Saturday 28 September 2002
Port Vale Youth 6 Chester City
Youth Alliance North Central
Chester City: Trialist, Tom Coulson, John Davies, Paul Connolley (Danny
Ventre), Trialist (Danny L Ventre), Adam Kelly, Mike Simpson, Lee Reece,
Trialist, Gethin Lloyd, Trialist (Matt Cooke).
The youth team went down 6-1 away to Port Vale on Saturday despite taking
a 10th minute lead with a well taken direct free kick from Mike Simpson.
They then conceded three goals in a 15 minute spell, punished for giving
away possession too cheaply and poor decision making. The first a penalty
given away in a wide and non dangerous area when an attempt to win the
ball was unnecessary, whilst the third was a goalkeeping error of judgement
when dealing with a back pass. Iain Jenkins then made some positional changes
and for long periods of the game they dominated causing Port Vale several
problems. However, they conceded a further three in the last 20 minutes
when the Port Vale No 7 was allowed to run in behind untracked to score
twice. The score was not a true reflection of the game, but goals count!.
Saturday 28 September 2002
Doncaster Rovers 0 Chester City
Attendance: 4,867 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Blackburn, Guyett, Kelly, McIntyre, Ruffer, Sugden.
Doncaster Rovers: Warrington, Marples, Ryan, Morley,
Barrick, Albrighton, Owen (Green 73), Paterson, Watson, Barnes, Jackson.
Subs not used: Nelson, Gill, Whitman, Foster.
Chester City: W.Brown, Ruffer, Bolland, Guyatt, Woodyatt, McIntyre,
Kelly, Harkness, Blackburn (M.Brown 59), Twiss (Beesley 88), Sugden. Subs
not used: Cameron, Carden, Lancaster.
Referee: M.Russell (St Albans).
sat back and allowed the opposition to dominate during
the first half. But Rovers failed to make their dominance
pay in a match spoiled by the whistle. With nine
bookings and many free kicks the play never flowed.
The best chance fell in the second half to Albrighton
but he put a free header over the bar. A great crowd
of over 4,800 fans made for an electric atmosphere
but no goals to show. Rovers forced the pace for
most of the match but found the solid Chester defence
a tough nut to crack.
Centre backs Carl Ruffer, Phil
Bolland and Scott Guyett were dominant in defence
and although Rovers did manage to carve out openings
their finishing was poor. Andy Watson hit a low 20-yard
effort just wide in the 26th minute before Wayne
Brown saved an angled effort from Justin Jackson
five minutes later.
It was the first save of the game
from either keeper as both sides adopted a cagey
approach and defended in numbers when the need arose.
Ryan Sugden fired wide from Chester’s
only first-half scoring opportunity but play was
more even after the interval, although Rovers continued
to dictate the pace. Paul Barnes missed a good chance
for Rovers straight after the interval when his first-time
shot came back off the keeper’s legs, following
a mistake by Bolland.
Kevin McIntyre produced a couple
of last-ditch tackles to deny the home side before
Brown produced a brilliant save to keep out a glancing
header from Barnes in the 54th minute.
Michael Twiss had a chance for
Chester in the 70th minute but failed to connect
properly with the ball and then Sugden had a low
effort well saved by Andy Warrington.
The best chance fell to Rovers
nine minutes from time when Barnes picked out Mark
Albrighton unmarked in the middle only to see him
place his close-range header wide of the mark.
This was a match of good defence
and poor attack, neither side made enough chances,
and neither side made what chances there were count
A formidable Chester defence
kept a far from fluent Doncaster side at bay throughout
the 90 minute game billed as a ‘clash of the
titans’. It fell short of this.
Ruffer, Bolland and Guyett were
commanding in defence and although Doncaster Rovers
did manage to make chances their finishing was quite
Watson hit a low 20-yard atrempt
wide in the 27th minute before Wayne Brown proved
his worth by saving a low down angled effort from
Justin Jackson five minutes later.
Both sides appeared to be paying
respect to the other and appeared apprehensive about
going forward with momentum. Sugden fired wide for
City’s only first-half scoring opportunity.
The half time team talk by Mark
Wright must have pointed out the lack lustre and
unusual Chester approach to play in the first half
as there was an improvement in the second as City
looked more athletic and co-ordinated.
Rovers continued to push forward
with Paul Barnes missing a good chance straight after
the interval when his first-time shot came back off
the keeper's legs, following a mistake by Phill Bolland.
