Tuesday 2 August
Airbus UK 0 Chester City
Attendance: 620 Half Time 0-0
Chester City: C.Davies,
D.Jones (Cadwallader 62), El Kholti, Artell, Hessey,
Scales (Morgan 72), Rutherford, Carroll (Humphries 62), Marsh-Evans,
Holroyd, Curle. Subs not used: Brookfield, Hope.
With the new season only
four days away it was inevitable that City
would field a team predominantly made up of
youngsters for the final friendly at
The only potential first teamers on display were Sean Hessey and Abdou
El Kholti, who are both suspended for the Peterborough
game, and Dave Artell,
who is still
fighting to regain his fitness. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the sight
of Richard Hope on the substitute’s bench.
Amongst the youngsters were
Paul Rutherford and James Scales, who both played
at TNS, as well as Tom Curle who has figured prominently in the pre-season
friendlies. Also included were centre-forward Robert Marsh-Evans, a triallist
from the Welsh League, 16 year old Neil Carroll from Liverpool and Chris
Holroyd, an 18 year old who has just completed two years with Crewe. There
was some speculation that Matt Duke from Hull City might play in goal but
Clint Davies was once again given a chance after playing the second half
at Blackpool. The remaining players, like Rutherford and Scales, had all
represented the youth team last season.
It would have been nice to report that the first half was packed with incident
and goalmouth action but there was very little to stir the crowd. In fact
the only noteworthy moments were a long range shot from Scales, deflected
for a corner, and a couple of good runs from Rutherford which petered out
The second half provided marginally more excitement
as Chester seemed to step up a gear and within two minutes Curle sent in
a dipping long-range
shot which was tipped away by the keeper. City took the lead on 58 minutes
when Rutherford was put through by Marsh-Evans and eventually rounded the
keeper to score – a deserved goal for a player who frequently took
the eye. With four minutes remaining Chester added a second goal when the
gangly Marsh-Evans, who had become more involved as the game progressed,
delivered a superbly weighted pass for substitute Matty Humphries to fire
into an empty net.
Although it proved a useful workout for the youngsters
against a full strength Airbus side there was nothing on display for City
fans expecting pointers
for the season’s opener at Peterborough.
Report and pictures: Chas Sumner.
Blackpool 6 Chester City
Attendance: 1,632 Half Time 2-0
Booked: - Sent-off: El Kholti
Blackpool: Jones (Edge 83), McGregor, Coid (Butler 51), Southern
(Grayson 78), Edwards, Clarke (Doughty 83), Parker (Wiles 72), Doolan (Blinkhorn
Vernon (Shaw 83), Prendergast (Burns 80).
Chester City: McKenzie (C.Davies 45), McNiven, Regan (El Kholti
45), Dimech (Artell 45), Bolland, B.Davies (Vaughan 68), Drummond, Curtis
(Hessey 68), Lowe (Walker 50), Branch (Curle 68), Blundell
from a convincing victory at TNS on Tuesday,
City took to the road again for a much sterner
test with a visit to League One side
originally scheduled for Deva
at the request of Blackpool who were without
a planned home pre-season match.
many grounds we used to visit on a regular
basis in the past, Bloomfield Road is unrecognisable
from the ground
City last played in nearly 10 years ago. A new stadium is springing up on
the site with two new stands built and another
construction. The old home end is now flattened
allowing a distant view of ‘The Big One’ from
the away seats where the kop used to be.
The match started ten minutes
late, the game being all-ticket, supporters first
had to queue
up at the ticket office to buy a ‘personalised’ ticket before entering the ground.
City were first on the ball
and it was newly-appointed assistant captain
Scott McNiven who had the first
shot of the game on
five minutes from the edge of the box. Despite
this early showing it was the home side that
got into their stride and Carl Regan had to be
alert to prevent Vernon getting in a header on
target as Blackpool pressed.
Chris MacKenzie in the City
goal was next to block an effort, this time turning
round Parker’s shot for a corner, but the resulting
flag-kick brought with it the opening goal as
former City striker John Murphy headed home with
central defence was being caught out
though and ‘keeper Chris MacKenzie
was called on to make a superb
to deny Murphy his second.
The home side doubled their lead
on 32 minutes with Parker this time making
no mistake with a low shot past MacKenzie in
to the bottom corner.
