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Saturday 30 September
Chester City 2 Bristol Rovers 0
League Two
Attendance: 2,151 (320 Bristol Rovers) Half Time 2-0
Wilson, Danby, Vaughan.

Chester City: Danby, Marples, Artell, Westwood (Allen 12), Sandwith, S.Vaughan, Hand, Martinez, Wilson, Blundell, Walters (Broughton 80). Subs not used: Palethorpe, Holroyd, Rutherford.
Bristol Rovers: Phillips, Lescott, Hinton (Disley 46), Elliott, Green, Igoe (Haldane 55), Hunt, Campbell (Anthony 46), Lambert, R.Walker, J.Walker. Subs not used: Shearer, Carruthers.
Referee: J.Moss (Leeds).

Chester turned in one of their better displays of the season as first half goals from Kevin Sandwith and Roberto Martinez were enough to see off a poor Bristol Rovers outfit at Deva Stadium.

Paul Linwood’s hamstring injury once again ruled him out and striker Jonathan Walters replaced Drewe Broughton who took a seat on the bench otherwise it was the same team that picked up a midweek point at Macclesfield.

The Blues started well, Sandwith forced a corner kick in the opening three minutes, and Pirates ‘keeper Steve Phillips was well placed to catch Gregg Blundell’s header after Martinez had swung in the flag-kick.

Martinez saw a goalbound effort blocked after he’d been set through by Walters and City saw another chance go begging as Simon Marples, playing well down the right, had an effort blocked

Martinez swung in another corner before manager Mark Wright was forced to make a change replacing Ashley Westwood who picked up a hamstring injury with Graham Allen, making his debut since his summer signing from Tranmere Rovers.

City finally broke the deadlock on 18 minutes. Stuart Campbell was adjudged to have handled the ball 25 yards out. Sandwith stepped up to blast the free-kick through the box and in off the post past the despairing dive of Phillips.

Within a minute the scores could so easily have been level as Rickie Lambert’s shot at the other end was pushed onto the post by John Danby to rebound away to safety.

Dandy was called into action twice more to save from Richard Walker before the Blues doubled their lead with a delightful goal on 37 minutes.

Once again Walters fed Martinez, the midfielder looked to spot Phillips off his line and turned to chip a great shot into the far corner of the net.

City pressed again and Laurence Wilson was only inches away from converting a Blundell cross as Wright’s side left the field at the break in charge.

Pirates manager Paul Trollope made two changes at the break but, as in the first half, it was Chester who started the stronger. A Martinez corner and a shot from Blundell kept the pressure up and Sandwith tried another long-range effort only to see his shot flash wide.

City weren’t having it all their own way though and Craig Disley should have done better that blast the ball over when well placed and Marples was on hand to make a superb tackle to dispossess Lewis Haldane as he bore down on goal. The lively sub Haldane also flashed a shot wide in the dying stages.

As the game moved into stoppage time Blundell saw a volley smartly saved by Phillips who tipped the ball over to deny the striker his second goal of the season.

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Pictures © Evening Leader

Tuesday 26 September
Macclesfield Town 1 Chester City 1
League Two
Attendance: 2,022 (602 Chester) Half Time 1-0
S.Vaughan, Hand, Sandwith.

Macclesfield Town: Lee, Teague, Morley, Swailes, Scott (Heath 67), Bullock, Hadfield, Tolley, McIntyre, Tipton, Miles. Subs not used: Brain, Regan, Navarro, McNulty.
Chester City: Danby, Westwood, Artell, Sandwith, Marples, Martinez, S.Vaughan, Hand, Wilson, Blundell, Broughton (Walters 46). Subs not used: Palethorpe, Allen, Bennett, Holroyd.
Referee: A.Marriner (West Midlands).

It was a happy return to Moss Rose for Kevin Sandwith as he opened his Chester account against the club he left in the summer with a second half equaliser.

Manager Mark Wright resisted the temptation to start with Jonathan Walters and Dean Bennett, both of whom had played a part in Saturday’s victory, instead the former Wrexham duo started the match on the bench while Simon Marples replaced the injured Paul Linwood.

Macclesfield had yet to win this season but started strongly against their Cheshire neighbours. The tackles were flying in from the start and Stephen Vaughan found himself in the referee’s notebook after just six minutes for a foul on Jamie Tolley and just three minutes later the Blues found themselves a goal down.

