd like to bring in
18 October 1997
Torquay United 3 Chester City 1
Torquay United: Gregg, Gurney,
Gibbs (Hapgood 37), Robinson (Thomas 45), Gittens, Watson, Clayton,
Hill, Jack, McFarlane, McCall, sub Bedeau.
Two late dismissals rubbed salt into Chester's
already gaping wounds at sun-drenched Torquay.
Chester City: Sinclair, Richardson, Jenkins,
Shelton, Whelan, Alsford, Bennett (Rimmer 84), Priest (Fisher
84), Murphy (McDonald 84), Flitcroft, Thomas.
Referee: Robert Styles (Waterlooville).
Gary Shelton, who had previously been booked for not retreating ten yards
at a free-kick, can consider himself unfortunate to incur referee Robert
Styles' wrath in the 75th minute because the tackle for which he received
his second booking missed its intended target completely.
But the same cannot be said for Ronnie Sinclair, who followed Shelton off
the field in the 86th minute, after the keeper handled outside his area
in a one-on-one with Torquay dangerman Rodney Jack.
Chester had committed defensive suicide long before David Flitcroft took
over in goal as Torquay took the game to the visitors from the first whistle.
The Gulls quickly made their pressure count. On 14 minutes, Steve McCall
was granted the freedom of Plainmoor before being allowed to fire in a
shot whic Sinclair let slip through his hands and into the net.
Torquay doubled their advantage seven minutes later when Jack was given
the time to pick his spot from the edge of the box after being set up by
Andy McFarlane's fancy footwork.
Minutes later, Gary Bennett missed the second of three golden opportunities
that came his way during the afternoon when he failed to get a boot to
the ball during a goalmouth scramble.
The strike that ended the game as a contest arrived in the 26th minute
when McFarlane outpaced Julian Alsford before beating Sinclair at the second
attempt. Chester woke up after the break and bossed the midfield for long
periods thanks to man-of-the-match Rod Thomas and the tigerish Chris Priest.
But City failed to translate their possession into meaningful chanced and
in a last-ditch attempt to turn things round Kevin Ratcliffe replaced Bennett,
Priest and John Murphy with Stuart Rimmer, Rod McDonald and Neil Fisher.
The 84th minute changes were justified when McDonald's low cross was headed
into the net by Nick Richardson in the last minute but it proved
scant consolation to a Blues side whose bouts of travel sickness are threatening
to become terminal.
11 October 1997
Chester City 2 Brighton & Hove Albion
Chester City: Sinclair, Richardson,
Fisher, Shelton, Whelan, Alsford, Bennett (Rimmer 87), Priest,
Murphy, Flitcroft, Thomas (McDonald 76). Sub not used: Jones.
Brighton and Hove Albion: Ormerod, Humphrey,
Tuck, Minton, Morris, Allan, Westcott (Storer 71), Mayo, Baird,
Maskell, Gislason. Subs not used: Reinelt, Johnson.
Referee: Mike Pike (Barrow).
Reasonably good performance with Bennett providing
the real difference between the sides. A Brighton side clearly
lacking in confidence succeeded in taking the pace out of the game
for most of the first half with few clear cut chances created.
A major scare midway through the half when commanding
Spencer Whelan was stretchered off and for five minutes one could
only ponder the implications for an already makeshift back four.
Murphy at centre back or Rimmer on as right back with Richardson
moving across to the middle seemed like the only unpalatable options.
Spenner's return was greeted with cheers of relief.
Bennett's 39th minute goal was just what the
game needed. It was typical of a striker in form in the
right place to bundle the ball over from Murphy's touch. His customary
lap of honour in front of the visiting supporters will surely get
him into trouble one day but they really should know better
than to single him out for abuse. So far this season he has always
had the last laugh.
Brighton started the second half much more brightly
and threatened to equalise on several occasions. But this was weathered
and Bennett's second was masterful as he rounded several defenders
and when he looked to have dribbled into a corner nearly broke
the net with a strike that made last week's volley against Hartlepool
look like a tap in.
There followed several typically Cestrian attempts
to let Brighton back into the game, but three more Chester goals
could easily have come with Murphy having a great header disallowed
for a mystery 'foul' by Whelan, Rimmer missing a one-on-one, and
Fisher's close range strike in injury time being brilliantly saved
by the Brighton keeper.
Alltogether a solid performance against a poor
side without really clicking.
Sinclair (7) Not a lot to do
Richardson (6) Quite solid without really being tested
Fisher (7) Flashes of vintage Fish but a little vulnerable
Alsford (6) Solid performance his distribution lets him down
Whelan (9) Outstanding in defence bossed the line well
Shelton (7) Did the midfield stoppers job effectively
Priest (6) Covered a huge amount of ground but still not at his best
Thomas (6) Tried hard and worked to defend but nothing really came off
Murphy (6) Strangely subdued after last week's heroics
Bennett (8) Not a great deal of service but ran all day and scored!!!
Flitcroft (6) Huffed and puffed without punishing the Brighton defence
Subs: MacDonald for Thomas looked bright
for his brief spell Rimmer for Bennett only on for 5 minutes
but did miss his chance.
Robert and David Evans
4 October 1997
Chester City 3 Hartlepool United 1
Chester City: Sinclair, Davidson
(Fisher 34), Jenkins (Rimmer 42), Richardson, Whelan, Alsford,
Bennett, Priest, Murphy, Thomas (McDonald 70).
Hartlepool United: Harper, Knowles, Lucas, Ingram,
Lee, Bradley, McDonald (Gavin 57), Cullen, Baker, Halliday (Miller
81), Howard, sub Davis.
Referee: George Cain (Bootle)
John Murphy was rightly named man of the match
after setting up one, and scoring the killer third goal, to seal
victory for City in this hard fought encounter. In the opening
minutes Dave Flitcroft had an effort inches wide, Spenner headed
against the bar and Rod Thomas, replacing Neil Fisher in the side,
had an effort blocked on the line. Despite these chances, City
found it hard to break down Pool's five man defence. Hartlepool
took the lead through Paul Baker on 29 minutes following a mix-up
between Ronnie Sinclair and Julian Alsford. Worse was to follow
as both full-back's Ross Davidson and Iain Jenkins had to leave
the field through injury, Fisher and Richardson deputising. City
equalised through Spenner from a Flitcroft corner, and took the
lead through Gary Bennett after a fine cross from Fisher and Murphy
forcing the mistake from Bradley. United had a chance to equalise
right on half-time but Halliday shot straight at Sinclair.
Cullen then missed a great chance to equalise
after the break, Ronnie coming out to smother the one-on-one. Flitcroft
and Halliday were involved in a skirmish midway though the second
period, which escalated to involve PC Evans who stopped the game
to have a word with the referee, over an incident he'd missed.
City grabbed their third goal on the counter attack. Sinclair clearing
to Murphy who's physical presence once again forced an error from
Halliday. Bennett picked up the loose ball and worked his way into
the box before squaring for Murphy to side foot home the winner.