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Tuesday 13 August 2002
Chester City 1 Liverpool X1 0
Attendance: 5,172 Half Time 0-0

Chester City: Brown (Worsnop), Guyett, Ruffer, Hatswell, Woodyatt (Brady 55), Davies (Blackburn 55), Kelly (Carey 55), Harkness, McIntyre (Carden 55), Beesley (Cameron 61), Twiss (Grant 61).
Liverpool X1:
Kirkland (Arphexad 77), Carragher, Vignal, Warnock, Biscan (Sjolund 77), Babbel (Otsemobor 70), Smicer (Partridge 61), Diao (Diomede 61), Baros (Mellor 70), Berger, Cheyrou (Welsh 61).
Referee: Mr S Brand (Wirral). 

[Match programme]Well, well, well! I know that the only important result this week is the one Chester get on Saturday when the season kick’s off against Kettering....but it’s a nice feather in the cap all the same to beat an expensive multi-national Liverpool XI. No-one could say that it was undeserved or that the visitors would be happy about losing to Conference opposition.

Every side of the Deva showed evidence of support for the Reds – and Cleggy was his usual OTT self in making the visitors welcome via the PA. But there was no doubt it was a great atmosphere and brilliant to see the stadium full to near capacity again. As the list of international stars was announced in the Liverpool line up, Chester fans of a nervous disposition could be forgiven for thinking this may be a friendly too far. Would the Blues be about to suffer a morale bruising defeat?

We needn’t have worried. As the match began both teams made use of the superb-looking pitch to display their passing game. Goalmouth opportunities were few and far between but the standard of passing and movement was high from both teams – expected at Premiership level but a vast improvement on anything we have seen for several years from Chester.

Understandably City were compact and defensive and chased and harried a lot as Liverpool moved the ball about swiftly across the park looking for an opening on goal. Brown was forced to dive at the feet of Smicer, Babbel – received with rapturous applause on his return from injury – headed over when well placed to score.

Chester did manage to string some attacking moves together and though the Liverpool defence was usually quick to cover a couple of half chances fell to Ruffer who blazed the ball well over and to Twiss who went much closer with his turn and volley.

Respectable parity at the break continued afterwards, even when Wright threw on four substitutes in one go and it looked like Liverpool would take advantage of the disruption. Berger blasted a shot into the side netting and then overran the ball when a clever one two sent him through.

One of the four substitutes to come on was Jon Brady – on trial from Rushden & Diamonds. Later, Gareth Grant, on trial from Bradford City, was pitched into the attack together with Cameron. Although Grant didn’t get much of the ball his pace is obviously an asset. His touch set the sharp looking Blackburn through who finished with a degree of confidence that was never in evidence last season. Amazing though it is, this was the only goal of the game.

Not only has the preparation on the pitch been very good this pre-season. Off the pitch Steven Vaughan is doing everything he can to instill hope and pride into City’s fans. If you haven’t managed to look in yet – try visiting the made-over social club – with stunning new carpet (Royal blue with the club crest all over). The only fly in the ointment last night was the illegible red numbers on blue background on the new City shirts – but we’ve got to have something to complain about haven’t we?

No complaints about the quality of Chester’s squad at the start of this season. Let’s hope this performance – and several of the City players were outstanding tonight – does not breed complacency for Saturday. The level of expectancy amongst us is going to be at fever pitch. I’d settle for the same result against Kettering to kick off with.

Colin Mansley

They played for both, read Chas Sumner’s article on players who wore the shirt of both Chester City and Liverpool.

[Extra changing rooms] [Teams come out]

Saturday 10 August 2002
Vauxhall Motors 0 Chester City 7
Attendance: TBA Half Time 0-3

Vauxhall Motors: Holmes, Ward, McDermott, Brazier, Haddrell, Robinson, Nesbitt, Lynch, Fearns, Aspinall, Cumiskey. Subs: Spellman, Rigby, Thompson, Wright, Lawton, Welton, Hogg.
Chester City
(first half): W.Brown, Guyett, Ruffer, Hatswell, Woodyatt, Davies, Kelly, McIntyre, Beesley, Brodie, Twiss.
Chester City
(second half): Worsnop, Lancaster, Ruffer, Hatswell (Collins), Blackburn, Carden, Carey, M.Brown, Cameron, Grant, Sugden (Whittaker).
Referee: D.White.

