Chester: Danby, Brownhill, McGinn, Horan,
Taylor, Brown, Booth (Baynes 81), Powell, Simm (Rainford
77), McNeil (Wilde 88), Howard. Subs not used: Judge,
Wright. Chorley: Saunders, Brown, Walker, Teague,
Russell, Whitham, Roscoe, Vermiglio, Whaley (Denham 46),
Williams (Payne 61), Ince (Cunliffe 61). Subs not used:
McEvilly, Maden Referee: Gary Stott (Manchester).
Billed for weeks as “The Big One” this clash
of two in-form teams lived up to all the hype. There had
been an atmosphere between Chorley and Chester after last
season’s match at the Deva. It had been a feisty
encounter and among other things there was a row over
the post-match meal. Who knows what they had to eat after
the game this time – humble pie perhaps or cold
shoulder – but on the pitch at least both teams
served up a tasty hot pot.
The Magpies, like Chester, were unbeaten since August
Bank Holiday Monday and occupied second place in the table.
Wary of third placed City, the visitors marked tightly
and defended deep to deny their hosts a whirlwind start.
As a result much of the play was broken up with each ball
being fiercely contested – though it was wisely
refereed by Gary Stott who only booked Powell (For persistent
offending) all evening.
Chris Simm – who was playing for the visitors this
time last season – carved out an opening and was
unlucky with a shot that flew wide of the post. Chorley
were content to soak up the pressure for the most part
and then throw some of their tall defenders forward for
set pieces. Ironically following one of these City broke
to spurn their best chance of the opening half. Booth
released Simm on the right. Alex Brown stepped over his
low cross to leave Howard in space on the edge of the
area. His first time shot with his unfavoured right foot
was an ugly one and ballooned over.
After an interval punctuated with an entertaining penalty
shoot out between the rival sets of supporters (Chorley
won 4-3), Chorley emerged with more attacking intent.
The experienced Whaley – a midfielder playing a
lone role up front – was withdrawn and the visitors
seemed to push two forwards up as they took the game to
Soon however Chester were pegging them back again and
following a right wing corner the game ignited when Brown
released an absolutely stunning half volley from twenty-five
yards into the back of the net. He could not have hit
it more sweetly and the ball flew like a rocket past a
crowd of players and a transfixed Russell in the Chorley
Not content to sit on their laurels or the lead, the work
rate of this tremendous City team went up. Booth, Powell
and Brown were quick, incisive and robust in midfield
and though Chorley were clearly a good side, they were
not allowed any time on the ball. Matty McNeil had led
the line superbly – holding the ball up well, surprisingly
nimble footed for such a tall player and laying it off
constructively most of the time. He was rewarded for his
anticipation after 62 minutes when he latched on to Horan's
punted clearance and nodded the ball past the ‘keeper
– stranded on the edge of his area – into
an empty net.
Chorley tried desperately to get back into the game. Two
substitutes were thrown on and almost immediately forced
a goalmouth scramble in Chester’s box until Danby
smothered the ball. Apart from the goals, however, the
biggest cheer of the evening was when Shelton Payne –
villain of the penalty drama last season – lined
up a dangerous free kick on the edge for the box only
to balloon it over the Evans Halshaw Stand and into the
City introduced subs as the game wore on allowing first
Booth, then Simm and the magnificent McNeil to receive
standing ovations for their efforts. All three replacements
went close to scoring – Rainford ended a dazzling
run by shooting narrowly wide, Wilde’s tenacious
effort went the same way but Baynes applied the perfect
finish when he won possession and then curled a beauty
just inside the ‘keeper’s left hand post.
The celebrations went on long into a balmy Michaelmas
Eve and rightly so for this had been just about the most
complete performance by a City team for a long, long time.
Since losing to the Dabbers in August, Chester have enjoyed
a perfect September - winning seven consecutive matches,
scoring twenty-three and conceding none. As a result John
Danby in the Chester goal even eclipsed the Grenville
Millington's magnificent record tonight.
Chester fans are wise enough, especially after last season,
to know that there will be many more twists and turns
to come in the months ahead but having endured so many
years of misery every evening like this one is savoured
all the more sweetly.
last Chester match was a nightmare away trip to Nantwich
and it was hard to imagine how different this day was
– it was like watching another club!
The away day experience had an excellent start to it,
with a pre-match get-together at Stafford’s Sun
Inn – home of fish finger sandwiches and beer at
£2.40 a pint.