Kevin McIntyre not distracted by
taunts from Rovers fans produced a number of tackles
to deny the home side before Wayne Brown produced
a brilliant save to keep out a glancing header from
Barnes in the 54th minute.
Michael Twiss had a shot in the
70th but unluckily did not bond properly with the
ball and then Sugden had a low effort blocked by
Rovers Keeper Warrington.
The final chance fell to Doncaster
Rovers in minute 81 of the game when Barnes picked
out Mark Albrighton who headed wide of target.
24 September 2002
Chester City 2 Burton Albion 1
Attendance: 2,440 Half Time 0-1
Chester City: W.Brown, Bolland, Guyett (Lancaster 26) Ruffer, McIntyre,
Harkness, Kelly, Carden, Blackburn (M.Brown 70), Twiss (Cameron 70), Sugden.
Subs not used: Brodie, Carey.
Burton Albion: Duke, Kavanagh (Johnson 80), Blount (Farrell
64), Hoyle, Webster, Dudley, Clough, Kirkwood, Sinton, Moore, Glover. Subs
not used: Talbot, Robinson, Evans.
Referee: K.Friend (Leicester).
the extravagance of Saturday’s crushing 5-2 victory against
Dagenham, Chester continued their table topping form with another
professional performance in a game that burst fully into life in
the second half.
It what was a nice touch, the crowd were told
of the player’s appreciation of the support and encouragement
given to them in the previous match. In a moment of self-praise
City fans acknowledged their contribution by applauding the team
again in what marked a developing relationship between fans and
On the field Chester set the pace with James
Kelly once again terrier-like winning just about anything going.
Sugden made powerful bursts down the right inviting some exquisite
passes from Harkness finding feet regularly from distance. Ruffer,
Carden and Ruffer all figured well pushing forward linking well
with Twiss who although had a quiet first period, showed good
footwork to make the best of tight marking against a Burton side
who had to look sharp each time Chester pushed forward.
Ruffer had the first early chance but drove
left of the upright when panic in the box offered a sight on
goal. Sugden fired into the side netting on the right and might
have done better with when later sent clear on the left to be
denied by their goalkeeper’s brave advance.
On twenty minutes, good work by Chris Blackburn
following another pinpoint cross from Harkness did well to beat
two Burton players before being disposed at the last moment.
The visitors were now defending desperately as a City goal looked
imminent. Guyett and Bolland who for long periods hardly broke
into sweat dealt what little Burton offered up front with consummate
ease. Despite the failure the score, everything else seemed right
as we were entertained with another display of great passing,
excellent teamwork and brimming confidence. When the first goal
came it took us by surprise. After Guyett leaving the field on
the half hour through injury, the centre of defence was caught
when a ball swung in from the left was met by the head of Glover
who rose high to send a looping ball away from City’s Brown
into the back of the net. It was no more than a half chance but
one which deserves credit for its simplicity and execution.
Chester responded by battling hard throwing
men forward. As the final minutes ticked away Harkness should
have done better than blast over from the edge of the box after
Twiss had forced their goalkeeper into a handling error. For
all City’s efforts, Burton held on to take a half time
lead, which flattered their first half contribution.
The second period began in similar fashion.
Kelly whose pugnacious and combative style continued unabated
through the second period wasted two chances by blasting high
as ambition was sacrificed for a cool head. Sugden whose strength
and hard running was a delight spurned another chance following
good work again from Twiss.
However on fifty five minutes the equalising
goal arrived. Carden was brought down outside the box. From the
resulting free kick McIntyre blasted into the wall. The ball
penetrated several Burton legs and landed conveniently at the
feet of Sugden who buried the ball under pressure into the Burton
goal. An early goal in the second half was all that City now
needed to believe that a second was theirs for the taking.
Blackburn, whose ability to turn and beat players
was a pleasure to watch, kept stretching Burton creating space
and several chances. Ruffer forced a fine save from their goalkeeper
and Lancaster too might have done better than drove wide when
ten yards out.
Just after the hour a double substitution saw
Brown replace Blackburn and Cameron for Twiss. Both players immediately
adapted to the pace causing huge difficulties for defence. Cameron’s
strength and turn and burst of speed seem to push Burton to the
limits, running into space and taking on and beating players.
Brown also was equally confident, showing clever tricks and neat
balls skills jinxing past his opponents and delivering telling
crosses to further test what appeared to be a tiring Albion.
