4 Aug 1998
| July 11
| Caernarfon Town
| Beckett 17, 50, 56,
Richardson 12, 64 - pen, A.Shelton 79, Bennett
| July 14
| Connah's Quay Nomads
| Bennett 61, 88.
| July 17
| Tranmere Rovers
| Beckett 32, 58.
| July 18
| J.Jones, Lancaster.
| July 20
| Cwmbran Town
| Murphy 3, 6, Cross 11,
| July 22
| Bath City
| Bennett 2, 47.
| July 25
| Beckett 67.
| July 28
| Everton Youth
| July 28
| Blackburn Rovers X1
| July 29
| Port Vale
| July 30
| Aug 1
| Total Network Solutions
| Murphy 10, Bennett 16,
| Aug 4
| Leek Town
| A.Shelton 90.
Leek Town 1 Chester
Chester City: Cutler, Moss, Lloyd, Carson, Lancaster (Blackburn 34),
Thompson, A.Shelton, Clench (Kilgannon 45), Jones, Patterson, A.Smith (Doughty
71). Sub, Conkie,
Disappointment for the three hundred
or so spectators as Chester sent their second string
team to Harrison Park. Everyone had assumed City would
be sending the first team and Leek would surely have
charged less than £5 had they known that the
opposition would be so depleted. The tannoy played
a Moody Blues number "Isn't life strange?" before
the kick off. Were they trying to tell us something?
Nevertheless the lads in stripes
gave a very good account of themselves. At least there
was an opportunity to see City new boy Alex Smith back
from injury. He played on the left of midfield and
his influence grew as the game progressed. Thompson
and Lancaster made a solid pairing at the centre of
defence until the latter was given a terrific whack
by Dean Trott's elbow and had to be led from the field
with blood pouring from his nose. Blackburn came on
to replace him.
City's best chance in the first half
came after an impressive show of speed by Shelton on
the right whose cross set up Jones. His close range
shot was blocked by keeper Ingham. Cutler, returning
to his former club also made a solid save from Leek's
best scoring opportunity early in the game.
Ray Newlands played in goal for Leek
in the second half and Neil Ellis once again met his
former team. Danny Carson was having a very steady
influence in midfield as City more than held their
own. Wes Kilgannon came on for the second half and
showed some good footwork on the right wing.
The match seemed to have nil-nil
written all over it but the home side were presented
with the lead when Steve Price converted from the penalty
spot after a decision of mysterious proportions. No one
on the ground seemed to know why the decision had been
given. In reply Patterson hit the foot of the Leek post.
But then, with virtually the last kick of the game, Shelton
took the opportunity to shoot from outside the box and
lashed in a wonderful goal with Ray Newlands rooted to
the spot. It was nothing more than the youngsters deserved.
1 Aug 1998
Total Network Solutions 2 Chester City 3
Chester City: Brown, Davidson, Cross, Richardson, Crosby, Woods, Flitcroft,
Priest, Murphy (Bennett 11), Beckett, Wright. Subs not used: Cutler, Thompson,
A.Shelton, Jones.Minibus driver and general gofer: DC Evans.
© Giles Park
A surreal but highly pleasant opportunity
to watch Chester at Llansantffraid-ym-Mechan or Total Network
Solutions as we are supposed to call them now.Llansantffraid
is a tiny place (Two pubs and one tandoori takeaway) in superb
countryside but the football club is ambitious and will soon
have decent facilities around two sides of the village playing
Chester took to the field in quaint rural
surroundings but with signs of a building project behind
one goal and a new community centre to get changed in. The
work is undoubtedly financed by the quarter of a million
pounds worth of sponsorship Llansantffraid received for changing
Was it true that kick off time was brought
forward to 2.30pm so that the local farmers would be back
home for milking time?
City began briskly from the kick off and
spent most of the first half in the home team's half. Nick
Richardson went past three players on the right and clipped
over an inviting cross for John Murphy (left) to head home.
Unfortunately Big John suffered a bit of concussion in the
process and was taken off for Bennett. Luke Beckett's pull
back then set up Benno to lash the ball into the back of
the net for City's second. Richardson sent in a thunderous
drive just past the angle of crossbar and post which then
slammed into a Vauxhall Vectra in the car park, just missing
the wing mirror and avoiding any damage. We wondered whether
City had been honing their shooting skills by using an Aston
Martin for target practice. Bennett berated Beckett for not
going down in the penalty box when challenged by a TNS defender.
