Monday 30 August 1999
Chester City 0 Rochdale
Chester City: Brown,
Moss, Davidson, Woods, Cross,Wright, A.Shelton, Richardson,
Fisher (Doughty 55), Jones (Berry 51), Beckett. Subs
not used: Cutler, Blackburn, Carson.
Rochdale: Edwards; Evans, Hill. Bayliss, Stokes
(Jones 84), Ford (Carden 86), Flitcroft, Peake, Atkinson, Platt,
Lancashire. Subs not used: Priestly, Morris, Monnington.
Referee: C.Foy (St Helens).
Just when you thought things couldn't
get any worse! The match as a contest was well and
truly over when referee Chris Foy sent Darren Moss
off for a second bookable offence. Moss's first booking
had been for needlessly tapping the ball away at a
throw in, his second offence was to go in too zealously
on Keith Hill who proceeded to kick him while he was
on the ground. On first sight the tackle didn't appear
to merit a booking so the decision seemed harsh.
We all felt Hill had got away lightly with just a yellow
Mr Foy had booked four players, all
from City, in the first half. All of them technically
correct, but all of them might have been let go on
another day with another official. As the crowd bayed
its displeasure at the ref, I heard the clang of metal
on concrete. While I wondered what that could have
been, the next thing I saw was Ernie on the pitch and
grabbing the referee by the neck. I realised that he
must have rushed through the gate (Hence the clang)
but just could not believe what I was seeing. I can
only imagine that Ernie, who I had been talking to
before the game about the Torquay match, just "lost
it". It's a crying shame that no-one held him
back and saved him from himself, the club from bad
publicity and the ref from a sore neck.
As for the match itself it
was literally men against boys. Chester hardly got
a look in and Rochdale should have had six or seven.
Lancashire, back on the ground where he scored the
winner in that pulsating match against Preston in 1993,
was guilty of missing at least four clear chances.
Brown, to his credit, made a superb save to deny him
on one of those occasions. But he could not prevent
the inevitable Rochdale goal before half time. Flitcroft
crossed for Platt, in acres of space, to nod on to
Ford who crossed for Atkinson to score with a bullet
header. It seemed that Rochdale could break through
our defence at will as we seemed to be chasing shadows
all the time.
Platt, on loan from Walsall, put
us out of our misery midway through the second half
when he was found all on his own by Peake's cross field
ball he went on to score with a deflected shot off
At half time the crowd were introduced
to the novelty of a radio mike. Cleggy was able to
announce the winning number in the half time draw as
soon as Spencer Whelan (Distinguished guest for the
day) pulled it out of the hat.
Less welcome was the new idea of
playing music while there was a break in the play namely
Matty Woods lying unconscious on the pitch and Fisher
receiving attention after a clattering tackle. May
be the idea is to play something stirring when Chester
score a goal as other teams do and as it looked
like we were never going to score, well while players
were lying comatose seemed a compromise solution. Most
of us would put up with this minor irritation as long
as we were able to welcome some new signings with the
experience to get us off the bottom of the table.
The Roman soldier made a reappearance this
time throwing sweets to the children in the crowd.
Someone shouted out that he'd been locked up for doing
After the game it was back to the
social club to reflect on Ernie's moment of madness
and the possible repurcussions for the club. There
I found at least half a dozen others stoically sipping
orange juices and mineral water the club had
not applied to renew it's licence last February and
had become the pub with no beer.
Saturday 28 August 1999
Torquay United 2 Chester City
Torquay United: Southall,
Tully, Aggrey, Watson, Russell, Herrera, Brandon, Healy,
O'Brien, Bedeau (Simb 83), Williams. Subs not used: Hill,
Neil, Platts, Northmore.
Chester City: Brown, Moss, Davidson, Woods, Cross,
Wright, A.Shelton, Richardson, Fisher, Jones (Berry 63), Beckett.
Subs not used: Cutler, Doughty. Blackburn, Carson.
Referee: P.Walton (Northants).