[Match Programme]City turned on the style on Saturday with a slick scintilating performance against neighbours Vauxhall Motors to inflict the heaviest defeat ever suffered by Motor’s manager Alvin McDonald in his 13 years in the business.

Chester took the game to their hosts from the off and should have taken the lead on ten minutes, Michael Twiss guilty of clearing the home bar from close range, and minutes later Mark Beesley shot straight at keeper Holmes after good approach work. City were guilty of more misses and nearly paid the price with Terry Fearns spurning an opportunity to break the deadlock from close range for the UniBond side.

The opening goal came just on the half hour with Scott Guyett heading home an inch perfect Kevin McIntyre free-kick from close range, his second goal in two games for the Blues. With five minutes remaining of the half Michael Twiss doubled City’s lead with a great shot and turn from just inside the box. Three minutes later, on the stroke of half-time a third from Steve Brodie effectively killed the game off. Once again McIntyre provided the cross, Woodyatt headed down and Brodie was on hand to finish from close in.

The Blues three-up at the break never took their foot off the pedal, and, despite nine changes made for the second period, pounded the home goal to create chance after chance.

The Motormen came close to pulling a goal back after the break however with the post coming to Worsnop’s rescue following a fine long-range effort from Cumiskey.

Micky Brown, one of City’s second half replacements, added the fourth goal on 56 minutes, again from close range, after neat link work by Shaun Carey and Ryan Sugden. And Sugen added the fifth himself minutes later, once again, Carey producing the final ball through.

The Blues gave a trial to Bradford City striker Gareth Grant, and it was his cross on 66 minutes that brought the sixth goal as home defender Kevin Thompson turned the ball into his own net.

City saved the best goal for last as Micky Brown rounded off a flowing moved that involved nearly half of the City team.

So, just the sort of result City and their fans wanted and just the kind of performance from the front line that will have pleased manager Wright who, earlier in the week, hinted that he would be out to bolster that section of the team.

Home manager McDonald sportingly praised the City performance afterwards telling the press: “Chester are obviously coached well, they have a very good manager, and they have 11 new players and they looked good – they were light years away from the Leigh RMI team we beat last week, and all credit to them for not taking their foot off the pedal in the second half. This was the heaviest defeat I’ve experienced in my 13 years as a manager. I’ve never been beaten 7-0 and it’s going to be hard to get over this.”

[Michael Twiss scores] [Ryan Sugden scores]    

Action photographs by club photogprapher Max Ainscough. Copies of Max’s photographs will soon be on sale in the club shop.

Tuesday 6 August 2002
Chester City 1 Manchester United Reserves 3
Attendance: 1,342 Half Time 0-2

Chester City:
W.Brown, Harkness, McIntyre, Carey (Davies 73), Guyett, Hatswell, Kelly (Carden 73), Twiss (Blackburn 70), Beesley (Sugden 58), Brodie (Cameron 65), Woodyatt.
Manchester United Reserves: Steele, Roche, Hilton, Tierney, May, Scholes (Rankin 61), Muirhead, Lynch, Williams (Fox 72), Nardiello (Webber 65), Richardson.
Referee: S.Brand (Birkenhead).

[Match Programme]So a Manchester United XI came to a “new look” Deva Stadium and included England international Paul Scholes in the squad. Scholes had flown back from Holland with knee injury and obviously wanted a run out. It was good to see him grace the turf at the Deva and almost worth the admission price alone. The new look consists of refurbished and extended dugouts, several new areas of paintwork (Stripes on the rooves of the stands and a brighter yellow on the safety areas), the removal of some old adverts and the arrival of a mysterious double portacabin behind the home end.

Oh and there was a new safety announcement too – after ten years of the lugubrious Dr Death voice saying welcome to Deva Stadium, there is a new improved bright and cheerful version instead. The new announcement brought one of the biggest cheers of the night and was closely followed by five seconds of an even brighter female version. But unfortunately she was cut off after about five seconds.