But Beckett did keep up his scoring record with a goal just
before half time.
Second half Chester came out totally unfocussed
as Hoddle would say and TNS soon pulled a goal back. Worse
was to follow when Brown brought down the overlapping full
back and conceded a penalty. Steve O'Shaunessy netted with
ease. Despite a sloppy second half performance City held
on for a face saving win.Richardson was comfortably man of
All mingled afterwards in the club
house which resembled a homely village hall. The walls
were decked with memorabilia and the club boasted a pool
table and table football machine. All of which would be
welcome additions to the facilities at the Deva. A superb
afternoon's entertainment. Perhaps small is beautiful after
30 July 1998
Runcorn 2 Chester City 0
Chester City: Cutler, A Shelton, Lloyd, Reid
(Blackburn 59), Thompson, Lancaster, Kilgannon, G. Shelton (Carson
13), Patterson, Jones, Doughty.
Shaun Reid limped off with an ankle injury
to put a dampner on this performance. But after the match Reid insisted
that his knee was not the problem. "The knee's fine," he
said. "I twisted my ankle on Saturday and just took another
knock tonight." City fielded four professionals and dominated
much of the 90 minutes. Irving and Jones scored for the home side
with a goal in each half. 24-hours before, many of the players appeared
in the 3-1 defeat at the hands of a Port Vale X1.
25 July 1998
Chester City 1 Everton 1
Chester City: Brown, Davidson, Crosby, Cross,
Wright, Flitcroft, Woods, Priest (G.Shelton 67), Bennett (A.Shelton
79), Wright, Murphy, Beckett (J.Jones 70), Sub not used, Cutler.
Everton: Myhre, Thomas (OKane 79), Cleland, Tiler, Short, Farrelly,
Barmby (Milligan 82), Hutchinson (McCann 74), Oster (Jevons 74), Spencer
(Branch 74), Ferguson, Sub not used, Allen.
Referee: Michael Jones (Chester).
This was a well earned draw for City who fought
back well in the second half and, but for the woodwork, might even
have sneaked a shock winner in a game played with a competitive
The game, which was threatened with a players
strike until a couple of hours before kick-off, went ahead after
the chairman had apparently paid players outstanding wages at a
motorway service station in the morning. The said chairman wasnt
present for the match which saw a second vote of no confidence in
the him as hundreds of supporters held aloft red cards (supplied
by the newly formed ISA) to show their disapproval at the way the
club is being run.
City once again fielded on-loan Jonathan Cross
at left back, and there was a surprise return from injury for midfielder
Chris Priest. Everton fielder a strong line-up for their first
match under manager Walter Smith.
The opening stages were played around the City
box with Everton squandering a number of good chances, Duncan Ferguson
and John Spencer the culprits. Credit to Wayne Brown in the City
goal though. He made a number of crucial blocks and pulled of a
superb double save at the feet of Ferguson after 10 minutes.
Citys first effort came through Chris Priest
who fired in a shot after a good knock down by John Murphy. Ferguson
was again foiled by Brown before it was Luke Becketts turn
to get in on the act, shooting on goal after battling through the
Citys best chance came on the stroke of
half-time. Darren Wright crossed for Murphy to head down in the
six yard box. The ball fell to David Flitcroft who side-footed
the ball over the bar totally unmarked from close range.
The City defence was finally beaten in the 53rd
minute. Spencer scoring from eight yards out after build up work
from Oster and Farrelly.
Five minutes later City almost equalised when
Beckett picked up a through ball from Flitcroft. He beat Myhre
to the ball but his toe-poked shot trickled agonisingly wide of
the far post. However, on 67 minutes Beckett got the goal his efforts
deserved. Once again it was a knock down from John Murphy in the
box, Beckett turned on a sixpence and fired home from six yards
A bit of Chester history took place as substitutes
Gary and Andy Shelton became the first father/son combination to
play for the first team. With 15 minutes remaining City almost
grabbed the winner as matt Woods hit the crossbar following a well
worked free kick.