A goal nine minutes from time by
Paul Berry brought City's first point of the season
after the Blues had lost an early lead at a scorching
The talk in the excellent 'Boots
and Laces' pub before the match was all about City's
Worthington Cup draw which pares them with Aston Villa
and should guarantee a bumper pay-out day. But
before City can look forward to a visit from their
Premiership opponents there is the more serious business
of picking up League points.
Without Shaun Reid, who is expected
to be out for up to three months following his broken
jaw, City moved Neil Fisher into midfield with Ross
Davidson reverting back to full back. They also took
the field sporting a garish mix of home shirt and away
shorts/socks with Wayne Brown draped in a spare red
Torquay goalkeepers journey.
Indeed it was Fisher who had City'
first chance on six minutes when he was put clean through
only to shoot straight at home keeper Southall.
However it wasn't long before a fine
Darren Wright through ball caught the home defence
square again allowing the lively Luke Beckett to sneak
through and shoot home despite the outstretched hand
of Southall deflecting the ball into the far corner.
Beckett and Jon Jones were causing
problems for the Gulls defence in the first half, though
City rarely tested Southall again.
The half-time break proved more beneficial
for the home side as with a minute of the restart they
were level. Right back Steve Tully swung over a cross
for Tony Bedeaux to head home unmarked from eight yards
out at the near post.
Torquay took control of the game
for the next 20 minutes and had several chances to
take the lead though it was City who were guilty of
the worst miss. After running through the home defence
again Luke Beckett swung over a great right wing cross
evading Southall and falling right on the head of Nick
Richardson who powered his header wide of the open
target from 12 yards.
The Gulls took the lead on 69 minutes
through Eifion Williams. He was put through by Russell
and as he bared down on goal the advancing Wayne Brown
lost his footing embarrassingly slipping over.
He regained his composure but was well beaten by Williams'
However City fought back well, with
sub Paul Berry forcing a couple of corners which caused
scrambles in the home goalmouth.
There was still time for the
Gulls to miss a golden opportunity to wrap up the points,
with Brown saving well from Williams in the dying minutes.
It was man-of-the-match Beckett who set up City's equaliser. He raced
through the home defence forcing Southall wide of his goal. Beckett rounded
the keeper before crossing the ball to the far post. A home defender
got a touch to the ball but could only deflect it into the path of Berry
who couldn't miss from six yards out at the far post.
Tuesday 24 August 1999, Worthington
Cup 1st Round 2nd Leg.
Port Vale 4 Chester City 4 (City
through 6-5 on aggregate)
Port Vale: Musselwhite; Walsh,
Tankard, Brammer, Gardner, Smith, Griffiths, Minton, Widdrington,
Naylor, Foyle, Rougier (Perm eleven from twelve I'm not sure
who came on as sub), Eyre definitely came on as sub in the second
Chester City: Brown, Moss, Cross, Davidson, Woods,
Reid (Jones 37), Richardson, Shelton, Fisher, Beckett, Wright. Booked:
Referee: JP Robinson (Hull).
What a sensational match this was. Even on a
par with that 2-2 draw at Wrexham. One of the most incredible games
I have ever seen.
City (In new all amber away kit) came out at
Port Vale like a bull at a gate. Their passing was crisp and decisive
and the team seemed really up for this. On five minutes, Beckett
won a header to put Wright through. Tankard hauled him to the ground
penalty. Beckett put it in the bottom corner just like in the
home leg. The sizeable contingent of City fans went delerious.
Even better was to follow eight minutes later when Tankard again
made a mistake and Beckett broke into the box to curl an unstoppable
shot past Musselwhite. 2-0 on the night and 4-1 on aggregate but
there was still plenty of time left for Vale to make a game of
Gradually the Valiants penned City back in their
own half but the defence, with Davidson at the heart of things,
seemed to be holding up very well. Vale did make a breakthrough
about ten minutes before half time when a corner to the far post
was knocked back into the middle for Naylor to convert.
A few minutes later disaster struck when Shaun
Reid was stretchered off after a collision with a Vale player.
