1 Chester City 0
Cheshire Senior Cup Round 1
Attendance: - Half Time 0-0
Chester City: Brookfield, Vaughan, Wilson, (Holroyd 82) Cadwallader,
Roberts, Marsh-Evans, Bertos, Rutherford, Dove, Curle, El Khoti. Subs not Used:
a torrential downpour prior to kick off, this game was lucky to go ahead
with one touchline being totally waterlogged. However, when
referee Mark Cunliffe gave the go ahead Dave Bell suggested that his
played on the right in the first half.
Joking aside, Chester adapted to the atrocious conditions much quicker than
their opponents, and were unlucky to lose this cup tie. In the first minute
Chester had a scare when Wilson sent a diving header back to Brookfield from
inside the six yard box. With Brookfield at full stretch there was a sigh
of relief when he stood up with the ball in his hands.
that moment on Chester dominated the first half, with good possession
play, the senior players in the team clearly encouraging the younger
ones to get the ball down and play. In the 13th minute Vaughan
and Rutherford linked up well, with Vaughan putting a delightful ball
through to El Khoti who was marginally offside. Three minutes later, Brookfield
picked out Rutherford with a long throw, he played in Dove
who in turn put El Khoti in on goal, only for the post to deny him.
With Chester taking the game to Macclesfield, you felt sure that the Silkmen
would get lucky, and in the 28th minute they managed to eventually find a way
through the back four. With the shot looking goal bound Brookfield
produced a magnificent save, parrying the ball to his right. For
the remainder of the half Chester continued to dominate but lacked that
In the second half Chester continued where they left off,
with good build up play from the back four up to the front runners of Curle
and Dove. However,
with memories of the youth team game against Stockport still fresh
in my mind, and with the same referee, I just felt that this wasn’t
going to be our night. Even when Cadwallader cleared off his line with twenty
minutes remaining I still felt that it wasn’t going to be our night.
With El Khoti continuing to be nuisance on the left wing,
Macclesfield struggled to contain his ‘Happy Feet’ and when he threw in
a cross in the 76th minute
it looked as though Bertos would head home, only for the ball to be
agonisingly taken off his head at the last second. A minute later and
Macclesfield had won themselves a rare corner, the ball was crossed in
and met by a head that saw the ball drop stone dead at the near post. After
a goal-line scramble, the ball ended up in the back of the net.
Chester responded well and maintained to create chances, with Vaughan going
on a powerful run, which culminated in his cross not being met in the area.
Rutherford then went close to equalising, when in the 89th minute his
shot beat the keeper only for it to narrowly go wide.
After the match referee Cunliffe, with reference to the
Stockport game declared himself the ‘JONA’. Hence, beware Chester
Fans, if Cunliffe progresses to be
a Football League Referee and his name appears on a Chester fixture
be very afraid!
Chester City 2 Carlisle
Attendance: 3,394 Half Time 2-0
Chester City: MacKenzie, McNiven, Artell, Dimech, Regan,
Davies, Drummond, Walker (Curtis 85), Branch (Richardson 84), Blundell,
Lowe (El Kholti 78). Subs not used: Vaughan, Bertos.
Carlisle United: Williams, Arnison, Livesey, Gray,
Aranalde, McGill, Lumsdon (Murray 45), Murray, Billy,
Murphy, Hawley. Subs not used: Beharall, McClen, Grand, Murray,
Referee: T.Bates (Stoke-on-Trent).
Chester continued their impressive climb up the League Two table
with this comfortable win over Carlisle United. The defence
kept a third successive clean sheet as City ended the night
Despite a knock on Saturday
Stewart Drummond was fit to play, while in midfield Justin
Walker replaced Tom Curtis who dropped to the bench despite
a fine performance at Stockport.
City began like a house on fire and could
have taken the lead as early as the third minute with Gregg
Blundell just failing to capitalise on a Ben Davies cross
as he headed wide of the United goal from twelve yards out.
The Blues forced three corners in as many
minutes as they heaped the pressure on Carlisle, all the flag
kicks were cleared and Ryan Lowe also saw a shot charged down
by the overworked Kevin Gray in the Carlisle defence.
The home pressure had to pay off and it
did in the eleventh minute with the opening goal. Davies swung
in a corner that was met by Scott McNiven, ‘keeper Williams
did well to block the header but ball fell to David Artell
to head home his second goal in a City
Ten minutes later Michael Branch tested
Williams with a shot from inside the box as City pressed for
McNiven was on hand to block a shot from
Brendan McGill as Carlisle’s first real effort of the night
came midway through the half, Chris MacKenzie punched the
resulting corner clear.
The visitors were coming into the game more
as the half wore on and MacKenzie was in the action again
saving a volley from Adam Murray before
minutes before the break.
