29 September 2001
Stevenage Borough 2 Chester
Attendance: 1,690 Half Time: 0-1
Booked: Lancaster, Porter, Spink, Brown.
Stevenage Borough: Wilkerson, Hamsher (Hay 46), Goodliffe, Dreyer,
Sturgess, Sodje, McMahon, Castle, Clarke, Williams, Tate (Armstrong 73).
Subs not used: Trott, Walters, Greygoose.
Chester City: Brown, Roberts (Malkin 65), M.Rose, Porter, Lancaster,
Hill, Kerr (S.Rose 76), Ruscoe, Spink, Beesley (Lopez 90), Woodyatt. Sub
not used: Berocchi. [only four named].
Referee: S.Habgood (Swindon).
can't remember when I last went to a Chester match expecting a victory
for the Blues. I think the dismal Trophy defeat against Canvey Island well
and truly knocked those kind of thoughts out of my system. Instead I make
my way to far-flung venues anticipating catching up on the latest news
from the Deva and having a well-earned drink. The match result? These days
it's almost incidental. And Stevenage v Chester proved to be no exception.
This particular far-flung venue
was best approached after quaffing a few beers with
the Exiles somewhere within the piles of concrete
blocks that seem to make up Stevenage. Giles Park
decided beer would not suffice to demonstrate
his support for our glorious sponsors, he somehow
downed TWO bottles of Red Square as we traded banter
about our new owner and the demise of Terry Smith.
Then it was off into the torrential rain towards
Around fifty soaked Chester fans
gathered at the ground, and pre-match talk turned
from Stephen Vaughan to matters on the pitch. Would
the glamorous-sounding Carlos Lopez, who'd been named
as sub, live up to his name? And why were only four
subs named? Where were Ruffer, Blackburn, Haarhoff
Chester started in typical form,
with Stevenage taking the upper hand straight from
kick-off. They went close after just five minutes
when Chris Tate headed over the bar from a free kick.
And they looked certain to take the lead on the 13th
minute when another Tate header was stopped with
a one-handed save by Wayne Brown who then
blocked a re-bound shot.
Sam Hill was involved in slightly
more action than usual mostly mouthing at
the ref after incidents that were nothing to do with
him but he did have a good chance when Mark
Beesley flicked the ball to him just 12 yards from
the goal-line. But Hill could only manage to blast
it straight at the Stevenage 'keeper.
Just when we thought the match
was going all Stevenage's way, Beesley's strike from
a 37th minute Hill corner cannoned into the net off
the thigh of Sam Sodje. We were glad of the goal
celebrations it gave us the chance to dry
off a little.
But this really was the archetypal
game of two halves. Stevenage's half-time introduction
of out-of-favour striker Darren Hay was the real
turning point. Just two minutes into the second half,
Hay pounced from close-range when the ball pinged
about in the box following a Stevenage corner. And
just 12 minutes later, it was game over. Once again
Hay was in the right place at the right time when
Chester failed to clear a free-kick.
The Blues had no answer to Hay's
second goal Chris Malkin came on, but looked
distinctly unfit. Beesley was the only player who
posed a threat. But he ran his socks off and as time
went on it was clear he was getting tired. Stephen
Rose was introduced, but was never going to make
The players began getting distinctly
rattled towards the end of the game. Spink was booked
for what looked like a shoulder charge on the edge
of the area. But then Brownie inexplicably decided
to push the Stevenage player as he made an over-exaggerated
struggle to stand up. Stevenage fans began calling
for red cards for Brown and Spink but they
were both shown yellows. We did get to see Carlos
Lopez when he came on as a 90th minute sub. But I'm
afraid he showed no sign of any South American flair.
So once again, the best part of
the day was the pre- and post-match banter. The players
appeared to show where their loyalties lay when we
gathered in the Stevenage bar after the game. Sam
and Gordon Hill were surrounded by a handful of cronies
in one corner. The rest of the team gathered in another
corner. And never the twain met, or even exchanged
glances. Perhaps it won't be long before we never
have to set eyes on the two Hills again. I hope so.
You'd have thought a trip from
Warrington to Stevenage would have been quite straightforward,
if only! read travelling fan Howard Jolley's account from
Saturday 29 September 2001
Macclesfield Town Youth 1 Chester
City Youth 1
Football League Youth Alliance
Chester City: Louie Mackin, Brendan Nunnery, Paul Conolley, Lee Reece,
Lee Sefton (Tom Coulson), Scott Bagnall, Carl Rodgers, Chris Hopwood (John
Davies), James Dean (Adam Kelly), Kevin Towey, Gethin Lloyd.