I thought it was a head injury though Neil Turner on Merseyside
feared it might be his knee. Jon Jones came on to replace him with
Shelton moving into the middle and Wright dropping back to right
On what we thought was the stroke of half time
(But actually Mr Robinson played eight minutes stoppage time),
Vale equalised from the penalty spot. For the second match running
it was an incredibly harsh decision against City. I am convinced
that the referee was not going to give it but the linesman flagged
to award the kick. The ball bounced high right on the edge of the
area and Woods with nobody anywhere near him seemed to control
it with his chest. Brown got a touch to Minton's penalty but couldn't
prevent the goal.
2-2 on the night, City still had their noses
in front on aggregate but we feared a battering in the second half
now that Port Vale had some momentum behind them and we would surely
miss Reidy. During the interval City fans had the chance to socialise
with a couple of Dutch players who were over training with the
The break seemed to do City good and they were
playing with conviction again when Port Vale scored from a breakaway.
A long ball forward was half cleared by Woods but Naylor pounced,
turned and his shot took a slight deflection to loop over Brown.
A few minutes before, Brown had denied Naylor with a fine save
from a close range volley after good work by Smith.
Now the aggregate scores were level and it seemed
that Chester would be unlikely to prevent the home side getting
another goal to finish them off. But City continued to take the
play to Vale and after a good move, Fisher found himself in the
box bearing down on goal. Minton brought him down and City had
their second penalty on the night. Beckett put the ball low to
Musselwhite's right and he parried it only for Shelton to
follow up and knock the rebound in. Shelts was obviously delighted
and did a Ravanelli (Shirt over head) for three quarters of the
length of the pitch before anyone caught him.
Unbelievably Chester went in front again when
following a corner, Richardson drove a shot in which deflected
up in the air, and as it dropped Jones volleyed it past a helpless
Musselwhite. It was bedlam now in the Chester end as Vale needed
to score twice to take the game into extra time. The support had
been loud all night now it was non-stop. None of us could
believe this was happening.
Back came Vale again with wave after wave of
attack. From a dangerous cross from the right, Davidson inadvertently
glanced a header across goal and it was heading for the top corner
until Moss knocked it away for a corner.
A long ball was hoisted into a crowded penalty
area and Griffiths scored with an overhead kick into the top corner
giving Brown no chance. Could City hold out for the last eight
minutes or so?
Their goal had an incredible escape after the
referee awarded a kick on the edge of the box (A poor decision Moss
won the ball but Minton went down and ref. saw it as a foul). The
free kick was blasted towards goal but hit Tony Naylor, from the
rebound another fierce shot cannoned off a Vale player. Another
shot resulted which hit the post and set up another clear opportunity surely
this was it but no the shot grazed the post and went
I have never seen anything like it.
This was a superb performance. The character
shown by every single player was absolutely brilliant. Wow! I need
to sit down in a darkened room for a bit.
Port Vale 4 Chester City 4 (City
through 6-5 on aggregate)
As I picked up the local Stoke-on-Trent newpaper
and saw that Vale were charging full price for a League Cup 1st
round tie against division 3 opposition, I couldn't believe my
However, boy did I get my moneys worth! This
was one hell of a match but for me it was also a depressing sight.
Vale's defence was an absolute nightmare. Fresh from a 4 goal battering
at the hands of Birmigham I expected vale to win 2-0 or 3-0 to
try and forget all about it. However, we decided to concede 2 penalties
(1 harsh, 1 correct) and give Chester 2 more goals in the process.
The first penalty was very harsh. The attacker
on the ball was going nowhere and a 50-50 challnge resulted in
him lying on the floor and the ref blew for a penalty. Becket stepped
up and it was 1-0. The second goal was a superb effort by Becket
but again Vales defence was very slow to react as he burst into
the box to make it 2-0.
I was so p'ed off by this stage I almost went
home but fortunately Vale had started to string a few passes together
and on the half hour they struck back. This was a lucky goal scrambled
in by Naylor. A few minutes later a blatent handball by a defender
who was under no pressure at all gave Jeff Minton the chance to
level from the spot. He did so. So at half time it was Vale 2-2
Chester and a 10% full Vale park was in shock.
