was yet another happy return to Chester’s temporary
home from nearly 20 years ago as the Blues travelled back
to West Cheshire with at least three points more than
they deserved from the game at Moss Rose.
The post-match stats say it all:
Macclesfield had five shots on target and 11 off-target
attempts, while Chester could muster just two shots
on target – albeit the all-important goals – and
three off-target strikes.
With Blues striker John Murphy making
his return to Macclesfield since leaving last season,
you always felt there were going to be goals in this
all-Cheshire encounter. And indeed the big forward
made his mark after just 12 minutes with a powerful
header past Macc ‘keeper, Tommy Lee. Murphy,
obviously a popular figure at Moss Rose, was deliberately
muted in his celebrations.
Macclesfield responded by pressing
forward and soon after Francis Green had one of several
strikes which were either well-handled by John Danby
or went sailing wide. This one screamed way above the
crossbar to the cheers of the 740 City fans behind
Green continued to threaten the goal
and soon after Danby had to kick a low shot away with
his feet. Macclesfield started getting a bit rattled
and when Martin Gritton was booked after a foul on
Simon Marples, he did so much talking to referee Lee
Mason you felt he must have been close to a sending-off.
This seemed to stall Town for a few
minutes and Chester started making a bit more a fight
of it, resulting in a free-kick from a good 30 yards
out. Tony Grant nudged the ball to Laurence Wilson,
who struck an absolute piledriver past the shaggy-haired
It seemed hard to believe that City
were 2-0 up – they’d made so little impression
on the Macclesfield defence that it was possible to
forget their back-four featured ex-City player Luke
Dimech. At half-time even one of the most ardent of
Dimech fans admitted to not noticing he was playing!
Dimech was easier to spot in the
second half, as he was defending the goal in front
of the away supporters. But, as in the first half,
the Macclesfield defence barely had to draw any sweat.
The most excitement for the Chester end came when Lee
took a tumble in the box and Dimech came over for a
word with the referee as the goalkeeper underwent relatively
In the other goalmouth, the Macc
fans were accusing Danby of taking too long over goalkicks.
In the end he was booked for time-wasting on the 90th
minute. But before then, his goal was under siege for
most of the half.
The Silkmen did get a deserved goal
back through Terry Dunfield on the 53rd minute, with
another top-quality free kick taken from almost the
same spot as Wilson’s first half blinder.
Soon after, City manager Bobby Williamson
switched things around by bringing on Kevin Sandwith
for Neil Carroll, then Nathan Lowndes for Richie Partridge.
But there was no dramatic change in City’s performance.
The referee added on four minutes
of stoppage time, but that didn’t see Chester
get anywhere near the opponent’s goal, nor Macclesfield
seriously threaten. The three points were certainly
a generous gift from our Cheshire cousins, but on the
form of that match, neither side look like threatening
for the League Two championship this season.
22 September Chester City 0 Brentford
Attendance: 2,453 (271 Brentford) Half Time 0-0
Chester City: Danby, Marples, Bolland, Butler, Wilson, Partridge (Rutherford
73), Grant (Roberts 82), Hughes, Ellison, Murphy, Yeo (Lowndes 73). Subs not
Ward, Sandwith. Brentford: S.Brown, Starosta, Pettigrew, Mackie, Charles,
Shakes, O’Connor, Moore, Poole, Thorpe (Smith 90), Connell (Ide 72). Subs
used: Pead, Osborne, Hamer. Referee: Pat Miller (Bedfordshire).
suffered their second successive home defeat as they
will once again rue a whole host of missed chances.
Bobby Williamson once again selected Phil Bolland ahead
Linwood in the centre of the defence, and with
James Vaughan injured, handed Simon Marples his
first appearance of the season.
