succumbed to their fifth home defeat of the season in
a match which saw their opponents rise out of the relegation
zone, but left City stranded at the bottom on minus 14
Less than 1,000 City
fans saw the team run out with two changes from Sunday’s
draw at Wrexham – Lee Ellams was in for Gregg
Blundell and Sean Kelly replaced Chris Lynch.
Forest Green Rovers, under the stewardship
of relatively new manager Dave Hockaday, had all the
early chances. Striker Tomi Ameobi had a shot deflected
wide before John Danby had to make a save from his strike
partner Sean Rigg.
Soon after, their pressure told when
Conal Platt met an Ameobi pass and shot past Danby from
25 yards out on the 18th minute. Referee Peter Wright
booked him for his over-exhuberant goal celebration.
Chester still failed to get into the
game and Neil Ashton had to make a goal-line clearance
from another FGR shot. Soon after, Tim Ryan was in Mr
Wright’s notebook after a foul on Ameobi.
So it was no surprise when FGR made
it 2-0 on the 36th minute when Rigg hit a neat pass
home in the bottom-right corner. Ellams did have a shot
just before half-time, but City had made little impression
in the first 45 minutes.
The second half saw Ellams replaced
by Blundell and Anthony Barry on for Adam Kay. Inside
three minutes of the re-start, City got a goal back.
It followed a Nick Chadwick header which was pushed
out for a corner. Neil Ashton’s corner found the
head of Kevin Roberts and he powered the ball into the
Blundell later had two great chances
to equalise. He first saw one shot go wide of the post,
then FGR goalkeeper Terry Burton got the better of him
in a 77th minute one-on-one.
Forest Green also had a couple more
opportunities, but both Platt and then Rigg missed the
target this time. Rhys Meynell came on for Ben Wilkinson
on the 83rd minute, but the goal-line remained at 2-1
when the referee blew for full-time.
While Chester don’t have
a good home record against Forest Green, it was not an
impressive performance and was to be manager Mick Wadsworth’s
last game in charge.
27 September Wrexham
0 Chester City 0
Attendance: 5,913 (844 Chester) Half Time 0-0
Booked: Chadwick, Roberts, Keltie, Ellams.
Wrexham: Maxwell, Spann, Assoumani, Sinclair,
Neil Taylor, Obeng, Fleming, Smith, Jones (Sakho 80),
Gareth Taylor, Marc Williams. Subs not used: Mike Williams,
Taboubi, Cieslewicz, Baynes.
Chester City: Danby, Roberts, Lynch (Kelly 21),
Ryan, Lea, Wilkinson, Keltie, Kay (Rule 65), Ashton, Blundell
(Ellams 85), Chadwick. Subs not used: Murphy, Meynell.
Referee: M Naylor (South Yorkshire).
first non-league cross-border derby ended in a bore
draw as both side had to settle for a point from this
goalless stalemate. It was City’s fifth away draw
on the run.
Chances were few and far between during the 90 minutes
but the best two did fall early on for City striker
Gregg Blundell as Chester put in a determined display.
City manager Mick Wadsworth made two
changes from the side that drew 1-1 at Salisbury City
in midweek. In came loan-midfielder from Rochdale Clark
Keltie and Michael Lea at the expense of Sean Kelly
and Glenn Rule who dropped to the bench. John Danby
was declared fit after his injury on Tuesday.
The Blues (inexplicably playing in
yellow) had the ball in the Wrexham net in the opening
minute as Nick Chadwick sent a stooping header home
but referee Naylor had blown, presumably for a challenge
by Blundell, on home 'keeper Chris Maxwell that saw
him drop Lea's cross.
Chester saw plenty of possession in
the opening period. On nine minutes Ben Wilkinson sent
in a cross from the right that was met by Blundell,
he sent a looping header towards the far corner of the
home net only to see Maxwell produce a great save to
fingertip the ball round the post for a corner.
City but were forced to reshuffle after Chris Lynch
picked up a nasty knee injury midway through the opening
period, Kelly came from the bench to fill the role in
the centre of the defence.
John Danby was forced into his first
save of the game as Gareth Taylor set up Marc Williams
who could only shoot straight at the City 'keeper.
Blundell had a golden opportunity
to open the scoring after a mistake by Mansour Assoumani.
He misjudged a Neil Ashton throw-in the ball finding
the City striker with the ball six yards from goal but
he sliced his shot wide of the right hand post when
a goal seemed certain. At the other end Danby was well
placed to save from Spann before the half ended.
Rule replaced Adam Kay just after
the hour mark. Tim Ryan made a decisive block to stop
Gareth Taylor as the home side and Andy Fleming saw
a low shot deflected wide as the home side pressed for
a winner late on. But the City rearguard stood firm.