The second half started evenly with both sides
having equal posssesion until Naylor struck a fine goal (very similar
to Chester's 2nd). After this goal the Chester fans really got
behind their team (sing your heart's out for the lads was the chant
at this stage, I think the Chester fans thought they were down
and out) and they were rewarded when a penalty was awarded. This
was a certain penalty as Minton lunged in stupidly.
Fortunately for Vale Musselwhite pulled off a
good save from the penalty but the defence was nowhere and the
rebound made it 3-3. Soon it was 4-3 Chester when the Vale defence
stood static from a dangerous corner and the ball nearly ripped
the net out. Soon after though Vale struck through Griffiths with
an excellent overhead. By this time Vale were looking like they
could walk straight through the Chester defence but time quickly
ran out before Vale were given one final chance.
A free kick from 20 yards was fired into the
box and a goalmouth scramble saw the ball hit the post twice! This
was an end to an unbelievable match. Could you imagine if it had
gone in! The score on the night would have probably finished Port
Vale 6-4 Chester (AET) ! ! Vale's defence was dire but Chester
played really well. I can't believe they are bottom of the league.
Anyway, I hope you get a good draw in the next round! I'm sure
you wouldnt mind a trip to Pride Park or somewhere like that!
JIMBOB Vale Fan
Port Vale 4 Chester City 4 (City through
6-5 on aggregate)
Cor lummy Charlie.....that was something,
Incredible, no other word for it, I have never
witnessed such an emotional rollercoaster of a game in all of my
life. Truly, truly incredible. The boys (or guys!!!) showed such
passion and determination for the cause, even when 2-3 down, they
did the club proud. The support of the faithful was superb too.....this
is why I am a Chester fan, this game makes things all worthwhile.
The goals flowed we were two up before we could
draw breath, and I still thought we would get beaten!! Luke cooly
despatched a penalty, then scored an excellent second. Vale battled
back and were level by half time, and 3-2 up in the second half.
Reidy had to be carried off, and the team had better shape following
this. Andy Shelton had an excellent time of it in the second half,
and capped it off with an opportunist strike following Luke's penalty
I could not believe my eyes when we went 4-3
ahead through the tireless Jon Jones, a good strike too, let's
hope he goes on from this, it must do his confidence the world
of good. Vale again came back, striking the post and Tony Naylor
clearing two away from his own players strike!!! Vale did score
an equaliser, 4-4, good goal too from Carl Griffiths (I am glad
he did not start in either leg, he always looks sharp, Brian Horton
does not know his arse from his elbow to keep him on the bench
and play Martin Foyle...hurrah for us!) The spirit tonight was
tremendous, let us not forget we are bottom of the league, with
no goals scored.
To go to a first division side and get a result,
under very difficult circumstances is a tremendous effort. One which
I will not forget in a hurry. Thank God I went...now just one more
favour Man Utd, Newcastle, Liverpool, Everton, Arsenal, Spurs or
Villa, in the next round. (With the home leg first.AMEN!)
Chester City 0 Northampton Town 2
Just wanted to congratulate your contributors
on their original and amusing match reports. As a Cobblers supporter
even though we got the points, I still felt the need to be cheered
up, and your reports have helped. Good luck for the rest of the
season, a lot of us in Northampton really admire the way Chester
fans are working to help keep the club going...we've been there
too, and know how grim it can get.
Very best wishes,
Wednesday 19 August 1999
Chester City 0 Northampton Town 2
Chester City: Brown, Davidson,
Cross, Reid, Lancaster, Woods, Shelton, Richardson, Jones (Wright),
Beckett, Fisher. Subs not used; Cutler, Doughty, Berry, Moss.
Northampton Town: Welch, Hendon, Frain, Sampson,
Howey, Gibb (Parrish), Savage, Hunt, Howard, Byfield (Corrazin),
Spedding. Subs TBA.
Referee: Mr S. Pike (Barrow).
A Roman soldier, in full military uniform, trudged
slowly round the pitch before the match and during the first half.