Both teams started brightly and
it was the visitors who forced the first save of
the match after just three minutes as John Danby
gathered from Alan Connell. Danby was in action
again soon later saving from Ben Starosta, the
loose ball fell to Lee Thorpe but he saw his effort
At the other end City won a couple
of free-kick’s but Kevin Ellison shot both
over. Mark Hughes, who scored his first goal for
City last week, went close again sending a header
just wide of Brown’s post.
A fine run down the right by
Richie Partridge set up Simon Yeo but the striker
shot high and wide from 20 yards and moments later
Partridge himself was thwarted by Simon Brown in
the Bees goal who was well placed to beat the wingers
Yeo missed another opportunity
as he turned a Brentford defender but shot straight
at Brown when well placed. The same striker again
saw an effort deflect off Shakes, loop over a crowd
of players and drop onto the foot of the right
hand post and deflect out.
Glenn Poole came close to breaking
the deadlock on 35 minutes when he unleashed a
25-yarder that cannoned off the City crossbar with
Danby having no chance.
City continued to squander chances
as the half came to a close. Yeo and Partridge
missed efforts and John Murphy headed a Hughes
cross straight at Brown when well placed.
The visitors took the lead eight
minutes after the break. Moore swung over a left
wing corner that dropped in the six yard box, John
Mackie headed the ball down to Pettigrew who missed
the opportunity to score, the ball however slipped
under the feet of Paul Butler and Thorpe was on
hand to seize the opportunity to slip the ball
home from close range in front of the visiting
Despite the setback City continued
to press. Ellison, Yeo and Hughes all saw efforts
miss the target before Williamson introduced Paul
Rutherford and Nathan Lowndes at the expense of
Partridge and Yeo.
Bolland rose to head a Hughes
free-kick and Lowndes did well to beat skipper
Mackie but shot straight at Brown — and that
was the story of City’s day.
The visitors sealed their win
in the last minute as substitute Ide slipped a
ball through a static City defence for Sammy Moore
to race through and slip the ball between Danby’s
legs to seal victory.
Bury: Provett, Parrish, Challinor, Morgan, Woodthorpe, Adams, Dorney
(Mangan 60), Barry-Murphy (Baker 71), Scott, Hurst, Bishop. Subs not used: Buchanan,
Futcher, Haslam. Chester City: Danby, Vaughan, Bolland,
Butler, Wilson, Partridge, Hughes, Grant, Ellison,
Yeo (Lowndes 68), Murphy. Subs not used: Ward, Sandwith,
Rutherford, Holroyd. Referee: Andy Penn (West Midlands).
either side of the break from Paul Butler and Mark
Hughes gave City victory at Gigg Lane to lift them
into fourth spot in League Two. With defender Paul
Linwood suspended, manager Bobby Williamson was forced
to make a change to his starting X1 and opted for
experience and gave defender Phil Bolland his first
run-out of the season.
It was the Shakers that
started strongly with John Danby saving well
as Glyn Hurst shot from the edge of the box in
the opening minutes. However it was Chester,
and ex-Bury player Simon Yeo, who had the first
real opening as the forward drifted a shot wide
following a mistake in the home defence by Paul
Jim Provett in the home
goal saved from Yeo again as City looked to get
a hold on the game as the home side began to
struggle against a well marshaled back line that
consistently caught Bury offside. John Murphy
also saw a shot drift wide after good approach
work from Kevin Ellison had set up the striker’s
It was Ellison himself who almost broke the deadlock though. The City winger
made a probing run through the centre of the home defence before unleashing
a left footer that beat Provett but hit the foot of the post, rebounded back
in play and was scrambled away for a corner as yeo looked to steer home the
rebound. Richie Partridge drifted over the resulting
flag kick and Paul Butler rose above two defenders at the far post to head
home against his former club in front of the traveling City fans.
Chester continued to have the
lions share of the play for the rest of the half
with Ellison and Partridge proving a handful.
Danby saved a Scott effort
just after the restart but City doubled their
lead on 52 minutes. John Murphy flicked on a
long throw by James vaughan and Hughes stooped
to send a header home from close range for a
well worked goal.