City forced to great
chances before the break, first Ryan Lowe beat
the offside trap but saw his curling shot go
just wide of the far post, then Just before
the break Michael Branch
saw a shot hit the inside of the post and
City made several substitutions at
the break and one of them, Abdou El
Kholti, lasted just
two minutes before
being sent-off for a professional foul
after pulling down Parker. The decision
was harsh, rarely is a red card seen
for a foul such as this. but a red card it
was and City were down to ten men.
Jones in the home goal made
a great save to deny Branch before the Tangerines
told and they increased their lead on 63 minutes.
Murphy had the simplest of chances to net
from close range past trialist goalkeeper Clint
on at the break.
With nine minutes remaining Davies
saved a penalty from Vernon after
fussy referee Jones penalised the Blues defence
for a foul. The save brought a short respite
before Pool hit a flurry of goals in the closing
On 84 minutes Burns
headed home at the far post, two minutes later
Wiles made it five with a curling effort that
gave davies no chance and in injury time the
rout was complete as Blinkhorn added the sixth.
Pictures by Chas Sumner.
Everton 1 Chester
Youth Team Friendly
All credit to Everton who put out a strong team, which contained at least three
The first half was a dire affair with neither team taking the initiative, until
the 43rd minute when the home side were awarded a corner kick on the right hand
side. This culminated in a scramble in the six yard box where the ball was toe-poked
into the net.
Chester responded immediately, with Paul Rutherford picking the ball up some
ten yards inside the Everton half, where he went on a powerful run culminating
in a finely struck shot that produced a good save out of the Everton keeper.
In the second half Everton sat on their slender one goal advantage and allowed
Chester to have much of the play. Chester grew in confidence and in the 63rd
minute James Scales had a fierce shot turned round the post by Lake in the Everton
Another two golden opportunities fell to Michael Deacon in the 70th and 76th
minute, who should have certainly converted his first. With the Everton keeper
miss-kicking his clearance the ball fell to Deacs who had time to bring the ball
down and slot it home from 12 yards out, instead he went for a spectacular finish
and struck the ball first time high over the crossbar.
All in all, a good performance by the lads who showed no signs of being phased
by their Premiership counterparts.
TNS Llansantffraid 1 Chester
Attendance: 307 Half Time 0-1
TNS Llansantffraid: Doherty, Baker (Leah
61), Holmes, Jackson, Evans, Toner, Ruscoe, Lloyd-Williams,
Rooney (Wilde 62), Beck, Lawless.
Chester City: Neal (Harrison 56), McNiven
(Vaughan 63), Regan, Dimech, Hessey, Drummond (Curtis
56), Davies (Rutherford 56), Walker (Scales 75),
Blundell, Lowe (Curl 63), El Kholti (Jephcott 56).
Sub not used: Bolland.
goals from Ryan Lowe helped City to a comfortable win at TNS. The Blues
took the lead on ten minutes with Lowe’s
shot taking a slight deflection.
increased their advantage on 52 minutes through
who side-footed home after
superb build-up play following a cross from El Kholti, a back heel from Gregg
Blundell and a
from Stewart Drummond. Three minutes later Lowe was on the scoresheet again
with an excellent effort from long range.
The home side pulled
back a late consolation goal through Wilde
from time, but it was another good work-out for
City who step up a level with a trip to League
One side Blackpool
Pictures by Chas Sumner
Droylsden 1 Chester
Attendance: 298 Half Time 0-2
Droylsden: Worsnop, Williams, Warner, Sturdy, Robinson, Brodie, Morris,
Murphy, Cameron, Morris, Talbot. Subs: Burke, Halford, Banim,
Fitzpatrick, Howarth, Hall, Phillips.
Chester City: MacKenzie (Neal 55), McNiven (Regan 60),
Hessey, Dimech, Bolland (Curle 46), Vaughan (Drummond 59), Davies, Curtis
Blundell (Lowe 60),
Sub not used:
friendlies often produce conflicting
feelings. On the
one hand, there is optimism and impatience
for the season ahead. On the other a sense
of indecent haste, feeling I should be observing
the traditions of summer watching cricket
or playing tennis. But as I set off
on a warm afternoon, I was happy to set aside
convention for ninety minutes and make my
own assessment of the new players and
in over the summer.