Was this an attempt to forge a new identity as a mascot? If so,
he cut rather a forlorn figure as he plodded around, to be greeted
with derision by the Cobblers fans ("Are you Atkins in disguise?")
and bemusement by the Cestrians. He looked a bit lost, as though
his centurion had sent him to the Deva for a bit of solitary confinement the
Roman equivalent of a school detention. He was clearly there in
some sort of official capacity because he made his way to the centre
circle with the referee for the tossing of the denarius, but generally
he looked as though he didn't really want to be there. Was he modelling
the new away kit armour plated after the mauling received
at Rotherham we wondered? Poor bloke he has probably
had a stultifyingly boring day pacing around the City walls, having
his photo taken with Japanese tourists and been given cheek by
kids only to be humiliated further by doing sentry duty at the
Having said all this, I would like to see him
there again. But next time please could he be issued with a spear
or a chariot or loaned a lion on a long lead from the zoo. A trident
with a net could also be issued so that he could help the stewards
with crowd control.
Each member of the 1,904 crowd were issued with
a complimentary programme a scaled down effort in two colours
with some readable content but, shamefully, no information about
the visitors except a team photo.
With a bedraggled Roman soldier and a budget
programme things didn't augur well for the match. But, actually
it was a fairly decent game and City were unfortunate to lose it.
I travelled to the match with a Cobblers supporting
friend, who was convinced that we would win as I was equally convinced
otherwise. Bored by Atkins negative tactics playing five
at the back even at home and insisting that all eleven players
retreat to the penalty box for corners the Cobblers were
calling for their manager's head before the match. The only regrets
for them about their first win at the Deva was that Atkins has
more breathing space as a result.
Northampton started the stronger and threatened
down the wings. Up front they had the speedy Darren Byfield on
loan from Aston Villa. But City clawed their way back into contention.
Reid went closest when his shot from the edge of the box was deflected
wide for a corner. At the other end Brown had a couple of scares,
missing one cross completely.
After half time Chester began to get on top,
though they did have a let off when a Cobblers' goal was disallowed
for offside. Reid and Richardson worked their socks off in midfield
and began to make openings for Shelton and Davidson on the right.
But just after the hour disaster struck. Richardson
was judged by the referee to have handled the ball in the penalty
area. It looked harsh to say the least and City players surrounded
the official in disbelief. He was never going to change his mind
and his decision turned the game. Hendon scored from the spot having
first wrested the ball away from Steven (Donkey) Howard who was
eager to break his scoring duck for the Cobblers.
City swept forward swiftly with Shelton putting
in a dangerous cross, Davidson could not make proper contact with
his header and the ball glanced just wide. Five minutes later the
game was efectively over as Northampton made it 2-0. Byfield went
through, though Lancaster matched him for pace and seemed to have
done just enough as the Northampton forward pushed the ball too
far and Brown came to collect. Unfortunately Brown allowed the
ball to squirm from his grasp and Byfield stepped up to tap it
into an empty net.
To their eternal credit City kept up the fight
and tried desperately to salvage a point. Woods hit the bar with
a header, Wright on as sub for the hard working Jones, just failed
to make contact with a cross at the far post. Umpteen corners were
won and Northampton had a couple of lucky escapes after the pinball
episodes which followed.
Not one of the City players could be faulted
for effort. My Cobbler's friend apologised to me afterwards City
did not deserve this. But the reality is that experience was probably
the difference between the two sides on the night. We need a back
bone through the team pretty urgently before we get stuck at the
bottom of the league with confidence ebbing away and too much ground
to make up.
Chester City 0 Northampton Town 2
I caught last night's game returning home
from Glasgow for a couple of days break.
It was a game we could have won, not a bad first
half performance which seemed to have set the stage for the sort
of second half I like, kicking towards the home fans with the floodlights
It never quite took off though. Despite Matt
Woods header off the bar I never felt that we were going to score.
What struck me most of all was the poor quality from Cross and
Fisher, we really had nothing down that side all game. The only
real bright points were Beckett who worked hard and the obvious
commitment in the side.
That said some of the passing was woeful, Shaun
Reid's left foot does not create things of beauty. The other thing
I noted was a reluctance to try to slide the ball through the opposition
back four, midfielders running at their back four seemed to hold
on to things for too long.