With time running out,
Barry-Murphy saw a free kick hit the City woodwork
and Richard Baker produced a flying one handed
save from Danby as Bury probed for a way back – the
players dipping shot appeared to be heading inside
the left hand post before being pushed away for
a corner by the flying ‘keeper.
7 September Chester City 0 Morecambe
Attendance: 3,199 (598 Morecambe) Half Time 0-0
Booked: -, Sent-off: Linwood.
Chester City: Danby, Vaughan, Wilson, Butler, Linwood, Grant (Roberts
75), Hughes, Partridge, Ellison, Murphy (Lowndes 85), Yeo (Rutherford 61).
Subs not used: Sandwith,
Ward. Morecambe: Lewis, Yates, Artell, Bentley, Stanley, Baker, Thompson,
Allen (Hunter 65), Blinkhorn, Adams, Sorvel (Twiss 65). Subs not used: Drench,
Burns, Howard. Referee: Phil Dowd.
paid the price for a series of missed chances when Morecambe grabbed an injury
time winner to leave Deva Stadium with all three points. There were no complaints
as Paul Linwood hauled down Matthew Blinkhorn inside the box giving Premiership
referee Phil Dowd no option but to dismiss the defender and award the spot-kick
that was duly converted in front of the delighted Shrimps fans seated behind
John Danby was passed
fit to play so manager Bobby Williamson named
an unchanged starting line-up for a third successive
match and there was a welcome return for two
former players in Michael Twiss and Dave Artell.
City started the better
of the two sides as Simon Yeo shot weakly at
England youth goalkeeper John Lewis in the
opening minutes. John Murphy and Kevin Ellison
probing the Morecambe defence. Shrimps boss
Sammy McIlroy had done his homework on City
and placed a tight marker on dangerman winger
Richie Partridge. On 18 minutes Partridge beat
his marker though near the right corner flag
though to send over a looping cross to the
far post that was met by Murphy with a stooping
header he sent just wide into the side netting.
Linwood made a mess of
a clearance but Paul Butler was on hand to
mop up a Garry Thompson cross into the box.
Lewis was on hand to
collect a Murphy shot and Simon Yeo went close
but he was just unable to latch onto a through
ball from Mark Hughes. Just after the half
hour Tony Grant sent Murphy through but Lewis
was on hand again to save from the big striker.
Grant and Murphy were involved again soon later
setting up Yeo who saw an effort fly wide of
the target. Hughes also saw a goalbound header
saved by Lewis as City let another chance go.
On the stroke of half
time the visitors almost broke the deadlock
as Carl Baker turned 20 yards out and fired
in a goalbound shot that Danby did well to
push away one handed for a fine save.
After the break the game
stepped up in tempo and both sides began to
carve out more opportunities. Baker again tested
Danby from long range but the ‘keeper
once again pushed the ball away for a corner.
Partridge produced another
of his probing runs and unleashed a shot at
the end of it that just passed the right hand
post. Near the hour mark City squandered two
more opportunities, both fell to Ellison. Firstly
he shot wide of the left hand post after Yeo
had flicked the ball through to him. Moments
later he was through again in a similar position
but shot straight at Lewis from close range,
the ball rebounded to Murphy but Artell was
on hand to make a last ditch clearance.
The best chance of the
night fell to the visitors though. A poor City
clearance was picked up by the Shrimps midfield,
the ball was fed to Thompson who sent over
a far post cross that evaded the City defence.
It fell to substitute Twiss who side-footed
the ball over from six yards with the empty
goal at his mercy.
Kevin Roberts for Grant and the youngster almost
grabbed a goal but he saw a 20 yarder fly inches
over after receiving a Lowndes pass.
Just as the game seemed
to be heading for a deserved draw a long
ball out of defence was misjudged by Linwood,
got goalside and before he could set up a
shot was wrestled down to the ground by Linwood.