And so it was, while England struggled to reclaim
the Ashes, Chester made light work of their task
with a comfortably 4-1 win against a Droylsden
side with more than a few familiar faces.
Chester began the game
with purpose quickly taking control of
the midfield. Freedom, not
usually available at this level, allowed early
chances for both Vaughan and Branch. So it was
no surprise that on twelve minutes, Richardson
got ahead of his marker to tap in a simple chance
after Davies and Blundell had linked well on
the left side of the box.
Droylsden to their credit
fought back strongly making the most of some
static defending. In
separate incidences Dimech and Bolland were forced
to make timely tackles and on twenty-five minutes,
only the linesman’s flag denied Droylsden
an equaliser following a well-placed header.
But real opportunities for
the home side were few and any efforts by the
home side tended
to be long range which Mackenzie dealt with
confidently. Marshalled by Dimech, and some
neat distribution by Hessey, City rode the
worse of the fight back and it was no surprise
when Davies on forty minutes took advantage
of space after good work by El Kholti to blast
an unstoppable shot past ex-City keeper Worsnop,
from just inside the box.
The only sour incident
was just before the break, when a clumsy challenge
by Cameron on Bolland
bloodied his nose, and led to a few choice
words. It was probably wise that the former City
did not return for the second period replaced
by another, Kevin Rapley.
One interesting discovery
was a change in the rule on throws-ins. “A new rule that’s
came in, in the summer”, said the referee
as he penalised the Droylsden defender: “no
player to be within two metres of the person
taking the throw in. You may not have heard it
before but you’ve heard it now”.
The Droylsden player clearly hadn’t and
shook his head in disbelief. I must admit I hadn’t
Half-time score. Droylsden
0, Chester 2.
The second half saw multiple substitutions.
Drummond, Walker, Regan, Lowe, Curle, Walker
and Neal all coming on at various points, the
later replacing MacKenzie who did himself credit
with a solid performance.
Chester started brightly
with McNiven coming close on fifty-three minutes
with a lob that
wasn’t far away. So it was surprise when
on fifty-six minutes Droylsden pulled a goal
back. A big gap in City’s defence allowed
space on the right for Rapley to latch on to
a pass inside the box which he buried with some
ease. Given the torrid time he’s had over
the past couple of seasons, no-body could deny
him this brief moment of revenge.
The two-goal lead though was restored when Richardson
took advantage of a slip and casually flicked
the ball under the body of a static goalkeeping
celebrating with deliberate understatement.
As the game continued so the pace of the game
slowed. Regan got into some nice positions and
Davies work rate remained high brining in Drummond
to remind us of the important part he will play
next season. On the other side of the pitch,
Curle and Curtis became more involved stretching
a tiring Droylsden midfield who to give them
credit fought well throughout the afternoon.
With ten minutes to go, Richardson
completed his hat-trick after some nimble football,
around two defenders after Davies, El Kholti
and Walker had all linked well outside the box.
Lowe might have added a late fifth and Droylsden
themselves may have made it 4-2 after Neal did
redeemed himself after an earlier a fumble.
But it was a decent workout,
on a pitch that was not always kind. Curle
commented: “It was all about attitude and
application of the players after being away for
four or days and it was spot on”.
“It’s always pleasing when a centre-forward
scores goals. Marcus is learning. There are things
in his game I like. There are certain things
in his game at the minute I don’t like
and it’s the same with all the players”
For me I liked the look of Dimech although I
thought he looked more like a defensive midfielder
than a centre half and needs greater match fitness.
But out of the new faces that caught the eye
was El Kholti. Although slight in stature, he
looked comfortably on the ball, has a nice touch
and an awareness of the game that Branch and
Blundell could well exploit.
So on in all a good afternoon’s
football at what appears to be a well-run and
With just two weeks to
go, Curle must have seen enough of his squad
to know what they can do.
