DEFENCE UNDER ATTACK
Kevin Ratcliffe had some harsh words for his defenders
following Saturday’s 4-2 defeat at Rotherham.
“The first goal came because Flicker gave the
ball away. We didn’t block the cross, Spenner’s
missed the header and Julian hasn’t been covering.
The second is when we have cleared a corner and let
the lad drill the ball back in. The third disgusted
me. It started on the left and finished on the left
with some of the lads walking. The fourth is
their only attack of the second half and they’ve
Sounds like nothing’s been learned
from the previous Saturday’s defeat at Field Mill at
all. Ratcliffe has stated he is looking for new players
but won’t be rushed into any signings. No news about
Dave Higgins so I assume he’s decided to stay at Barrow.
One things for sure, the defence, which was so solid
last season will have to start working together as a
unit right now, City can ill-afford to leak goals as
they have in the last couple of weeks against two average
(though better than us on the day) sides. Some of the
defenders (if not all) will find themselves in the reserve
side at home to Chesterfield on Wednesday night.
At least at Millmoor striker John
Murphy impressed again laying on both goals, and
may find himself in the starting line up against seventh
placed Hartlepool this Saturday. Meanwhile Ross Davidson
is having treatment for a groin injury but is expected
to be fit for the weekend.
25 September 1997
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Strikers Stuart Rimmer, Jonathan
Jones, John Murphy and Rod Thomas all scored in City’s
4-3 reserve win last night at Doncaster to remind manager
Kevin Ratcliffe that there’s plenty of striking power
in the wings at City. Summer signing Rod Thomas will be
hoping for a recall soon after being dropped from the
side following City’s 3-0 defeat at his former club Carlisle
on August 26. He came on for Neil Fisher at Mansfield,
and may yet make the starting line-up on Saturday when
the Blues travel to Rotherham. I wouldn’t be surprised
either to see the return of Gary Shelton to bolster City’s
midfield. With both Shaun Reid and Matt Woods out with
long-term injuries, and more disappointing performances
from Neil Fisher and Nick Richardson at Field Mill it
must be time for a change.
24 September 1997
RIMMER ON COMEBACK TRAIL
||Stuart Rimmer, turns out
for Chester reserves at Doncaster tonight for his
first game since injuring a hamstring against Carlisle
on August 12th. Assistant manager Gary Shelton will
take charge at Belle Vue and the midfield
veteran is expected to play.
Meanwhile midfielder Shaun Reid has returned home
from a week recuperating at the invitation of his
brother Peter at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.
“It was brilliant,” said Reid, who is
hoping to be playing again by Christmas. “The
Stadium of Light is the best in England and I had
the use of the gymnasium and all the other treatments
to aid my recovery. I still get a lot of pain in
the knee but I don’t mind that as long as
I know it’s getting better. The doctors are
amazed at how quickly I’ve recovered but they
always err on the side of caution and have told
me to slow down.” added the midfielder.
22 September 1997
BLUES PICK UP THE PIECES
City manager Kevin Ratcliffe (like the rest
of us present) was stunned at Saturday’s Mansfield fiasco, coming as it
did just days after a fine display at Ninian Park. He said: “I think
some of the players think they are better than they are. We were near perfect
at Cardiff, but I think in the past the signs have been there that when
other teams were having a good day we’d get punished. To win four games
on the run at this level is a big ordeal. There’s not many teams that do
it and hopefully our lads have learned that you just can’t go out there
and think it’s going to happen.”
He’s admitted he hasn’t got the money to go out and buy players after Saturday,
but knows there are obvious areas that need strengthening. It’s City’s
midfield that’s causing headaches at the moment. Nick Richardson, who’s
been playing on a week-to-week contract until he prove his fitness is due
to have contract talks this week, but has been very disappointing since
recovering from injury last season. Despite an encouraging pre-season,
Neil Fisher still, after Saturday’s display has a lot to prove. City now
have the week to recover from their mauling at Mansfield before journeying
to Rotherham for Saturday’s Division Three fixture.
19 September 1997
CITY LOOK TO CONTINUE SUCCESS
Chester travel to Mansfield
tomorrow looking for their fourth win and clean
sheet in a row. Field Mill is one of City’s more
lucrative grounds, with wins there on their last three
visits. John Murphy will partner Gary Bennett (who celebrates
his 35th birthday tomorrow) up front as the Blues look
to continue their push up the table. Rod McDonald has
resumed training following his illness, though probably
won’t be in contention for a place tomorrow.
Chester City (probable): Sinclair, Davidson, Jenkins,
Richardson, Whelan, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, Murphy,
Flitcroft, Fisher. Subs from: McDonald, Thomas, Jones,
Mansfield Town (from): Bowling, Ford, Harper, Watkiss,
Eustace, Hackett, Doolan, Schofield, Sedgemore, Clarke,
Christie, Whitehall, Williams, Kerr, Milner.
