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MATCH REPORTS 2007/08
Pre-Season | August | September | October | November | December | January | February | March | April/May
SEPTEMBER
Rotherham United (A) | Crewe Alexandra – JPT1 (H) | Morecambe (H) | Bury (A) | Brentford (H) | Macclesfield Town (A)
Saturday 29 September
Macclesfield Town 1 Chester City 2
League Two
Attendance: 2,647 (740 Chester) Half Time 0-2
Booked: Lowndes, Marples, Danby.

Maclesfield Town:
Lee, Izak Reid (Morley 89), Dimech, McNulty, McIntyre, Levi Reid (Wiles 72), Dunfield, Murray, Thomas, Green, Gritton (Evans 84). Subs not used: Brain, Hadfield.
Chester City: Danby, Marples, Linwood, Butler, Wilson, Partridge (Lowndes 62), Carroll (Sandwith 54), Grant, Hughes, Ellison, Murphy. Subs not used: Palethorpe, Yeo, Rutherford.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

It 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 the goal.

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 Macclesfield goalkeeper.

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 lengthy treatment.

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.

Sue Choularton

Pictures © Evening Leader

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Saturday 22 September
Chester City 0 Brentford 2
League Two
Attendance: 2,453 (271 Brentford) Half Time 0-0
Booked: Roberts.

Chester City:
Danby, Marples, Bolland, Butler, Wilson, Partridge (Rutherford 73), Grant (Roberts 82), Hughes, Ellison, Murphy, Yeo (Lowndes 73). Subs not used: Ward, Sandwith.
Brentford: S.Brown, Starosta, Pettigrew, Mackie, Charles, Shakes, O’Connor, Moore, Poole, Thorpe (Smith 90), Connell (Ide 72). Subs not used: Pead, Osborne, Hamer.
Referee: Pat Miller (Bedfordshire).

City suffered their second successive home defeat as they will once again rue a whole host of missed chances
.

Manager Bobby Williamson once again selected Phil Bolland ahead of Paul 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 scrambled clear.

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 shot.

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 supporters.

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.

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Pictures © Evening Leader
Saturday 15 September
Bury 0 Chester City 2
League Two
Attendance: 2,539 Half Time 0-1
Booked: Hughes.

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).

Goals 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 Morgan.

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 chance.

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.

Pictures © Evening Leader

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Friday 7 September
Chester City 0 Morecambe 1
League 2
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.

City 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 the goal.

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.

Williamson introduced 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, Blinkhorn 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.

Pictures © Evening Leader

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Tuesday 4 September
Chester City 1 Crewe Alexandra 1
(Chester win 4-3 on penalties)
Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Section Round 1
Attendance: 2,126 Half Time 0-1
Booked: Ellison.

Chester City:
Danby (Ward 46), Vaughan, Butler, Linwood, Wilson, Partridge, Grant (Roberts 77), Hughes, Ellison, Murphy, Yeo (Lowndes 72). Subs not used: Holroyd, Sandwith.
Crewe Alexandra: Tomlinson, Woodards (Lynch 51), Baudet, O’Donnell, Jones, Lowe, Schumacher, Bopp, Rix, Pope (Miller 70), Farquharson (Carrington 82). Subs not used: Williams, Dickson.
Referee: Karl Evans (Greater Manchester).

Chester 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 outfit.

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.

Pictures © Evening Leader

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Saturday 1 September
Rotherham United 1 Chester City 1
League Two
Attendance: 4,036 (319 Chester) Half Time 0-0
Booked: -.

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.

The 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 OGrady lost his marker and scored a fine goal into the bottom corner.

Chester's reply was impressive as Yeos 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.

Alan Parry-Jones

Pictures © Evening Leader

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