To Burton’s credit, they were holding
on with some determination and as City pushed forward, began
to show they could play a bit too. Moore, whose pace and good
ball control looked impressive, tested Lancaster whose return
was pleasing but would benefit from a few more games to better
his touch. Wayne Brown had several times to demonstrate a cool
head by taking some high crosses and once had to look sharp to
take gather a low struck header which he gathered with some assurance.
After Sugden tested the corner flag with a
shot that suggested tired legs and Kelly blasted over it seemed
briefly that City might regret their many wasted chance. However
with ten minutes left the winning goal came. A long ball from
the back landed into the path of Sugden who with some fine acceleration
shrugged off the challenge of two defenders to hit a fine strike
under the advancing goalkeeper. It was an impressive move with
a clinical finish. Blink and you would have missed it. It was
a great piece of football and a superb strike that would have
undone better teams.
Burton now knowing that they would come away
with nothing fought hard but despite some determined running
by Moore who battled with little support, Chester held on to
a deserved win. The score line could and should have been more
but more importantly these were three further points.
This was yet another victory that Chester had
snatched after coming back from behind, and suggests a resolve
and team spirit that will stand City well throughout the season.
Our match sponsors adjudicated man of the Match
as Ryan Sugden. Here is a player who is fast, has an excellent
turn, a thumping shot and okay misses a few. But he has scored
some fine goals and looks well on target for twenty this season.
There will be many tests this season but
one of the biggest will be Doncaster away on Saturday. Whatever
the result if we continue to play this sort of football many points
Saturday 21 September 2002
Chester City Youth 1 Wrexham Youth 2
Youth Alliance Cup
Chester City: Louie Mackin, Paul Connolley, John Davies, Ben Harvey
(Tom Coulson), Danny Ventre, Adam Kelley, Matt Cooke, Mike Simpson, Lee
Reece, Gethin Lloyd, Danny L Ventre (Paul Edwards).
The youth team went down 2-1 at home to rivals Wrexham on Saturday. Wrexham
took an early lead in a scrappy and physical encounter with Gethin Lloyd
equalising ten minutes before half time. Wrexham secured victory ten minutes
from the final whistle when Chester failed to ´hold up the
run and strike of a Wrexham forward.
21 September 2002
Chester City 5 Dagenham & Redbridge
Attendance: 2,231 Half Time 2-2
Booked: Twiss. Sent Off: W.Brown.
Chester City: W.Brown, Harkness, Bolland, Guyett, Ruffer, McIntyre,
Kelly, Blackburn, Twiss, Brodie (M.Brown 57), Sugden. Subs not used: Lancaster,
Carden, Davies, Cameron.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Roberts, Rooney, Vickers, Matthews
(Cole 71), West, Janney, Terry (Shipp 75), Heffer (Perkins 75), Bruce,
Stein, Macdougald. Subs not used: Gothard, Smith.
a sensational game this was! Amply compensating for some of the
frustrating 0-0 draws recently. This match was scoreless for
only 30 seconds as Dagenham swept forward, McIntyre found himself
with two men to mark, Stein’s dummy over the cross opened
a huge gap for Terry to sweep the ball into the net from the
edge of the penalty area. Chester had been caught cold.
Pleasingly they responded well and started
to play the ball about purposefully. They equalised after one
of Kelly’s trademark punts forward had the Daggers defence
in a dither. Sugden nipped in and lofted the ball over Roberts
and into the far corner of the net. An opportunist goal. Sugden
went close again after good work by Twiss and McIntyre down the
left – Roberts parried his shot to safety.
The Dagenham supporters coach now arrived just
in time to see them go behind. Brilliant play by Kelly and Harkness
in the middle made the opening for Sugden again. Harkness’ superbly
weighted pass put “Percy” (Sugden) through, he started
to round the ’keeper but was brought down and the ref.
gave an immediate penalty. Who, we wondered, would take the kick.
Beesley, who missed the last one against Leigh wasn’t even
on the bench today. Up stepped captain Kelly. Despite an agonising
wait while a Dagenham player received treatment Kelly’s
zig-zag run-up persuaded Roberts to dive the wrong way and the
skipper scored with ease.
Dagenham came forward dangerously again, spurred
on by the bugler (Theme tune: “One Foot in the Grave”)
and drum which came with the delayed coach. Junior MacDougald
skinned Ruffer and pulled the ball back for the deadly Stein.
He seemed certain to score until Guyett threw himself in the
way of the ball and made a magnificent blocking tackle.