An all-round encouraging display then from
City who were without regulars Nick Richardson, Spencer Whelan, Alex
Smith and Rod Thomas; and in Luke Beckett we have someone who looks
a genuine 20-goal a season striker.
22 July 1998
Bath City 1 Chester City 2
Chester City: Cutler, Davidson, Woods, Richardson (Beckett 53), Crosby,
Thompson, Bennett, Flitcroft, J.Jones (Murphy 64), Thomas (A.Shelton 45),
Wright. Subs not used: Ratcliffe, Brown, D.C. Evans!
Referee: Steve Tanner (Keynsham).
© Giles Park
A convoy of 'Saunders Honda' cars and a
minibus (packed out with kit bags, several players and golf
clubs and driven by DC Evans) brought the playes to
Twerton Park for the second match on City's mini-tour.
A goal in the opening minutes of each half
by Gary Bennett (left) gave Chester their second win in as
many days. Playing on a tremendous surface, City were quickest
to start and forced a corner in the opening minute. Flitcroft
swung in the cross which was headed back across goal for
Bennett to have the easiest of chances to head home from
one yard. Dave Flitcroft (playing in mauve boots!) fired
a 20-yarder just wide of the post. The nearest the home side
came to scoring was from a couple of right wing crosses,
both dealt with by an impressive Scott Thompson. Tommo certainly
looked the part in the centre of a defence marshalled by
Andy Shelton replaced Rod Thomas at half-time
and a couple of minutes after the break The Blues (Green's!)
were two-up through a second from Gary Bennett. He raced
on to a fine trhough ball from red-booted Darren Wright to
slot the ball home through the goalkeepers legs from just
inside the left hand edge of the box. Bath immediately pulled
a goal back and had a spell of pressure without really threatening
the City defence. Dave Flitcroft went close with a long range
effort that hit the bar. A couple of substitutions were made
as the game started to get a little niggly towards the end.
After the game a few of us met up with
the Bath City chairman Steve Hall for a drink and a chat
in the supporters bar. He explained how last season after
a shareholders vote to sell the ground was defeated the club
was taken over by a group of fans. Many hours of dedicated
hard work by supporters have turned the club round and an
agressive commercial/marketing campaign has raised the awarness
of the club within the City of Bath to new levels. Leafleting
every single home in Bath was a smart brochure and fixture
list has just taken place. Already the weekly losses have
been reduced by two-thirds and a relaunch week in March massively
increased the club's profile in the city. It really does
go to show what a thriving commercial awareness along with
enthusiastic (unpaid) supporters can do for a club, and in
a city identical to Chester in many ways.
20 July 1998
Cwmbran Town 0 Chester City 4
Chester City: Brown, Richardson, Woods, Davidson, Crosby, Flitcroft, Thomas
(Wright 45), A.Shelton, Murphy, Beckett, Cross (Ratcliffe 76), Subs not
used; Cutler, Bennett.
Sounds like a right farce this one. Chester turned
up late for the match at Chepstow Town's ground and the game had
to finish 10 minutes early as it was getting dark and there were
Three goals in the opening 11 minutes settled
the game with Jogn Murphy scoring a brace before on-trial Jonathan
Cross added a third. Luke beckett continued his scoring sequence
with the fourth on the stroke of half time.
Rod Thomas played the first 45 minutes without
appearing to aggrivate his recent injury. Manager Kevin Ratcliffe
made a rare appearance in the second half replacing Jonathan Cross.PC
Evans was present having a kick around with Neil Cutler at half-time!
"I was pleased by certain players'
adaptability tonight. We adjusted to a difficult surface very professionally
and Davidson showed how versatile he is at the back. Shaun Reid,
Alex Smith, Crris Priest and Gary Bennett didn't figure tonight,
so I don't want people jumping to conclusions about what our strongest
line-up is just yet" said Kevin Ratcliffe
18 July 1998
Wrexham 0 Chester City 2
A goal from Jonathan Jones, which will no
doubt boost his confidence, and another from Martyn Lancaster gave
a City team comprising youth team players and first-year professionals
17 July 1998
Chester City 2 Tranmere Rovers 4
Chester City: (4-4-2) Brown; Davidson (A. Shelton
81), Crosby, Whelan, Cross, Flitcroft, Richardson, Woods, Wright,
Beckett, Bennett (Murphy 67). Subs not used: Cutler, Thompson,
Tranmere Rovers: Coyne, Frail, Dupont, McGreal, Challinor (Hill 63),
Irons, Morrissey, Santos (G Jones 81), Kelly, O'Brien, L Jones (Parkinson
63), Sub not used: Morgan
Tonight's game was played in the face of a setting
sun which shone in Wayne Brown's eyes for the first half. The visitor's
superiority in pace and skill showed for much of the game but City
had some encouraging performances too.