The youth team drew 1-1 away to Macclesfield Town on Saturday. They went
behind in the first minute, failing to deal with a long ball from the kick
off with the Macclesfield striker racing clear to slot passed Louie Mackin.
The remainder of the first half was fairly even affair. The second half
started with Macclesfield being awarded a penalty which they dually missed.
Within five minutes the scores were equal when Chris Hopwood broke clear
and rounded the Macclesfield keeper. Chester then dominated the remainder
of the game but failed to take several good chances.
Sunday 23 September 2001
Huddersfield Town Ladies 2 Chester City Ladies 1
Northern Combination League
The game was dominated by the Chester Ladies but, against the run of
play, found themselves one down at half time after a mix up following a
Huddersfield free kick on the end of the Chester penalty area.
The girls were immediately back in to their stride
in the second half and on 75 minutes Leigh Broadbent, who had been supplying
quality crosses in all afternoon, decided to go alone. She cut in from
the right, took the ball past one defender and hit an absolute bute from
The final twist came when, 12 minutes from time, Annette
Jones was adjudged to have tripped a Huddersfield forward as she made
her way OUT of the Chester area with the ball. The resultant penalty
was smashed home and although the girls continued to press for the remainder
of the game, were unable to make any further impression against a team
who amassed behind the ball to make it difficult to get any type of telling
touch close to goal.
Although only our first defeat since 28th January,
it was disappointing because Huddersfield didn't really give the girls
Saturday 22 September
Chester City 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 1
Attendance: 643 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Hill, Porter, Ruscoe.
Chester City: Brown, Ruffer, Linighan (Woodyatt 88), M.Rose, Lancaster,
Porter, Hill (Kilgannon 74), Blackburn, Kerr, McNiven (Ruscoe 63), Beesley.
Subs not used: Roberts. S.Rose.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Roberts, M.Smith, Vickers, Jones, Hill (Forbes
79), Broom, Janney, Terry (Brennan 46), Heffer, Stein, Shipp (Lock 50).
Subs not used: Hazelden, Gothard.
Referee: S.Castle (Wolverhampton).
A loan strike from former Luton Town player Mark Stein was enough to
see off City as their run without a win extended to seven games. This is
Chester's sequence for years, even under the guidance of manager Terry
Smith, the Blues never managed a League run this poor.
Transfer listed international 'keeper Wayne Brown
was in fine form as his string of saves prevented City from a hiding.
He was first called into action on five minutes when he comfortable
saved from Paul Terry's weak effort from just inside the box.
It was Mark Beesley, who else, who provided City's
only threat up front. He looked poised to put City ahead on 30
minutes before the timely intervention of Dagenham defender Ashley
Brown was called upon minutes later to make a
smart save from a Stein header from point blank range, and was
on hand to thwart the striker minutes later when he was sent through
on goal in a one-on-one. Carl Ruffer also had to be sharp to prevent
the striker on the edge of the box on 40 minutes.
As the half drew to a close it was City who had
two chances to break the deadlock. Both were form Mike Rose corners.
Dave McNiven had a close range header blocked on the line and Beesley
saw a header from six yards fly over the bar.
The Brown/Stein contest resumed after the break
with the 'keeper once again coming out on top saving superbly after
Stein had once again been put through on goal. Chris Blackburn,
working hard in midfield, was tackled six yards out from goal as
City, in a rare break, almost took the lead. It was the same old
story for City, plenty of possession but no cutting edge where
Dagenham eventually got the goal they'd been
threatening all afternoon on 71 minutes. Dangerman Stein intercepted
a pass on the right and, after beating Mike Rose, shot low and
hard past Brown.
Director of Football Gordon Hill said after
the latest defeat: I don't even look or bother about whether
it's seven games without a win. Are you telling me that we couldn't
get points today? We weren't beaten again today, we beat ourselves
again, and that's what is frustrating me. It's not that teams come
here and beat us clinically.
Saturday 22 September 2001
Chester City Youth 1 Mansfield Town Youth
Football League Youth Alliance
Chester City: Louie Mackin, Brendan Nunnery, Paul Conolley, James Dean,
Mark Howell (Sion Roberts), Scott Bagnall, Carl Rodgers, John Davies, Adam
Kelly, Kevin Towey, Gethin Lloyd.