Marples gave away a misplaced pass that was picked up by Tommy Bullock, he then proceeded on a 60 yard mazy run, shrugged off two challenges before firing past John Danby.

Chances were few and far between in the opening period, though Ashley Westwood did well to block a Matthew Tipton effort 12 yards out and prevent City from falling further behind.

In a first half littered with fouls former City player Kevin McIntyre blazed a shot over and it wasn’t until just before the interval before City had their first effort as Jamie Hand shot wide from 25 yards.

Wright introduced Walters for the ineffective Drewe Broughton at the break and the Blues had a chance moments into the half. Laurence Wilson got behind the Macc defence and crossed for Gregg Blundell to head wide from 12 yards out.

Unlike the first period, it was a rejuvenated City who were now enjoying the majority of the play and on the hour mark drew level. Roberto Martinez swung in a right wing corner and Sandwith rose between three defenders to head home in front of the traveling City support.

Not content with that City surged forward looking for the winner. Wilson was denied twice in a couple of minutes firstly drilling the ball wide from 18 yards then seeing a similar effort blocked by Danny Swailes. Swailes was in the right place again to block a long-range Blundell effort.

The Blues continued pile on the pressure, the minutes from time Wilson saw a shot turned away for a corner, Marples crossed from a short flag-kick only to see his effort cleared for another corner. Martinez rained over another kick that was eventually cleared by the overworked Macc defence.

At the other end Jordan Hadfield shot wide from outside the box from a rare home attack. City continued to force corner after corner in the dying minutes but were unable to breach a stubborn home defence and had to be content with a draw from this hard fought derby.

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Pictures © Evening Leader
Saturday 23 September
Milton Keynes Dons 1 Chester City 2
League Two
Attendance: 5,476 Half Time 1-0
S.Vaughan, Broughton, Linwood, Sandwith, Hand.

Milton Keynes Dons: Baines, J.Smith, Diallo (Hastings 83), O’Hanlon, Lewington, Edds (Rizzo 68), Mitchell (Tillen 84), Chorley, Dyer, Platt, Taylor. Subs not used: Bankole, Crooks.
Chester City: Danby, S.Vaughan (Marples 77), Linwood, Westwood, Sandwith (Bennett 77), Wilson, Hand, Artell, Martinez, Broughton, Blundell (Walters 62). Subs not used: Palethorpe, Holroyd.
Referee: F.Graham (Essex).

Substitute Jonathan Walters was the City hero snatching all three points for the Blues on their first visit to Milton Keynes Dons thus ending the home sides unbeaten home record. Walters, along with midfielder Dean Bennett returned to the squad following injury and both played a part in Chester’s third win of the season.

The home side, missing several regulars through suspension or injury, started well taking the game to Chester from the off. A half-cleared free-kick gave Ben Chorley an opportunity though his volley was saved by John Danby. Moments later Gareth Edds fired a shot just wide of the City goal. Laurence Wilson created City’s first effort on goal after 13 minutes seeing his long-range shot parried by Adolfo Baines as City looked to get into the game. Ten minutes Kevin Sandwith saw a 30-yard free-kick well saved low down by Baines.

With ten minutes of the half remaining Dons took the lead they'd threatened for most of the half through Clive Pratt. A ball over the top of City’s back line found its way to Scott Taylor, his shot was blocked but Pratt was on hand to steer home the loose ball from 12 yards. Three minutes later the home side looked to have doubled there advantage with a header from Platt only for referee Graham to rule the effort out for a foul.

The Dons were causing all sorts of problems for the City back line who managed to hold out for the interval with out conceding a second.

Barnes was soon in the action after the break saving from Wilson who had been sent through by Roberto Martinez, a couple of minutes later City were level with a well taken goal. Martinez played a short corner to Wilson at the near post, he played the ball back for Martinez to whip in a cross that was hooked home at the near post by Ashley Westwood – his first goal in City colours.

Danby had to move smartly to prevent a Platt header restoring the home sides advantage just before manager Mark Wright introduced Walters at the expense of Gregg Blundell and minutes later also introduced Bennett and Marples for Sandwith and Vaughan as City began to look more lively.

Nicky Rizzo twice swung in dangerous corners for the Dons but the City defence held firm to clear each time.

Two minutes from time Walters timed a through run perfectly from the half-way line to beat the offside trap and meet Bennett’s perfect through ball. He raced clear on goal before rounding Baines then jinking past Smith to slot the ball into an empty net to take the three points back to Cheshire.

