2 August 2004
City 0 Blackburn Rovers XI 0
Attendance: 1,472 Half Time 0-0
Chester City: Brown (MacKenzie 63), Vaughan (Edmondson
63), McIntyre, Bolland, Hessey (Belle 18), Drummond (Carden
63), Collins (Hope 63), Ellison (Roberts 63), Harris (Davies
63), Clare, Branch (Rapley 63).
Blackburn Rovers: Yelldell, Peers, Morgan, Danns,
McEveley, Bruce, Harkins (Watt 73), Donnelly, Jansen,
Gallagher, Douglas. Subs: Taylor, Drench, Johnson, Derbyshire.
Referee: M.Jones (Chester).
fielded a strong line-up for their final pre-season friendly
game against a Blackburn side who, like City, started
the game unbeaten in their summer build-up. Michael Branch
appears to have recovered from a bruised toe that kept
him out of the previous two games and partnered Daryl
Clare up front, while Kevin Ellison started his first
game as a signed-up City player.
himself was first into the action as he saw a shot deflected
wide after four minutes. Although a relatively young
side, Rovers did boast Matt Jansen in the side, a veteran
of over 100 Premiership games, and he had the visitors’
best chances on the night, shooting high and wide on
both occasions. Goalkeeper Wayne Brown looked back to
his best as well saving well low down from Jon Douglas
as the half drew to a close.
Chances were few and far between after
the break, the better of the falling to the visitors
though substitute Kevin Rapley had one effort saved.
City made a host of changes midway through the second
half bringing on no less than seven players to give
the entire squad a run-out.
So, both City and this particular
Rovers squad failed to score for the first-time in the
summer, on a night when honours were shared.
Chester’s long-awaited return
to Football League action is just days away now and manager
Mark Wright has the makings of a squad that can, on their
day, compete with the best in the division. An unbeaten
run in pre-season will have given everyone confidence
though City will have to take the field at Notts County
without defender Kevin McIntyre who is suspended and striker
Darryn Stamp who is recovering from a heel injury. There
will also be doubts over Sean Hessey who went off injured
against Blackburn with suspected concussion.
29 July 2004
Quay Nomads 0 Chester City 2
420 Half Time 0-1
Connah’s Quay Nomads: Simpson, Rain, Holmes
(Elias 86), Spray (Gunther 55), Horan, Jellicoe, Mazzarella,
Mutton, Williams, Cooke (Guy 86), Owen.
Chester City: Brown, Vaughan (Hope 75), McIntyre,
Warhurst (Hessey 65), Bolland, Collins (Edmondson 75),
Harris, Davies (Carden 75), Rapley, Clare (Belle 65),
Ellison (Roberts 65). Sub not used: Brookfield.
give a trial to experienced defender Paul Warhurst at
Deeside Stadium while the Blues also welcomed back Daryl
Clare to the forward line.
Blues were to dominate much of the match and almost
opened the scoring on eight minutes when a neat lay-off
by Kevin Rapley let in Kevin Ellison but he saw his
shot saved by the legs of Simpson in the Quay goal.
Five minutes later a far post Ellison
cross was knocked down by Clare but the home defence
cleared just before Rapley could add a finishing touch.
Ellison was once again looking lively
and he almost nipped in to open the scoring after being
fed by Clare but the winger saw his effort go narrowly
The Blues took the lead on 33 minutes through Danny
Collins who saw his initial shot from a Kevin McIntyre
cross blocked before converting at the second attempt.
City continued to look dangerous down
the left with Ellison and McIntyre linking up well,
while in midfield Ben Davies and Andy Harris looked
solid. Quay defender rain had to be on his toes to clear
a great Stephen Vaughan cross as predator Clare looked
City doubled their lead ten minutes
into the second half with a great effort from Ben Davies
curling in another 25-yarder, he almost added a third
with a similar effort minutes later.