The youth team drew 1-1 at home to Mansfield Town on Saturday, coming from
behind to equalise through James Dean in the first half. They had several
chances in the second half, most notably a 25 yard effort from John Davies
which came back of the crossbar, but could not produce a winner.
Thursday 20 September 2001
Chester City 2 Congleton Town 0
F.A. Unibond Cheshire Senior Cup Round
Chester City: Bertocchi, Woodyatt, Potter, Kilgannon (Berry), S Rose,
Roberts, Chamberlain, (Sefton), Kerr, Haarhoff, Hopwood (Rogers), Blackburn.
Goals by Chris Blackburn and Jimmy Haarhoff give City a first round victory
over Congleton in a match watched by just 57 people.
Saturday 15 September 2001
Marine Youth 3 Chester City Youth 3 (AET) [City
lost 4-3 on penalties]
FA Youth Cup Preliminary Round
Chester City: Louie
Mackin, Adam Hunter, Paul Conolley, John Davies, James Dean, Tom
Coulson (Tom Leonard), Scott Bagnall, Sion Griffiths, Lee Reece (Sion
Roberts), Kevin Towey, Gethin Lloyd.
youth team failed to progress to the next round of the FA Youth Cup losing
in a penalty shoot out away at Marine. Despite taking a tenth minute lead
through Gethin Lloyd and dominating the game for an hour they failed to
take a number of chances. The line up then had to be reorganised to cater
for injured players and Marine took advantage, equalising on 75 minutes.
Chester restored their lead five minutes later when Kevin Towey converted
a spot kick after James Dean had been felled in the penalty area. Marine
cruelly equalised in the 90th minute and took the lead in the first half
of extra time. Chester equalised in the second extra period through Gethin
Lloyd but lost out 4-3 in the penalty shoot out.
18 September 2001
Leigh RMI 3 Chester City 0
Attendance: 547 Half Time: 2-0
Leigh RMI: Westhead, Spooner, German, Scott, Durkin, Salt (Kielty 75),
Fisher, Twiss (Heald 78), Skinner (Hayder 55), Monk, Hallows. Sub not used:
Chester City: Brown, Ruffer, M.Rose, Linighan, Lancaster, Porter, Hill,
Blackburn (Kilgannon 53), Ruscoe, McNiven (Roberts 72), Beesley. Subs not
used: Kerr, Hopwood, S.Rose.
Referee: A.Hogg (Dronfield).
RMI cruised to their first home win of the season, despite being without
five regulars, againat a disjointed and dispirited City side. With eight
of the senior Blues players being told before the match that they were
being put on the transfer list to cut costs it's hardly surprising they
turned in a shambolic performance.
Scott Ruscoe returned from suspension and there
was also a place in midfield for out-of-favour Chris Blackburn.
Both new signings of last week David Linighan and David McNiven
City had the better of the opening period and
created the first chance of the game as Sam Hill's fourth minute
strike was turned round the post by the home 'keeper Mark Westhead,
and minutes later the lively McNiven was almost set up on goal
by a waywayd back pass.
City fell behind midway through the opening period.
Leigh forward, and man-of-the-match, Michael Twiss' electrifying
pace left City's defence standing as he latched onto a through
ball from 'keeper Westhead, outpaced Carl Ruffer, and shot low
and hard past the advancing Wayne Brown.
A superb diagonal through ball by McNiven set
up Ruscoe but he drove his shot wide from 18 yards out.
Former City player Neil Fisher set up the second
for Twiss minutes before the break. Twiss collected his pass, beat
Ruffer again and blasted the ball into the roof of the net from
Ruscoe again had a chance to score just after
the restart but his close range shot was palmed away.
Leigh sealed victory five minutes later as Hallows
shot home after Hill and Martyn Lancaster had been outpaced by
Chester forced several corners and both Ruscor
and Porter forced saves but, in truth, it was the home side who
missed the better chances in the closing period.
City fans vented their nager of manager Gordon
Hill as the Blues have now taken only three points fom a possible
18 in September and slumped to 17th in the Conference.
Very very sad, possibly the poorest
Chester performance I've ever seen Neil Turner.