Youngster Lloyd Ellams replaced Blundell with five minutes
to go but the last chance of the game fell to Assoumani
who shot wide in the dying seconds.
So it was another point for City
who will look at those missed chances and what might have
been. After the game Blundell said: “We might have
accepted a 0-0 draw before the game, but I think we had
the chances to have won the match. We had a goal ruled
out which we thought should have stood, their keeper made
a good save from me, and then I missed a glorious chance
which I would probably have taken on another day.”
“Maybe we feel like the team that deserved more,
but at the end of the day it’s another point on
the board for us from a difficult place. In all fairness
I think Wrexham were expecting a walk in the park, but
we would be only two or three points behind Wrexham if
we had started level pegging.”
were lucky to mark their first ever visit to the Raymond
McEnhill Stadium with a point to show for their endeavours
in a match which was a stark reminder of the level in
which they are now playing.
disrespect to Salisbury, but this was not a classic
encounter and seemed to be played by two teams who already
felt certain of relegation. It was like a meaningless
end-of-season match, so it was hard to believe it was
The atmosphere was not helped by the
lack of segregation which meant the 50+ Chester fans
who attended could not easily gather together to urge
on the Blues. The players must have felt like the “12th
man” hadn’t turned up.
The first half didn’t see a
serious Chester strike on goal, with the defence keeping
the Blues in the game. Inside the first 15 minutes,
both Kevin Roberts and Sean Kelly made good clearances
from Salisbury strikes. John Danby also made a couple
of saves from Salisbury ’s Matthew Tubbs.
The closest the match came to a goal
in the first half was when Danby was beaten by a Salisbury
shot, but Chris Lynch was in the right place on the
line to clear the ball away to safety. A poor Ben Wilkinson
corner on the 38th minute which tamely went straight
to a Salisbury player was sadly typical of City’s
performance in the first 45 minutes.
It felt like there was still all to
play for in the second half and both teams did put on
a better show. Salisbury still had more of the ball,
with Neil Ashton and Tim Ryan both making good clearances
to keep the scoreline on level terms inside the hour-mark.
Glenn Rule was replaced by Michael
Lea on the 75th minute and just three minutes later,
Chester were ahead. Wilkinson more than made up for
his poor corner by scoring in the bottom left-hand corner
from a Roberts pass. It was a shame the goal was in
front of a closed terrace, and the City fans, scattered
around the Whites’ supporters, were barely audible.
But before anyone had recovered from
the excitement, it was back to level-pegging when Danby
dropped the ball when surrounded by Salisbury players
in the box. Sean Clohessy had no trouble hammering the
Danby fell heavily in the challenge
and the Chester players were furious that no foul had
been given. As Danby lay injured on his back with two
physios, St John Ambulance stretcher-bearers and a doctor
in attendance, a melee broke out near the centre circle
as Salisbury tried to get hold of the ball for the re-start
while Chester were still smarting at the goal decision.
After five minutes Danby had recovered
enough to be helped off the pitch, and he was replaced
by Andrew Murphy. During the five minutes of injury
time, the ball was actually put past Murphy, but referee
Thompson blew for offside and the goal was disallowed.
It has to be said that the highlight
of the evening was not the match itself, but the pre-match
meet-up in Salisbury city centre and the post-match chat
in the Salisbury club bar. It was a bar shared by fans
and players alike and it really reminded me of a typical
non-League social club. Another highlight was a fellow
Chester fan winning the post-game raffle – a bottle
of vodka his prize – so at least one City fan went
slumped to their fourth home defeat in six matches as
a Michael Bostwick goal after seven minutes was enough
to give Stevenage the points following another disappointing
display from the Blues. Chester were on the back foot
from the start as Joe Ashton brought out a good save
from John Danby at the foot of the post, Chris Beardsley
then sent a free header straight at the City shot-stopper
when left unmarked in the box.
The Blues were caught out again by
the visitors early pressure as Borough took the lead
as Bostwick volleyed home a left wing cross in off the
post after eight minutes. Bostwick almost doubled the
visitors' advantage five minutes later but Danby produced
another smart save after the midfielder has shot on
target from the edge of the box.
After a slow start City started to
see plenty of possession but ut wasn't until the 35th
minute that they created anything of note as striker
Nick Chadwick was inches away from connecting to an
Adam Kay cross that was allowed right across the Borough
Before the break the visitors created
another chance of note that saw Charlie Griffin slide
the ball wide following a left wing far post cross from
An early effort after the interval
saw Kevin Roberts direct a header wide before manager
Mick Wadsworth replaced Gregg Blundell with Lloyd Ellams.
In truth though, as he admitted afterwards, his side
were second best in most areas of the game and they
rarely threatened Chris Day in the visitors goal. At
the other end the overworked Danby once again managed
to scramble another Beardsley effort away.
