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Thursday 9 August 2001
Caernarfon Town 3 Chester City 3
Chester City:
Brown, S.Rose (Webster 46), M.Rose, Kerr, Ruffer (Rogers 46), Whitney, Haarhoff (Kilgannon 46), Ruscoe, Wright (Spink 54), Hopwood (Roberts 54), Hill. Sub not used: Macken.
Attendance: - Half Time 1-1

Self destruct from City who miss chances and squander a two goal lead in the dying minutes at The Oval.

Chester fielded defender Jon Whitney, who was recently released by Division Three promotion favourites Hull City.

Caernarfon had the better of the early exchanges and Moore squandered a chance on 10 minutes shooting wide after Wayne Brown had rushed out of his box to leave an unguarded net. The Canaries deservedly took the lead though on 26 minutes through Sadler who was put through on the right and chipped the advancing Brown, the ball was drifting wide before Millington slotted home from a narrow angle.

Darren Wright and Jimmy Haarhoff both went close for City before the Blues were awarded a dubious penalty on the stroke of half time. Sam Hill netted from the spot after Mark Antrobus had fouled Wright.

Gordon Hill introduced Dean Spink and Paul Roberts on 54 minutes as City stepped up a gear. Minutes later they forced three corners in succession, and from the last of these Carl Rogers had a goal-bound shot deflected off the line the ball drifting out to Scott Ruscoe who drilled it home to give City the lead.

On 64 minutes City extended their lead as Hill scored from 20 yards following a fine move involving Ruscoe and Roberts. Hill and Roberts both squandered chances before Town pulled a goal back from the penalty spot. Wes Kilgannon and John Whitney were adjudged to have fouled Lee Evans who converted the kick himself.

With nine minutes remaining Brown was dispossessed with the ball outside his box by Sadler whose cross was headed headed home by Evans at the far post.

Dean Spink was withdrawn five minutes from the end following an off-the-ball altercation with Chris Short.
Tuesday 7 August 2001
Glossop North End 0 Chester City 1
Attendance: 60 (est) Half Time 0-0

Once again a Chester team that comprised mainly youth team players and trialists but also including Dean Spink [centre half], Wes Kilgannon, Darren Wright and Jimmy Haarhoff were on show and a goal on 65 minutes by Haarhoff, and a header at that, brought City victory.

Saturday 4 August 2001
Chester City 2 Manchester City X1 3

Attendance: 440  Half Time 2-2

Chester City:   Brown, S.Rose (Woodyatt 80), M.Rose, Kilgannon, Ruffer, Webster, Hill (Wright 52), Kerr, Malkin (Spink 71), Rogers, Ruscoe (Topey 80).
Manchester City X1: Murphy, Meers, Jordan, Whelan, Day, McCarthy, Barton, Blackburn, Killen, Dunfield, Shuker.
Referee: Scott Mathieson (Stockport).

Another sparse crowd at the Deva of just 440, about half of which were supporting the Maine Road club, saw Chester lose 2-3 to what was in effect Manchester City's youth team that included Blues youngster Chris Blackburn playing the last game of his two week trial at the first division club.

Chester lined-up without Porter or Whitehall and director of football Gordon Hill pared David Kerr and Wes Kilgannon in midfield.

Chester took the lead in the 21st minute. Michael Rose's right wing cross eluded everyone and was bundled home by an unmarked Sam Hill from six yards at the far post. As has often been the case with Chester though the lead lasted precisely 60 seconds.

Chris Shuker gave Wayne Brown no chance after the 'keeper had hesitated. Man City took the lead on 35 minutes when Chris Killen, who was to torment Chester all afternoon, headed home a Shuker corner.

Chester fought back though and equalised two minutes later with a Wes Kilgannon penalty after skipper Carl Ruffer had been fouled by Killen.

Killen and Blackburn both spurned good chances to score the visitors' third. The winner eventually came through Killen firing home at the back post following another Shuker corner.

