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Saturday 25 September 1999
Chester City 1 Lincoln City 3

Chester City: Brown, Davidson, Doughty, Lancaster, Woods (Berry 70), Wright, Blackwood (Jones 79), Nash, Fisher (Milosavijevic 70), Agogo, Beckett. Subs not used; Cutler, Malone.
Lincoln City: Richardson, Blimson, Welsh, Barnett, Fleming, Philpott (Gain 90), Peacock, Finnigan, MIller, Gordon, Thorpe (Stant 85). Subs not used; Turner, Marriott, Brown.
Referee: A.Butler (Weston-super-Mare).

Despite a bright opening 45 minutes, some sloppyl defending eventually led to another home defeat. City kept to their five man defence with debutant Martin Nash coming in for flu victim Nick Richardson at right back. Both Andy and Gary Shelton were missing as was Shaun Reid.

Chester had the better of the opening chances with Darren Wright going close with a lob before the first defensive blunder of the afternoon brought about the first goal. A harmless through ball down the right was left by Martyn Lancaster for the on-coming Wayne Brown, who, in turn was no doubt expecting the usually dependable defender to clear the danger. Brown misses the ball entirely leaving Imps player Gavin Gordon the simplest task of walking the ball into an empty net - he won't score a simpler goal.

The lead lasted just sixty seconds before Chester were level with a wonderful curling equaliser from on-loan Martin Blackwood. Junior Agogo and Luke Beckett both tested the visiting 'keeper before half-time and just before the break nash put Blackwood through but he shot tamely at 'keeper Richardson.

Brown partly made up for the earlier error when he brilliantly saved from point-blank range to deny Peacock on the stroke of half-time.

Following the break Lincoln began to take control Both Philpott and Gordon were given too much space to create chances, and the visitors took the lead on 69 minutes. The City defence failed to clear and the ball was headed across the six yard box for Lee Thorpe to score with an overhead kick.

Agogo forced a fine save from Richardson as Chester looked for the second equaliser but they were caught cold by a killer goal five minutes fmo time. A long clearance down field was heading straight for Lancaster who allowed the blall to slip under his feet paving the way for veteran striker Phil Stant, who had only been on the field for a minute, to wrap up all three points.
Tuesday 21 September 1999 Worthington Cup 2nd Round 2nd Leg
Aston Villa 5 Chester City 0

Aston Villa: Enckleman, Watson, Southgate, Ehoogu, Boateng, Taylor, Dublin, Thompson, Barry, Hendrie, Vassell. Subs: Oakes, Merson, Stone, Joachim, Samuel.
Chester City: Brown, Davidson, Lancaster, Woods, Doughty, A.Shelton (Berry), Richardson, Milosavijevic (Jones), Beckett, Wright, Fisher (Carson). Subs not used: Cutler, Malone.
Referee: S.Mathieson.

Well it is a crap competition after all....!!!!

To be honest we were totally overwhelmed by Villa tonight. Their midfield ran us ragged and we did not have a shot before our penalty.

It must be said this was the turning point of the entire tie, who knows what may have happened if the referee had not made the most bizarre decision of the season? The match was delicately poised at Villa 5 (6) Chester 0....fully 20 minutes left and Chester were given a penalty. Up steps cool hand Luke to despatch it calmly, grab the ball and smile at the adoring faithful...we were back in the tie!! No, short arse referee says re-take it for encroachment! Incredible, pointless, stupid, pathetic.

Gareth Southgate, to his credit, questioned why it needed to be taken again!! I was in an executive box and saw the replay on a tv, both Chester and Villa players encroached...and the Goalie moved for the second penalty.

Why do these men officiate, they obviously have no love or feel for the game? Villa fans said it was an awful decision! Can anyone younger than about 80 remember the last time a penalty was disallowed for encroachment? The mind boggles. We came out of the game with credit, bloody hell we all feared the worst when we conceded 3 in 5 minutes after half time. We worked tirelessly (as did the fans behind the goal...tremendous effort).

Darren Wright had a blinder at right back and Matt Woods and Martyn Lancaster did not give Dion Dublin a sniff. Villa were totally full strength, which is a real compliment to City...well done boys, now lets concentrate on the league.

Saturday 18 September 1999
Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Chester City 3

Brighton & Hove Albion: Walton, Wilder, Campbell, Cullip, Crosby (McPherson 45), Watson, Ridgers, Thomas (Armstrong 39), Johnson (Newhouse 74), Freeman, Hart. Subs not used: Hobson, Cameron.
Chester City: Brown, Davidson, Lancaster, Woods, Doughty, Wright, Richardson, Milosavijevic (Fisher 60), Blackwood (A.Shelton 60), Beckett, Agogo. Subs not used: Cutler, Jones, Berry.
Referee: R.Beeby (Northampton).