That was a real let-off but City did not escape
so lightly when the referee harshly adjudged Guyett to have handled
the ball on the edge of the penalty area. It seemed a clear case
of ball to hands but Dagenham were presented with a free kick
in the "D" right in the middle of goal. Brown clearly
didn't know which way to go. The left footed Bruce dispatched
a clinical strike in the top right hand corner which went in
off the bar.
After half time both teams looked to be going
for the winner. Chester had the first shot after the break when
McIntyre tried to catch Roberts out at the near post. Kelly went
even closer a few minutes later when his snap shot from the edge
of the box thumped against the post and away to safety. Kelly
had to receive lengthy treatment after this as he seemed to be
caught late by a defender as he shot. Shortly after this Blackburn
was also caught late by Ashley Vickers as he won a 50-50 ball
which would have sent him though on goal. Vickers was given a
straight red for his pains, rather harshly in my opinion.
This was a key turning point and City began
to dominate the game. As Twiss went through on the right he was
pulled back and won a free kick. McIntyre delivered a peach of
a cross and Bolland headed majestically home. Sugden should have
scored when Roberts' goal kick landed right at his feet – but
he seemed so surprised to be presented with the chance that he
Surely Chester would be able to hold on against
ten men we thought. But soon it was ten apiece as Brown’s
momentum took him fractionally out of his area after catching
an innocuous high ball. He also was given a red card – very
Brown stalked off, tossing his purple shirt
over his shoulder. Who would pick up his mantle? City had no
goalkeeping substitute. The others pulled rank and put Blackburn
between the sticks. He looked a real rookie, with gloves several
sizes too big. But fortunately Dagenham failed to test him for
the remainder of the game.
Instead City fans were treated to a grandstand
finish as they forged ahead with a magnificent fourth goal. From
a corner on the left Harkness and McIntytre looked to have dwelt
too long on the ball but MacIntyre beat his man, crossed to the
far post and Guyett met it with a towering header which he placed
with precision just inside the foot of the far post.
Dagenham lost their rag, and threw on two substitutes.
One was booked within a minute of coming on for arguing with
the ref and the second was booked for scything down Kelly right
in front of the Chester bench. This led to a free for all as
tempers boiled over. The only caution given was to Gothard, the
Daggers substitute keeper.
City showboated the last few minutes, passing
the ball around like matadors teasing an enraged but weary bull.
They put Dagenham out of their misery when McIntyre wrestled
the ball off Shipp and raced down the left. His sweet cross found
Sugden in space and he hammered an unstoppable shot which ripped
into the back of the net. Roberts, given terrible stick all half
for the unpardonable crime of having played for the Welsh Club,
applauded his tormentors as he left the arena.
The Daggers players slumped disconsolately
in a heap in the centre circle – City were absolutely ecstatic
as news came through that this win had taken them to the top
of the Conference.
If they produce a video of this one – make
sure you have it on your Christmas list.
Thursday 19 September 2002
Cheadle Town 1 Chester City 4
UniBond Cheshire Senior Cup Round 1
Attendance: 71 Half Time 1-2
Chester City: Worsnop, Tamm (Reece 50), Keegan, Lancaster, J.Davies,
Carey, B.Davies, Carden, Cameron, Grant, Byrne.
Jenkins and Joe Hinnigan took a mixture of first team players
and youngsters to Cheadle for this Cheshire Senior Cup tie. In
the end it was a comfortable scoreline but Cheadle, of the North
West Counties League Division 2, battled hard and the score was
kept down thanks to a series of excellent saves from Dave Raynor
in the home sides goal. Raynor certainly impressed the small
number of Chester fans who had managed to resist the temptation
of Liverpool reserves and Manchester United reserves at the Deva.
The first chance fell to Chester after 15 minutes
when Dave Cameron ran on to a long clearance from Jon Worsnop.
With only the keeper to beat the big striker hit the foot of
the post when he should really have done better. After 27 minutes
Raynor made a superb double save from Paul Carden and Danny Byrne
followed by an even better stop, three minutes later, from a
Cheadle started the second half brightly
and had a couple of good chances but the game was put out of their
reach on 68 minutes when a Ben Davies shot was cleared off the
line only for Byrne to score from the rebound. Grant finished the
scoring in the 85th minute when he again finished sweetly after
a good lay off by Cameron. The game ended with the dismissal of
a Cheadle player.