[Chester City 2001-02]

The team lines-up before the match.
[Picture from the Evening Leader]

Saturday 4 August 2001
Denbigh Town 1 Chester City 0
Attendance: ? Half Time 1-0

A Chester team that comprised mainly youth team players and trialists went down to a single Andy Wynne goal after ten minutes in an entertaining match. Both sides created chances and striker Jimmy Haarhoff spurned City's best opening when he missed from the penalty spot with four minutes remaining, home 'keeper Darren Edwards saving.

If anyone wants a programme from the match the contact Neall Condon (sec) on 01745 815988

Thursday 2 August 2001
Total Network Solutions 2 Chester City 0

Attendance: 150  Half Time 1-0

Chester City: Brown, S Rose (Woodyatt 45), M Rose, Ruscoe (YTS player 80), Ruffer, Lancaster (Roberts 80), Wright (Haarhoff 45), Kerr (Kilgannon 45), Malkin (Spink 45), Beesley (Whitehall 45), Steve Torpey (a trialist from Liverpool).

After reading encouraging reports from matches against Connah�s Quay and Port Vale it came as something of a surprise to see Chester convincingly beaten by TNS in a low key friendly. Although City started the game well, a well-organised League of Wales outfit thoroughly deserved their victory and should have added to their two goal tally as a host of chances went begging in the closing stages.

TNS included former City man, Steve Anthrobus, in their line-up and the lumbering centre forward proved a handful for the Chester defence as the Welsh side prepared for European action in Poland next week. Chester were without Andy Porter and Sam Hill while Scott Ruscoe was utilised in a central midfield role for his 80 minutes.

Chester looked comfortable in the early stages and Darren Wright came close with a looping header after only two minutes. A good run by Lancaster was halted on the edge of the box and Kerr should have hit the target from 20 yards. The best chance fell to Chris Malkin who headed over under pressure from the goalkeeper after Ruscoe had whipped in a right wing cross. It took time for TNS to find their feet but they gradually came into the game and a deflected shot passed a foot wide of Brown�s post while the City keeper also did well to block a shot after the City defence failed to clear the ball. TNS took the lead after 41 minutes when Anthrobus was pulled down in the area by Lancaster. Alexander sent Brown the wrong way from the spot with a confident penalty.

Within five minutes of the second half TNS had extended their lead when Jenkins burst through the static City defence and beat Wayne Brown with an immaculate chipped shot. The second half was all TNS and City created few opportunities with the best chance falling to Ruscoe on the edge of the area after Spink had knocked the ball down. TNS wasted numerous chances in the last fifteen minutes and only some poor finishing and good goalkeeping by Brown kept the score down.

As for the players, the Malkin, Beesley partnership looked far more effective than the second half combination of Whitehall and Spink and Wayne Brown put his problems behind him with a fine performance. The Rose brothers looked good prospects and Wes Kilgannon showed one or two skilfull touches when he came on. The overall impression however was of a very thin, inexperienced Chester squad who could really struggle with the loss of a few key players unless adequate replacements are found.

Terry Smith was not at the game to see his Roman Warriors play in the new cut-price sky blue and black (or dark blue) kit and there was no repetition of the scenes from the Connah�s Quay game.

Chas Sumner

Saturday 28 July 2001
Chester City 1 Port Vale 0
Attendance: 254 Half Time 0-0

Chester City:
Brown, S.Rose (Woodyatt 71), M.Rose, Porter, Ruffer, Lancaster, Hill (Wright 71), Kerr (Kilgannon 60), Malkin (Whitehall 75), M.Beesley, Ruscoe.
Port Vale: Goodlad, Carragher, Donnelly, Brammer (Dodd 60), Walsh, Burton (Gibson 60), Cummins, Ingram, Brooker, McPhee (Burns 60), Bridge-Wilkinson.
Referee: Scott Mathieson (Stockport).

A goal by Steve Whitehall 10 minutes from time gave City their third pre-season victory, but the main talking point was the crowd – or lack of it!