Ryan Lowe won the ball and fed the perfect
pass from Blundell to drill the ball home for his sixth goal
of the season and give City a two goal half-time advantage.
City started the second half as they had
the first. Davies and Lowe both saw free-kick’s saved
by Williams in the opening stages and the busy keeper was
well placed to collect an 18-yarder from Blundell on 50 minutes
and repeated it five minutes later.
Glenn Murray missed a great chance to level
as he put a shot into the side-netting and and Karl Hawley
saw an effort charged down by McNiven. At the other
continued to press with a series of corners – they
forced 12 in all.
Davies came nearest to adding a third goal
as he saw his free-kick scrape the crossbar with Williams
With 15 minutes remaining Drummond saw a
header from a corner blocked and Michael Branch tried his
luck from 18 yards but Williams was on hand to save his shot.
With time running out Marcus Richardson
and Tom Curtis were introduced and Abdel El Kholti came on
for his second appearance of the season as City held firm
for three points and their third home victory of the season.
A delighted Keith Curle praised his hard
working players after the victory: “I was again pleased
with our performance, Carlisle are a very good side, but the
they did come
forward we weathered the storms extremely well. Again it was
a team performance of high intensity that was extremely pleasing.”
Stockport County 0 Chester
Attendance: 4,873 Half Time 0-0
Stockport County: Ikeme, Briggs, Clare, Vaughan, Robertson,
Allen, Greenwood, Boshell (C.Williams 23), Hamshaw, Bramble, Malcolm.
Dje, Le Fondre.
Chester City: MacKenzie, McNiven, Dimech, Artell, Regan, Lowe,
Curtis, Drummond (Vaughan 40), Davies, Richardson (Branch 64), Blundell. Subs:
Referee: L.Mason (Lancashire).
ten years since we enjoyed a Cheshire derby with Stockport County, the latter’s
relegation from the First Division last season meant that we were
re-acquainted. Very pleasant it was too. Stockport is a brilliant place
to visit but City fans were dismayed that County were still charging
prices. Still, the Railway End was fairly packed and we enjoyed some
autumnal sunshine. Our chants flew up into the clear blue sky, streaked
trails. Home fans had the advantage of a roof over their heads on which
to bounce their cries of support. The Cheadle Stand has grown up since
meeting and is so tall to be almost within touching distance of the
planes making their descent into Manchester Airport.
City put out the same team that had played so well against Bristol Rovers a
week ago. As the first half wore on they began to gain territorial advantage
and threaten the Stockport goal. They forced a number of corners and had a
couple of shots blocked without making anything clear cut. As half time approached
Ben Davies unleashed a curving, dipping shot. It was bound for the corner of
the goal until Ikeme pawed it round the post.
After the break City pressed forward again, now without Drummond, who
fell awkwardly and was later replaced by Vaughan. Richardson went close
a header which brushed the post and a County defender made a last ditch
just under the bar. But County – with lively forwards Bramble and Malcolm
always a handful – responded with late pressure too. They were
galvanised into action by a venoumous volley from well outside the
penalty area which
well to parry over the bar.
Blundell finished off a City counter attack by putting the ball in
the net but was ruled marginally offside. It looked a tight decision.
quite manage to score a goal, City defended really solidly against
a very competent and competetive County.
City didn’t do quite enough to win, so there was a hint of disappointment
in the air as City fans made the journey home across Cheshire. My train
Birmingham was full of despondent Man United fans, clutching cans of
Stella and musing about the end of an era.
Grimsby Town U18 1
Chester City U18 2
Youth Alliance Cup Round 1
Half Time 0-2
Chester City: Armstrong, Carrol, Wilson,
Roberts, Cadwallader, Linford (N. Humphreys 84) Rutherford, Wade, Marsh-Evans
(McCoy 55) Holroyd, Noon (M. Humphreys 64) Subs not Used: Holmes, Newton.
This game started off
like all typical cup ties with neither team
wanting to commit themselves. What developed
was a game of cat and mouse, that lasted right
Despite Grimsby having the better chances,
it was Chester who took the lead in the 20th
minute, when they rode their luck.
From a back pass, Armstrong fluffed his clearance
and was fortunate when the Grimsby striker
failed to control the ball, allowing Armstrong
to pick it up. What resulted was a big punt
up field where the ball bounced over the defender’s
head. In trying to recover, the defender was
beaten to the ball by Holroyd
who then went on to lob the keeper from 25
This bit of luck left Grimsby shell-shocked
and for the remainder of the first half Chester
failed to impress. However, four minutes before
the break Chester got a throw in on the left
wing, which Rutherford quickly took to Linford.