After this period of pressure City finally took the lead on 32 minutes
when Cameron played a superb ball through to Gareth Grant who finished
with style from the edge of the area. At this point it looked like Chester
would run away with the game but Cheadle scored with their first real
chance when Andy Noone pounced on a mistake by Chris Tamm after 39 minutes.
The lead was short-lived as, two minutes later, Ben Davies was brought
down just inside the area and Dave Cameron scored from the penalty spot
with what looked like the help of a divot. City finished the half strongly
and Raynor saved well from Davies and Carden.
17 September 2002
Halifax Town 0 Chester City 0
Attendance: 2,178 Half Time 0-0
Booked: M.Brown, Harkness.
Halifax Town: Butler, Grayston, Garnett, Stoneman, Ashe (Quinn 45),
Fitzpatrick (Midgley 87) , Clarkson, Elliott, Mallon, Quailey, Parke (Kerrigan
83). Subs not used: Morgan, Gedman.
Chester City: W.Brown, McIntyre, Guyett, Ruffer, Bolland, Harkness,
Twiss, Kelly, Woodyatt, Sugden (Beesley 78), Brodie (M.Brown 63). Subs
not used: Carey, Blackburn, Carden.
Referee: S.Bratt (Walsall).
point to make about this game is the amost frighteningly sound progress
Mark Wright has made in constructing a solid base for our promotion
campaign. The defence lined up without Wayne Hatswell due to injury
but in came Phil Bolland to play in the centre of the back three
and the defensive unit never missed a beat. City took on a Halifax
team still crowing over their 2-1 win over leaders Doncaster but
in the whole 90 minutes they created only three genuine chances,
one of which sailed well off target, the two others fielded efficiently
by Wayne Brown.
Centre-midfield had Harkness operating
alongside Kelly which made life tough for the home midfield.
Kelly in particular had an immense game, covering and tackling
at one end, prompting and supplying at the other. After the
first ten minutes when City had to do a fair amount of defending
the midfield stamped its presence on proceedings and the
Yorkshiremen never built up a convincing head of steam thereafter.
Having said all that, it was doubly disappointing
not to cash in with goals at the other end. The manager left
Chris Blackburn on the bench, giving Lee Woodyatt a run in
the right wing-back role but Woodyatts impact was limited.
Steve Brodie played in the hole behind front two Sugden and
Twiss until being withdrawn late in the second half, Mike
Brown stepping into the same role. The formation produced
some lovely moves without terminating in the decisive punch
required to beat Lee Butler in the Halifax goal.
Against a goalkeeper having a lesser game
City would still have done more than enough to win but Butler
was in top form. A first-half reaction block to foil Twiss
was just one key moment while in the dying seconds he threw
himself full-length to his left to tip away a stinging free
kick from Kevin McIntyre right in front of the 400 travelling
Beesley was sent on for Sugen in the closing
stages but there was still no way through. Halifax, who are
constructing an impressive new stand to take the Shays
capacity up to 16,000, deserve credit for standing up to
Citys pressure when many a team in the Conference might
Two City players were booked sadly
in the opinion of this observer both were deserved. Harkness
saw yellow for a reckless high tackle and Mike Brown was
cautioned for diving in pursuit of a late penalty. The Barmy
Army gave the referee the inevitable stick but it looked
as if Brown had gone down too easily when, had he stayed
on his feet, he was in position to do serious damage with
a shot or cross.
It wasnt spectacular but when
all is said and done Chester came home from the Shay with a
point, without ever looking like losing, and with that rock-solid
away shut-out sequence still intact. It was a sound performance
and further evidence that the blue and white foundations are
well in place for the rigours of the winter.
Saturday 14 September 2002
Tranmere Rovers Youth 6 Chester City
Youth Alliance Cup
Chester City: Louie Mackin, Adam Hunter, Paul Connolley, Tom Coulson,
Danny Ventre, Sion Griffiths (Guiseppe Angiletta), Tony McGlaughlin, Mike
Simpson, Adam Kelley, Danny L Ventre, Jason Grisedales.
Due to a clash with a reserve team fixture an inexperienced and naive youth
team went away to Tranmere and suffered a heavy defeat. For periods of
the game they handled there senior opponents fairly well, with most of
the goals coming in two busy ten minute spells in each half. To their credit
they battled relentlessly to the final whistle.
14 September 2002
Hereford United 0 Chester City 0
Attendance: 2,289 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Blackburn, M.Brown, W.Brown, Carden Guyett, McIntyre.