City did have more of the game
than in the first period though and Chadwick and Ellams
both finally tested Day late on. The visitors held out
though and City must now look for three points at Salisbury
in midweek to give them a boost before next weekends derby
with local rivals Wrexham.
15 September Chester
City 2 Gateshead 1
Attendance: 994 (26 Gateshead) Half Time 1-0
Booked: Rule, Chadwick.
secured their second League win of the season, thanks
to another penalty from Gregg Blundell and a header by
lowest home attendance since October 2001 saw the team
run out with two changes from the away victory at Eastbourne.
Shaun Kelly and Ben Wilkinson made the starting XI,
with Rhys Maynell on the bench and Anthony Barry not
featuring through injury.
City’s first goal came 19 minutes
into the first half when Gateshead centre back James
Curtis clashed with Blundell in the box and the referee
awarded a penalty to Chester. Blundell didn’t
waste his chance and hit the ball home sending Provett
the wrong way from the spot.
Earlier on, Curtis had had a header
cleared off the line by Michael Lea, and later in the
half John Danby saved from Michael Mackay. But it was
City who went in at half-time with a one-goal advantage,
despite having had fewer real chances and just the one
shot on target.
However, just six minutes into the
second half, Gateshead took their chance to equalise.
A good through ball from Christoph Ascherl evaded the
City defence and Mackay slotted the ball home in the
bottom corner to give the 26 travelling fans something
to cheer about.
Chester were spurred into action against
the 10-men team and Chadwick, Kevin Roberts and Blundell
all had chances to put City back in front. But the real
opportunity came on the 76th minute when a Neil Ashton
cross found Chadwick’s head and he made it 2-1
to Chester and his fourth goal of the season.
Gateshead didn’t give up
and die at this stage, with Danby being called on in the
closing spell to make two saves again from Gate’s
Mackay. But it was the hosts who claimed the much-needed
three points to take them a bit nearer the elusive ‘zero’
City came away from their first ever meeting with Eastbourne
Borough with a hard-earned point after Gregg Blundell
had converted a hotly disputed penalty on the stroke of
Blues manager Mick Wadsworth made changes from the side
disappointingly beaten at home by Tamworth in midweek,
Rhys Meynell and Adam Kay returned to the starting line-up
at the expense of Shaun Kelly and Ben Wilkinson who took
their places on the bench.
During the week Wadsworth had bemoaned the sloppy defending
that cost City dear on Tuesday. Well it was hesitation
in defence again, this time by Kevin Roberts and John
Danby, that gifted the home side the lead after just five
minutes as a high ball into the box was not cleared leaving
Matt Crabb to cross giving Andy Atkin the simplest of
City responded well with Nick Chadwick seeing a shot flick
the top of the crossbar from the edge of the box after
Gregg Blundell had set him up on 18 minutes.
Another cross, this one from Nathan Crabb, was again not
dealt with by the City defence though Aitkin was unable
this time to latch on to the loose ball.
Chadwick saw another effort deflect of a defender to safety
and Anthony Barry met an Ashton corner with a volley but
couldn’t keep his effort on target.
John Danby was well positioned to save well from both
Simon Weatherstone and Liam Enver-Marum as the home side
had the better of the play. The Blues responded forcing
a series of corners with home ‘keeper Michael Jordon
clearing after a goalmouth scramble.
A minute into stoppage time City drew level as Neil Ashton
was adjudged to have been fouled by Jordan, the goalkeeper
protested he’d got to the ball first but referee
John Hopkins pointed to the spot and Blundell sent Jordan
the wrong way to score his first goal of the season.
The home side started the second half with plenty of possession
but when a chance was finally created Danby found himself
in the right position to collect a long-range effort from
Neil Jenkins ten minutes after the restart.
Chances were created at both ends. Nathan Crabb shot wide
following good work by Atkin and then the Blues almost
took the lead as Jenkins diverted a Barry free-kick just
over his own bar.
Tim Ryan made a last ditch tackle to deny goalscorer Ryan
as Eastbourne pressed for a winner. Weatherstone was just
unable to turn home a left wing cross 20 minutes from
time seeing his shot bounce inches wide and in the closing
moments the post came to City's rescue as Aitkin volleyed
against it from close range following a fine move.
their three points at the weekend City were brought back
down to earth with this defeat against Tamworth.
Manager Mick Wadsworth made changes from Saturday’s
starting X1. Out went the Vaughan brothers Stephen and
James to be replaced by Anthony Barry and Shaun Kelly
– both fully recovered from injury while up front
Gregg Blundell, making his first start of the season,
replaced the injured on-loan striker Lewis Alessandra.
