While eyes and ears in neighbouring Manchester were glued
to the early kick-off at Eastlands and the delegates gathered
at the G-Mex for the result of a closely run contest for
the leadership of the Labour Party, Chester’s finest
were approaching Moor Lane for a first trip to Salford
The Ammies’ vast ground fills a bowl like depression
and has an expansively wide pitch. The grass looked inviting
in the September sunshine, though it proved deceptively
bobbly when play began.
Chester fans lined all four sides of the ground and though
a raucous band of Salford die-hards began in full voice
– they were soon overwhelmed by the visiting supporters,
inspired perhaps by Paul Baker’s Noddy Holder outfit,
to come on and feel the noise.
The Blues were on the back foot to begin with but soon
settled after Barnes gave them the lead with a well-struck
shot from the edge of the box following a second short
corner routine. Salford battled back and although they
failed to stretch Whiteside, went fairly close with a
couple of efforts. Chester could have doubled the lead
after half an hour when Connolly’s cut-back went
behind the City forwards in the box. But Wilde made no
mistake just before the interval when he pounced on a
weak clearance. He thumped a left foot shot into the corner
of the net so emphatically that it came out of the other
Shortly after the break, Howard was fed by Hopley and
the winger held off a challenge strongly before lashing
the ball into the roof of the net. The game was over as
a contest and Chester came forward on numerous occasions
seeking to add to their lead. They only managed one further
goal when Connolly’s free kick – awarded after
Stones had been wrestled to the floor – dipped into
the bottom corner of the goal. His celebration suggested
it meant a lot to him to make his mark.
After a long contest we learned that Ed had pipped his
brother David – who seemed to have been ahead for
so long – to the Labour Party leadership. An inspiration
to City, perhaps, to keep plugging away after that top
spot in May.
21 September 2010 Leek
Town 0 Chester 2
President’s Cup Preliminary Round
Attendance: 273 Half Time 0-0
Town: Hodgson, M.Johnson, Allen, Taylor, W.Johnson
(P.Johnson 73), Shenton (Corden 62), Hawthorne, Miller,
France, Rutter, Day (Brough 62). Subs not used: Ashman,
Chester: Oldfield, Connolly, Ruffer, Meadowcroft,
Latham, Stones, Field, Barnes (Peers 50), Sharrock (Howard
69), Hopley, Rogan (Gargan 62). Subs not used: Wilde,
Whiteside. Referee: Mr. Ryan Johnson (Manchester).
half goals from Rob Hopley and Greg Stones gave the
Blues a comfortable win at Leek Town in the Preliminary
Round of the President’s Cup.
Manager Neil Young made several changes
from the side that lost to Chorley at the weekend. Chris
Oldfield made a full debut in goal and there was also
a debut for former youth team player Ian Latham recently
released by Marine. In the second period on-trial Carl
Gargan, a striker playing for for Old Xaverians in the
Liverpool County Premier League also made an appearance
as a substitute.
Oldfield was called into action in
the eleventh minute doing well to push out an Ashley
Miller volley before the defence cleared the danger.
Minutes later Steve Day shot over when well placed from
Midway through the half Nick Rogan
saw a lobbed effort drop just over the bar. Roger Sharrock’s
fierce shot was well blocked by Steve Hodgson in the
home goal after being set up following good work from
The chances came at both ends, Day
headed wide of goal for Leek while Bradley Barnes shot
over the bar. On the stroke of half-time Chester created
two more great chances as Hopley linked well with Roger
Sharrock before firing over and moments later Sharrock
himself shot wide.
The delalock was finally broken on
56 minutes as substiture Mark Peers slipped the ball
to Connolly who crossed for Greg Stones to slot home
his first goal for the club at the far post.
Chester began to get on top. Sharrock
hit the post before the Blues doubled their advantage
on 61 minutes as Sharrock battled well to win the ball
on the edge of the box before passing to ex-Leek striker
Hopley who fired home past the stranded Steve Hodgson.
After replacing Rogan, trialist Gargan
had a chance to add a third wth eleven minutes remaining
only to see his effort loop over.
was an emotional build up to this top of the table clash
as a guard of honour from the 1st Battalion, the Mercian
Regiment heralded the two teams on to the pitch and
honoured the memory of Corporal Terry Webster who died
in action in Afghanistan in June. The crowd of over
3,000 welcomed his family on to the playing surface
with long and prodigious applause.
The game began at a staccato pace punctuated with fouls
and yellow cards as both teams tried to establish control.
Wilde had a glorious chance to open the scoring but
slightly mistimed his leap and headed the ball down
into the ground and just wide of the post. Later Stuart
Jones’ glancing header was acrobatically palmed
away by Grundy.
Chorley took the lead with a scrappy goal. Booth gave
away a free kick on the corner of the penalty area and
Simm made a hash of taking it. His miskick hit another
Magpie on the shin and Russell was the first to react
to the loose ball, turning to hit a low shot past a
dumbfounded City defence.