A 94th minute strike by on-loan Junior Agogo sealed the points for City bringing their first win of the season and their first-ever victory at Brighton.

City came from behind to grab the winner despite being reduced to ten men following the sending off of Ross Davidson three minutes from time for a second bookable offence. It brought to an end an extraordinary second 45 minutes in the surreal surroundings of Withdene Stadium, the home fans shielded from he rain in blue and white plastic poncho's.

Albion fielded three ex-City players in Rod Thomas and Andy Crosby with Aidan Newhouse also on the bench. For City, playing in all amber, there was a return for the two on-loan players Junior Agogo and Michael Blackwood.

It was Brighton who had the better of the opening exchange. It took just three minutes for Freeman to cut inside and force a good save from Brown who tipped over his shot. Brown was soon again in the action, this time conceeding another corner as Brighton again attacked down the left flank. Rod Thomas showed little in the home attack and when he did threaten Ross Davidson was on hand to mop things up at the back.

Freeman again came close from a corner heading straight at the overworked Brown in the City goal.

Luke Beckett had City's first real effort on goal when he broke the offside trap only to lob wide of the goal. Beckett again had a chance to open the scoring following a fine through ball from Agogo to Darren Wright. His cross was met by Beckett who was off balance and he shot tamely at the keeper. Beckett again went close, hitting the side netting, after cutting inside City old-boy Crosby.

Ten minutes after the break Albion took the lead through Gary Hart. he was put through on the left and turned Lancaster before rounding Wayne Brown who had raced out to the edge of the box and slotted the ball home. City made a double substitution with Andy Shelton and Neil Fisher coming on for Milosaijevic and Blackwood.

Hart his the post for Brighton when it seemed easier to score and minutes later Luke Beckett levelled for City shooting powerfully home after this initial headed had rebounded back to him off Albion debutant Cullip, this only seconds after Agogo had hit the woodwork from an acute angle.

City then took the lead in bizarre circimstances as keeper Walton's clearance rebounded off defender Watson and looped in to the net.

On 82 minutes Cullip equalised for Albion heading home anchallenged from a free kcik, leaving Brown with no chance.

With three minutes remaining, Davidson who'd been cautioned in the first half for a foul on Freeman was shown red for squaring up to Hart.

City's winner came from Agogo who, put clear down the left by Fisher, cut inside before shooting home and sending the 200 or so City fans into raptures. There was barely time for a kick-off before the City team and chairman came over to greet the supporters at the final whistle.
Tuesday 14 September 1999 Worthington Cup 2nd Round 1st Leg
Chester City 0 Aston Villa 1

Chester City: Brown, Davidson, Lancaster, Woods, A.Shelton, Richardson, Milovaijevic (Berry 84), Fisher, Doughty, Beckett, Wright. Subs not used: Cutler, Jones, Malone, Carson.
Aston Villa: Enckelman, Ehiogu, Calderwood, Barry, Watson, Taylor, Hendrie, Thompson, Ghrayib, Merson (Vassell 67), Joachim. Subs not used: Boateng, Draper, Samuel, Oakes.
Referee: J.Kirkby (Sheffield).

My God, we played well!! Talk about fight.

I was proud to be a Chester fan tonight. I have been, and will likely remain, a fierce critic of the way Smith handled the Ratcliffe situation. However the pride he and the coaching staff are instilling into the team is beginning to show in their attitude and play. We fought like lions last night, against a virtually full strength Villa side.

We lost 1-0 of course, Wayne so unlucky to see his brilliant penalty save fired past him on the rebound.

That apart he only had one real save to make!!! No one told our boys we are bottom of the pile. The defence was excellent with Ross and Lancaster snuffing out the lively Joachim. I must once more stress how absolutely brilliant Matt Doughty is. The kid was a colossus. He defended with aplomb, aggression, athleticism and speed. Steve Watson looked embarassed against him. By the end of the game it was Watson doing the defending as Doughty went on surging runs.

Please someone tell me he is on a very long contract because the lad is total quality, he is already the finished article. Goran the Volleyball had a nice first half, but tired visibly in the second....a slight question to the coaches, couldn't he have been taken off before his loss of mind, perhaps the combative Danny Carson in there instead?

Nick Richardson and Darren Wright must have covered every blade of grass....they never stopped and if they carry on, we will have no worries. Luke always looked eager against two men mountains in Calderwood and the very impressive Ugo...well done indeed. Overall a great night for the Blues, and roll on the luxury of a Villa box next Tuesday. One last thought........Villa will be close to full strength next week, a real pat on the back for us.....if they are not......Who knows???