Having got the ball back, Rutherford sent the
defender the wrong way with a dummy pass and
played Linford back in. The resulting shot
from Linford took a wicked deflection and cruelly
ended up in the back of the net.
Despite being two goals to the good, Chester
failed to build on their lead and looked uncertain
in their passing. In the 50th minute they rode
their luck again, when there was a mix up between
Armstrong and Roberts, which culminated in
the Grimsby left midfielder seeing his shot
saved at the near post.
In the 55th minute the inevitable happened,
the ball was crossed in from the right wing
and Armstrong for some reason remained rooted
to his line. The ball dropped at the back post
where Wade miss-kicked his clearance, allowing
the attacker to thump the ball home.
With Chester failing to hold on to the ball,
Jim Hackett withdrew Noon and introduced Matty
Humphreys as a lone striker. Humphreys, it
has to be said, was like a breathe of fresh
air and succeeded in doing what the others
had failed to do. Being a nuisance, Humphreys
gradually managed to cause enough uncertainty
in the Grimsby back four, allowing his team-mates
to start asking questions.
Having spent most of his time closing play
down, Rutherford was able to join in the attack,
where he played McCoy in on the left flank,
the resulting cross found Holroyd at the back
stick and his first effort was cleared of the
line, when the ball bounced back out to him,
Holroyd seen a second shot cleared in a similar
fashion. However, Chester nearly sent the game
into extra time when Roberts, under pressure
lobbed Armstrong and was relieved to see the
ball bounce over the cross bar.
With three minutes remaining Chester should
have put the game to bed. Rutherford played
a delightful one-two with Carrol and then slotted
Holroyd clean through, Holroyd's shot rebounded
back out of the keeper and straight to Matty
Humphreys who hit the ball over an unguarded
With two long journeys on consecutive weekends
the boys looked jaded right throughout this
encounter and made hard work of their victory.
One thing's for sure, and that is, these boys
don't seem to travel well over long distances.
At times they played like strangers, but before
the fans start to worry about the club's fledglings
they should bear two things in mind, some of
these players for the last two weeks have been
up at 6am and travelled long distances, and
secondly they don't have the comforts of luxury
Chester City Reserves
0 Burnley Reserves 2
Pontins Holiday League Division One West
Half Time 0-1
Chester City: Brookfield, Regan, El Kholti, Cadwallader, Roberts,
Vaughan (Linford 82), Bertos, Walker (Noon 82),
Rutherford, Holroyd (Marsh-Evans 45), Dove. Subs
With Chester fielding five senior players it
implied that they where looking for their first
the campaign. Although at times City looked
to try and play football, they lacked invention
and struggled in the final third. In all fairness
the front two of Holroyd and Rutherford struggled
against a back four that was superbly marshalled
by Frank Sinclair (centre half) and Brian Jensen
in goal, with Sinclair orchestrating everything.
In the first twenty minutes Chester rode their
luck a little with Brookfield producing a good
point blank save from Lafferty. A few minutes later
Walker was fortunate when he lost possession in
his own half, the ball then being played through
to Lafferty who was marginally offside.
Just before the half hour mark Burnley struck with
a well worked goal. Sinclair picked the ball up
deep inside his own territory and calmly stroked
the ball out to Karbassiyoon on the left wing.
Having got to the goal-line he then cut the ball
back to Lafferty who slotted home with ease.
Chester’s only real chance of the half came in
the 34th minute, when Bertos went on a run culminating
in him flashing the ball across the face of goal
with the out-stretched Holroyd unable to connect.
Three minutes into the second half Chester won
a corner on the right hand side. Vaughan and
Walker played it short between them and when Walker
delivered, the ball fell back out to Rutherford
on the edge of the penalty area, whose volley
didn’t really cause the keeper much problem. Jensen
played the ball out wide to the halfway line
and a diagonal ball was knocked into the path of
With Rutherford breathing down his neck Smith
managed to slide in before him getting the all
touch to make it 0-2.
With the game safely in the bag Burnley replaced
the magnificent Sinclair in the 67th minute and
it was obvious to the novice that Chester started
to get a little more joy with him off the pitch.
The best chances fell in the 78th minute when
Kholti fed Rutherford on the left wing. Rutherford
cut inside and played a good one two with Walker,
that culminated in Rutherford slotting Marsh-Evans
in one on one with the keeper, the keeper turning
his shot behind. The other chance came in the
87th minute when Kholti won a tussle on the left
of midfield and played a diagonal ball to Noon
whose shot was also saved.
Overall, this was a lack-lustre effort from Chester,
with certain players clearly lacking in ambition.