As the home side tired towards the
end of the game City created numerous chances. Stuart
Roberts shot wide after good work by substitute Cortez
Belle. Belle also did well to get to a cross from Roberts
but his header went wide. As on Tuesday night, City’s
best chance fell to Belle on 80 minutes when a deflected
McIntyre cross dropped over the keepers head but he
was unable to produce a final touch from a couple of
In the last minute a terrific
through ball from Hessey sent McIntyre away but Belle
failed to make good contact at the near post from the
27 July 2004
1 Chester City 1
250 Half Time 1-1
Chester City: MacKenzie,
Hope, Cooke (D.Jones 83), Edmondson (Hunter 83), J.Belfortti
[trialist] (Lathom 54), Hessey, Roberts [trialist] (Rutherford
83), Carden, Lucas [trialist] (Belle 54), Booth (Walsh
75), Thil [trialist]. Sub not used: Brookfield.
Referee: S.Brand (Wirral).
fielded three overseas trialists in this latest friendly
match at Gayton Park.
Argentinean Joseph Belfortti played in the centre of the
defence, Australian Jay Lucas (ex-Southampton and Australian
side Wollongong Wanderers) played up front as did Frenchman
Gregory Thil (Beauvais FC).
It was Thil who scored City’s goal on 37 minutes,
equalising an earlier effort by Kieran Fleetwood for the
home side on the quarter hour, to send the teams in at
the interval level. Chester had the better of the chances
after the break and Thil, Booth and Stuart Roberts all
saw efforts cleared of the line.
Paul Roberts in the Heswall goal prevented City securing
a comfortable victory with a series of outstanding saves
particularly one from Thil early in the second half when
he saved a volley from point-blank range. Cortez Belle
missed the best chance in the dying minutes blasting over
the bar after his initial good shot was saved.
Thil, who saw a shot hit the post in the first half, along
with Stuart Roberts and Robert Booth all impressed in
this latest run-out for the Blues. Next up are Connah’s
Quay Nomads at Deeside Stadium on Thursday night, kick-off
24 July 2004
City 2 Queen of the South 2
1,1016 Half Time 1-0
Chester City: Brown,
Edmondson (Vaughan 70), McIntyre, Bolland, Hessey (Belle
70), Weller [trialist] (Davies 19), Collins, Roberts,
Harris (Carden 70), Rapley (Sheron [trialist] 70), Branch.
Subs not used: MacKenzie, Hope.
Queen of the South: C.Scott, Chris Scott, English,
McColligan, Reid, Thompson, Bagan (Wood 46), Bowey, McNiven,
Payne (Burns 46), McLaughlin (Gibson 64). Subs not used:
Beattie, Sampson, Pearson, McGinlay.
Referee: M.Jones (Chester).
dominating long periods City had to be content with a
share of the spoils against Queen of the South as the
visitors fought back well in the second half. Paul Weller
and Stuart Roberts were again give a run-out, with Stewart
Drummond and Daryl Clare notable absentees from the side
that played on Thursday night. It was just before the
quarter hour mark that City took the lead though a Michael
Branch header after a mix-up in the Queens defence. Branch
has had an impressive pre-season so far having netted
four goals in three games now.
comfortably held the lead until half-time, squandering
several half-chances along the way. The Blues faithful,
for once sporting new-look replica shirts in time for
the season start, didn't have to wait long for the second
goal which came from a Ben Davies long-range effort on
49 minutes, Davies having replaced Weller midway through
the first period.
City eased off and were made to pay just after the hour
mark when Queens substitute Wood headed home from close
range. Manager Mark Wright range the changes with Stephen
Vaughan, Cortez Belle, Paul Carden and Mike Sheron replacing
Darren Edmondson, Sean Hessey, Andy Harris and Kevin Rapley.
However the Blues were caught out again two minutes after
the personnel change as another substitute Burne slotted
the ball past Brown from the edge of the box to tie the
score up at 2-2.
22 July 2004
Bay 0 Chester City 1
390 Half Time 0-0
Colwyn Bay: Parry,
P.Roberts, C.Roberts, Coverley, Morris, Garside, Orlik,
Rodgers, McIlvogue, Fisher-Cook, Maloney. Subs: Dews,
Davies, Chesters, Hoyle, Redmond, Nottage.
Chester City: MacKenzie, Vaughan, McIntyre (Lathom
81), Belle, Hessey, Hope, Drummond (Booth 81), Carden
(Walsh 81), Sheron [trialist], Clare (McCoy 81), Davies.