Cricket season or not, I just can’t wait
for the Peterborough game.
report and pictures:
St Blazey 2 Chester
Attendance: - Half Time 0-2
St Blazey: Annear, Bance, Waters, Street, Burton,
Duff, Gosling, Harrington, Hooper, Vercesi, Bland. Subs: Densham, Whetters,
Reed, Ovens, Hodge,
Chester City: Neal, McNiven, Hessey, Bolland
(Dimech), El Kholti, Davies (S.Bruce-Lowe), Vaughan
(Gannon), Walker, Curle, Lowe (Bell), Blundell.
Subs: MacKenzie, Sherman.
Chester started the game
with El Kholti at left full back and Stephen
Vaughan in centre
of midfield, they seemed to be playing 4-4-2
system. Defender Dave Artell has an injured
knee and Avun Jepcott has injured
his foot in last nights game against Tavistock
City started brightly and in the first minute
should have scored when a Gregg Blundell header
put Ben Davies through on goal chipped the
to see the ball clear the crossbar. A minute
later Davies again caused the
trouble and they hacked him down just inside
the box Lowe converted the penalty.
In the third minute
Blundell down the left hand side crossed to
blazed over when it seemed
easier to score, a good run by Lowe in the
13th minute his cross find Tom Curle who blasted
shot well wide.
Ryan Lowe and Davies
started brightly and causing Blazey all sorts
in the 16th minute Lowe again fetched a good
with his legs from Annear, then
the Blues doubled their lead following
a good run down the right by McNiven who
slipped it to Lowe who this time made no
make it 2.0.
Two minutes later Blundell
ran through the Blazey defence and as the
keeper came out slipped it past him but it
wrong side of the post. The keeper was
on hand to make another good save from Annear
this time from Davies. In the 21st minute a
clear penalty was turned down by Cornish referee
was brought down right in front of him.
then eased of and allowed Blazey to knock
the ball round in midfield without creating
a Scott McNiven run down the right
on the half hour ended when he shot just wide.
interval Harrington shot over for Blazey
in there first attempt at goal, half time
There were substitutes at the interval for
Chester with John Gannon assistant manager
for Steve Vaughan and Luke Dimech on for
Five minutes after the
restart a miss-hit back pass by Burton was
seized on by Blundell
his first goal of we hope of many
for the club to make it 3-0.
Just before thr hour
work down the left hand side by El Kholti whose
was retrieved by Lowe whose cross
into the box was turned away by Annear
Blundell was waiting to pounce.
The next minute saw
over following good work by Lowe
and Tom Curle. On 62 minutes El
up Lowe only to see him fire
wide, before another good run
by El Kholti
of the area set up
Blundell only to see Annear punch away his
The 69th minute
saw a neat Lowe back flick
set up walker to fire home number four, Blazey
chance when in the 70th minute
fired straight at Blues keeper
Lowe and Davies off on 72
minutes and replaced them with David Bell and
78th minute Densham who was
unmarked in the
middle of the area score
to make it 4-1, and two minutes later Hooper
blazeys second from a corner.
Much to the delight of
the watching Chester players,
Steve Lee swiveled and
ball into the bottom of the
net 5-2 after 83 minutes and that’s
the Chester tour of the
south west ended two decent
work outs and all playerers
a good run out
Match report Will Roberts
After the game Keith Curle
told me he thought it was
a good work out approached
right manner, the
first 35 minutes
was superb moved the ball
round well in difficult conditions
grass a little
long, but that’s
all we wanted to get out
the game, improve fitness
levels and work on
Tavistock AFC 0 Chester
Attendance: 150 Half Time 0-5
Tavistock AFC: Meads, Cann, Irland, Hallett, Arscott,
Pugh, Steer, Westlake, Morris, Stringer, Condy.
Chester City: MacKenzie, Vaughan, Bolland, Regan,
Dimech, Drummond, Curtis, Branch, Richardson, Curle, Jephcott (Davies 46).
Chester started slowly and could have been two down with the defence getting
caught with ball over the top, then they slowly got in to gear with Curtis
and Drummond starting to get going.
Drummond missed chance
on five minutes knocking wide from good position,
then Jepcott scored after six minutes following
good work from Richardson
There were chances for
Richardson on 12, 13, 15, through Tavy still
problems over Dimech. Michael Branch had chance
on 25 minutes but fired wide, on 35 Curtis
2-0 after being set up by Richardson, the Tavy keeper got hand to the
ball but it slowly rolled in.
Drummond on 38
in home goal after being set up by Curtis.