The visitors had the better of the opening period that
saw John Danby called in to make a save from Nick Wright
following a far post corner. Alex Rodman flashed a shot
wide following a Smith flick-on as the visitors continued
City had appeals for a penalty turned down as Nick Chadwick
was felled in the box by Michael Briscoe Wright thought
he’d opened the scoring for The Lambs only to see
his effort ruled out by referee Metcalf for hand ball.
The visitors were briefly down to ten men as Rodman left
the pitch though injury and City responded with a long-range
Kevin Roberts shot that drifted wide before the conceded
their first goal on 38 minutes. Richard Tait was given
aft too much time to latch on to a Tom Shaw through ball
before slipping the ball under the advancing Danby.
Roberts and Blundell found their way into the referee’s
notebook after the formers challenge on Tait had produced
an on-pitch melee.
City replied with Chadwick forcing the first real save
of the night from Alcock in the Tamworth goal who turned
away the striker’s pile driver from just inside
the box, though the resulting corner came to nothing.
City finished the half well but both Barry and Ben Wilkinson
were guilty of missing good chances, both seeing efforts
go high and wide.
City, kicking towards their own fans started the second
half and Wilkinson immediately saw a deflected shot tipped
away by Allcock for a corner. The flag-kick was swung
over to Blundell who saw his header touched onto the bar
by Allcock. City continued to press, Barry shot wide and
Chadwick again forced a fine save from the overworked
keeper. The Blues were dealt a blow just before the hour
mark as they conceded a second goal against the run of
Shaw sent in a free-kick that appeared to be drifting
out at the far post, it was met though by Briscoe who
hooked the ball back into the danger area. Danby could
only parry the ball straight to Chris Smith who had the
easiest of chances to tap home the second goal.
Manager Mick Wadsworth made a double substitution bringing
on Lloyd Ellams and Adam Kay at the expense of Wilkinson
and Barry. Fourteen minutes from time City pulled a goal
back as Chadwick finally got the better of Alcock as he
diverted a Roberts shot home after the Tamworth defence
had failed to clear a free-kick.
Chadwick headed wide following a Blundell cross as The
Blues continued to press for an equaliser. They had a
golden opportunity in the dying minutes as Briscoe’s
attempted clearing header fell to Kay, he made space for
himself but blazed the ball over with the goal at his
mercy. Five minutes of added time were played in which
Michael Lea saw a long-range effort clip the bar before
the game ended with City left to rue the two defensive
mistakes that eventually cost them dear.
fans had to get used to a strange feeling on Saturday
evening as they celebrated a first home victory of the
new campaign and indeed of the year 2009 – the previous
success at the Deva came against Accrington Stanley on
Boxing Day last. Had the Red Arrows aeronautical display
team flown over an hour later than they did – we
could have assumed that they had been laid on to mark
As half time approached, however, even a point seemed
unlikely for the home side as Histon had run them ragged.
The visitors play, in the unexplained absence of controversial
coach John Beck, was a smoothly controlled passing game
which had Chester chasing shadows much of the time. James
Vaughan, making a surprise appearance at right back, was
left clutching Simpson’s shirt as the stylish playmaker
wriggled past and him and was duly booked.
Histon’s double-barrelled strike force Hudson-Odoi
and Knight-Percival were proving a real handful for the
City defence which was often at sixes and sevens with
John Danby shaking his head at the lack of cover he was
receiving. Knight – Percival waltzed past several
challenges only to see his shot rebound off the post.
Minutes later, Hudson-Odoi was clean through the City
back line only to blaze his left-footed shot from the
edge of the box over the bar.
If City were fortunate to reach half-time without conceding
a goal then they were doubly so to find that - with a
minute of the half remaining - they had taken the lead.
Histon ‘keeper Naisbitt had tipped over Chadwick’s
goal bound header for a corner and from the resultant
kick, Roberts – some fifteen yards or so out –
headed back across goal into the far corner of the net.
The ball flew in despite a defender’s attempt at
a headed clearance. The half then ended abruptly while
Alessandra was receiving attention for what looked like
a serious injury.
The visitors were out early to begin the second half –
warming up in time to the tannoy music. Whether their
exertions wore them out or whether City upped the pace
it was hard to tell but the second half was much more
evenly contested. Blundell came on for Alessandra and
it was he who made the telling cross for City’s
second goal with quarter of an hour to go. City had begun
to look alot more threatening after the introduction of
substitutes Barry and Kelly after the hour mark. The former
replaced Wilkinson and the latter returned to central
defence while Lea moved up to bolster the midfield.
Blundell found space and time on the left to float a quality
cross into the centre for Chadwick to glance a perfect
header inside the far post. City visibly grew in confidence
and finished the game strongly. It was not the most convincing
of victories given the first half display but at least
City have begun to make an inroad into their massive points