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Saturday 16 September
Chester City 0 Grimsby Town 2
League Two
Attendance: 1,957 Half Time 0-0
Linwood, Westwood, Blundell, Martinez.

Chester City: Danby, Linwood, Westwood, Artell, Marples (Sandwith 54), S.Vaughan, Hand, Martinez, Wilson, Blundell, Broughton (Holroyd 65). Subs not used: Palethorpe, Hessey, Rutherford.
Grimsby Town: Barnes, Croft, Whittle, Fenton, Newey, Bore, Bolland, Boshell, Ravenhill, Jones, Rankin (Taylor 76). Subs not used: Murray, McDermott, Hegarty, Chamberlain.
Referee: K.Hill (Hertfordshire).

Just as it looked like the Blues were heading for a second successive stalemate, two defensive lapses in the final minute cost City another three points in front of their dwindling band of home supporters.

With the game heading into stoppage time Ashley Westwood failed to clear a ball from the edge of the area, his hesitation allowing Gary Jones to score the Mariners first away goal of the season with ease. To add insult to injury another defensive lapse three minutes later allowed substitute Andy Taylor to cut-in and shoot past the exposed John Danby for a second for his first-ever league goal.

Manager Mark Wright picked an unchanged side with The Blues looking to build on Tuesday night’s point against Notts County. City had a lively start and Roberto Martinez almost opened the scoring after just five minutes. His powerful run and shot was heading for the top corner before visiting ‘keeper Phil Barnes managed to claw the ball away to safety.

Barnes almost inadvertently set up Laurence Wilson who took advantage of a poor clearance to attempt to lob the keeper only to see his effort also drift over the bar. Drewe Broughton shot wide and Westwood headed over as City enjoyed plenty of the play.

Those were the only real chances of note though in an opening period that saw Ricky Ravenhill, on loan at City earlier this season, have a good game.

The crossbar came to City’s rescue shortly after the restart as Town’s top scorer Peter Bore sent a 25-yarder crashing against it.

Just after the hour mark Wright introduced Chris Holroyd at the expense of Broughton but the youngster struggled to make and headway. Wilson tried another effort from long range that skimmed wide and a Sandwith free-kick was the only other effort of note from City.

With the game heading for a draw, and the crowd heading for the exit, Westwood’s mistake settled the match leaving manager Wright to blast afterwards: “When the man-of-the-match goes and makes a massive error, it’s hard to take, it’s not the way I defended when I was playing. You should never hesitate in your own box, and I’m really annoyed with the way the goals came about after we looked so comfortable.”

Causing major concern for the club will be the dramatic effect City’s current slump is having on the Deva attendances. The crowd of just 1,957 for this match was 1,138 down on the corresponding fixture played, in midweek, almost a year earlier.

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Tuesday 12 September
Chester City 0 Notts County 0
League Two
Attendance: 1,818 Half Time 0-0

Chester City: Danby, Linwood, Westwood, Artell, Marples, S.Vaughan, Martinez, Hand, Wilson, Blundell (Holroyd 82), Broughton. Subs not used: Sandwith, Hessey, Rutherford, Palethorpe.
Notts County: Pilkington, Gleeson, White, Edwards, McCann, Pipe, Somner, Martin, Parkinson, Dudfield (Mendez 67), Lee. Subs not used: Deeney, Hunt, Ross, N’Toya.
Referee: R.Shoebridge (Derbyshire).

Mark Wright praised his players’ committment after gaining a point against Notts County. He was right to do so and the applause between players and fans at the end of the game, while not rapturous, acknowledged the effort they had put in.

It has to be admitted that this was a dour encounter though. Hardly a glimmer of a goalmouth incident all night and neither keeper having to save a goal bound shot. City were pushed back to begin with by in-form County. The visitors seemed more urgent and slick going forward and pinned Chester back. They didn’t manage to carve many openings. Dudfield might have done better than slice a short wide following a rare lack of concentration in the City back line.

Towards the end of the first half and after the break City regained territorial advantage but often their attacking was one-paced and lacking a cutting edge. Wilson and Marples couldn’t get forward down the flanks as much as we would have liked and Broughton and Blundell lacked the service they craved.

City’s efforts on goal were restricted to long range shots from Wilson and Artell which flew high and wide respectively.

Agonisingly in the final minutes a chance arose out of the blue for Westwood, who was in the right place to pick up a knock down in a crowded penalty area. He seemed to tread on the ball and the chance went begging. Three points would have sent the Cestrians home happy but in truth Chester hadn’t done enough to win this game.