Only 254 paying customers turned up at the Deva and many of those were from the Potteries club. To put this in perspective, the two home pre-season friendlies at the corresponding time last season drew crowds of 917 and 1,205. The boycott by many Chester fans started in earnest here and over 100 stood on the picket line before and during the match.

By all counts Mike Rose was City's best player delivering quality crosses, one of which saw Chris Malkin head over the bar just before the break, whilst at the other end Wayne Brown saved to deny McPhee.

City came into the game more after the break and after Brown had saved from Bridge-Wilkinson the (sky) Blues went close on several occaions. Malkin was again set up by a Rose cross and skipper carl Ruffer headed against the bar on 69 minutes. Transfer listed Darren Wright replaced Sam Hill, who spurned many chances to cross in the game, and he set up the winner for Whitehall. Wright robbed Ingram and put Mark Beesley through, Beesley squared for Whitehall to finish things off.

In the closing minutes Vale wasted two chances to equalise with Brooker shooting high and wide and then forcing a save from Brown in the dying seconds.

Friday 21 July 2001
Bury X1 1 Chester City 5

Practice match played behind closed doors. No details except for the City scorers who were Chris Malkin (2), Steve Whitehall, Mark Beesley and Martyn Lancaster.

Thursday 20 July 2001
Connah's Quay Nomads 0 Chester City 3

Attendance: 350 (est) Half Time 0-1  

Chester City: Brown (Macken 80), M Rose, S Rose, Porter (Berry 82), Ruffer (Spink 82), Lancaster, Wright, Kerr, Whitehall, S Gummer, Ruscoe. Other subs who featured: Woodyatt, M Beesley, Malkin, Kilgannon and Hill.

[Deeside Stadium]It was a stroll in the park for Chester City tonight as they easily overcame a poor Connah's Quay Nomads side that never really looked like threatening the City goal. It was events off the pitch, however that stole the headlines with Gordon Hill facing the hate mob in his first game in charge. A small number of Chester fans gathered by the changing room doors in wait of Hill and then proceeded to spit at him as he made his way past. Stupidly though, Hill chose to react by spitting back at one supporter which sparked furious scenes. What seemed like a convoy of police cars arrived during the second half of the match to make sure that the new Chester management could pass peacefully at the end of the game.

Back to the game however, and it was Chester that started the brightest and created most of the opportunities in front of a crowd of approximately 350. It was a surprise then, that the first goal didn't arrive until the 24th minute when Martyn Lancaster met a cross at the far post with a looping header. City continued to control the game throughout the first half as Scott Ruscoe stole the show. He displayed some excellent running on the ball and was involved in most of City's attacking play. Ruscoe failed to help Chester add to their tally as the first half ended 1-0.

Gordon Hill chose to make a few substitutions at half time with Jimmy Haarhoff and Mark Beesley coming on to replace Steve Whitehall and a new face who had played well in the first half. Chester continued to make all the running in the second half and they increased their lead when Ruscoe got a deserved goal after some excellent build up play involving Haarhoff and Beesley. The ball was fed out to Ruscoe on the left who coolly slotted past the young Nomads keeper into the bottom corner.

Chester made the score more convincing about ten minutes later when a penalty was awarded for a trip on Haarhoff in the box. Mark Beesley casually slotted the spot kick into the bottom right corner, sending the keeper the wrong way. It was then that City decided to take their foot off the pedal and some more substitutions were made including that of Wayne Brown who received a rapturous applause from the City fans gathered inside the Deeside Stadium.

Overall, a positive 3-0 victory from Chester's first pre-season friendly and a lot of plus point to be taken from some of the performances on show. Let's not get carried away though. Connah's Quay were very poor and a lot more testing times are to come for Chester, on and off the pitch.

Lee Wilcox

[Gordon Hill]
Gordon Hill makes his entrance.    

Pictures by Mike Rowe.















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