Chester City 4 Bristol
Attendance: 2,874 Half Time 3-0
Chester City: MacKenzie, McNiven, Artell, Dimech, Hessey, Lowe, Drummond,
Curtis (Walker 89), Davies (Vaughan 86), Blundell, Richardson (Dove 81). Subs
not used: Regan, Bertos.
Bristol Rovers: Shearer, Hinton, Anderson (Edwards 74),
Elliott, Gibb, Campbell (Disley 57), Leary (Lescott 82), Hunt, Carruthers,
Agogo, Walker. Subs not used: Louis, Ryan.
Referee: M.Atkinson (West Yorkshire).
City recorded their first victory over Bristol Rovers
for nearly 20 years, their second only against the Gas,
rose to fourth spot in League Two after this 4-0 rout.
Will Phill Bolland absent
through injury Luke Dimech partnered David Artell
at the back and there was
a place on the bench for Craig Dove, now recovered
from a long-tern knee injury.
was City who had the opening chance after just
four minutes as Stewrt Drummond headed over
the bar after Ryan Lowe had played in Scott
McNiven to deliver the cross.
The visitors had a great
chance to take the lead on 25 minutes as former
City striker Junior
Agogo headed over after losing his marker Dimech
just eight yards out at the back post following
a quick-throw routine.
The Blues took the lead through
Ryan Lowe on 34 minutes. A Ben Davies corner
right wing eluded
everyone in the box, it fell to Sean Hessey on
the far side to swing in another centre, this was headed
out to Lowe who steadied himself to shoot past
Shearer, the ball taking a deflection off
the knee from an onrushing defender. A minute later City had
doubled their lead. Davies swung in a free-kick
from the left for Artell to head home into the top corner unchallenged
from six yards.
On the stroke of half-time City added a third to effectively
kill the game off. Marcus Richardson stooped to head home from the penalty
spot after McNiven had again sent in a telling pinpoint cross.
The first-half performance proved too much for two Pirates
fans who turned their back on the entire second period preferring to study
the Deva breeze blocks than another 45 minutes from their team.
totally dominated proceedings after the break but had to wait until the 87th
minute before wrapping things up. The visitors twice failed to clear a free-kick,
as the ball was played through
to it and lobbed the keeper, his shot bounced down from the bar to the
onrushing Blundell to simlly tap home from a yard out.
Carlisle United U18 2 Chester City U18 1
Youth Alliance North and Midlands West Conference
Half Time 1-0
Chester City: Armstrong, Carroll (Potter
55), Wilson, Roberts, Cadwallader, Scales (Linford 45), Rutherford, Wade, Noon,
Holroyd, Marsh-Evans (Mealand 56). Sub not used: Newton.
Having travelled 140 miles
the least you expect is a decent playing surface,
and decent officials. Needless to say we got neither
of those today, with the game being played in a
local park on a pitch the size of a match box,
along with three officials who would have struggled
at local level, one being a 16 year old boy.
It was noted that before the match none of the
officials did a warm up, had they have done so,
then maybe this match would have been all even
at half time. Instead Chester found themselves
a goal down in the second minute, when Armstrong
cleared the ball up field only for it to be booted
back to the lone striker who was a good six yards
offside. The referee looked across to his assistant
who was at least four yards behind play and when
he received no signal, he miraculously allowed
play to continue. The complaints from the Chester
players where well justified but fell on deaf ears.
Not to be deterred, Chester went on the offensive
straight from the kick off, with Rutherford getting
in behind the left back, and then laying the ball
back to debutant Karl Noon. Noon shot first time
and the ball was agonisingly sliced clear off the
Despite riding the gauntlet of being continually
let down by the assistant, who didn't seem to understand
the offside law, Chester kept faith in the defensive
attributes of Cadwallader and Roberts, whose ability
to produce some great recovery tackles allowed
Chester to keep pushing on. In the 23rd minute
Rutherford sent in a drive from 25 yards out, which
swerved and dipped ferociously, which somehow the
keeper managed to keep out. Wilson latched onto
the rebound and set up Holroyd, who hit the ball
first time from eight yards out, only for the ball
to ricochet of the keeper's chest. Chester went
on to create two more mentionable chances before
the half, the first when Rutherford received the
ball from Noon, and he jinked inside the penalty
area past two defenders only to see his resulting
shot shave the bottom of the far post. Noon also
went close with a shot at the near post.
However, before the half was out, Chester could
have easily been two down, when in injury time,
the assistant again missed an easy offside decision;
Cadwallader deflecting the shot wide.
After the half time interval, Jim Hackett felt
the need for change, and the three substitutes
where introduced within the first 15 minutes. Despite
continued good play from Cadwallader, Noon and
Rutherford Chester struggled to gain any momentum,
with Carlisle continually disrupting play with
strong arm tactics.