15 September 2001
Chester City 1 Boston United 2
Attendance: 821 Half Time: 0-1
Booked: Hill, Kilgannon, Lancaster, Beesley.
Chester City: Brown, Ruffer, Linighan, M.Rose, Porter (Blackburn 74),
Hill, Kilgannon, Lancaster, McNiven, Beesley, Spink (S.Rose 68). Subs not
used: Roberts, Kerr, Hopwood.
Boston United: Bastock, Ellinder, Lodge, R.Weatherstone, Monington,
Costello, Marsh, Brown (Cook 90), Charlerey (Town 87), Clare (Murphy 65),
S.Weatherstone. Subs not used: Conroy, Gould.
Referee: S.Castle (Wolverhampton).
City's poor September run continued as they were beaten by a Mike Marsh
second half strike to take visitors Boston United to the top of the table.
There was no Scott Ruscoe for City as
the midfielder was serving a one match ban following his
red card at Barnet, Gordon Hill did however give debuts
to new signings David Linighan and David McNiven. Chris
Blackburn was recalled to the substitutes bench as manager
Hill dropped Jimmy Haarhoff and Lee Woodyatt.
It was The Pilgrims who started brightly
and had their first chance of the match on ten minutes
when Simon Wetherstone's corner was headed over by Daryl
Clare at the far post.
Mick Brown on the United right was always
a threat as debutant Linighan, playing at left back, struggled
to keep up with the pace.
Boston took the lead on 23 minutes. Once
again Brown's pace down the right proved too much for Linighan
and his cross was allowed to run right through the box
before being converted at the back post by Wetherstone.
City fought back and created a great
chance to equalise as McNiven, having a promising debut,
headed straight at 'keeper Bastock when well placed following
fine build-up work by Ruffer and Spink.
Boston should have increased their lead
on 33 minutes as Clare headed over from six yards and soon
after Mark Monnington had a goal ruled out for offside.
Following the break Wes Kilgannon's through
ball set up Andy Porter but the chance went begging, then
Ken Charlery (who always seems to score against us) shot
wide after being put through on a one-on-one with Wayne
City's leading scorer Mark Beesley levelled
after 60 minutes. Once again it was McNiven who provided
the through ball as Beesley's hard shot was too hot for
Bastock. Minutes later McNiven set up Beesley again but
the striker's header was off target from six yards.
Twenty minutes from time Mike Marsh hit
what proved to be the winner. City's defence failed to
properly clear a corner and the ball fell invitingly for
Marsh to shoot home through a crowded goalmouth past the
unsighted Wayne Brown.
Brown denied Andy Lodge twice shortly
after to keep City in the hunt, and misses from McNiven and
Beesley in the closing minutes were to prove costly as the
Blues slumped to another defeat.
Saturday 15 September 2001
Lincoln City Youth 2 Chester City Youth 0
Football League Youth Alliance
Chester City: Louie Mackin, Tom Coulson (Otis Thomas), Paul Conolley,
Gethin Lloyd, Lee Reece, Scott Bagnall, John Davies (Levi Kennedy), Carl
Rodgers, Mark Howell, Kevin Towey, Lee Sefton.
The youth team under performed at the weekend going down 2-0 at Lincoln
City. With no score at half time they found themselves behind within five
minutes of the re-start after failing to prepare for a quick Lincoln free
kick. The second goal was conceded five minutes from time.
11 September 2001
Chester City 0 Stalybridge Celtic 0
Attendance: 695 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Hill, Roberts.
Chester City: Brown, S.Rose (Haarhoff 70), M.Rose, Ruffer, Porter,
Lancaster, Hill (Roberts 70), Kilgannon, Ruscoe, M.Beesley. Spink. Subs
not used: Wright, Kerr, Rogers.
Stalybridge Celtic: Fish, Woods, Scott, Crookes (Williamson 46), Futcher,
Bushell, Parr (Batty 86), Woods, Murphy, Courtney, Peacock (Perkins 90).
Subs not used: Barker, Lee.
Referee: R.Atkinson (Leeds).
City and Stalybridge produced a scrappy game that was described by radio
Merseyside's Neil Turner as A turgid affair no side deserved to win.
It's four games without a win now and Chester would have been expecting
to beat a struggling part-time Celtic side managed by former Chester player
Only 695 fans turned up at the Deva leaving the
club with an average home gate after four attendances of just 703
compared to 2,366 at the same stage last season.
