completed their pre-season programme with a five goal
rout of Nantwich Town. But for some fine saves by Jason
Astbury in the visitors goal the score could well have
be doubled as Chester created numerous chances throughout
As in previous matches Chester started slowly and it was
the Dabbers who had the first chance as early as the second
minute as Nathan Southern forced a good save from Richard
Whiteside after a poor clearance from the defence. Soon
after Daniel Meadowcroft was well placed to clear off
the line following a mix-up in the home defence almost
gifted the opening goal.
Chester soon settled though against a side containing
only a handful of first-teamers and took the lead on 20
minutes as Michael Wilde converted a pass from Anthony
Burgess to score his eighth goal for Chester. On the stroke
of half-time Rob Hopley headed Chester into a two-goal
lead after Mark Connolly’s corner had bounced back
off the crossbar.
The goal of the game came five minutes after the break
as Mark Peers sent an unstoppable 25-yarder past Astbury
after working space for himself outside the box.
Hopley added his second goal of the match, and his fifth
in pre-season, just before the hour mark pouncing on a
rebound after Astbury failed to hod a Greg Stones. Trialist
Josh Macauley completed the scoring seven minutes from
time. The former Tranmere player, who is considering an
offer from the club, latched onto a through ball from
Burgess to coolly beat the ‘keeper in a one-on-one.
11 August 2010 Chester
3 FC United of Manchester 3
Attendance: 1,762 (329 FCUM) Half Time 1-3
Chester: Whiteside, Aspin (Sheehan 64),
Williams (Hopley 46), Horan (Meadowcroft 8), Stones, Graves,
Peers (Sharrock 68), Connolly, Burgess, Wilde (Macauley
72), Howard. Sub not used: Oldfield.
A friendly between two fan-owned clubs certainly pleased
those who turned up to this match. The game began disastrously
for City though, as United took an early lead. Jerome
Wright, who could easily pass for Ryan Giggs on the left,
kept the ball in play and crossed for Norton to poke the
ball home after a deflected header.
Soon after this Chester’s captain George Horan was
withdrawn and replaced by Danny Meadowcroft. He soon found
himself under pressure as he miscontrolled a hasty pass
from the struggling Aspin, allowing Norton to chip a shot
at goal. The ball rebounded off the bar but City failed
to take the second opportunity to clear it and Deegan
was gifted a chance to slot the ball past Whiteside. City
were two-nil down as a result of abject defending. Alan
Hansen would have burst a blood vessel had he been observing.
Although City clawed their way back into the game they
were undone yet again when Deegan won possession on the
edge of the box and, despite seeming to knock it too far
forward still managed to reach it before any defender
and knock in a third goal. The excellent Wilde headed
home Peers’ free kick from the left to give City
a glimmer of hope before the break.
Attacking the Harry Mac end in the second half City showed
more purpose. Howard switched to the right and as Cleggy
made a distracting announcement about the attendance,
cut in with panache to unleash a venomous shot on goal.
Hibbert couldn’t hold it and – quick as a
flash – Wilde lashed the ball into the roof of the
net. The momentum was now with City though United were
quick on the break and forced a succession of corners.
From a City corner, the ball was cleared to Sheehan whose
first touch as substitute was to strike a dipping volley
just under the bar – Hibbert parried it away. Connolly’s
throw-in’s were proving an effective attacking option
but he also took a pot-shot with a free kick on the left
following a foul on Macauley. He targeted the top corner
which Hibbert did well to tip behind for a corner. Connolly
took the corner himself and this time Hibbert could only
help it into the net and City were level. Andy Burgess’
influence grew throughout the game and he went mightily
close to capping a complete comeback when his shot from
the edge of the box clipped a post.
There can have been few complaints about the entertainment
value of tonight’s match before another excellent
attendance, boosted by several hundred from Manchester.
from Rob Hopley and Mark Connolly gave Chester a win
at their West Cheshire League opponents Ashville. They
would have won by a bigger margin but saw a penalty
from trialist Ollie Ryan saved ten minutes after the
The visitors took the lead on 16 minutes
as Mark Peers fed a through ball to Anthony Sheehan
who sent a cross over that was met by the head of Hopley.