Hope that things look better by Christmas, my
fear is that this season has 92/93 or 94/95 written all over it.
Chester City 0 Northampton Town 2
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! That was bleak
What really concerns me is that Northampton,
were a very poor side. For those that didn't go we were very average
in the first half, and got steadily worse throughout the second.
The Cobblers scored from what seemed like a harsh penalty decision,
then Browny dropped one (or was it kicked out of his hands? Wayne
was not the one complaining though) and their striker couldn't
Their number 9 would have tried though, even
his own fans were singing "What a waste of money" at
him. The most upsetting thing about the display was the lack of
leadership shown by the more senior players. In such sad times
playing kids is an unfortunate necessity, however the likes of
Shaun Reid and Nick Richardson just did not seem to care tonight.
Reidy does the greatest impression of "nearly" tackles
I have ever seen, and is distribution is woeful.
I swear he does not not know he is allowed to
kick it with his left foot. Times are tough at the Deva, woebetide
us when we play a decent team. The strikers worked hard tonight,
fetching and carrying due to the paucity of service from the midfield.
The defence lacks a leader, oh for a Jacko to help the raw talent
of Martyn Lancaster, and the keenness of Matty.
I hate to state the obvious but if we do not
sign several key players, who can go straight into the first team,
we have had it. A last note, whoever was shouting Judas at Flitty
should be ashamed of themselves and ask what they would have done
if they were him, out of contract, no owner at the club he loved
and an offer elsewhere. Would you have stayed?
14 August 1999
Rotherham United 4 Chester City 0
Rotherham United: Pollitt,
Varty, Wilsterman, Dillon, Beech, Scott (Thompson 82), Garner, Watson,
Turner (Berry 78), Fortune-West, Martindale (Warn 58). Subs not used:
Chester City: Brown, Moss, Lancaster, Woods, Cross,
A.Shelton (Doughty 71), Richardson, Reid (Blackburn 74), Fisher,
Beckett, Jones (Berry 79), Subs not used: Cutler, Wright.
Referee: M.Ryan (Preston).
The Millers defeated Chester City 4-0 at Millmoor
in what was an action packed match full of controversial incidents.
The game started slowly with little action in
the first half, other than a poor miss by Rotherham's Martindale
when he headed wide of an open goal following a good cross by Leo
Fortune-West. Towards the end of the half the Millers gained greater
control as Chester found it difficult to move the ball up to their
After half time the Millers started well and
after several attacks had a penalty refused when Martindale appeared
to be pulled back by the Chester defender. Rotherham didn't have
long to wait however as they won a penalty when Leo Fortune-West
was brought down in the area by Lancaster. After a short period
of confusion the referee sent Lancaster to the dressing room. Martindale
converted the spot-kick to put Rotherham ahead.
Before Chester could re-organise themselves a
second spot-kick was given away when keeper Wayne Brown brought
down Gary Martindale in the box and was also booked. In comparison
with the Lancaster sending off Brown can consider himself lucky
not to follow him as the feet first lunge by the Chester keeper
was much more blatant and dangerous than the clumsy foul that led
to Lancaster leaving the field.
After some treatment to the shoulder injury he
received with his clash with Brown. Martindale converted his second
penalty of the day. Martindale was then forced to come off the
field with an injured shoulder, with Paul Warne replacing him.
Warne was only on the field for 10 minutes before he was sent off
for an off the ball incident.
The game then went through a scrappy period as
both teams battled to adjust to playing with 10 men. Gradually
the Millers regained the upper hand in midfield and there were
a number of Rotherham near misses before Leo Fortune-West scored
the third following a neat over the shoulder flick from Rob Scott.
The third goal led to a number of heads dropping
in the Chester side and it was only a matter of time before Rotherham
added to the score. The final goal arose when keeper Brown mis-kicked
a clearance straight to the feet of the Rotherham midfield man
The Rotherham player immediately struck the ball
back towards the Chester goal from his position in the centre circle
with the ball easily passing over the Chester goal line despite
the despairing lunge of Brown, who was still trying to regain his
The game quickly faded out from this stage with
both sides unwilling to risk any overconfident moves.