Saturday 11 September 1999
Chester City 1 Exeter City 1

Chester City: Brown, Moss, Davidson, Lancaster, Woods, Blackwood, Wright (A.Shelton 82), Richardson, Doughty (Cross 62), Agogo (Fisher 88), Beckett. Subs not used: Cutler, Berry.
Exeter City: Naylor, Richardson, Gittens, Dewhurst, Power, Breslan (Curran 52), Rees, Holloway, Nyamah (Speakman 65), Alexander, McConnell (Flack 52). Subs not used: Gale, Matthews.
Referee: M.Cowburn (Blackpool).

So near. Didn't we do well, as Brucie used to say!

We had more chances than you could shake a stick at, the new formation looked more solid, with Ross absolutely outstanding.

I saw Matt Doughty at the Warrington game pre-season, and was amazed at his ability for one so young, and Foggy really rates him, his tackling and work rate are excellent..he must be given a run in the side. Junior Agogo showed some excellent touches and held it up well, especially in the second half. Luke was fabulous as ever scoring one and missing two more, I would have lost my mortgage on his first chance. The side had a balance to it and I am a little more hopeful.

However one swallow and all that.....It must be said that the Third Division is absolutely woeful, this season, even more galling that we are bottom of the heap. Exeter were a poor outfit, unbelievable that they were second in the table. Chester should have been, and deserved to be, several goals up before the usual last minute equaliser.

Can anyone explain why the goalscorer was not sent off after having a yellow-card, he clattered into Junior from behind. The referee was not doing his job, he patently did not follow the rules. Surely it is time that referees HAD to explain their actions in post-match interviews...we do seem to get the cream of the crap at our games!!

Still major improvement, bring on the Villa..they must be quaking!!!

P.S I have just received news that I am in luxury box for the away leg...HURRAH for me.

Friday 3 September 1999
Hull City 2 Chester City 1

Hull City: Bracey, Mann, Harper, Whittle, Edwards, Greaves, D'Auria, Williams (Harris 63), Brabin, Eyre, Brown (Wood 86). Subs not used: Baker, Swales, Schofield.
Chester City: Brown, Davidson (Wright 68), Lancaster, Woods, Cross, Fisher (Berry 50), Richardson, A.Shelton, Blackwood, Agogo, Beckett. Subs not used: Cutler, Moss, Jones.
Referee: K.Hill (Royston).

From a Hull City web site:

Two superbly taken goals by John Eyre secured City’s first win of the season. In front of an excellent crowd of just over 6,000 the Tigers played some good football, although in the final analysis this wasn’t as convincing a win as it should have been. Chester offered little, although their two forward players were always a threat, but typically City made hard work of beating the worst team that we have played this season. That said there was some lovely flowing football from the Tigers, especially in the first half when it looked as though they would run Chester ragged. The visitors were desperately short of pace at the back, but with Jason Harris on the bench City didn’t really exploit that weakness.

Warren Joyce again preferred Gareth Williams up front, and although he did well, he is much more effective playing in a left sided midfield role. David Brown carried on his good form, and the fit again John Eyre looked very sharp. Neil Mann made some good runs from midfield, but was unable to produce an end result after doing all the hard work. At the back Whittle was again outstanding, whilst Mark Greaves had an excellent second half. Special mention must also go to Lee Bracey who thankfully broke his three game streak of conceding penalties. The negatives were that Brabin was again disappointing and Mike Edwards to had a poor game.

City started well and played some crisp football, although the Chester keeper wasn’t really threatened. It looked as though it was going to be another frustrating game when Chester went ahead against the run of play. Nick Richardson scored with a cracking half volley which gave Bracey no chance.

The Tigers carried on playing neat attacking football and Eyre almost got them level but the keeper pulled off a good stop. But Eyre wasn’t to be denied and in the 35th minute he scored the equaliser. Williams sent him away down the left. Eyre showed great pace and strength to hold off the full back, he cut inside and smacked the ball under the keeper. It was a clinical piece of finishing and showed what a class player Eyre really is.

Moments later City should have had a penalty when Brown was upended in the box, but half time came with the Tigers failing to create any further chances, although they were still knocking the ball about well.

City had dominated the first half, but Chester came more into the game during the second 45 minutes. Chances though were at a premium and on the hour mark the manager finally made the substitution that he should have made well beforehand. Harris came on for Williams, and he set up Eyre almost straight away, but the keeper made another good save.

With just 12 minutes left City finally got the winner, and it was almost a carbon copy of the first goal. Eyre showed great pace down the left before easily beating the keeper from the angle of the six yard box.

There was still time for Harris to put a shot wide, before Brabin hit the post when he was presented with a free header. The players deserved the ovation they received at the final whistle, although there were still some questions asked after the game about tactics and selections.

All the same it was a relief to get that first win, now we just have to hope that City can build on the momentum and start stringing a decent run of results together.

Craig– Ed

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