Hereford United: Baker, Clarke, Tretton, Wright, James, Rose, Pitman,
Williams, Purdey (Sawyers 74), Grant (Fox 74), Guinan. Subs not used: Voice,
Chester City: W.Brown, Guyett, Ruffer, Hatswell, Blackburn, Kelly,
Carden, McIntyre, M.Brown (Sugden 62), Twiss, Beesley (Brodie 77). Subs
not used: Bolland, Harkness, Carey.
Referee: S.Tanner (Bristol).
was not a pretty game to watch. Chesters red shirts may have
incited the away support but couldnt stir the Bulls to a lively
encounter. Defences were well on top all afternoon and both sides
were restricted to the occasional long range shot.
Last season we watched City run rings round
Hereford yet come away with nothing. This time we achieved
a point but the quality of the game as entertainment was
much poorer. Once again the ball didn't touch the ground
a great deal and midfield was by-passed by both teams, giving
the forwards little chance to control the ball or set up
Guyett was immense in the City back line. Though City rarely looked like
conceding a goal, they didnt create much either. Just before half
time Kellys shot was deflected wide, but that was the closest they
came. At our end Brown saw Michael Roses free kick all the way
and grabbed it just below the bar.
As the second half began it looked like
Chester were beginning to get on top and the pressure culminated
in a goalmouth scramble. Beesleys shot blocked on the
line. Sugden came on to replace Brown with twenty five minutes
to go and ten minutes later Brodie for Beesley. Citys
forward play livened up a bit after this but it was Hereford
who had the better of the game in the closing stages.
This was partly due, it must be said, to
the referee who appeared to give the home side every free
kick they appealed for and nothing for City. City picked
up a rash of bookings as they questioned some of the dubious
decisions. No doubt, though, that Brown begged to be yellow-carded
for booting the ball to the other end of the pitch after
the ref had blown for a free kick. A few minutes earlier
Citys biggest scare came when Brown dropped a cross
from a corner and a Hereford forward scooped the ball over
Still it was a sunny afternoon and City
fans at least had the consolation of another tortuous encounter
with the A49 to look forward to or to return to the table
football at Barrels, home of the excellent Wye Valley Brewery.
The match on the table was, frankly, more entertaining.
Wednesday 11 September 2002
Chester City Reserves 9 Lancaster
City Reserves 0
Scorers: Brodie (3), Grant (3), Byrne (2), Whittaker.
Chester City: John Worsnop, Martyn Lancaster, John Keegan, Stuart Whittaker,
Phil Bolland, Lee Woodyatt, Ben Davies (Matty Cook), Shaun Carey (Carl
Rodgers), Gareth Grant, Steve Brodie (Gethin Lloyd), Danny Byrne.
Saturday 7 September 2002
Chester City Youth 1 Northwich Victoria Youth
FA Youth Cup 1st Preliminary Round
Chester City: Danny L Ventre, Tom Coulson, John Davies, Ben Harvey,
Adam Hunter, Matt Cooke, Tony McGlaughlin, Sion Griffiths, Guiseppe Angiletta,
Jason Grisedale, Paul Edwards.
The youth team went out of the FA Youth Cup at the first attempt losing
2-1 at home to Northwich Victoria after extra time. Despite dominating
possession and creating many goods chances they failed to score in the
90 minutes. They conceded a goal in each half of extra time before Jason
Grisedale pulled one back in the dying minutes. Their cause was not helped
by only having eleven players with striker Danny Ventre having to play
in goal with others forced to continue with injury and no substitutes to
replace them and ´freshen things up’.
6 September 2002
Chester City 2 Leigh RMI 1
Attendance: 2,273 Half Time 0-1
Chester City: W.Brown, Ruffer, Guyett, Hatswell, Carden, Blackburn,
Kelly, McIntyre, M.Brown, Twiss, Sugden (Beesley 63). Subs not used: Bolland,
Carey, Brodie, Whittaker.
Leigh RMI: Coburn, Fitzhenry (Fisher 81), Williams (Cornelly 69),
Durkin, Maden, Monk, Salt, Heald, Kielty, Maamria, Black (Whitehead 69).
Subs not used: Courtney, McGill.
Referee: A.Marriner (Birmingham).
late winner from Mark Beesley saw City take all three points to overcome
Conference strugglers Leigh in a match that took several twists and
turns before bowing to the inevitable.
Dominant throughout, City began this game
looking as though they would have it wrapped up before half
time. The early exchanges were encouraging with Leigh unable
to retain possession for more than as few seconds as Kelly
and Carden battled hard winning just about anything loose.