Seven minutes before the break Chester doubled their
lead as Connolly raced clear onto a Sheehan pass to
lob the advancing ‘keeper Aidan Dickinson.
Ten minutes after the break substitute
Ryan was fouled in the box by Dickinson but the Ashville
‘keeper saved Ryan’s spot kick and further
efforts from Connolly and Greg Stones as Chester looked
to increase their lead.
was a case not so much of a game of two halves but of
two different half games. Neil Young chose to change
all eleven positions in the team at half time. The first
eleven had Marine on the back foot as the game settled
Ryan had the best of the chances firing
straight at the keeper direct from Connolly’s
throw-in and in to the side netting after bursting through.
Peers also caught the eye with his touch and had a good
shot saved by the keeper after a neat one-two.
After the break openings came less frequently as Marine
stifled Chester in midfield. City were only galvanised
into action after Gallacher had given the visitors the
lead. ‘Keeper Oldfield decided to come out to
punch a far post cross from Marine’s free kick
but was inadvertently impeded by Stuart Jones and his
weak effort only reached the edge of the penalty area.
Gallacher clipped a neat shot in off the bar.
Chester pushed for an equaliser and almost claimed it
three times in the last few minutes. First Stones belted
a drive against the bar, then Hopley’s header
was scrambled off the line and Wilde’s snap shot
cannoned back of the inside of the post.
So the result was a slight anti-climax to what was otherwise
a very good afternoon. It was great to see many old
familiar faces coming back to support the new club –
almost like a re-union of past years; there was real
ale on in the supporters’ bar and a memorable
fly past by the red arrows – and a real feel-good
factor about the Deva again which today’s result
Chester scored four goals against a youthful Wigan XI
in another encouraging performance on a day that also
saw the return to Deva Stadium of Graham Barrow and
The first goal was scored from a 30th minute corner
by striker Michael Wilde – making it his fifth
goal in five games. Chester couldn’t increase
their lead before half-time, but it was a 45 minutes
that would have pleased most of the 1,638 crowd.
And it wasn’t long before they were cheering again,
as it was 2-0 to Chester just seven minutes into the
second half. The came from triallist Ollie Ryan, who
shot into the bottom corner.
It was then the turn of Rob Hopley, who made it 3-0
on the 68th minute with a good header. The Chester joy
was complete with a fourth goal – this time from
defender George Horan following a cross by Iain Howard.
The Wigan side bought to Chester by ex-heroes Martinez
and Barrow, who now make up the management team at the
Premier League side, were mainly youngsters. But their
team did feature four first-year professionals and it
was still another impressive effort by Neil Young’s
Two second half goals from Michael Wilde ensured a third
successive win for this ever improving Chester side. Visitors
Tranmere fielded a mixed team of mainly trialists and
youth players though there was a debut for striker Enoch
Shownmi, recently sigend from Falkirk.
Andy Burgess tested the visiting ’keeper early
on but the midfielder soon limped off with a hamstring
strain that will keep him sidelined for ten days. Captain
george Horan headed just wide following a corner as
Chester pressed for the opening goal.
It was to be Tranmere though who broke the deadlock
six minutes before the break. Ryan Fraughan sent a through
ball to Steve Connor on the left wing and his cross
was headed home by Max Power.
Manager Neil Young made several changes
just after the break and the Blues were soon on level
terms as Wilde headed home from Mark Connolly’s corner.
Three minutes later Wilde was on the scoresheet again
heading home powerfully after good interplay between
Mark Peers and Michael Aspin led to the youngster’s
Wilde almost grabbed a hat-trick
but shot wide and trialist Mark Peers also went close
following good approach play.
took Chester just 16 minutes to register their first Deva
goal as over 1,100 supporters turned out to see this long-awaited
Iain Howard’s name will go down in the recond books
as the first player to get on the scoresheet as he turned
home a cross from trialist Mark Peers at the far post.
Chester had already created a comple of chances with Mark
Connolly missing from close range in the opening minutes.