Curtis maked it 3-0 following corner and a
one two with Branch,
while great run by Drummond from the halfway line made it 4 on 41 minutes.
On the stroke of talf-time Carl Regan
scores a good goal following good work between him and Drummond, 5-0
Chester started the second
half with Davies replacing
Jepcott who took a knock just
before the break. Five minutes after the break it got to much
for the lino who had to retire witha thigh
both come close and Branch hit the bar
Five minutes later Richardson
heads powerfully home from Tom Curles cross,
and on 63 minutes Richardson again scored
following a burst of
speed down the middle and shot powerfully
into the roof of net 7-0.
Tavy make couple of changes
but it made no difference as Chester continue
to move forward
with good ball movement along the
ground a sight unseen last season.
On 71 minutes a
30 yard grass-cutter from Curtis completes
his well deserved hat-trick, 72min Richardson cross for Davies
number nine, followed by more Tavy
subs and the game petered out.
1. MacKenzie — nothing
2. Vaughan — got caught out a few times
3. Regan — played well
4. Dimech — got caught with balls over his
head, not to sparkling
5. Bolland — solid
6. Drummond — good game
7. Curtis — my man of match good engine,
8. Curle — nothing special
9. Jephcott — ok
10. Branch — very lively
11. Richardson — started slowly improved
as game went on
report Will Roberts
Burton Albion 0 Chester
Attendance: 1,341 Half Time 0-0
Burton Albion: Crane, A.Hall, Corbett, Holland, Tinson, Clarke,
Stride, Street, Shaw, Graves, Harrad. Subs: Hen-shaw, Ducros, Austin,
Dudley, Anderson, C.Hall.
Chester City: MacKenzie, McNiven (Dimech 67), El Kholti (Hessey
45), Regan (Vaughan 45), Artell (Bolland 45), Davies (Curtis 45), Drummond
45), Walker (Drummond 67), Blundell (Richardson 45), Lowe (Branch 45),
Smyth (Jephcott 45).
third pre-season match took them to the smart
new surroundings of Burton Albion’s
Pirelli Stadium. Located just a stone’s
throw away from Eton Park, the £6.4m
stadium is an expanse of brick cladding.
chrome and glass, and although unfinished
up with the best of the grounds in the
squad were put through their paces on the newly-laid
pitch in the Burton sunshine prior to kick-off
with Keith Curle, David Bell, John
all casting an eye over the mixture of full-time
The Blues gave a debut
to Gregg Blundell following his record signing
last week and gave a first run-out of the summer
to Chris MacKenzie. There was a second
appearance of former
Avun Jephcott while ex-Liverpool player Mark
Smyth also had a run-out. The Brewers gave
a debut to Shaun Harrad, signing
City had the earlier
efforts on goal though there was no doubt
that MacKenzie was the busier of the two keepers
in the first period. Clarke’s
bullet of a header from a left-wing corner,
was pushed over the bar by MacKenzie from under
the bar, he saved smartly on the ground following
a right-wing cross-shot, and on at least two
occasions had to rush out
feet of oncoming
The Blues had efforts
too with Ryan Lowe heading over the bar and
Blundell shooting wide from a narrow angle
after picking up a superb through ball. The
chance fell to Stewart Drummond though who
side-footed a shot high over the bar from close
range as he found himself in the clear at the
Branch, on for Lowe
at the interval, saw an effort
saved just after the interval before City
took the lead on 49 minutes.
right and cut-in to the byline. His near
post cross was only palmed away by Crane in
home goal to substitute Jephcott who couldn’t
miss from six yards in front of the band
of away fans.
Both side created further openings,
mostly from set-pieces, but City held out utilising
their entire squad with the exception of goalkeeper
Harrison to win a good competitive match.
Blues now embark on a short tour of Cornwall
and Devon that will include a match at Tavistock
AFC on Tuesday (19:00hrs) and St. Blazey on Wednesday
Rainworth Miners’ Welfare
0 Chester City 3
Attendance: 850 Half Time 0-2
City: (first half)
Neal, Regan, Hessey, Artell,
Bolland, Drummond, Walker,
Branch, Lowe, Curle, Hamilton.