Up front Sugden and Twiss were both allowed freedom to show
off their skills with Michael Brown on the right wing impressing
with some bold jinxing runs.
Fitzhenry for Leigh had twice to be quick
to dispose Sugden and Twiss when a run on goal looked clear.
Coburn saved well with a real power-driver from Sugden, and
Guyett, who was winning everything in the air came close
with two strong headers.
It was a surprise then when Leigh took
the lead. On twenty-four minutes a rare attack found Black
on the right. He took the ball forward with a neat burst
of pace fooling Ruffer into an early tackle before hitting
the ball square back across the box. Although City were back
in numbers the ball was a good one and induced a brief moment
of panic forcing Guyett to bundle the ball over his own goal
after the ball ricocheted off several legs.
It was unexpected goal and such that is
seem to embarrass the Leigh players who looked in disbelief
at their good fortune. Stung into action, City resumed dominating
the midfield but briefly without the same touch that preceded
the goal. A few balls were over hit and the rhythm of play
changed as City, irritated by the goal, seem unable to create
the same openings. But as half- time approached the touch
returned as an equaliser looked certain. Surprisingly this
was not to be although Sugden can count himself unlucky having
a shot bravely clear off the line after he had taken the
ball around the goalkeeper following good work from the right.
Despite the half time score, there remained an expectation
amongst the home crowd that there were some easy points to
The second half began in similar vein.
City cut through Leigh’s defence with using McIntyre
on the left and Brown on the right both penetrating deep
into the visitors defence.
Brown remained a constant menace throughout
as Leigh’s defence struggled to get to get to grips
with his clever tricks and confident running and almost opened
his account with a good jump following a Ruffer corner. Nine
minutes into the second half, the tension which had gripped
the game since Leigh’s goal, was relieved. After Leigh
failed to clear a corner, the ball was swung fiercely back
into the box from the right. A body of outstretched legs
failed to make contact and just as it seem the ball would
elude everyone, Sugden appeared late on the far post to deliver
a well struck shot into the net.
It was another nicely taken goal from City’s
summer signing who will no doubt score plenty more throughout
the season. It was a surprise then when shortly afterwards
Sugden, and not for the first time this season, was rewarded
by being replaced by Beesley when further goals looked likely.
In true Alamo style, Chester continued to press ahead roared on by strong
home support and lay siege to a Leigh goal which seemed likely to surrender
at any point. Blackburn, who had a fine game, was sent free on the left
and after some strong running and neat skill was brought down for a penalty.
The game appeared to be returning to script but this was not quite that
sort of match. Beesley, whose early touch saw him unable to trap a bag
of cement never mind a moving ball, stepped forward for the spot kick.
firm thump would have been enough but instead chose to place
the ball tamely to the goalkeeper’s left who saved
comfortably. It seemed a strange decision to allow Beesley
to take the penalty when there seemed plenty of other players
out brimming with confidence and better accustomed to the
run of the ball.
As the game went on Leigh offered a few
hints that they had a few surprises of their own as Black
and Maamria, anonymous in the first half, began to link up
well in rare excursions up field of their own.
However with five minutes to go, the game
took its final turn. One of many Chester assaults on goal
was not cleared. Leigh, whose stamina was fading fast allowed
a ball to bobble to Beesley who thumped it home from short
distance. The relief was obvious delighting the City fans
throughout the ground and going some way to atone for his
As the final few minutes ticked away,
there could have been more goals. Twiss who earlier had a
goal disallowed with a well hit shot came close again and
in the dying seconds Brown forced an excellent save from
Coburn forcing the ball over the ball for a corner after
the hard work had been done.
True this will not the best team to visit
Chester this year but the manner and passion about City’s
play left much to admire. Kelly contributed throughout with
his customary pugnacious brand of tackling and leadership.
Brown was a delight to watch, Twiss’s first touch was
exquisite but man of the match for me was Paul Carden who
hardly put a foot wrong making sure he was always where he
needed to be with some crisp tackles, neat interceptions
and well measure passes.
Despite Chester’s dominance one can’t
help admiring Leigh who continue to survive Conference football
with such small resources. Tonight’s visiting supporters
who would have been hard pressed to challenge the capacity
of three Zafiras could only watch a Chester side whose superiority
shone throughout and with a little more luck might have had
a bag full.