With the half looking to be petering out, Rutherford
went on a run and split the defence wide open in
the 70th minute with a sublime piece of play that
put Mealand clean through, one on one with the
keeper. His effort being saved by the keeper then
rebounded back out to a defender who controlled
the ball with his hand. After strong shouts for
a penalty the referee correctly pointed to the
spot, where Noon struck the ball home low to the
Having got themselves back in the game, Chester
then shot themselves in the foot straight from
kick off, with a misunderstanding between Armstrong
in goal, and Roberts at centre half. The ball was
played high up field to the lone striker, and after
receiving a late shout from the keeper, Roberts
failed to deal with the danger effectively, the
striker then hit the flimsiest of shot’s between
Armstrong and his near post to make it 2-1.
For the last twenty minutes Chester only created
one other chance, when Rutherford hit a volley
on the turn, which flew inches wide of the upright.
Notts County 1 Chester
Attendance: 5,404 Half Time 0-0
Notts County: Pilkington, Wilson, Baudet, O’Callaghan,
Ullathorne, Pipe, Edwards, Gill, Palmer (White 45), Hurst (Sheridan
77), Scoffham. Subs
not used: Marshall, McMahon, Martin.
Chester City: MacKenzie, Hessey, Bolland (Dimech
18), Artell, McNiven, Drummond, Curtis (Davies 62), Walker, Branch,
Lowe, Richardson (Blundell 69). Subs not used: Vaughan, Bertos.
Referee: N.Swarbrick (Lancashire).
It shows the sign
of much promising times and expectations,
to last seasons campaigns,
that Chester can come to the ground of the
league leaders and be disappointed
with a 1-1 draw. Yes, this is a much more improved
and disciplined Chester
side than last season, with thankfully good passing
football and no sign
of the hoof tactics. All credit to Keith Curle
and his backroom team. Makes
a pleasant change!
The first half was virtually
a non event. Chester seems content to sit
back, while County
looked organised without really doing anything.
The tactics of playing Richardson
instead of Blundell as a target man was not
really working, as the
majority of time the ball was passing over
his head! However on the stroke
of half time things boiled over when the County
forward Scoffham was sent off
for striking David Artell. The decision appeared
a little harsh, but it was
an accident waiting to happen, as things had
been niggly all half. The crowds
reaction to rooky referee Mr. Swarbrick was
hostile – a very brave man!
The second half saw a
much more exciting encounter, Chester applied
early pressure with Curtis
coming close and Hessey, back in the side for
hitting the post
following a strong run. However, County took
the lead on 56 minutes, when MacKenzie
failed to hold a shot from Gill and the dangerous
Hurst prodded in
the rebound. This brought an instant attacking
response from City. Davies
and Blundell were introduced, Drummond (now
thankfully playing in his proper
central midfield role) shot wide when well
placed, before Davies leveled on
70 minutes, following a good work by Branch.
The momentum seemed to be
lost as Branch injured his hamstring and it
was in theory, 10 v 10,
but Chester still piled forward. However a
mistake by Dimech, who had
replaced the injured Bolland, let in Hurst,
but Mackenzie redeemed himself
with a fine save. Late pressure nearly brought
the winning goal, with Davies
hitting the post with a great volley and Lowe
missing a great chance from
a six yard header.
Still a good performance
and the future looks bright. Most of us would
have settled for a
point before hand. Thanks for the second half
Chester City U18 0
Stockport County U18 1
Youth Alliance North and Midlands West Conference
Half Time 0-0
Chester City: Brookfield, Jones,
Wilson, Roberts, Cadwallader, Scales, Rutherford, Carrol (Wade 54), Marsh-Evans,
McCoy (Linford 61) Mealand
for Linford 78))
Subs not used: Holmes, Humphreys.
The game started off at a very fast pace with tackles flying in from everywhere.
However, after a robust challenge involving Scales and an opponent (both two
footed) the referee had stern words and the pace soon settled.
the better of the first half chances, with the best move coming in the
46th minute, when Rutherford now playing centre-mid picked the ball up deep
own half, and carried it to the half way line where he found McCoy. Rutherford
then carried on his run into the left back area, where McCoy played him
back in. Feinting to cross, Rutherford put the centre half on his backside
crossed the ball in to the area. Unfortunately the quality of the cross
didn’t match the build up play and it was an easy catch for the keeper.