Chester reacted well and forced a succession of corners.
They might have scored from any one of them. Grundy
was in inspired form and kept out Horan’s forceful
header. The Chorley keeper was wearing a Chester shirt
– presumably because of a colour clash –
but why the referee allowed the visitors to play in
their black and white stripes is a mystery – the
similarity to City’s colours caused confusion.
When Williams hoisted another corner from the right
even Grundy was powerless to prevent Hopley’s
ferocious header hitting the back of the net. It was
a glorious moment and seemed to presage a City victory.
After the break however City lost their way. Their reliance
on set pieces made them seem one dimensional as Chorley
stifled midfield and denied City room to play. City’s
cause was not helped by the early withdrawal of Burgess
- still harbouring an injury.
City fell behind a second time from the penalty spot
after Horan “was adjudged” (journalism speak
for a debatable decision) to have brought down Payne
as he burst into the area. Dorney showed good composure
to score already Chorley’s seventh penalty of
the season. But City fans did not take kindly to his
and Payne’s display of goading celebration.
Chorley comfortably dealt with Chester’s efforts
to get back at them until Rogan found Williams in open
space on the left but the young full back fluffed his
chance on goal. Simm – who had turned down a move
to Chester a few days ago – went close to rubbing
salt in City’s wounds in the dying stages but
Whiteside stood up well to his shot. Still there was
time for Chorley to hack another Chester effort off
the line before the final whistle.
Defeated, but hopefully unbowed, City must learn from
this experience. The scale of support that is there
for them was demonstrated this afternoon – the
opportunity for glory still beckons.
steady climb up the table continued following this five
goal defeat of Bamber Bridge who before the match had
been unbeaten this season. The Blues now lie second,
three points behind leaders Chorley who are Chester’s
next opponents on Saturday.
This was without doubt the best all
round performance of the season so far as manager Neil
Young made no less than five changes to the starting
line-up from the team that battled to a win over Garforth
Town on Saturday. In came Robbie Booth, Rob Hopley,
Iain Howard, Danny Meadowcroft, and Stuart Jones at
the expense of Roger Sharrock, Stuart Graves, Carl Ruffer,
Mark Peers, and Nick Rogan.
Backed by another large away following,
the Blues were on the front foot as early as the first
minute as Michael Wilde just failed to steer a header
on target following a long clearance from Richard Whiteside
in the visitor’s goal.
There was a scare at the other end
minutes later as Kevin Towey saw a shot deflected over
by Chester gradually began to get on top. Howard forced
a great save from Hinchcliffe from long range and the
‘keeper was again in action pushing a Wilde shot
onto the bar as Chester looked to break the deadlock.
The breakthrough eventually came just
after the half hour as Stuart Jones rose to meet a Robbie
Booth left wing corner to head Chester deservedly in
front from close range.
With Chester now getting on top Booth
saw a shot fly wide before Chester added the killer
second goal just before the break as Wilde converted
with ease following good work from Hopley on the right
had seen another quality cross into the box.
A timely tackle from Chris Williams
at the other end ensured that Chester took their two
goal advantage into the break.
The Blues came out determined to add
to their advantage. Jones headed just over and Howard
shot just wide as Chester dominated proceedings.
The third goal soon came as Jones
again was on hand to power home a header from a corner,
this time supplied by Williams.
Chester added a fourth goal on 62
minutes as Chris White, who has trained with Chester
pre-season, sent a looping header past his own keeper
following a long ball forward from the Blues defence.
With just under 20 minutes remaining
Chester completed the scoring, once again a perfect
delivery from from Hopley was met this time by Howard
at the far post who couldn’t miss from close range.
afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Not Chester fans clearly
as Big Lupus the cuddly new mascot was unveiled. Whether
his reddy-brown fur indicates some fox in his DNA I
don’t know but the predatory instincts of City
strikers Wilde and Rogan proved decisive against Garforth
The visitors provided stern opposition, proving that
despite a wonderful opening game on Wednesday, Chester
cannot expect to have things all their own way
at home. Garforth’s Brazilian
style kit was reflected in their play in the first half
as they more than matched the hosts in balance of play.
City seemed slow to get going after the highlights of
midweek – though they were also missing a couple
of stars in Burgess and Howard.
Several times Whiteside rescued Chester by beating away
shots from Ormsby and Priestley but a brilliant piece
of skill by Wilde gave Chester a narrow lead at the
He picked up the ball just inside
the box after a couple of cries for free kicks on City
players were ignored. After juggling it a couple of
times with his back to goal, Wilde pivoted and volleyed
the ball just inside the post.
City applied themselves better in the second half. Rogan
who had gone close in the first half with an attempt
similar to Gazza’s spectacular finish against
Scotland years ago, pounced on a cross from Stones on
the left to knock it past Kelsey for City’s second
after seventy minutes. After this nerves were eased
and substitutes Field and Booth (signed the night before)
both went close to adding to the margin of victory.