The home side continued to have the
better of the possession throughout the opening period
but were unable to beat Stephen Cann in the Aberystwyth
Manager Neil Young made several changes
in the second period before. Chester doubled their lead
on 53 minutes as Peers scored a spectacular second lobbing
substitute ‘keeper Dave Roberts from over 40 yards
following a poor clearance.
The woodwork came to the visitor’s
rescue on two occasions before Stuart Jones wrapped
things up three minutes from the break heading home
powerfully Howard’s corner kick.
Michale Wilde scored the first goal for the new Chester
club after 22 minutes when he headed a Stuart Graves cross
against the post and then showed great composure to smash
in the rebound. Four minutes later Wilde struck the woodwork
for a second time and this time the impressive Greg Stones
was on hand to score comfortably. Five minutes before
the break Rob Hopley added a third when his shot from
a Rigoglioso cross seemed to get a deflection off a Heswall
defender. It was an entertaining first half display with
young full back Chris Williams particularly taking the
eye with some enterprising bursts down the wing.
There were a number of changes at half time but Chester
continued to surge forward and put the Heswall defence
under pressure. Greg Stones had a long range effort disallowed
before Wilde scored his second goal of the match on 56
minutes after a cross from the skilful Iain Howard. Andy
Burgess showed glimpses of real quality in the 45 minutes
he played and Chester could easily have added to their
four goal total. There was little opportunity to assess
the defence which had a generally uneventful evening with
goalkeeping triallist Chris Oldfield from Liverpool having
very little to do in his 45 minutes on the field.
All in all it was a very promising work out that will
have increased the anticipation for the new season. Neil
Young is certainly going to have his hands full selecting
a starting eleven from the players that have featured
Richard Whiteside, Stuart Jones, Mark Peers, Andy Burgess,
Mark Connolly and Iain Howard were all half time subs.
The goalkeeper, in the first half was Chris Oldfield a
triallist from Liverpool
scoreline was almost incidental as Chester made their
historic return back to football since being reformed
with the opening of their 2010/11 pre-season campaign
at Colwyn Bay.
The result was a 2-0 victory to the home side, but the
real achievement came in attracting around 1,500 Chester
fans to Llanelian Road to see their team kick a ball
for the first time in more than five months.
Unfortunately the beaming faces turned to frowns in
the second half when a minority of Chester fans were
involved in a skirmish near the Colwyn Bay clubhouse
resulting in an army of North Wales police officers
descending on the ground.
The match had started 10 minutes late due to the sheer
volume of Chester fans queueing to get through the three
turnstiles. I’ve a feeling this is something we
are going to have to get used to this season.
With no names on this season's smart new shirts, it
was hard for everyone to work out who all the players
were. But the number six – Danny Mahoney –
stood out for me in the first half as someone who knows
how to win the ball and distribute it. Adriano Rigoglioso
is also clearly going to be a physical menace to Evo-Stick
The closest Chester came to scoring was on the 15th
minute when Michael Wilde hit the post from a Mark Connolly
free kick. The rest of the first half was a fairly promising
performance from a team that barely knew each other's
names, let alone style of play.
Colwyn Bay, the club previously managed by Chester manager
Neil Young, stepped up a gear in the second half and
scored with a header after a cross from the left-wing
on the hour mark.
Just a few minutes later they doubled their lead with
a shot from the same area, which Chester goalkeeper
Richard Whiteside would have been hard-pressed to save.
Not long after that, the attention turned to the crowd
when the trouble broke out and a handful of spectators
went onto the edge of the pitch to get away. The game
was briefly stopped and there were many Chester fans
with their hearts in their mouths as they watched what
was going on.
The game did quickly re-start, but there seemed to be
less spirit among the fans as they reflected on how
their grand day out had been marred, and the game petered
away until full-time.
Leaving the ground was a long process as North Wales
police, who arrived in something like 11 cars and seven
vans, aided by two helicopters, let the fans out one-by-one
as they looked for their suspects.
The next friendly is another visit to North Wales when
Chester take on Rhyl. We must hope there will be no
repeat of the trouble which tarnished the new club’s
first match – oh, and a goal would be great as