Those who did turn up will have seen the visitors
almost grab an opening goal on six minutes. Richard Peacock brought
the ball down on the edge of the area and his curling left foot
shot that followed left Wayne Brown rooted to the spot as it hit
It was 12 minutes before City's first effort
of note when Scott Ruscoe volleyed wide following a Michael Rose
Chester almost took the lead on 20 minutes when
fine interplay between Spink and Beesley set up the latter whose
shot from six yards was superbly saved by keeper Dave Fish, the
resulting goalline scramble saw the ball cleared by Mattie Woods
and Andy Scott for a corner. Carl Ruffer headed the resulting flag
kick just over the bar.
In the dying minutes of the half Andy Porter
missed two chances to break the deadlock, first he had a shot blocked
on the edge of the box and then he volleyed high and wide from
inside the box after being set up by Dean Spink.
City produced no great chances of note following
the break and it was Stalybridge who should have wrapped things
up with just five minutes remaining. An under-bit back pass from
Paul Roberts set up Matt Williamson but Wayne Brown moved smartly
to deny the visitors a goal.
Before the kick-off a minute's silence was
held in memory of those killed in America earlier in the day.
Sunday 9 September 2001
Chester-le-Street Ladies 1 Chester City Ladies
Northern Combination League
After sustaining some early pressure the girls settled and opened
the scoring half way through the first half.
After receiving the ball in midfield, Michelle
Hounslow travelled 15 yards before releasing Michelle Brady who
was also able to carve through the home teams midfield before slipping
a through ball between the home defence. Clare Reynolds latched
on to the ball before placing a well waited and accurate shot into
It was a second half mix up that led to the equaliser.
Jo Reynolds, providing some speedy cover back toward her own goal,
over ran the ball, leaving it behind on the edge of the Chester
area. Laura Edwards running out from her six yard box, was unable
to get both hands on the loose ball on the ground. This presented
a Chester-Le-Street striker with an easy chance which she placed
coolly between the Chester defenders who had amassed on the goal
The coaching staff and players alike were a little
disappointed as the statistics of the match showed just how much
on top we really were! Chester-Le-Street only managed four shots
on target all game whilst the Chester girls created 12 shots which
all needed saving. Even more frustrating when five were 'one on
one's' with the goalkeeper a frustrating time for all.
But, whilst still on the subject of statistics,
you have to go back to January 28th to get to a league or cup match
that Chester City Ladies were defeated, so things must be still
be shaping up pretty well.
We'll be airing the blue and white stripped
strip again this Sunday when the girls entertain Bradford City at
County Officers Recreation Centre in Upton 14:00hrs kick-off.
Saturday 8 September 2001
Chester City Youth 1 Port Vale Youth 1
Youth Alliance Cup (Group stage)
Chester City: Louie Mackin, Tom Coulson, Paul Conolley, Gethin Lloyd,
Lee Reece (Tom Leonard), Scott Bagnall (Adam Hunter), John Davies, Carl
Rodgers, Kevin Towey, Otis Thomas (Mark Howell), Lee Sefton.
The youth team gained a creditable draw at home to Port Vale on Saturday
in the Youth Alliance Cup. The squad was decimated with injury during the
week and Centre of Excellence U16s had to be called up. They took the lead
on 80 minutes when a deep right wing cross from Scott Bagnall went in off
the far post, only for Port Vale to equalise two minutes later. They now
face Shrewsbury Town and Walsall in their remaining group matches.
8 September 2001
Farnborough Town 1 Chester City 1
Attendance: 954 Half Time: 1-0
Booked: Spink, Kilgannon.
Farnborough Town: Farrelly, Annon, Laker, O'Shea, Warner, Watson, Piper
(Taggart 76), Patterson, Vansittart, Crawshaw (Lee 62), Piper. Subs not
used: Harper, Bonfield, Jones.
Chester City: Brown, Woodyatt (Roberts 60), M.Rose, Ruffer, Ruscoe,
Porter, Lancaster, Hill (Haarhoff 46), Kerr (Kilgannon 79), M.Beesley,
Spink. Subs not used: S.Rose, Wright.
Referee: M.McCoy (Hearne Bay).
60 Blues fans made the trip to Cherrywood Road, and those who stayed
to the bitter end saw a last gasp equaliser from Mark Beesley salvage
a point for City they hardly deserved.