18 September 1997
WOODS OUT FOR EIGHT WEEKS
Matt Woods will be out of action
for two months after it was diagnosed he has medial knee
ligament damage. Fortunately there is no damage to his
cartilage and he didn’t undergo any operation. His
leg is now in a brace and that will be followed by three
weeks in plaster. Woods’ injury will mean a recall
at Mansfield for Nick Richardson who was dropped for the
last two matches, Saturday may also see a return for veteran
Gary Shelton. Meanwhile Rod McDonald has tonsillitis and
has been told to stay away from The Deva, so we are likely
to see John Murphy once again partnering Gary Bennett
YOUTH TEAM TRIUMPH
Congratulations to Chester City’s
Youth team who beat Barnsley Youth 2-1 at the Deva in the first
round of the FA Youth Cup with goals from Phil Patterson and
Matty McKay. City will now be away to either Marine or Scunthorpe
in round two.
17 September 1997
INJURY JINX STRIKES AGAIN
Matt Woods may be out of action
for some time after being carried off in last night’s win at
Cardiff. Woods lasted only 12 minutes before receiving a serious
knee injury. He was dropped off at the Grosvenor Nuffield on
the way back and was seeing a specialist today. Until the specialists
report it’s a case of wait and see for the young defender.
Meanwhile manager Kevin Ratcliffe today
singled out Chris Priest for special praise following victory
at Ninian Park: “He was absolutely outstanding and I
don’t know where he gets his energy from. If someone was
watching him last night I’m sure they’d be interested.”
Defenders Julian Alsford and Ross Davidson
got the City goals, despite most national papers and the television
giving the second goal from the penalty spot to Gary Bennett.
City’s change kit will feature white
shorts now and not black. Too many players have complained
that the kit which has a black/green shirt looks too much like
the referee’s. It was the club’s decision to change though
not that of the officials. Added the manager: “We had
problems at Scunthorpe in the reserves last week and
the ref had to wear a bib!”
16 September 1997
BLUES LOOKING FOR FIRST AWAY POINTS
Chester take on Cardiff City
tonight looking for their first away points of the season,
and the Bluebirds, who haven’t lost in the league this
season will be tough opposition.
Rod McDonald is doubtful after battling through saturday’s
victory with a chest infection. If that doesn’t clear
up, then John Murphy will probably make the starting line-up.
Matt Woods is likely to retain the number four shirt ahead
of Cardiff old-boy Nick Richardson.
Chester City (probable): Sinclair, Davidson, Jenkins,
Woods, Whelan, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, McDonald, Flitcroft,
Fisher. Subs from: Murphy, Richardson, Thomas, Jones.
Cardiff City (probable): Hallworth, Jarman, Beech, Young,
Harris, Fowler, O’Sullivan, Stoker, Greenacre, White,
Partridge. Subs: Eckhardt, Roberts, Carss.
15 September 1997
CITY CHASING BARRY HORNE
Manager Kevin Ratcliffe has admitted that he
has tried to bring Birmingham City midfielder Barry Horne on a three month
loan to the Deva Stadium. “I rang Trevor Francis asking if I could
take Barry on loan but he said no. I know Barry and I know he would do
a good job for us. He’s the right kind of midfielder for us and as I’ve
said before I’m always looking to improve and strengthen the squad.” Birmingham
are believed to have had other enquiries for the 35-year-old hence their
refusal to let him go on a loan deal. Horne was named the new PFA Chairman
at the weekend, and would be seen as an ideal replacement for the injured
Meanwhile, City have offered Dave Higgins a deal to
come to City on a non-contract basis until they’ve had a further look
The Blues take on Cardiff City tomorrow night in
a rearranged game at Ninian Park. Rod McDonald, with a chest infection
is the only injury worry. If your going to the match tomorrow night why
not send in a match report or your views on City’s performance.
13 September 1997
MILNER JOINS HEREFORD ON LOAN
Striker Andy Milner has joined Vauxhall Conference
side Hereford United on a month’s loan, making his debut in the 2-2 draw
with Northwich Victoria on Saturday. If all goes well, he will sign a permanent
deal at the end of that period. City are believed to be asking between £10,000
and £15,000 for his services. Milner has found it increasingly difficult
to break into the starting line-up, following the summer signing of Gary
Bennett and return of form (before injury) of Stuart Rimmer as well as
Rod McDonald, and John Murphy who are all fighting for places in the forward
CITY OUT TO TAME SHREWS
Chester will have an unchanged team when they face
Shrewsbury Town at the Deva tomorrow. Matt Woods will continue in the middle
of midfield alongside Chris Priest while Nick Richardson and Rod Thomas
will have to settle for places on the bench.