Chester City: (second
half) Harrison, Vaughan, McNiven, Dimech (Booth
70), El Kholti, Davies, Curtis (Owens 70), Smyth,
Maxwell, Richardson, Nester.
a warm Nottinghamshire evening Chester strolled
to a straightforward 3-0 victory against the village
side from Rainworth. In a true game of two halves
City played separate teams for each of the 45
minutes with the first half line-up looking more
cohesive and creating most of the chances.
The first half line-up featured
triallists Chris Neal (Preston), Davion Hamilton
(Birmingham City) and Tom Curle who is currently
training with the club. Neal had little to do
but made one magnificent save five minutes before
the break when a Welfare player was given a free
header from a corner.
Hamilton, the young winger,
looked useful and created a couple of good openings
while Curle squandered a couple of excellent chances
including one which sent Ryan Lowe apoplectic
as the manager’s son rounded the keeper
and went for goal rather than square the ball
to the unmarked former Shrewsbury striker. In
fact it was Lowe who looked the liveliest City
player and he had a couple of 20 yard efforts
turned over the bar by the busy Welfare keeper.
Justin Walker caught the eye early on mainly because
of his remarkable resemblance to Ben Davies while
Dave Artell appeared to be twice the size of the
covered accommodation at the Welfare Ground.
Chester’s opening goal
came about as a result of clever work on the
by Lowe and his well-judged cross was firmly
headed home by the unmarked Stewart Drummond
edge of the six yard box in the 21st minute.
City added a second goal 15 minutes later when
Curle’s header was handled on the line
after good work from Michael Branch. It was
took the resulting penalty which he placed into
the bottom left hand corner of the net.
In the second half Chester introduced
triallists Paul Harrison and Mark Smyth (Liverpool),
Nester (a striker) and Leyton Maxwell (currently
unattached). Midway through the half they were
joined by Lee Owens (Wigan) and Paul Booth a defender
from Oldham Athletic. Marcus Richardson (a bigger
version of Uriah Rennie) quickly took the eye
and showed some good touches and a useful ability
to hold the ball-up – something that was
lacking last season. Although he wasted one good
chance he scored City’s third goal in the
80th minute with a terrific finish from the edge
of the area. Ben Davies was always at the heart
of the action and he seemed to relish the opportunity
to emerge from the shadow of Paul Carden, Alongside
him, Tom Curtis looked busy in the centre of midfield
while Maxwell linked up on the left. Abdou El
Kholti (surely destined to be nicknamed El Coyote)
looks to be a clever player while it was difficult
to judge the defenders who were rarely troubled
throughout the game.
All in all it was a useful workout
at a friendly club who provided competitive opposition.
The officials at Rainworth were delighted with
the attendance which comprised a fair number of
Mansfield fans. Before the game Keith Curle was
approached by a number of Stags fans who clearly
had great respect for their former manager. The
game itself was played in good spirit although
if it had been a league fixture there would have
been a red card to a Rainworth player for handling
on the line and probable yellows for Sean Hessey
for a couple of crunching tackles and Steve Vaughan
for squaring up to a Welfare defender.
Oh and it was only £1.40
for pie, peas and mint sauce.
Match report and pictures:
|Abdelhalim El Kholtie,
Marcus Richardson, Ben
City 1 Stoke City 1
Attendance: 0 Half Time 0-0
City: (first half):
Harrison, Vaughan, El Kholti, Dimech,
Maxwell, Davies, Walker, Branch, Richardson,
Curle used the first of his pre-season
to cast an eye over several trialists
as well as his signed-up players and
it was one of those trialists, Avun
Jephcott, who slotted home City’s
second half equaliser.
City: (second half):
Neal, McNiven, Bolland, Hessey, Regan,
Curle, Curtis, Smyth, Lowe, Jephcott,
Stoke City: Simonsen, Hall, Buxton, Stark,
Duberry, Russell, Brammer, Asaba, Gudjonsson,
Neal, Sidibe. Goal: Sidibe 70.
were shared in an entertaining encounter
against Championship side Stoke City
played in the heat in front of an
had taken the lead on 70 minutes through
their new signing Mamady Sidibe, heading
home past trialist Chris Neal, from
a Lewis Neal corner but the Blues gave
a share of the spoils with Jephcott’s
goal twelve minutes from time.