Report: Colin Mansley

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Saturday 9 September
Oldham Athletic Youth 1 Chester City Youth 0
Youth Alliance North West Conference Group B
Half Time 1-0

Chester City:
Vernon, Robson (Ali), Newton, Roberts, Kelly, Rule, Gregory (Feliciello), Mitchell, Fitzpatrick (Thorpe), Owen, McManus. Subs not used: Rowlands, Dorman.

Chester City’s youth squad suffered their first defeat of the season against last seasons Youth Alliance champions Oldham Athletic at Hollinwood on Saturday.

On a day perfect for football and a pitch to match, City’s youth squad spent a lot of the first half on the back foot, which seemed to affect their ability to play any sort of football, with very few passing movements to talk about, and ironically it was following a good passage of passing by Chester that Oldham took the lead, midfielder James Owen gave the ball away needlessly in the centre of the field, following which an Oldham forward was fouled just outside the box. At the free kick, poor marking from City’s defenders allowed the Oldham striker a free header which found the back of the net and gave Oldham the lead.

The second half saw a more composed Chester pass the ball much better, unfortunately, they could not make their possession count and created very few chances. Oldham managed to create chances, mainly due to City chasing an equalizer, but luck and good defending kept the score at 1-0. Unfortunately, Chester could not get on even terms and the game finished with neither side troubling the scoreboard.

Overall, Chester City’s coaching staff were as happy with the second half performance as they were unhappy with the first, and took a lot of positives away from Oldham.

This Saturday, the team meet Burnley at Airbus UK, kicking off at 10.30, and will be looking to build on the second half play from last Saturday.
Saturday 9 September
Wycombe Wanderers 1 Chester City 0
League Two
Attendance: 4,277 (212 Chester) Half Time 1-0
Artell, Hand.

Wycombe Wanderers: Batista, Stockley, Williamson, Antwi, Golbourne, Grant, Torres, Oakes, Betsy, Mooney (Bloomfield 44), Easter (Dixon 82). Subs not used: Young, Fernandez, Christon.
Chester City: Danby, Linwood, Westwood, Artell (Holroyd 66), Sandwith, S.Vaughan, Martinez, Hand, Wilson, Walters (Marples 76), Broughton (Blundell 58). Subs not used: Palethorpe, Allen.
Referee: D.Whitestone (Northamptonshire)

Another disappointing show from Chester who for the second match running failed to make their numerical advantage count as they lost by a single goal to a Wycombe side reduced to ten men for the final hour of the match following the dismissal of Anthony Grant for a second yellow card.

City’s inability to create openings was all too apparent at Adams Park with the Blues (yellows!) sluggish forward line forcing home goalkeeper Ricardo Batista into just one decent second half save from Drewe Broughton.

The opening exchanges were fairly even with both Kevin Sandwith and Stephen Vaughan trying their luck from long distance, while at the other end Danby was restricted to catching crosses.

The game sparked into life on 13 minutes however as Anthony Grant put in a late challenge on David Artell who soon got up and to his and everyone else's amazement received a yellow card from referee Whitestone for his troubles, presumably for dissent. Also booked for that offence, Grant found himself taking an early bath minutes later after collecting a second yellow for needlessly kicking the ball into the crowd.

Reduced to ten men the home side then took the lead three minutes later. Jamie Hand picked up a yellow card for a needless foul on Stefan Oakes. The free kick was swung over and only partially cleared by the City defence; the ball broke to Scott Golbourne on the left who crossed for Kevin Batsy to head home unmarked past a static John Danby from six yards.

Artell had a great chance to draw City level missing a header after Broughton had knocked back Vaughan's cross, and Sandwith blazed over when well positioned.

Just before the interval Tommy Mooney raced from the field holding his head after an accidental 50/50 collision with Paul Linwood left him with a large nasty cut across his face that needed several stitches.

The Blues could have drawn level not long after the restart as Laurence Wilson, one of the few City players to come away with any credit, appeared to mis-hit a shot across goal after he’d worked a good position inside the box. Three minutes later Batista was called on to make a rather dramatic looking save to catch a Broughton effort from 12 yards under the crossbar.

The Blues were finding the going tough and Mark Wright introduced Gregg Blundell and Chris Holroyd to the attack but both made little impression as City continued to struggle to create any chances of note for the remainder of the game. When they were awarded a lifeline in the shape of a free-kick ten yards outside he Wycombe box the resulting ball was floated straight down the middle into the safe, unchallenged, hands of Baptista.