City will be looking to continue their home form which
has seen them gain seven out of nine points so far, while the Shrews
have yet to get a point on their travels losing 1-0 at Lincoln City and
4-3 at Cambridge United. They kept their first clean sheet of the season
in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Rochdale.
Ex-City favourite Roger Preece hopes to be at the game
though he takes charge of a youth team match in the morning at Gay Meadow.
He’s still suffering from a knee injury that he got pre-season but hopes
to be back in the side when Chester visit Shropshire in January. If he
does make it to the Deva tomorrow, he can be sure of a warm welcome back
from the City fans.
Chester City (probable): Sinclair, Davidson, Jenkins,
Whelan, Alsford, Flitcroft, Priest, Woods, Fisher, Bennett, McDonald. Subs
: Murphy, Thomas, Richardson.
Shrewsbury (probable): Edwards, Taylor, Dempsey, Herbert, Wilding, Brown,
Evans, Scott, Currie, Steele, Jagielka. Subs from: Ward, Searbury, Berkley,
10 September 1997
JENKS ON THE BENCH
Chester defender Iain Jenkins will start on the
bench for Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifier in Zurich tonight against
CITY LOOK AT HIGGINS
Dave Higgins is expected to turn out for Chester
reserves at Scunthorpe tonight. Tonight’s game will be Higgins’ third in
four days. He played for Barrow on Sunday and again last night against
Accrington. City manager Kevin Ratcliffe will also be making an appearance
to keep a close eye on the defender.
5 September 1997
CITY LOOKING FOR FRIDAY NIGHT BOOST
Chester take on Mark Hateley’s
Hull City tonight looking for a win to boost confidence
around the Deva Stadium. It’s not been the best start
to the season for either side but Hull will no doubt be
buoyed by their remarkable 7-4 victory over Swansea last
Iain Jenkins skippers the side before meeting up with
the Northern Ireland squad for next week’s World Cup qualifier
against Albania. “I’m alright to play because it’s
five days before the game,” said Jenkins.
An injury to Glyn Hodges may force Mark Hateley to turn
out for The Tigers.
Chester City (from): Sinclair, Davidson, Jenkins, Alsford,
Whelan, Flitcroft, Woods, Priest, Richardson, Fisher,
Thomas, Milner, Bennett, Murphy, McDonald.
Hull City (from): Thomson, Greaves, Wright, Dewhurst,
Brien, Rioch, Mann, Joyce, Peacock, Darby, Hodges, Hateley,
The Sovereign Way path to the Deva Stadium is closed until
further notice (probable February). Royal Mail are carrying
out work on a new sorting office and fans are advised
to walk down Bumper’s Lane to the ground. A link road
will eventually run from Sovereign Way to Bumpers Lane.
3 September 1997
CITY TAKE HIGGINS ON TRIAL
Chester City have taken former Tranmere defender
36-year-old Dave Higgins on a month’s trial. He has been training with
the Blues for a week. League rules state that as he’s on trial he can’t
play in League games, so will be given a chance to impress for the City
reserves. Rochdale are also believed to be keen on signing him.
Higgins has made over 400 league and cup appearances for the Prenton Park
side and could be just the sort of experience City currently need in the
heart of the defence. He is currently on non-contract terms at Barrow.
Manager Kevin Ratcliffe has stressed that something needs to be done to
stop silly mistakes that have seen four sloppy goals, including two penalties,
conceded in a matter of days.
2 September 1997
Chester City will now play Hull City this coming
Friday 5th September kick off 7.30pm
1 September 1997
DEFENDERS NOT TO BLAME
manager Kevin Ratcliffe refuses to blame central defenders
Spencer Whelan (left) and Julian Alsford for the 2-1 defeat
at Barnet on Saturday. Both were at fault for the goals,
Spenner giving away a penalty and Alsford slipping to
let in Sean Devine for the winner a minute later.
According to the manager: “We
did play well in all departments but again stupid
mistakes let us down. And if we keep making these mistakes,
then as manager I’ll have to do something about
it. We threw away three points in what was one of our
easiest games of the season. We’ve gifted them
two goals - although the first one was debatable.”
City travel to Glanford Park tomorrow
night to take on a Scunthorpe side who have started the season
well, and Ratcliffe may keep to the same 11 that started at
Underhill on Saturday. Goals from Dave Flitcroft and Chris
Priest gave City a 2-0 win on their last visit to Scunthorpe
Saturday’s game, along
with the rest of the League fixture list has been cancelled
due to the funeral of Diana Princess of Wales.