The Millers were the better side on the day against
one of the worst Chester teams ever to visit Millmoor, it appeared
at times that Chester had relegation written all over them.
Report by Rotherham fan Mike North
Tuesday 10 August 1999, Worthington Cup
1st Round 1st Leg
Chester City 2 Port Vale 1
Chester City: Brown, Davidson,
Cross, Reid, Lancaster, Woods, A.Shelton, Richardson, Jones (Moss
81), Beckett, Fisher. Subs not used: Cutler, Doughty, Wright, Berry
Port Vale: Pilkington, Walsh, Brammer, Gardner,
Smith, Bent, Minton, Naylor (Griffiths 62), Rougier, Carragher,
Barker (Eyre 62). Subs not used: Musselwhite, Burns, Snidjer.
Well, from the ridiculous to the sublime, unbelievable,
I went to the ground with fear and trepidation,
and returned believing there is a God! Vale fresh from an excellent
0-0 at mighty Blackburn, Chester fresh from a hard working but
lack lustre 2-0 reverse at home to the Bees. There could only be
one winner...couldn't there?
We started with fire, with great movement and
no little skill. Great touches from the superb Beckett and the
hard working Cross, and an early goal. What a goal too! The ball
broke to Nicky Richardson at the edge of the box ( or was he 35
yards out?...time will make it further!) and he lashed it home
past the helpless and equally useless Pilkington, under a strong
challenge from a Vale defender. The Deva erupted...WHAT A GOAL.
The die-hards were astonished, we had come expecting
the proverbial lamb to the slaughter, we couldn't win the game,
could we? The game was set alight, Brown made an astonishing save
touching the ball onto the bar ( the first of many fine stops).
From the resulting break Luke went on a stupendous
run and curled one from miles out, only a whisker over the bar.
We were in seventh heaven....but then Vale equalised...decent header
from 8 yards out, poor marking, here we go again. But no, the lads
dug in, they battled and scrapped as the game ebbed and flowed.
The second half began and Luke seemed to score...did
he? No said the ref and lines man, I was 70 yards away and it looked
in by feet!!! Still Chester attacked, Jon Jones chased a lost cause,
booted two Vale players out of the way and somehow won a penalty,
HURRAH! Luke calmly slotted it home, and was mobbed by his team
mates. I love Luke, fabulous player who plays with all his heart..and
he did what I have NEVER seen any Chester player do in 25 years,
he kissed the crest on his shirt (it will probably mean he moves
in a matter of days).
The game continued at frantic pace, Bent was
sent off for kicking Ross in the head and Martyn Lancaster soon
followed for a professional foul after playing himself into trouble.
The save Wayne Brown from Alex Sith from the resulting free kick
was top draw, as was his save in the last seconds to preserve Chester's
The full time whistle went to a standing ovation
from the faithful. What a game, dreadful attendance though, Vale
brought at least 400 in a gate of 2,100!. However let us not remember
the people who did not turn up, let us savour the sweet taste of
victory and Luke Beckett kissing his beloved shirt. He MUST stay,
Chester City 2 Port Vale 1
Well, two games gone and my optimism has returned...
Chester 2 Port Vale 1
They must be sick of us, ok I know that its only
the first leg but remember last season? We knocked them out then
and we can do it again! Let's hope they don't maim Beckett again
Speaking of whom....... The big Fella surely
deserved the Man of the Match award, he looks head and shoulders
better than any other City player with his touch, composure and
ability to hold the ball up he has GOT TO STAY!
On to the match, Chester started well, matching
Vale in most areas and capped off early pressure with a fine Nick
Richardson 20 yarder that sneaked into the bottom corner of the
Vale net slowly though as the half wore on Vale came back
into the game and a Tony Rougier header (marking anyone?) deservedly
levelled the scores - here we go again.... or not! Chester refused
to buckle and held on with some excellent stops from Wayne Brown
and lots of desperate lungs by the defence - outstanding exept
for the "not good enough for my pub team" Matty Woods.