In the second half Chester stepped it up a few notches. Early on they got
a free kick some 30 yards out, which Scales passed to Rutherford who then
a lovely ball on to the head of Marsh-Evans. Somehow the keeper got his
hand to it and turned it around the post. On the hour mark Rutherford jinked
way infield from the left hand side beating three players and creating
enough space to get his shot off; with the keeper well beaten the ball
off the foot of the post, and out to Scales whose shot whistled just inches
Chester continued to pile on the pressure, with chances from Holroyd and
Marsh-Evans to mention but a few, but somehow the ball just wouldn't go
in. With only ten
minutes left the unthinkable happened, when Scales lost possession in the
centre of the pitch and Stockport lumped the ball hopelessly up field.
With a stroke
of luck the ball was deflected out to the right wing, and a low cross was
fired across the face of goal, only to be met by the player arriving late
the ball back across Brookfield and into the far corner.
Stockport continued to struggle with Chester’s superior play and
held on for dear life. With time being eaten away at every opportunity,
looked inevitable, but Chester didn’t play with that mentality. Deep
in injury time Rutherford received the ball out on the left wing where
ran past the
left back and made his way into the penalty area. Once inside the penalty
area, the centre half lunged in, and with shouts of ‘go down’ Rutherford
his feet and layed the ball back to Mealand, who for some reason stooped
to head the ball straight at the keeper. At the final whistle Stockport
and spectators alike, knew they had gotten away with daylight robbery.
Make no bones about it, if this had been a boxing match the referee would
it a long time ago!
Chester City 1 Grimsby
Attendance: 3,095 Half Time 0-0
Chester City: MacKenzie, Regan, Bolland, Dimech, McNiven (Artell
90), Lowe, Drummond, Curtis, Davies (Bertos 85), Blundell (Richardson 84),
Branch. Subs not used: Vaughan, Walker.
Grimsby Town: Mildenhall,
McDermott, Jones, Whittle, Croft, Cohen (Barwick
67), Bolland, Kamudimba Kalala, Parkinson,
Jones (Gritton 73), Reddy (Crane 90). Subs not
used: Ramsden, Newey.
Referee: J.Singh (Hounslow).
was an air of expectancy prior to the
game tonight with the knowledge that
a win of any description would take City
to the top of the table and set up a
summit clash at Meadow Lane on Saturday. Queues
outside the home turnstiles,
so much so, that several regulars – used
to taking their place on the terracing
to kick off – found that they
opening minutes. They were spared the
unnecessary attempts to get the atmosphere
via the tannoy – Hi Ho Silver
Lining (Borrowed from Molineux) and
to clap in time. Most of us duly did.
But what ever happened to “Hello
Spion Kop! Hello Albert!”? Personally,
Doctor Death’s stadium safety announcement
gets me in the mood for the match – set
this to a disco beat and the
crowd really would get going.
This was a tough test for City. Two
evenly matched sides with Grimsby just
it in terms of possession and, eventually
goals as well. It was the Mariners
who bobbed to the surface and displaced
in third position.
In the first half there were
very few clear cut chances.
sparkle – the front three
of Branch, Lowe and Blundell
passing and moving
effect. Grimsby defended well
and fought tenaciously to win
middle of the park. Towards
of the half
Mr Singh produced a flurry
of yellow cards as the play,
After the break the play opened
up a lot more as the visitors
the penalty spot. A series
of corners caused some hesitancy
defence and Jones-the-former-Tranmere-one
after a push from Bolland.
MacKenzie danced like a marionette
the line but JPK
Kalala scored with ease.
Three minutes later City were
level following a scintillating
down a clearance just inside
the Grimsby half
and set Blundell tearing away
down the right. He sent a perfect
across for Lowe, under intense
and the keeper, to score with
a slick touch. City began to
Lowe could have added another
shortly after when, following
pass he just had Mildenhall
to beat. He tried to change
feet however and in trying
make sure of his shot gave
Chester’s closest attempt
at scoring after this was when
slipped Branch in behind the
defence. His vicious shot was
Mildenhall and fell awkwardly
for Lowe. Before
he could get the ball out from
he was dispossessed.
At the other end Reddy’s pace and the Grimsby
midfield’s running with the ball
at City’s defence were causing problems.
not three times Luke Dimech – who
gave up the chance of playing for Malta
week – intervened with
saving tackles. But as City
right, Gritton swept the ball
up towards Reddy.
Dimech slipped and lost a yard
on the Grimsby forward who
City pressed hard for another
leveller until deep into added
after so many recent last gasp
feeling it wasn’t to
be this time. And so it proved.
A good game and a good display
by City. They attacked with
panache but didn’t
manage to dominate the midfield. Keith
before the game, certainly wasn’t getting
carried away with Chester’s excellent start
to the season. But he has promised exciting
times. And if this is anything to go by,
Saturday’s match should
be a cracker.