So it was hard to tear ourselves away from the pub’s
real fire for the 30-minute trek to the Marston Road Stadium.
But we were glad we did!
Chester started well, with the added bonus of last season’s
hot goalscorer, Michael Wilde, sitting on the bench ready
to make a League return from his pre-season injury.
Hard-working Iain Howard got his name on the scoresheet
inside the first 15 minutes when he connected with a Matty
McGinn long throw to give Chester the lead they had been
Stafford had barely moved into the Chester half when they
2-0 behind. This time it was a Chris Simm and Michael
Powell combination which sent the 572 travelling fans
Rangers tried to get back into the match, but it became
an uphill challenge when they had Luke George sent off
for a stamp on Simm.
With Chester facing 10 men for the second half, Simm was
substituted on the 65th minute and Jamie Rainford came
on to replace him. He looked keen to make an impression
– with bright orange bootlaces which were impossible
Chester were still threatening and Rainford had a good
strike which went over the bar, followed soon after by
a Howard shot which hit the crossbar.
So it was no surprise when a great combination of midfield
passes saw Powell run into space and slot it home past
the 6ft 6ins Stafford goalkeeper, 17-year-old Sam Johnson.
Not long after and Blues fans
were cheering the return of Wilde, when he came on as
an 80th minute substitute. He was almost immediately
involved in a one-on-one with Johnson. But the young
loan ‘keeper saved his shot to deny Wilde his
dream League comeback.
When referee Craig Taylor blew for full-time, it was
the sixth win in a row for Chester and they’d
moved up to third in the table. Now that’s my
kind of away day. Can I have more next time, please?
Wilde made his much anticipated return to action as Chester
cruised to Cheshire Senior Cup victory over a Hyde side
reduced to ten men early on. The Blues bossed the match
against their Conference North opponents from the off
and had enough chances to put the entertaining tie beyond
doubt in the opening half.
Neil Young made a couple of changes from the side that
demolished Kendal in their last outing. New signing
Matt McGinn was ineligible and Robbie Booth dropped
to the bench, Jamie Rainford and Wes Baynes deputised.
Chester's first chance came in the opening ten minutes
when Chris Simm was unable to hold onto a Matt McNeil
through ball and the danger was cleared. The Blues had
the ball in the net on 15 minutes but Christian Smith’s,
headed effort was ruled out for offside.
Hyde were reduced to ten men on 15
minutes, Nathan Martin, who had been booked for a late
challenge in the opening minute received a second yellow
card when he fouled Simm on the edge of the box.
Chester looked to make their numerical
advantage count and passed the ball round well. Simm
just failed to latch onto a Baynes right wing cross
and midway through the half he had a couple of efforts
in as many minutes but put both wide of the target.
Goalkeeper David Carnell saved another Simm effort on
30 minutes as Chester dominated.
The home side created few chances
with Luke Mack shooting high and wide of John Danby’s
in one rare attack. Carnell was well placed to save
from Iain Howard as the midfielder latched onto a McNeil
Chester finally got the breakthrough
their efforts deserved two minutes before the break
as Michael Powell headed home a rebound after Carnell
had made another good save to deny Howard.
The Blues continued where they left
off after the break. Rainford tested the overworked
Carnell with a 25-yarder bur the keeper was well beaten
by Simm who saw his lob over him drift wide. Jerome
Wright returned from injury to replace Simm and forced
Carnell into a fingertip save within minutes of entering
Chester were almost made to pay for
their numerous missed chances when Danny Broadbent forced
Danby into a couple of saves with just over 20 minutes
With 17 minutes remaining Wilde came
on to replace McNeil for his first appearance of the
season since breaking his collar bone in pre-season.
Hyde had to reshuffle their pack after Carnell had to
be replaced with an outfield player, Andy Pearson, after
picking up an injury.
Nine minutes from time Rainford came
close to adding a second goals as he was unlucky to
see his long range effort cannon back off the base of
the post and three minutes from time Brownhill also
saw an effort hit the woodwork.
Chester finally wrapped up the tie
in added time when he back-heeled the ball home following
good approach play by Rainford and Baynes.
14 September Chester 4 Kendal Town 0
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Attendance: 2,029 Half Time 3-0
Chester: Danby, Brownhill, Smith, Taylor,
McGinn, Booth (Baynes 79), Brown (Barnes 90), Powell,
Howard, Simm (Rainford 53), McNeil. Subs not used: Wright,
Reed. Kendal Town: Dootson,
Walmsley, Wisdom, Tucker, Joseph, Donnelly, Leadbetter,
Jackson, Taylor (Curtis 46), Dillon (Kilford 46), Williams.