We went in at half time at 1-1 and I thought "This'll
do...." second half we really played well, agian Beckett impressed
- he really needs a partner though and Jonny Jones won (somehow)
a penalty - Beckett rammed it in FANTASTIC!!! 2-1 and Vale
made two changes bringing of Naylor (thank god for that) and some
other nobody for Carl Griffiths and AN Other....... but we hung
on as usual the game wasn't over yet two sendings
off followed.Marcus Bent (bet he was glad they introduced names
shirts!) ordered off for trying to kill Ross, and Martin Lancaster
shown the red card for a vital professionnal hack with about 10
minutes to go if I was Ratcliffe I'd have bollocked him
if he hadn't got sent off!
Still, the day was ours and suddenly the season
doesn't look so bad anymore.... Bring on Rotherham!
Phil Stokoe Blue boy
Chester City 2 Port Vale 1
Well, What can I say? An excellent result for
Chester but simply not good enough for Vale who once again showed
up their inconsistency which dogged them throughout last season.
There isn't many sides who would go and get a draw in front of
20,000 at Blackburn and then follow it up with a defeat at a financially
troubled 3rd division club.
Vale didn't play too badly and they created any
number of chances but just didn't have the finishing touch. Half
the reason for this was the excellent work of 'keeper Brown. Chester
played pretty well and looked dangerous throughout and Luke Becket
up front looked a good player (time to get the cheque book out?).
I stood on the terrace amongst the Vale fans thinking we were going
to get a 2-0 or 3-1 victory but it wasn't to be.
Unfortunately for Chester, I think that their
defensive frailty will be punished at Vale park in two weeks time
but they did win there last season so who knows? Stranger things
JIMBOB Vale Fan
Saturday 7 August 1999
Chester City 0 Barnet 2
Chester City: Brown, Davidson,
Lancaster, Woods, Cross, Shelton (Moss 75), Reid, Richardson, Fisher
(Doughty 82), Beckett, Wright. Subs not used: Cutler, Blackburn,
Barnet: Harrison, Stockley, Heald, Arber, Hackett,
Currie (Sawyers 63), Searle (Wilson 63), Doolan, Toms, Charlery,
McGleish. Subs not used: Naisbitt, Stevens, Brown.
Referee: P.Dowd (Stoke-on-Trent).
Well, one match into the new season and its "bubbles
burst" time again despite a poor result against Barnet
today, I thought we could take some positives out of the match.....
firstly Beckett looked sharp, some nice touches I thought, I was
also encouraged by the performance of Martin Lancaster at centre
half (how on earth Matty Woods got the man of the match is beyond
me though!) and I thought Darren Wright showed alot of running
and linked up well ish with Becks...
Now the negative stuff - firstly our midfield
was poor, Andy Shelton looked lightweight on the right, not backed
up well by the erratic Ross Davison at right back, and Neil Fisher
fully justified his desription in a recent Four Four Two as the
worst City player ever. Reidy looked slow in the middle and I can't
even remember who filled the last midfield berth...... the negatives
outweigh the positives so far.
Despite all this we didn't disgrace ourselves bearing
in mind the money problems and off the field turbulence the performance
by a team of free transfers, youngsters and geriatrics did not
do as badly as the scoreline suggests we started the second
half well and had the better of the match in general but were let
down by a moment of magic by Ken Charlery and a hideous defensive
On a negative note I thought the reaction of
some of the fans was diabolical barely 50 minutes into a
new season and they were on the teams back, when we really needed
to be fully behind the team we are bloody lucky to have
a club at all - the comments of a few individuals directed at Terry
Smith were uncalled for too.
I'm a long distance Chester Fan and I still think
we can do ok this season, especially as I rate Ratcliffe as gaffer,
but we need to do several things.
Sign a couple of new midfielders if possible,
encourage the fans to actually support the team, particularly when
we are struggling (likely to be often early this season) the
chant "sing when you're winning" is very appropriate
for many City fans, and we need to get the numbers in bearing
in mind we are lucky to be in existence a crowd of just 2,300 is
Anyway, these are my humble comments but
what do i know If you have any views on my views I can be emailed
by clicking my link below.
Phil Stokoe, 22, Chester born and bred