It didn’t take long for a youthful Manchester United side to forge ahead. They took the lead, very much against the run of play following a corner on the right. Harkness had shielded the ball over the line in the mistaken assumption that the referee (Mr Brand from the Wirral) would give a goal kick. David May, the only other first teamer in the squad, took advantage of some sloppy marking to head home unchallenged.

[Kevin McIntyre]City continued to play some attractive football. Most of their threats on goal – and there were quite a surprising number of them – came from the left where Kevin McIntyre (pictured) had a lot of the ball and whipped in some useful crosses. Jimmy Kelly, captain tonight, had a combative time with Paul Scholes and had to be warned to calm down by Mr Brand at one point. Brodie, recognisable by his flowing locks, also seems a useful addition.

Best chance fell to Beesley, who for a split second had a clean run on goal but before you could say, greased lightning, Scholes had whipped the ball off his toes. Just before half time play really opened up and there were chances galore at either end. Nardiello put a rebound just wide after Brown parried a fierce shot. Beesley saw a good header saved after great wing play by McIntyre.

But it was United who extended their lead when Matthew Williams finished off a mesmerising move by turning Hatswell and scoring with ease past Brown.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with Chester playing pretty well. As the game wore on the substitutions become more and more frequent. Scholes was withdrawn to well deserved applause and he earned more when he gave his shirt to a lad who had tried, and failed because of a lack of a pen, to get his autograph. A lovely gesture.

United scored a third when Brown spilled a spiralling cross and the red devils were more alive to the possibilites than the Chester defenders. Kieron Richardson lashed the loose ball home.

But Chester got the goal their spirited play deserved when Scott Guyett chested the ball down and smashed it into the roof of the net with virtually the last kick of the game.

It was a pleasant and entertaining evening. Next week all the tickets have just about gone for the Liverpool game – get down there early if you want to claim your usual spot.

The portacabins, by the way are for the players to change in when training so that they don’t mess up the new showers, apparently they are quite a mucky lot.

Colin Mansley

Saturday 3 August 2002
Chester City 1 Manchester City X1 2
Attendance: 632 Half Time 1-1

Chester City:
W Brown, Harkness (M Brown 66), McIntyre, Carey (Blackburn 56), Guyett, Kelly (Carden 56), Twiss (Sugden 60), Beesley (Cameron 60), Brodie (Davies 19 (Whittaker 66)), Ruffer, Woodyatt. Subs not used: Worsnop, Collins.
Manchester City X1: Ellegaard, James (Gilder 33), Jordan, Loran, Bischoff (Paisley 60), Day, Barton, Whitley, Browne, Kilheeney, Whelan. Subs (not used): Westwood, McDowall, Orr.
Referee: J.Stokes (Wirral).

[Match programme]The Blues were beaten at home for the second time in four days, but manager Mark Wright declared himself satisfied with the performance as he used the game to try out some more formations in the build-up to the more important opening Conference fixture with newly-promoted Kettering Town, now, just two weeks away.

Chester gave full debuts to both Steve Harkness and Scott Guyett, City’s latest signing who had joined the Blues just 24 hours earlier. Mark Beesley and Michael Twiss were favoured up front ahead of a midfield that comprised Jimmy Kelly, Shaun Carey and Steve Brodie.

Brodie and defender Lee Woodyatt linked well to force City’s first chance of the game but it wasn’t long before Brodie left the field with a leg injury to be replaced by Ben Davies on 19 minutes.

Just before Brodie’s departure, Wayne Brown in the City goal, the busier of the two keepers at that stage, had to be on hand to make a couple of saves from Kiheeney and the experienced Jeff Whitley.

Michael Twiss unleashed a 20-yarder that had Ellegaard in difficulties between the visitors sticks and minutes later Chester were awarded a dubious penalty after Mikkel Bischoff’s challenge on Twiss was deemed a foul by referee Stokes. Beesley stepped up and sent Ellegaard the wrong way from the spot to give City the lead.

After a couple of close scares the visitors equalised five minutes before the break. Glenn Whelan shook off challenges from Kelly and Harkness before lobbing Wayne Brown who had no chance. Minutes later Bischoff made amends for his earlier error when he denied Swiss who was bearing down on goal.