The defender saw red and Carl Baker calmly
sent Danby the wrong way to seal the points.
progressed through to the second round of the Johnstone’s
Paint Trophy after beating Cheshire rivals Crewe Alexandra
in a dramatic penalty-shoot out. The Blues edged through
4-3 on spot kicks after the two sides had battled out
an entertaining 1-1 draw over 90 minutes.
City manager Bobby Williamson named
an unchanged side from the one that drew at Rotherham
and the Blues responded with a good opening period playing
some neat football against a well organised League One
In the opening minutes James Vaughan
crossed for John Murphy whose knock on set up Kevin
Ellison but his header lacked the power to break Crewe
‘keeper Tomlinson. Moments later Richie Partridge
shot over following good approach work from Tony Grant.
Crewe’s first effort of note
came when Farquharson shot wide following a quick breakaway.
Danby was called into action to save
from both Rix and Jones and at the other end Murphy
just failed to meet another tantalizing Partridge cross.
On 37 minutes former City favourite
Ryan Lowe put the visitors ahead as a Billy Jones cross
was only partially cleared by the Chester rearguard
and Lowe blasted home. City ‘keeper John Danby
was injured in the build-up to the goal sustaining a
nasty cut to the head and had to be replaced at the
interval by Gavin Ward.
Quick thinking by City brought their
deserved equaliser on 61 minutes. Yeo won a free-kick
following a foul by Lowe and the ball was quickly slotted
through by Mark Hughes for Richie Partridge to run on
to and curl a shot into the corner giving Tomlinson
in goal no chance. Minutes later John Murphy clipped
the ball inches wide following another great run and
cross from Partridge.
City began looking for the winner,
Ellison and Partridge both went close and Nathan Lowndes
had a great opportunity to register his first goal for
City only to see a chipped shot go over late on as Tomlinson
advanced from his line.
With no extra time played in this
competition the game went to penalties. Vaughan missed
his spot-kick but Paul Butler, Partridge, Lowndes and
Murphy all netted to take City through following misses
from Crewe’s Julien Baudet and Billy Jones.
1 September Rotherham United 1 Chester City
Attendance: 4,036 (319 Chester) Half Time 0-0
Rotherham United: Warrington, Tonge, Coughlan,
Sharps, Joseph (Brogan45), Todd (Newsham 78), Bean, Harrison,
Holmes (Taylor 75), O’Grady, Holmes. Subs not used:
Cann, Hurst. Chester City: Danby, Vaughan, Butler,
Linwood, Wilson, Partridge, Grant (Roberts 57), Hughes,
Ellison, Yeo, Murphy (Holroyd 84). Subs not used: Ward,
Rutherford, Sandwith. Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire).
Chester’s impressive start to the season continued
on Saturday when they gained a hard earned point at Millmoor
against a strong Rotherham side, which many believe will
be there and there about’s come the end of the season.
It was my first visit to Millmoor and after travelling
up with a Rotherham supporter, I was under no doubt that
the club had had many recent financial troubles. The half
built main stand and the excessive £20 entrance
fee was proof of that.
first half was a torrid affair with no real clear cut
chances. Chester looked the better side going forward,
but lacked a cutting edge, as Ellision and Partridge
shot over the bar following good approach work. The
game came to life in the 57th minute when the impressive
O’Grady lost his
marker and scored a fine goal into the bottom corner.
Chester's reply was impressive as
Yeo’s mazy run brought
a fine save out of keeper Warrington and Murphy saw
his follow up shot blocked on the line. Roberts, who
had replaced the ineffective Grant then shot narrowly
wide, as the game flowed end to end. However on 72 minutes
Roberts scored his first senior goal following up, as
his initial header had come back off the post.
Keeper John Danby then came
to City’s rescue in the closing stages as Rotherham
stepped up a gear and in injury time penalty claims
were ignored by the referee (despite three thousand
people voicing your disapproval!) as the ball allegedly
struck Ellision’s arm. Still, a good point for
the boys and overall a fair result.