It was part-time Farnborough doing all the early
running and they created the best of the chances throughout the
game. They took the lead on six minutes when Steve Watson's cross
found it's way to Lenny Piper via an awful Dean Spink back pass,
Piper shot high in the net from close range giving Wayne Brown
City were anonymous in midfield where Watson
and Patterson were running the show for the home side. City did
manage a couple of efforts from long range and both Martyn Lancaster
and Scott Ruscoe saw shots well saved by former City keeper Steve
The home side will be kicking themselves for
not finishing off the Blues after missing numerous chances the
most astonishing miss coming on the stroke of half time. Chris
Piper was put through on the right and his cross shot was parried
by Wayne Brown into the bath on the onrushing, and unmarked, Joff
Vansittart who from six yards out and in front of the gaping goal
somehow managed to side-foot the ball wide.
City replaced Sam Hill with Jimmy Haarhoff at
the break and his pace began to cause one or two problems for the
home defence but it was still the home side that created the better
chances, Christian Lee shooting wide from one of the best.
Both Wes Kilgannon and Paul Roberts were thrown
on as City looked to rescue something and in injury time they got
the break. Jimmy Haarhoff robbed Darren Annon on the half-way line
and jinked his way into the box on the right, as he was about to
shoot he inexplicably trod on the ball and fell over, he managed
to pull the ball back for Beesley who shot low into the corner
from inside the box.
Seconds later and Beesley almost grabbed a
winner but his low hard shot was well saved low down by Farrelly.
4 September 2001
Chester City 2 Telford United 2
Attendance: 605 Half Time: 1-0
Booked: Porter, Kerr.
Chester City: Brown, S.Rose, Ruffer, Ruscoe, Porter, Lancaster, Hill
(Wright 73), Kerr, Woodyatt, M.Beesley, Spink. Subs not used: Haarhoff,
Blackburn, Potter, Berocchi.
Telford United: Price, Davies, Hanmer, Moore, Albrighton, Fowler, Scott,
Jobling, Palmer, Quayle, J.Edwards. Subs not used: Edwards, Fitzpatrick,
Crowe, Preece, King.
Referee: S.Brand (Wirral).
lowest crowd since the 1920s, just 605, saw the Blues throw away
a two goal advantage as visitors Telford United came from behind
to share the points.
Defender Michael Rose was suspended following
his red card at Southport, young Lee Woodyatt filled in at left
back and Carl Ruffer returned to the centre of defence as City
started with a 4-4-2 formation.
The first chance of the night fell to Dean Spink
who headed just wide following an interchange between Woodyatt
Just two minutes later though Spink set City
on their way with the opening goal. Goalkeeper Price was unable
to hold Mark Beesley's shot from 15 yards and Spink was on hand
to steer the ball home.
United's only real threat up until the goal had
been a free kick on 13 minutes from Gareth Hanmer. However the
visitors missed a great opportunity to draw level on the stroke
of half time when Mark Albrighton sent a back post header into
the side netting.
Keeper Wayne Brown almost gifted an equaliser
minutes after the restart. His weak clearance fell straight to
Richard Scott who immediately tried his luck from 40 yards only
to see a back-peddling Brown save.
Chester extended their lead on 61 minutes. Scott
Ruscoe was on hand at the far post to hammer home the second after
good approach work by Beesley and Spink.
The two goal cushion didn't last long though
as Kevin Davies headed home from a Quayle cross just three minutes
later to make it 2-1.
Telford has several great opportunities to level
but failed to take any before Ruscoe almost added a third on 85
minutes as his goal-bound shot was cleared off the line by by Fowler.
With just four minutes on the clock the Shropshire
side scored their second as Edwards blasted the ball home from six
yards at the second attempt following a close range save from Brown.
1 September 2001
Barnet 3 Chester City 1
Attendance: 1,197 Half Time: 1-0
Booked: Brown, Kerr, Ruscoe. Sent Off: Ruscoe.
Barnet: Harrison, Goodhind, Heald, Arber, Gledhill (Sawyers 61), Bell
(Doolan 69), Niven, Gower, Toms (Flynn 84), Stevens, Midgley. Subs not
used: Nesbitt, Taylor.
Chester City: Brown, S.Rose, M.Rose, Spink (Woodyatt 78), Lancaster,
Porter, Hill (Wright 84), Kerr, Haarhoff (Hopwood 62), Ruscoe, M.Beesley.