Chester came out strongly after the break and Ellegaard was on hand to once again save a close range effort from Twiss – just 30 seconds into the half.

On 51 minutes the visitors got what eventually proved to be the winner. Gary Browne forged a run down the left and shook off Guyett and Woodyatt before unleashing a hard low cross-shot into the City area. Harkness attempted to clear the danger but could only deflect the shot past Brown into his own net.
Saturday 3 August 2002
Brymbro Broughton 0 Chester City Reserves 13
The City reserves hammered Brymbo in a match played on Saturday morning. Scorers for the Blues were: Haarhoff (4), Byrne (2), Porter (2), D Brown (2), Rodgers, Simmonds and Mulvanney.

Wednesday 31 July 2002
Chester City 0 Everton X1 1
Attendance: 3,141 Half Time 0-1

Chester City: W.Brown, Lancaster (Harkness 66) Ruffer, Hatswell, McIntyre, Davies (Woodyatt 66), Kelly, Blackburn (Carey 66), Brodie (Sugden 81), Beesley (Cameron 71), Twiss (M.Brown 81). Sub not used: Worsnop.
Everton X1: Simonsen, O'Hanlon, Naysmith, Clarke, Pilkington, K.Southern, Brown, Carney, Symes (Beck 77), Watson, McLeod. Subs not used: Cole, Crowder, R.Southern, Schumacher, Moogan.
Referee: J.Tatton (Huyton).

[Programme]Former City hero Andy Holden brought an Everton side consisting mainly of fringe first-team players for the first home pre-season friendly of the summer.

With the crowd building up outside the ground the game started 15 minutes late to allow the congestion to ease and City started brightly and the first chance of the match fell to Carl Ruffer who headed just wide following a fine cross from Kevin McIntyre.

Another header, this time by Mark Beesley, minutes later was well saved by Simonsen in the Toffee’s goal after good approach work by McIntyre and Michael Twiss.

Everton’s best approach play came from the impressive Kevin McLeod and he was instrumental in the only goal of the game on 14 minutes. His mazy run produced a corner from which Peter Clark fired home after a poor defensive clearance.

Minutes later Beesley went close to equalising but once again he found Simonsen equal his hard low shot. Twiss and fellow newcomer Steve Brodie showed just whey must be a force to reckoned with in the Conference next season with some great touches and interplay.

The visitors had the ball in the net again but this time the goal was ruled out for pushing in the area, and the impressive Scottish international Gary Naysmith brought a fine save out of Wayne Brown on the stroke of half-time as City went into the break a goal down.

City’s closest effort on goal came two minutes following the break. Brodie found Twiss who rounded Simonsen only to see his fierce shot rebound back off the post. Brown had to be lively again minutes later as he thwarted the onrushing O’Hanlon.

With 24 minutes remaining City gave a debut to former Liverpool player Steve Harkness who came on to cheers from he home fans and, inevitably, jeers from the visitors.

Brodie, and substitute Shaun Carey both had shots saved and Woodyatt was denied in the final minutes by a fine challenge.
Monday 29 July
Colwyn Bay 1 Chester City 0
Attendance: 400 (est) Half Time 0-0

Colwyn Bay:
Boswell, Hogg, Evans, Graham, Caton (Moody), Jones, Limbert (Kissock), McCormack, Furlong, McGilvogue, Scheuber (Stannard).
Chester City:
Worsnop, Carey (D.Brown 53 (Haarhoff 83)), Keegan, M.Brown (Whittaker 53), Carden, Sugden (C.O’Brien 45), Lancaster, Ruffer, Cameron (Collins 53), Elam, Woodyatt. Sub not used: Macken.
Referee: Patrick Dunn (Liverpool).