Preston North End Reserves
3 Chester City Reserves 1
Pontins Holiday League Division One West
Half Time 2-1
Chester City: Brookfield, Wilson, McCoy, Roberts, Cadwallader,
Scales, Rutherford, Linford (Jones 68), Marsh-Evans, Mealand (Caroll
63), Holroyd (Humphreys 80). Subs not used: Holmes, Newton.
team today consisted totally of youth players, who after Saturday’s loss
at Walsall had a lot to prove. With Preston fielding a strong
team, with at least four senior players and Chester
playing an unfamiliar 4-3-3 system, this was always
going to be a test of the youngsters’ mettle.
looked optimistic in the first few minutes when
Holroyd crossed from the right to an unmarked
Marsh-Evans. Unfortunately Marsh-Evans misjudged
the flight of the ball and failed to make contact.
Shortly afterwards Chester found themselves 1-0
down in the seventh minute after some good individual
play from Nowland who slotted the ball home from
the edge of the area.
Two minutes later and Chester
where caught knapping when the right winger
Anyinsah got in behind the defence and cut the
for Jackson to slot home from close range.
Having conceded two early
goals, one got the feeling that it could get
a little embarrassing,
but the lads responded well. In the 16th minute,
Rutherford picked the ball up some 15 yards inside
his own half and ran some twenty yards before
playing a neat one-two with Mealand. With the
return a little heavy Rutherford bravely slid
in against the keeper, where the ball ricocheted
of the keeper’s chest and into the path
of Holroyd who stroked the ball into an empty
Although Chester managed to compete well, Preston
always seemed to have men over on either flank.
And in the 40th minute the boys rode their luck
when Hibbert missed with a diving header from
six yards out.
In the second half Chester
started well, with Mealand hitting the side netting.
But as the
half progressed one was always wary that North
End would catch Chester out with their wide play.
On the hour this became apparent when
Anyinsah whipped in a ball from the right wing
only for the resulting goal to be disallowed
However, Chester continued to battle away, with
Rutherford and Scales working their socks off
in midfield, along with good defensive displays
from Roberts and Cadwallader. Despite these efforts
North End scored against the run of play in the
80th minute. Breaking down a Chester attack,
Howard picked out Anyinsah with a 30 yard ball
who in turn picked out Jackson to make it 3-1.
Not to be deterred Chester
continued to create chances, with Rutherford
the thorn in North End’s
side. It was with sheer elegance when he beat
two players and dinked the ball into the penalty
area for Carrol, only for Carrol to hesitate
when he should have shot first time.
All in all, it was a
tenacious performance from the youngster’s
who have travelled over 400 miles and played
twice in just three days.
Much of the credit must go to Keith Curle, (in
attendance) who has instilled this never say
die attitude into all the players and staff alike.
Walsall U18 4 Chester
City U18 2
Youth Alliance North and Midlands West Conference
Half Time 0-1
Chester City: Ryan Brookfield, James Wilson, Sean Newton, (David
McCoy 65) Kevin Roberts, Darren Jones, (Freddie Potter 61) James Scales,
Nick Linford, (Graham Mealand 54) Robert Marsh-Evans, Chris Holroyd,
Neil Carrol. Subs not used: Jamie Holmes, Matthew Humphreys.
got off to a decent start with a trio of half chances in the first
five minutes falling to Marsh-Evans,
Holroyd and Rutherford. However, on the quarter
hour mark they got a warning when Wilson was
caught in possession on the edge of his own penalty area.
With Brookfield rounded, 1-0 looked inevitable,
but from nowhere Darren Jones made a superb
clearance off the line to spare Wilson’s
blushes. From the resulting corner Jones
cleared the ball
Rutherford on the right wing who whipped in
an early cross towards the far post,
which was met
by the head of Marsh-Evans. With the ball looking
as if it was ending up in the bottom right
corner, the keeper produced a magnificent
save to deny Chester the lead.
The good start by Chester clearly
had some Walsall players flustered, who instead
on their football wanted to turn this game into
an ugly affair. The home 11 was involved in numerous
misdemeanours, which eventually resulted in him
kicking out at Darren Jones in an off the ball
incident. With the referee ignoring such tactics
the game deteriorated, during which time Jones
received a yellow card for a two-footed challenge
and then Scales harshly received a yellow card
for what could only be considered as an accidental
With 15 minutes of the half
remaining Chester got the breakthrough they deserved
was up-ended in the penalty area, and the referee
pointed to the penalty spot. Marsh-Evans stepped
up and coolly struck the ball into the top left
With a good all round team
performance, (the lads all winning their own
Chester continued to probe away and where unfortunate
not to add another goal deep in injury time,
when Newton played a wonderful ball into the
path of Rutherford on the left wing; who got
in behind the right back and fizzed in a low
ball across the face of the goal that just needed
the slightest of touches. Unfortunately no one
could get that vital touch, and so it was Chester
finished the half 1-0 up.