Subs not used: Brown, Edmondson, D.Jones, Lynch, Rutherford.
goal on 56 minutes from Daryl Clare gave City their third
a strong side and welcomed both Daryl Clare and Paul
Carden from injury and it took Clare just seven minutes
to get into the thick of the action, hitting a post
with a header from a Mike Sheron cross. Just before
the half-hour mark midfielder Stewart Drummond saw a
shot well parried by Parry in the Bay goal, the loose
ball fell to Ben Davies who put his shot over the bar.
Two minutes later City hit the woodwork
again. Davies put through Sheron whose shot was pushed
onto the post by Parry.
The home side were fielding two ex-Chester
players in Paul Roberts and Carl Rodgers, and the nearest
they came to taking the lead in the first-half came
on 36 minutes when a Maloney shot was deflected over
the crossbar by Richard Hope.
Five minutes before the break Clare
shot wide after the ball had broken clear following
Hope's good run from defence.
City made no substitutions at half-time
and almost fell behind as McIlvogue headed wide after
outjumping Belle. A minute later though City took the
lead after a short spell of pressure. Sheron had seen
a shot deflected round the post and from the resulting
corner Clare headed home McIntyre's cross.
Minutes later Stephen Vaughan had
a chance to double the lead but saw his shot saved by
the keeper's legs after he had been put through on goal
by Drummond. Carden sent Sheron through with a superb
defence-splitting pass, but the striker currently on
trial at the Deva shot straight at Parry.
Manager Mark Wright made four substitutions
as the game entered the final ten minutes but City held
on firm to register their third pre-season victory and
a third clean sheet with it.
20 July 2004
City 2 Cardiff City 0
1,080 Half Time 1-0
Chester City (First
half): Brown, Handyside
[trialist], Vaughan, Hessey, Collins, Weller [trialist],
McIntyre, Ellison [trialist], Harris, Rapley, Sheron.
Chester City (Second
Edmondson, Belle (Collins 84), Bolland, Hope, McIntyre,
Davies, Drummond, Roberts [trialist], Stamp (Hessey 63),
Cardiff City: Margetson (Warner 45), Weston (Anthony
77), Croft, Boland (Page 45), Collins (Kavanagh 45), Gabbidon,
Robinson (Bolland 67), Bullock, Lee (Campbell 45), Earnshaw
(Thorne 45), Parry (Baker 15).
Referee: E.Evans (Manchester).
encouraging win for City as a Mike Sheron strike on the
stroke of half-time and a third pre-season goal from Michael
Branch bring City a deserved victory over higher league
City manager Mark
Wright included in the starting line-up trialist Paul
Weller form Burnley who joined Peter Handyside, Kevin
Ellison and Stuart Roberts all out to impress and try
and earn a contract for next season. The visitors, Cardiff
City, brought a strong squad to the Deva for what was
their first pre-season run-out.
City started brightly and it was Kevin
McIntyre, who, as on Saturday looked lively down the
wing creating trouble for the visitors. Kevin Rapley
also forced a great save from Margetson who pushed his
shot round the post after City had wrestled the ball
from the Bluebirds defence. The closest the visitor
cam t opening the scoring was from a long range Earnshaw
lob that cleared the City crossbar.
the other end Kevin Ellison threaded a dangerous cross
into the box, after good work on the left, but no City
striker could take advantage.
Chester took the lead on the stroke
of half-time with Sheron curling home a delightful 25-yarder
after good build-up play by Kevin’s Ellison and
Rapley. As on Saturday, a whole host of substitutions
were made with ten new players being introduced by Wright
for the second period. Only Kevin McIntyre went on to
play the full 90 minutes though injuries later in the
game to both Cortez Belle and Darryn Stamp meant a return
for Danny Collins and Sean Hessey.
Kavanagh saw a shot hit the bar for
Cardiff before The Blues doubled their lead on 69 minutes
when Branch saw his close range shot deflected home
following a Ben Davies cross following a short corner.
One black spot was the booking of Darren Edmondson for
a hefty second-half challenge.
Next up for City is a trip to Colwyn
Bay on Thursday night (kick-off 19:30), followed by the
visit of Queen of the South to Deva Stadium on Saturday,
17 July 2004
City 3 Walsall 0
1,335 Half Time 3-0
Chester City (First
half): Brown, Vaughan,
McIntyre, Bolland, Collins, Drummond, Branch, Ellison
[trialist], Harris, Belle, Stamp.