[Programme]An 89th minute goal by Carl Furlong consigned Chester to their first friendly defeat of the season in a game they were unfortunate to lose. Once again they controlled the first half but faded after the break and Bay made City pay with a late goal. However it was more significant to note the players who didn’t appear in this game with the first friendly match at home, against an Everton first team, scheduled in 48 hours. It certainly seems as though Mark Wright put out his second string game for this game and, with perhaps one exception, it may be possible to make an educated guess at the team who will start against Everton (and Kettering?) based on the players who didn’t play tonight. A possible first team might therefore be Brown, Ruffer, Bolland, Hatswell, Davies, Kelly, Brodie, Blackburn, McIntyre, Beesley, Twiss. The only question mark would perhaps be the position of Carl Ruffer who played the full 90 minutes tonight. Perhaps Wright intends starting with Steve Harkness at the back or has he still got another surprise up his sleeve?

Chester began the game with John Keegan, the trialist from Scarborough in defence and another trialist, Lee Elam from Southport, in midfield. Elam looked a useful player and made some incisive passes but it is difficult to see how he would fit into a squad which already appears to be top heavy.

In the first 45 minutes Chester were comfortably in control of the game without creating as many clear cut chances as they had in previous matches. Lancaster had a header blocked from an early corner while Cameron couldn’t capitalise on a couple of good chances created by Elam and Sugden. Chester came closest to scoring through Mickey Brown who had a couple of shots which just shaved the crossbar. Brown was perhaps one of the best players in the first half alongside Elam and Woodyatt.

Chirs O’Brien started the second half in place of Shaun Carey and within five minutes another three changes were made as Danny Collins, Stuart Whittaker and David Brown all made an appearance. It came as something of a surprise to see Brown play as many people thought his contract had been cancelled. These changes resulted in Chester playing a 4-4-2 formation with Collins and Brown up front, O'Brien and Carden in central midfield with Whittaker and Elam on the flanks and a back four of Woodyatt, Ruffer, Lancaster and Keegan. Most of Chester’s best chances in the second half were created by Whittaker and within a few minutes of coming on his superb right wing cross was met by Elam who saw his header brilliantly pushed onto the bar by Boswell. Whittaker also came close to scoring himself with a couple of long-range shots and Brown fired over from another Whittaker cross. As the second half progressed Bay gradually clawed their way into the game and in the closing ten minutes McCormack headed just over from a corner and then saw a shot well-saved by Worsnop. At the other end Whittaker shot across the face of goal from a Woodyatt cross. In the final minute Furlong broke free of Keegan and after seeing his first shot well-blocked by Worsnop managed to score from the rebound.

Chas Sumner

Saturday 27 July
Bangor City 1 Chester City 1
Bangor City:
Priestley, O.T. Jones, Rowlands (Goodall 77), E.Jones, Brett (G.Williams 46), Griffiths, Boulton (Hunt 15), Blackmore, Roberts, Davies, Burgess.
Chester City:
W.Brown, Ruffer, Bolland, Hatswell, Davies (Woodyatt 62), Kelly, Blackburn (Carden 67), McIntyre, Brodie (Sugden 60), Cameron, Beesley.
Attendance: 400 (est) Half Time 0-1

[Programme]Bangor City proved a much sterner test for Mark Wright’s squad in this feisty encounter and the Chester boss will have learnt more about his players in this game than in either of the games against Buckley and Holywell. After dominating the game for the first 45 minutes, and missing a number of chances, Chester lost their way after the break allowing Bangor to equalise with just over ten minutes remaining.

Chester started the game with almost the same side that started against Holywell. Wayne Brown replaced the triallist goalkeepers with Chris Blackburn taking over from Shaun Carey, and Steve Brodie starting in place of Michael Twiss who had a slight ankle injury. Bangor included ex-City keeper Phil Priestley and the perma-tanned ex Man Utd midfielder, Clayton Blackmore. However it was the Bangor number 9, Paul Roberts, who stole the show with a nasty performance that included throwing a punch at Wayne Brown and a series of appalling tackles, most notably on Carl Ruffer. How he remained on the pitch is a mystery and who knows what he must be like when he is fired up for a competitive game, perhaps he just had a personal vendetta against Chester.

In the first half the Chester midfield were in firm control of the game with Jimmy Kelly in particular catching the eye. Beesley and Cameron both missed good chances but the standard of crossing was not particularly good and most of the balls delivered into the box were cut out at the near post. Chester took the lead in the 12th minute when Steve Brodie capitalised on a poor clearance by Priestley and struck a superb shot from 35 yards over the head of the stranded keeper. A real classy goal from a player who also delivered some excellent passes throughout his 60 minutes play.