Although the game was not as spectacular as Wednesday’s
against Trafford, (how could it be?) most Blues fans
were well content with the win and at least there were
no howlers – except for Big Lupus of course.
8 September 2010 Chester
6 Trafford 0
Evo-Stik Division One North
Attendance: 2,743 Half Time 3-0
Chester: Whiteside, Stones, Ruffer, Horan,
Williams, Howard (Connolly 75), Barnes, Graves, Burgess
(Peers 50), Wilde, Hopley (Rogan 56). Subs not used: Sharrock,
Trafford: Rooney, Harrop, Bayunu, Lawton, Ashton,
White (Marley 52), Lawton, Shaw, Krou (Bailey 44), Turner,
Barlow. Subs not used: Hargreaves, Woodford, Ratcliffe. Referee: Mr. O.Oates (Staffordshire).
got the perfect result for their historic first home
league match when they hit Trafford for six at the newly-named
It had been an exciting build-up to the match, with
a commemorative programme being produced, queues forming
at the turnstiles 45 minutes before kick-off, a packed
club shop and a buzzing Blues Bar as fans anticipated
what was to come.
And they weren’t let down, with a rampant Chester
scoring six amazing goals in two spells either side
of the first and second half.
The game’s opening spell was fairly even as Chester
demonstrated they were happier with the closely-cropped
home turf than recent away venues and the Trafford team
settled to playing in front of 2,734 spectators.
Chester’s first goal came on the 23rd minute when
the corner flag miraculously kept the ball in play.
Michael Wilde was first to pounce and crossed for Bradley
Barnes, an ex-Trafford player, to score the first home
goal for the reformed club.
Soon after they doubled their lead when an Andy Burgess
free kick found the head of an unmarked Wilde and he
had no trouble rising to score for home.
Just five minutes ticked by and Chester scored another
– this time another Burgess free kick found captain
George Horan and had no trouble scoring past Trafford
‘keeper Damien Rooney.
Wilde had once more chance before the referee blew for
half-time, but he shot just over the bar. However, he
was on the scoresheet again in the second half. There
was again a period of rather mundane play, before Chester
Wilde’s goal was a classic – he connected
with an excellent pass, ran round an oncoming defender
and, faced with just the ‘keeper to beat, thwacked
the ball home to send the home crowd behind the goal
His man-of-the-match performance was completed a few
minutes later when he shot through the Trafford defence
to find the net again – completing his hat-trick.
But the game wasn't yet over and as the Chester fans
chanted, “we want six”, that’s just
what happened. The final goal was scored by Bradley
Barnes – making it a perfect home start for the
Trafford didn’t give up though, and in the dying
minutes Chester ‘keeper Richard Whiteside had
to pull off a great diving save to protect his clean
After the referee blew for full-time, the Chester players
went off to a deserved standing ovation. It feels so
good to be enjoying the football once again –
let’s hope this feeling is repeated over-and-over
in this debut season.
Neil Young made four changes to the starting line-up from
the team that opened the season at Warrington, in came
Stuart Jones and Carl Ruffer and Nick Rogan and Bradley
Barnes made their first starts in a Chester shirt.
Around 400 supporters made the trip
across the Pennines and they saw Chester, playing in
a change all-white kit, enjoy the majority of the play
in the opening period on a bumpy College Grove pitch.
Andy Burgess was first to test home
‘keeper Herring as he lashed in a shot from the
edge of the box after the home defence had failed to
clear a Horan effort in the opening minutes. Herring
was again in the right place to prevent Rogan opening
the scoring on 12 minutes after the striker had latched
onto a Barnes pass but could only shoot straight at
the Bears shotstopper.
Richard Whiteside was called to make his first save
on 15 minutes as he was quick off his line to punch
clear from the head of the onrushing Tom Denton.
However, midway through the half Herring
could do nothing to prevent Chester from taking a deserved
lead as Horan rose to head a long Greg Stones throw-in
into the corner of the net.
Chester continued to create chances and Michael Wilde
went close seven minutes before the break only to see
his effort blocked by defender Roberts.
Despite their dominance Chester had
Whiteside to thank for preserving their interval lead
as he saved well in the dying seconds to deny Delroy
Ferguson after a fine run by Ian Robinson had gone unchallenged
by the Blues rearguard.
Whiteside again came to the rescue moments after the
restart saving from Denton but was given no chace minutes
later as Elliott Firth leveled for the home side after
he slipped unchallenged through the Chester defence
to equalise with ease.
Manager Young made a decisive substitution
just after the hour mark as he replaced Tom Field and
Rogan with Iain Howard and Stuart Graves.
Both players combined for the winner 15 minutes from
time s Howard steered a Stones pass into the path of
Graves who scored with a great shot from 20 yards.
Barnes almost extended the lead with
an injury time volley but Herring denied him with a
superb save to push the ball to safety.