Chester City (Second
Edmondson, McIntyre, Handyside [trialist], Belle, Hope,
Roberts [trialist], Davies, Harris, Sheron [trialist],
Walsall: Paston (McKinney), Bazeley (Willetts),
Aranalde (Dann), Emblem (Bennett), Roper (Dakinah), Osborn
(Jameson), Wrack (Atieno), Standing (Corica), Leitao (Fryatt),
Merson (K.Taylor), Birch (D.Taylor).
half goals from new signings Michael Branch and trialist
Kevin Ellison gave Chester a comfortable victory in City’s
opening friendly against Paul Merson’s visiting
In what was
a showcase match for most of City’s new signings,
Chester prised open a suspect Walsall defence in what
was predictably a game scattered with substitutions
and half time team swaps.
goal as early as the third minute Chester provided just
the start we needed when Ellison met a Darryn Stamp
centre from the right leaving the visitor’s goalkeeper
flatfooted. In a game played at pre season pace, Collins,
Bolland carried on where they had left off last season
with a well organised and comfortable display allowing
Cortez Belle to fit in nicely where Guyett had left.
Indeed Chester was indebted twice to Belle with two
timely headers on the few occasions Walsall advanced.
In midfield Stuart Drummond looked
as if he had been part of the team for some time with
economical running and some timely tackles. Often unassuming
it is likely he will play a key part in City’s
success over the next season.
But it was Branch who proved to be their un-doing with
two strikes in the last fifteen minutes of the half.
Moving from the left to the right side of the field
he nearly opening his account with a near post strike
that their goalkeeper did well to parry just wide. Two
minutes later though he got his just desserts directing
a header firmly wide of the goalkeeper from again from
a well placed McIntyre centre from the right. And just
as we were settling for a 2-0 half time score, he scored
his second with the best goal of the game connecting
sweetly with the ball as it came over his head from
a midfield punt as he raced clear.
Although the margin may have flattered
City, there was no doubt Chester were by far the sharper
side. While Merson made some clever runs with a few
nice turns of pace, he was not able to create proper
openings nor did the rest of his team really threaten.
Credit too to Wayne Brown returning after what seemed
like an eternity away from first team action gave a
confident display of handling on the rare occasions
he needed to.
The second half was more subdued.
Kevin Rapley and Mike Sheron both appeared alongside
Richard Hope, Darron Edmonson and Ben Davies making
way for Stephen Vaughan Stuart Drummond and Michael
Branch. Two trialists were also introduced, Peter Handyside
and Stuart Roberts. Although Chester coasted some of
the early shape was lost allowing Walsall to come into
the game. And while Chris MacKenzie, in goal had more
to do for Chester than Brown in the first half there
were few real moments of panic.
Chester’s Andy Harris was also
busy and deserves mention for his sensible distribution
playing with greater confidence as the game went on.
As the final minutes ticked away there
was almost a fourth goal to celebrate when Ben Davies
thumped an unstoppable stop against the crossbar. But
it stayed at three nil and the fans many enjoying their
first outing since the Scarborough game will have gone
There was much for the crowd of 1,335
to take from of this game. Branch in particularly looked
sharp, Ellison’s pugnacious display can only have
helped to secure a permanent contract, and Cortez Belle
looked strong and promising. We are likely to see more
of him and a nineteen offers great promise.
Followers of Bradford City’s
fortunes will be interested to know that their former
goalkeeper Mark Paston and New Zealand international,
off loaded like Michael Branch during summer played
his first game for the Saddlers and although blameless
for the goals will be keen to forget his part in this
As for the rest of the Walsall team,
they will need to sharpen up, though Corica hit the
crossbar for Walsall in the second half which was their
best chance. Their own website describes their performance
as “disappointing” and might explain why
during the first half a small number of fans ended up
fighting amongst themselves providing the only significant
challenge for the stewards.
On a final note of nostalgia, for
those that remember it was nice to see Jim Walker, Chester’s
former defender back at the club joining up with Paul
Merson as Walsall’s physiotherapist joining after
a long spell at Villa Park.