After the break an air of complacency seemed to creep into Chester’s game and as the match became more niggly Bangor began to have more of the play. They were certainly unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Hunt was brought down in the area after a weak back pass but the referee was probably distracted by an incident which resulted in a mass brawl in the middle of the field. At this point the referee seemed to have totally lost control of the game and it might have helped if a couple of the main protagonists had been substituted. With twelve minute remaining Bangor netted an equaliser when Hunt dived in to score a header after Brown appeared to misjudge a cross to the far post.

All in all it proved an extremely useful workout with many players completing 90 minutes action for the first time.

Chas Sumner

Thursday 25 July
Denbigh Town 1 Chester City Reserves 6
Under the guidance of Iain Jenkins, City sent a reserve team to Denbigh Town and ran out winners with goals from Stuart Whittaker, Matty Cook, David Brown (2) and Kevin Towey (2).

Thursday 25 July
Holywell Town 0 Chester City 7
Chester City
(first half): Worsnop, Ruffer, Bolland, Hatswell, McIntyre, Carey, Kelly, Davies, Twiss, Cameron, Beesley.
Chester City (second half): Walsh, Ruffer, Bolland (Keegan), Hatswell, Brown, Blackburn, Carden, Collins, Brodie, Sugden, Haarhoff.
Attendance: 200 (est) Half Time 0-4

[Holywell Town]It may only have been Holywell Town and it may only have been a pre-season friendly but this was great entertainment (for Chester fans) and the style of play certainly bodes well for the new season. In the end it was 7-0 but it could, and should, have been double figures as City pushed forward throughout the ninety minutes and never gave poor Holywell a look in.

In the first half John Worsnop played in goal for Chester while David Walsh (ex Wrexham) played in goal for Holywell. At half time they swapped teams in an interesting exercise. Neither had much to do when playing in goal for Chester but both made good saves while playing for Holywell and Worsnop saved a Ryan Sugden penalty.

Once again Mark Wright played three at the back with Carl Ruffer on the right, Phil Bolland in the middle and Wayne Hatswell on the left. Interestingly this was the same three that started against Buckley and when wholesale changes were made at half time the defence remained the same although John Keegan (a trialist from Scarborough and former York City player) replaced Bolland on the hour. Could this be the defence that starts the first game? Although it does beg the question, where does Steve Harkness fit in?

In midfield Shaun Carey and Jimmy Kelly played in the centre in the first half with Chris Blackburn and Paul Carden taking over after the break. The chalk and cheese partnership of Carey and Kelly worked well together with Carey bossing the midfield as Kelly took on the enforcer role. On the flanks Kevin McIntyre (left) and Ben Davies (right) were replaced by Danny Collins (out of position) and Mickey Brown after the break. Pick of the four was Ben Davies who continued the good work from Buckley and always looked dangerous.

[Michael Twiss]Up front Michael Twiss (pictured) played behind Mark Beesley and Dave Cameron in the first half with Steve Brodie playing the Twiss role after the break behind Ryan Sugden and Jimmy Haarhoff. Cameron and Beesley look to be working well together and Twiss gives the impression he is going to score every time he runs in on goal. Potentially it looks a very exciting partnership. Having said that Brodie also looks a class signing and Sugden offers a different option to Cameron. Where the muscular Cameron looks to shield the ball and lay it off Sugden seems happier running with it. Meanwhile Jimmy was Jimmy, entertaining, unpredictable and frustrating.

As for the action. Cameron opened the scoring on 23 minutes when he shielded a long clearance from Worsnop, turned and shot low into the corner. Chester extended the lead after 32 minutes when Beesley pulled the ball back from the byline for Twiss to finish clinically. Cameron and Beesley (twice) missed good chances and Twiss hit the foot of the post before Walsh saved well from Cameron.

Just before half time Twiss struck the post for the second time but Cameron was on hand to put the ball into the net and deep into injury time Beesley was left with a simple chance after good work by Davies and Cameron. The play didn�t flow as smoothly after the interval but Sugden hit the post after 50 minutes and Blackburn should have scored when Brown delivered an inviting cross.