As City fans will know, it takes Chester
to the top of the table and we go into our next game at Hereford
Tim Savidge | Photos by Max
Wednesday 4 September 2002
Chester City Reserves
4 Northwich Victoria Reserves 0
Scorers: Brodie, Byrne, Read (2).
Chester City: John Worsnop, Lee Woodyatt, John Keegan, Martyn Lancaster,
Phil Bolland (John Davies), Shaun Carey (Matty Cook), Steve Brodie, Ben
Davies (Carl Rodgers), Danny Byrne, Paul Read, Stuart Whittaker.
Tuesday 3 September 2002
Chester City 2 Morecambe 1
Attendance: 2,039 Half Time 0-0
Chester City: W.Brown, Harkness (Ruffer 18), Hatswell, Guyett, Carden,
McIntyre, Blackburn, Kelly, Beesley (M.Brown 69), Twiss, Sugden (Davies
82). Subs not used: Carey, Brodie.
Morecambe: Mawson, McKearney, Swan, Hill, Knowles (Black 70), Stringfellow,
Drummond, Elam, Colkin, Thompson, Curtis. Subs not used: Rigoglioso, Gouck,
Referee: M.Matadar (Blackburn).
You don’t see a goal for over four hours and then three come
along in ten minutes. The goal drought at the Deva ended with a flurry
as City broke their duck, only to concede their first goal of the
season a few minutes later before Ryan Sugden capped a whole-hearted
performance with the winner.
The game followed the pattern of City’s previous
two stalemates in the first half. Morecambe were quite comfortable containing
Chester’s forwards, who – when they received the ball – were
closely marked and often in a tight spot. Chester’s best bet seemed
to be when one of the midfield, Carden or Blackburn broke forwards and
ran at Morecambe’s defence with the ball.
Wright had raised a few eyebrows by giving Carden his
first start of the season in midfield and persisted with Blackburn in
the right wing-back role which he filled at Forest Green. This almost
backfired when Blackburn was left stranded by Elam’s run but, fortunately
for City, no-one got on the end of the tantalising cross. Later Blackburn’s
pace helped him to break down another dangerous foray down the left and
Kelly also did an impressive piece of tidying up after an uncharacteristic
slip by Guyett.
In a pretty tedious first half, the highlights were
provided by off the ball incidents: – Thompson, Morecambe’s
right winger was booked for kicking the ball into the net long after
he was given offside. Later he punched the ball at the linesman when
he thought he should have been given a free kick. One has to expect this
kind of behaviour from players who wear white boots. Wayne Brown was
fortunate not to make contact with a Morcambe forward in a wild attempt
at a clearance on the edge of the penalty area. Harkness, presumably,
had picked up a strain and was replaced by Ruffer after twenty minutes.
After the stimulating half time cup of tea and enthused
by the warning from City’s “Health & Safety Department”,
relayed by Cleggy, that flash photography inside the Deva is an offence,
Chester came out in more determined fashion. They seemed to up the pace
of the game and began to pile on the pressure. Still a clear cut chance
The goal when it did come started with another hopeful
punt upfield. Morecambe’s defence seemed to misjudge the bounce
and allowed the ever willing Sugden to get a header in. Mawson, the goalkeeper,
was stranded as the ball broke to Mickey Brown (On for Beesley) wand
then to Twiss who stroked the ball, from the edge of the area past a
couple of defenders and into the unguarded net (A brand new blue and
white striped net at that).
The relief was palapable. City celebrated the goal
so much the referee had to stop them doing a lap of honour. Again they
swept forward and Twiss looked odds on to score. A last ditch saving
tackle prevented him just as he was about to pull the trigger. From the
resulting clearance Morecambe equalised. A deep cross from the right
was headed back across goal by Curtis and Drummond was one of two players
queueing up to score as City’s hitherto rock solid defence went
With only a few minutes left we all thought that City
had blown the chance of three points. But Mickey Brown proved inspirational
as he played like a livewire. He bulldozered through three tackles down
the right wing, cut to the byline and his cross was met by Sugden’s
glancing header at the near post. The ball skimmed down onto the line
and bounced gracefully into the roof of the net for a goal of balletic
Once the Shrimps had been forced out of thier shell
they attacked impressively and looked a very useful side indeed. Chester
were hanging on grimly to the lead though might actually have increased
it as Twiss broke but failed to pick out Kelly in the clear to his left.
Despite keeper Mawson joining the attack for a couple
of corners and coming very close to scoring with a towering header, City
held out for their first home win of the season.