If anyone was going to score in the closing stages it was Wycombe as Jonny Dixon forced a save from Danby when he should really have done better .

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Saturday 2 September
Chester City Youth 2 Rochdale Youth 0
Youth Alliance North West Conference Group B
Half Time 0-0

Chester City:
Vernon, Robson (Feliciello 55), Newton, Roberts, Kelly, Rule, Morgan, Mitchell, Fitzpatrick (Ali 85), Morrin (Thorpe 50), McManus.

At a wet and windy Airbus on Saturday, Chester City’s youth team eventually managed to overcome a dogged and hard working Rochdale outfit with two goals in the last 15 minutes.

The game started with both teams taking time to get used to the conditions and the first half saw little goal mouth action as both sides tended to struggle to keep hold of the ball.

The second half was little better, although Chester City seemed to spend more time in the Rochdale half as the period wore on, however, it took until the 77th minute for Chester to score the opening goal after substitute Steven Thorpe played a pass between the centre half and left full back for Paul McManus to collect, and McManus then showed great composure in taking the ball inside the committed centre half and steering it past the Rochdale goalkeeper into the bottom right corner of the goal.

Having scored the goal, City almost allowed Rochdale back into the game within a minute, and it took an excellent save from Chester City keeper Craig Vernon to keep the score at 1-0. Following the scare, Chester continued to press for a second goal, and it came from another substitute, Shamim Ali, who latched onto a pass from Glenn Rule and scored a left foot shot from just outside the box.

Overall, it was a relieved Chester City who took the points with a display that was workmanlike rather than the sharp and positive play that had been expected.

The next match is away against the reigning Alliance League Champions Oldham Athletic on Saturday 9 September, and we hope to give a better account of ourselves than we did last year where the result was 7-2 to the Latics.
Friday 1 September
Chester City 0 Swindon Town 2
League Two
Attendance: 3,382 (807 Swindon) Half Time 0-0
Martinez, Hessey.

Chester City: Danby, Linwood, Hessey, Artell, S.Vaughan, Hand, Martinez, Sandwith (Holroyd 69), Walters, Broughton (Blundell 59), Wilson. Subs not used: Marples, Bennett, Allen.
Swindon Town: Brezovan, J.Smith, Ifil, Nicholas, Comyn-Platt, Shakes, Weston (Caton 82), Evans, Brown, Roberts (Pook 73), Peacock (Onibuje 90). Subs not used: Brownlie, Jutkiewicz.
Referee: D.Foster (Tyne & Wear).

The Blues crashed to another home defeat as Swindon Town left Deva Stadium with the three points following a comfortable two goal victory to maintain their 100% record following relegation from League One in the summer.

Kevin Sandwith, injured on the eve of the season, made his long awaited debut for City at the expense of Dean Bennett who dropped to the bench.

City’s first Friday night venture of the season brought a crowd of 3,382 with nearly a quarter of it (807) making their way up from Wiltshire, one wonders how many they would have brought on a Saturday?

The visitors started strongly Aaron Brown sending in a header that John Danby saved well after just six minutes.

Midway through the half Brezovan in the Town goal had to rush out to head a dangerous through ball from Laurence Wilson clear and then scramble back to deflect Jon Walters’ follow-up effort.

Brown thought he’d opened the scoring midway through the first half as he converted after Jerel Ifil’s shot had been saved only for the referee to finally whistle for a foul in the build-up.

Minutes later Comyn-Platt tried his luck with an overhead kick from a low-struck free-kick only to see his effort fly over the bar

Walters and Drewe Broughton both had chances to give City the lead before the break but saw efforts go wide. The Blues were left to rue those chances as Swindon took the lead minutes after the restart through Lee Peacock who scored from close range after being set up by Brown.

Brezovan produced a great save to deny Laurence Wilson whose shot was heading for the top corner before the Slovakian ‘keeper intervened.

Mark Wright introduced Gregg Blundell for Broughton and Chris Holroyd for Sandwith as City looked for more attacking options.

On 70 minutes The Robins were reduced to ten men following a second yellow card to Ifil, this did little to halt their charge and four minutes later doubled their lead. Again Peacock took advantage of some slack marking in the City defence to convert a Paul Evans free-kick from close range.

There was no way back for Chester from here, indeed substitute Andy Clayton almost added a third in stoppage time as his first time shot was deflected over.

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