On 69 minutes Sugden headed down for Brodie to finish with a lethal shot and a minute later Brodie almost scored his second but Worsnop saved well. Four minutes later Sugden was brought down by Worsnop but the goalkeeper made an excellent save from the resulting penalty. On 77 minutes Sugden did find the net but all the work was done by Carden with a surging run from his own half.

Sugden wrapped up the scoring after 80 minutes when he lobbed the keeper with everyone (including Sugden perhaps) expecting a cross. Both Haarhoff and Collins could have scored in the closing moments but the score remained at seven.

Chas Sumner

Tuesday 23 July
Denbigh Town Reserves 0 Chester City Youth 1

A goal from Gethin Lloyd gave City’s youth team a 1-0 victory away at Denbigh Town reserves. Like the first team, the players are training during the day and following this with an evening match.

Monday 22 July
Buckley Town 1 Chester City 4
Chester City
(first half): W.Brown, Ruffer, Bolland, Hatswell, M.Brown, Kelly, Blackburn, Whittaker, Sugden, Cameron, Collins.
Chester City
(second half): Worsnop, Lancaster, Bolland, Hatswell, Davies, Carden, Carey, McIntyre, Brodie, Beesley, Twiss.
Attendance: 750 (est) Half Time 0-1

It�s always difficult to read anything into the first friendly game of the season and this game proved harder than most as Chester played two virtually different teams for 45 minutes each. It was more of an exercise in trying to identify the players as nine of Chester�s ten new players were given a run out. Only Steve Harkness of the new signings didn�t appear.

The game was played as part of the transfer of Danny Collins to Chester and Collins worked hard in the first 45 minutes alongside Dave Cameron and Ryan Sugden. Cameron, a strong, muscular player proved a handful for the Buckley defence and did a good job of shielding the ball. It was Cameron who opened the scoring from the penalty spot after eight minutes following a foul on Sugden on the edge of the area. He also put the ball in the net after 25 minutes but was pulled up for a dubious offside. In midfield Jimmy Kelly looked a player you don�t want to mess with and Chris Blackburn also worked hard. Throughout the game it was good to see Chester trying to play the ball along the ground.

There was very little to test the Chester defence and it was 30 minutes before Wayne Brown got his first touch of the ball. In the second half Brown was replaced by Worsnop, a youngster from Bradford City, and his first task was to pick the ball out of the back of the net when the Buckley number 11 carved through the City defence and scored a well taken goal.

It didn�t take long for Chester to strike back and they went 2-1 ahead when Michael Twiss was chopped down in the penalty area after a superb turn. Mark Beesley scored from the spot. There were some excellent touches in the second half from both Twiss and Steve Brodie and you can see them both providing plenty of excitement next season. It was Twiss who scored Chester�s third after 75 minutes following a good pass from Shaun Carey and Brodie wrapped the game up with two minutes remaining with a looping header from Paul Carden�s cross. Kevin McIntyre looked a useful acquisition on the left and Carden and Carey (who struck the foot of the post with a thumping shot) combined well in midfield while Ben Davies put in some good crosses from the right.

So, what can be learnt from the first 90 minutes of Chester�s latest new era. The most striking feature is the overall strength of the squad and it is still impossible to predict the starting eleven against Kettering.

Chas Sumner

Saturday 20 July
Chester City Youth 5
Flexys Cefn Druids Youth 2
The youth team kicked off their pre-season friendlies with a hard fought victory over Flexys Cefn Druids youth. Goalscorers for City were Tom Leonard, Danny Ventrie, Kevin Towey and Gethin Lloyd (2).
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The squad building continues as Chester announce the signing of 25-year-old forward Dan Turner from Brackley Town.
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The season ends with a goalless draw as the Blues fail to score at home for a fifth successive match.
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Chester have a home friendly against Stockport County on Saturday 6 July, kick-off 13.00.
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Everything you need to know about the club’s history, honours, records and kits. Complete list of fixtures from 1885 and much more.
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The Exiles have set up a blog to provide away match information and articles for Blues fans living away from Chester. You can read it here
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