At the start of the second
half Walsall came out with all guns blazing and
with an early warning in the very first minute,
when the home 11 got in behind the right back.
in field from the corner flag he continued
his run into the six-yard box and his shot squirmed
awkwardly under Brookfield; fortunately Newton
was at hand
to clear off the line. A minute later, and Brookfield
had to produce a close range save from five yards
out: the writing was on the wall. Three
minutes later and Chester where guilty of sloppy
defending when the forward was allowed a free
header from only six yards out, Brookfield this
time unable to stop the ball crossing the line.
Chester responded two minutes
later when Rutherford picked the ball up in the
centre circle, and
after eluding two players put the deftest of
balls through to Holroyd who was clean through
on goal only for him to be hauled to the ground
by the last rear most defender. The decision
for the referee was an easy one; hence, I stood
dumb struck when he not
only failed to show a red card, but also failed
to show no card at all. From the free kick Walsall
broke up the left wing and despite fluffing his
pass, the ball found its way to the home number
7; who struck the ball inside the left hand post.
At two one up Walsall failed to dominate and
continued to struggle against a stubborn Chester
In the 65th minute the home number 11 gave away
yet another free kick, which finally saw the
referee finally reach for his book and produce
a yellow card. From the free kick Newton floated
the ball to the far post, and Carrol headed back
across goal to Holroyd who found the net from
two yards out.
With the game all-square, Chester struggled
in the last fifteen minutes, (with the early
morning departure from Daresbury Park now taking
its toll.) and Walsall started to exploit the
gaps and after a goalmouth scramble took the
lead in the 76th minute. Seven minutes later
and they scored again, this time passing their
way through a tired back four.
Despite losing 4-2 the
score-line somewhat flattered Walsall, who
by no means dominated this game.
As the lads trudged off with their heads hung
low, they would do well to use the journey home
to evaluate the second half performance, and
I’m sure with the guidance of Jim Hackett
and Bill Gerrard, the boys will strive to put
right their errors of this ill fated 45 minutes!
Chester City 3 Mansfield
Attendance: 3,079 Half Time 1-0
Chester City: MacKenzie, McNiven,
Artell, Dimech, Regan, Drummond, Curtis,
Davies (Walker 89), Lowe, Branch (Bertos 89),
Blundell (Richardson 89). Subs not used: Vaughan,
Mansfield Town: Pressman, Peers,
Day, Buxton (Hjelde 68), Talbot (Dawson 64),
Uhlenbeek, Baptiste, Coke (Rundle 64), Jelleyman,
Subs not used: White, Lloyd.
Referee: M.Fletcher (Worcestershire).
for their first home win of the season
City couldn’t have got off to a better
start against Mansfield Town taking the
lead after just two minutes.
Ben Davies took a short
left wing corner the ball was returned
to him and he whipped
in a cross that eluded a box full of players
to find Gregg Blundell at the far post
who applied the
with a deft header from
a yard out. This was City’s
first goal in an opening 45 this season!
Against his former club,
manager Keith Curle had opted for the attacking
option of Ryan Lowe, Michael Branch and
Blundell that served City so well in the
second half at Plainmoor. There was a recall
of Luke Dimech at the expense of Phil Bolland
who took a seat on the bench.
Minutes after the opening
goal Ben Davies, who had another excellent
game, saw a shot drift wide.
The Stags first real
threat came on 13 minutes when they forced
their first corner but City’s
defence was able to clear Jelleyman’s
effort. Midway through the half they had
a couple of efforts in a minute as first
Coke shot wide and Barker headed over.
Chris MacKenzie was on had a few minutes
later to save another header Barker effort.
Kevin Pressman in goal
for the Stags almost gifted
as he fumbled a cross shot at the feet
of Blundell but the striker could only
manage to flick the woodwork before Davies
put the loose ball wide.
Despite enjoying more
of the ball in the opening period City
had to be content with just their one goal
City were nearly caught
flat footed at the restart but MacKenzie
saved well to deny Coke an equaliser on
47 minutes. However the Blues continued
to pressure and look for a second. Ryan
Lowe and Michael Branch both saw chances
saved, and Stewart
Drummond shot over before the Blues deservedly
doubled their lead on the hour
who crossed for Blundell to
rise and head home
at the back post from two yards.
pull a goal back on 67 minutes through
as Alex Baptiste from
six yards out following a well delivered
cross from substitute Rundle.
ten minutes remaining though Chester sealed
the three points as Lowe scored
third. Once again it was Branch who fed the
ball to Blundell and his neat lay-off
set up Lowe’s scoring chance which
he took with a half-volley from twelve
front of a jubilant north terrace.