Sub not used: Roberts.
Referee: L.Proben (Bridgwater).
vagaries of the transport system formerly known as British Rail continue
to hamper the plans of travelling football supporters. A late arrival at
Euston meant a dash along the road to Kings Cross. Steve Mansley hurdled
the barriers and was first to the ticket office but the queue was a mile
long. At the last gasp a ticket was bought from an inspector at the end
of the platform and the twelve minutes past twelve train to New Barnet
was boarded, Howard's boot keeping the doors open until the stragglers
had made it. Barrovian, and honorary Chester fan, Dave Leitch was left
stranded as he dutifully waited to meet APJ at the agreed point. Little
did he know that Alan had already nipped on the train.
Dave caught up with us at the Red Lion on the
corner of Underhill. There, travelling Cestrians traded latest
rumours and reactions to another announcement that the club has
been sold. General consensus was that it was probably a ploy to
encourage more people to attend the Deva next Tuesday.
A last minute change of policy to charge away
fans £10 and not £12 (With compulsory programme included)
went unnoticed by a clutch of Chester fans who went in the home
end instead. We met Marc Ashfield selling programmes. Two years
ago he was busy organising a petition to get planning permission
for Barnet's ground move approved. Barnet were then top of the
Third Division and we were struggling under Terry's managerial
fling. Now we met in the Conference with Barnet's move still uncertain
but with a proposed site next door in the local park gaining the
approval of most of their fans.
Both sides have made a moderate start to the
new season. Barnet came out with a point to prove and came at Chester
strongly down the hill. Star man Gower gave Mike Rose a torrid
time at left back and forced him to concede a penalty. Brown, though
saved the kick superbly. Barnet threatened again and had the ball
in the net this time but the linesmans's flag had already been
raised. Gradually Chester worked their way back into the game.
Sam Hill pulled a shot well wide form the edge of the area. Kerr
put a header wide when it looked easier to score. Beasley looked
a threat up front and Jimmy Haarhoff got through a lot of work
fetching and carrying. Just as it looked like City would make it
to half time unscathed, Kerr was mugged in midfield enabling Gower
to exchange a one-two with Midgley and skip through to place the
ball past the oncoming Brown.
City weathered another storm from Barnet as they
came forward after half time. Brown made another brilliant full
stretch save from a shot he could not have seen until late. Sam
Hill had been increasingly ineffective as the second half wore
on but surprisingly it was Haarhoff who was replaced on 62 minutes
by Chris Hopwood. Surprising because Jimmy had just gone very close
to scoring with a lovely chip which had the backpedalling Harrison
beaten all ends up.
Still, six minutes later City were level thanks
to a fine piece of work by Mark Beasley. He picked up the loose
ball outside the area, threaded past a couple of defenders and
fired home sweetly. A couple of minutes later Hopwood had a chance
to put the blues (City wearing their unfamiliar combination of
Oxford and Cambridge blues) ahead, but his shot went across the
face of the goal and wide.
An innocuous challenge by Hill was penalised
down City's right though it looked like only a throw had been given.
From the resulting free kick, Lancaster allowed Midgely to get
on the wrong side of him and get a shot in. Brown could only half
stop it and the ball trickled up the hill and into the net. A soft
goal when it looked like City should get at least a point.
Worse followed when Ruscoe was adjudged to have
dived in the penalty area and was sent off for a second bookable
offence. He can have few complaints. A tired looking Spink had
been replaced by Lee Woodyatt (Another one who now sports a skinhead)
and Darren Wright at last came on to take over from Hill who had
gone down twice with injuries and seemed to be pleading to be withdrawn.
Stevens scored a third in the dying minutes.
Claims for offside were overruled by the referee who pointed to
Mike Rose as the one who had played him on.
Beasley, Brown and Kerr gave the travelling fans
(I counted eighty of them) an appreciative wave and applause. Back
at Birmingham New Street I had seen the engine "Spirit of Chester" not
in the sidings exactly but certainly going nowhere. Although City
could not be faulted for effort, they could not complain at the
scoreline and certainly seem to be going nowhere themselves at
Back at Euston's "Head of Steam", eighteen of
the Exiles regrouped to watch that other football match in Munich.
I had to leave for another convoluted rail journey, just after
half time. Last I heard, a lad born in Chester was doing quite
well Owen, I think his name is.