Rovers took the lead when Kelly was first onto
a speculative ball chipped back into the area after a corner was
half cleared. Brown was caught in no-man's land. Beckett equalised
for City as half time approached finshing with aplomb as he took
the ball round the keeper and scored from a narrow angle.
Sadly some fighting followed in the main stand
and a dozen unwelcome Tranmere fans were shown the door, while
a City fan was arrested.
Tranmere regained the lead shortly before half
time when Chester failed to clear a corner. Brown saved a shot
with his legs but the ball looped up towards the crossbar and Challinor
was first to react and nod it over the line.
Beckett equalised once again from a Flitcroft
corner. His unmarked header found the far corner. A few minutes
later Wright was caught in possession in midfield and Kelly slotted
in his second from the resulting counter attack. Santos, one of
two Frenchmen on trial with Tranmere then capped an impressive
performance by volleying a goal from the edge of the box.
Some encouraging performances were given
by Beckett, Wright (In red boots) and Cross. Crosby's distribution
from the back is very good. Otherwise Ratcliffe will have learned
nothing new, I suspect. Brown whose hair has gone blond a
la Rumanian gave a shaky display.
14 July 1998
Connah's Quay Nomads 2 Chester City 2
Chester City: Cutler, Whelan, Smith (Thompson
85), Richardson (A.Shelton 72), Crosby, P.Jones, Bennett, Woods
(Wright 76), J.Jones, Thomas.
City made several changes to the side that comprehensively
thrashed Caernarfon for the first-ever fixture at the new Deeside
Stadium. The Blues struggled to find any rhythm in the first half
and were restricted to long ranger efforts from Alex Smith and
Gary Bennett. The closest the home side came to a goal was from
a clever free kick from Jonathan Cross early on. Neil Davies gave
Nomads the lead just before half time with a clever chip over Neil
Cutler in the City goal. City had a great chance to level on the
stroke of half time but Jon Jones wasted a good shooting chance.
Rod Thomas was City's most dangerous forward
and he made several god runs but failed to create a real goalscoring
chance. Collister saved well in the Nomads goal from a Whelan chance
and a last ditch tackle prevented Gary Bennett bearing down on
goal. Ten minutes into the second half an City were 2-0 down as
Chris Davies scored from close range as the City defence made a
hash of a cross.
Gary Bennett pulled a goal back for the Blues
on 61 minutes following good work again by Thomas. Flitcroft and
Jones both went close as City searched for the equaliser and it came
with just two minutes left through Gary Bennett. He scored with a
diving header from a Dave Flitcroft cross to save City's blushes.
11 July 1998
Caernarfon Town 1 Chester City 7
Chester City: Brown (Cutler 45), Davidson,
Smith, Richardson, Crosby, Whelan (Thompson 60), Flitcroft (A.Shelton
60), Woods, Murphy (Bennett 45), Beckett (Jones 60), Wright.
City's first match of the pre-season resulted in a comfortable 7-1 victory
at Yr Oval. Chester fielded four debutants in Alex Smith, captain Andy
Crosby, Luke Beckett and Paul Jones. It was a cross from Smith which led
to City's opener on 12 minutes with Nick Richardson side footing home.
Beckett had a goal disallowed before extending City's lead after neat work
Five minutes after the break Beckett scored his
second after a long-range Richardson shot was fumbled, and more
good work by Smith resulted in Beckett heading his hat-trick six
minutes later.Within a couple of minutes Gary Bennett scored his
first goal since November to make it five. On 64 minutes Richardson
scored his second, converting a penalty after Bennett was brought
down in the box.
The home side pulled a goal back through
Highdall on 75 minutes, before Andy Shelton headed home City's seventh
after neat work from Smith and Ross Davidson