Subs not used: Baines, Klifin, Newton. Referee:
Alan Clayton (Hyde).
Chester made it four wins, and four clean sheets, on the
spin with this victory over Kendal Town.
Blues attacked from the start and opened the scoring
in the first minute as Christian Smith, playing in defence
to cover for the suspended George Horan, headed home
at the near post following a corner from Matty McGinn,
the Southport defender playing in the last match of
his loan period.
Just three minutes later McGinn himself
was on the scoresheet as he coolly stepped up to score
his fifth penalty (and sixth goal) after debutant Dan
Dillon handled a Michael Powell shot in the area.
The Blues dominated the early proceedings and Robbie
Booth would have added a third but for a good save from
the overworked Craig Dootson in the Kendal goal.
Kendal’s first effort of note
came after 17 minutes when Mark Jackson headed a Keiran
Walmsley free kick over the bar. The visitors began
to enjoy plenty of possession to get back into the game
but a third Chester goal, just after the half-hour,
all but finished them off.
Chris Simm did well to shield the
ball on half-way allowing McGinn to overlap down the
left and deliver a pinpoint cross for Matt McNeil to
convert from close range to the delight of the Chester
fans in the Harry Mac Terrace behind the goal.
The visitors made two changes at the
break and enjoyed plenty of the play but failed to pose
a threat to John Danby and the Chester goal.
Chester wrapped the game up in the
dying minutes as Iain Howard converted a pass from substitute
Wes Baynes from ten yards to cap an impressive all-round
third successive clean sheet for Chester who came away
from Worksop with a comfortable win following three second
half goals. Manager Neil Young kept faith with the side
that won at Ashton. It was the home side who belied their
lowly position to have the better of the opening period
and could easily have taken a lead into the interval.
Dennis Sheriff found himself unmarked
in the 13th minute but could only head Michael Whitwell’s
right wing cross wide with John Danby in the Blues goal
beaten. It was 25 minutes before Chester had an effort
though Matty McGinn’s 25-yarder failed to trouble
ex-City goalkeeper Jon Worsnop in the home goal. McNeil
headed wide after good approach play from Liam Brownhill
and Christian Smith saw an effort on target blocked
as he latched on to a Chris Simm pass.
Worksop had a great chance to open
the scoring eight minutes before the break as Michael
Whitwell raced through onto a Sherriff pass that split
the Blues defence. Danby came out but Whitwell slipped
his shot wide of both the keeper and the post. The only
other chance of the half fell to Robbie Booth who saw
an effort blocked.
Chester needed to up their game after
the break and they got off to a perfect start when Chris
Wood deflected a Worsnop clearance into his own net
following a long McGinn throw-in into the box that George
Horan flicked goalwards.
Worksop almost grabbed an equaliser
on the hour mark as Whitwell headed against the crossbar
before McNeil set up Boots who pulled his shot wide
from 15 yards. Chester began to get on top, Steve Gardner
headed a McNeil effort off the line before Chester added
a second goal seven minutes from time as Worsnop fouled
McNeil in the box to concede a penalty. McGinn stepped
up to score his fourth penalty, and fifth goal, in six
Wes Baynes replaced Booth with five
minutes remaining and waster no time in scoring his
first goal for the club shooting past Worsnop from 12
yards to seal the victory that sees Chester move fourth.
7 September Ashton United 0 Chester 2
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Attendance: 528 Half Time 0-2
Booked: -. Ashton United:
Smith, Harrop, Frost, Rimmer, Rose (Dawson 58), Murphy
(Smith 70), Bennett, Wright (Bathurst 80), Burns, Amadi,
Lambert. Subs not used: Cahill, Madeley. Chester:
Danby, Brownhill, Taylor, Horan, McGinn, Booth (Barnes
83), Smith, Powell, Howard, Simm (Reed 81), McNeil (Rainford
65). Subs not used: Brown, Baynes. Referee:
Paul Marsden (Lancashire).
moved fourth after this hard earned victory over a good
Ashton side in atrocious conditions at Hurst Cross. After
heavy rain earlier in the day the pitch was passed fit
in the afternoon though by the time kick-off had arrived
more heavy downpours and the long grass combined to make
conditions heavy going.
It was indeed the conditions that contributed to Chester
opening the scoring after just 20 seconds as Chris Simm
took full advantage of a slip by Kyle Harrop to latch
on to Iain Howard’s through ball to curve a shot
past Terry Smith (sic) in the home goal from a narrow
angle. Moments later a fine save from Smith denied the
in-form striker a second goal as Chester pressed.
At the other end John Danby
was kept busy saving from both Danny Lambert and Chris
Amadi as both sides to their credit tried to play football
as best they could.
Robbie Booth created a great chance for himself on 23
minutes but pulled his shot wide of the right post. Dandy
did well to keep out a long range Ashton effort before
on-loan defender Matty McGinn doubled the lead seven minutes
before the break, as he sent Smith the wrong way from
the penalty spot after Howard had been brought down by
after the break. Liam Brownhill saw a dangerous cross
cleared from the six-yard line and Simm went close to
adding a third as Smith saved his overhead kick in style
following another Brownhill cross, and the striker also
sent a header over the bar when unmarked. The Blues
continued to press and saw out the match with out any
real threat to Danby’s goal, the only real scare
coming when Amadi shot over from 18 yards.
3 September Chester 6 North Ferriby United
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Attendance: 2,150 Half Time 2-0
Booked: Simm, Horan. Chester:
Danby, Brownhill, Taylor, Horan (Barnes 73), McGinn, Booth,
Smith, Powell, Howard, Simm (Reed 78), McNeil (Rainford
60). Subs not used: Baynes, Judge. North Ferriby United:
Wilson, Williams, Greaves, Foot, Peat, Harsley, Morley
(Jackman 71), Fry, Brooksby, Bradshaw, Larkin. Subs not
used: Stirland, Leonard. Referee:
Natalie Walker (Preston).
were still smarting from the debacle of the Lord Mayor’s
show at Nantwich and North Ferriby suffered the backlash.
The visitors came to Chester as losing play-off semi-finalists
last season and on the back of some good results this
but they were swept aside by the rampant Blues.
Monday’s late arrivals Simm and Howard were re-instated
to the starting line-up and both were instrumental as
Chester gained a stranglehold on the game.
First Simm had a bullet of a shot parried by Wilson
before the forward made no mistake a few minutes later
as McGinn’s long throw eluded everyone to find
Simm in space with time to smash home a half volley
from twelve yards out.
The Villagers’ manager cannot have been happy
with the defensive cover for the opening goal and must
have been tearing his hair out when City doubled the
advantage from the same source. This time McGinn’s
throw found Howard who hooked the ball over his shoulder
and into the corner of the net. Though Wilson was beaten
this time he leapt athletically to tip a screamer from
Howard out of the top corner a few moments later.
Although the visitors were well organised and played
an attractive passing football they could make little
inroads against a solid City defence with Taylor playing
securely alongside Horan and Smith sitting just in front
to break up any threats of a North Ferriby fight back.
A few minutes after half time the game turned as the
visitors sought to grab a goal back. A long ball out
to Brooksby on the right saw him race into the area
and his low cross was met by Morley whose shot thumped
against the angle of post and bar. A few moments later
a natty bit of footwork by Howard carved out some space
and he curled the perfect ball down the left wing to
release Simm. The lean forward outstripped Foot, the
Ferriby captain and Simm poked his shot past Wilson
from a narrow angle. Although Danby was forced to make
a brilliant reflex save shortly afterwards, the result
was now not in doubt.
City kept coming forward hungry to make good their poor
showing on Monday. Horan went close with a couple of
headers before he was replaced by Barnes, Smith dropped
back into defence. Bradley was all smiles when he swivelled
to lash home Simm’s cross with virtually his first
touch of the ball, he was clearly glad to be back in
the action and his goal was the perfect fillip. Shortly
afterwards the Villagers were undone for the fifth time
when Brownhill’s cross field ball found Booth
who cut in from the left and blasted a shot in from
the edge of the area.
Rainford came on to replace McNeill and again showed
his ability, after a flurry of attacking play when the
visitors could not clear the ball, he clipped a shot
from the corner of the area which came back off the
bar. As McGinn tried to gather the rebound he was bundled
over and referee Natalie Walker pointed to the spot.
McGinn dusted himself down to score his second spot
kick of the season.
The scoring was complete, the defeat to Nantwich had
been well and truly exorcised by this comprehensive
victory. The Blues now need to take this kind of form
away on their travels, beginning at Ashton on Wednesday.