Tuesday 26 December 2000
City 2 Hereford United 1
Attendance: 1,658 Half-time
Chester City: Brown, Fisher,
Doughty, Lancaster, Ruffer, P.Beesley, Carden, Blackburn,
M.Beesley, Whitehall, Ruscoe (Wright 79). Subs not
used: Moss, Kerr, Woodyatt, Berry.
Hereford United: Cooksey, Lane, Sturgess, Robinson,
Wright (Wall 45), Gardiner, Clarke, Rodgerson, Giddings
(Elmes 45), Williams, McIndoe. Subs not used: Quiggin,
Referee: P.Broadhurst (West Kirby).
last! City finally win a Conference match for the
first time since the home victory over Kettering
Town a mere ten weeks ago.
It took a wonderful solo goal from
Steve Whitehall five minutes from time to secure
the points after City, who dominated the opening
45 were battered in the second half by Hereford.
City, with Paul Beesley back in
defence, started brightly and had enough chances
to wrap the game up by the interval.
Steve Whitehall had City's best
efforts in the opening minutes, twice going close
after being set up by Scott Ruscoe. Indeed Whitehall
was guilty of a terrible miss on 18 minutes when
he blazed a shot high over the bar from 12 yards
after being superbly set up by the impressive Chris
Blackburn. Minutes later Ruscoe was put clear by
Mark Beesley on the left, but he screwed his shot
wide of the left hand post.
City took the lead following a
wonderful build-up on 26 minutes. Mark Beesley won
the ball in a tussle with Wright and exchanged a
one-two with Whitehall on the edge of the box before
shooting home past Cooksey from a narrow angle for
his first goal in 10 matches. Mark Beesley, Blackburn
and Carl Ruffer all had chances to double the lead
before the break but failed to make the most of their
The Bulls made a double substitution
at half-time and took the game to City for the second
45. Striker Rob Elmes was pushed up front and proceeded
to win just about everything in the air. Brown saved
from Williams and Whitehall was on hand to clear
Rodgerson's shot off the line.
An equaliser seemed destined to
happen and it came with eleven minutes to play. Brown
was adjudged to have fouled McIndoe and Chris Lane
stepped up to hammer home the resulting penalty high
into the roof of the net.
City brought on Darren Wright
and immediately stirred themselves into action. Beesley
forced a smart save from Cooksey before Matt Doughty
broke down a move on the right. He crossed the ball
to Whitehall on the left hand edge of the box. Whitehall
turned his marker and, seeing Cooksey off his line,
clipped the ball over the keeper and just under the
bar for a magical winner.
23 December 2000
Chester City 0 Hayes 0
Attendance: 1,658 Half-time
Chester City: Brown, Fisher,
Doughty, Gaunt (Ruscoe 24 (Wright 64)), Ruffer, Lancaster,
Carden, Porter, M.Beesley, Whitehall, Blackburn.
Subs not used: Moss, Kerr, Woodyatt.
Hayes: Gothard, Spencer (Coppard 90), Flynn, Watts,
Sterling, Goodliffe, Preston (Telemaque 82), Newton, Stevens,
Moore, Boylan. Sub not used McKimm.
doubt one of City's worst performances of the season,
and, in fact it could have been worse had the visitors
made the most of some clear-cut chances that came
City looked jaded and a far cry
from the team that had put in some superb cup performances
in recent weeks. Craig Gaunt started following Paul
Beesley's late fitness test failure, but Gaunt himself
only lasted a little over 20 minutes before being
substituted himself after suffering a hamstring injury.
Hayes, with former Chelsea star
Eddie Newton running things in midfield started the
brighter and Newton himself had the game's first
shot on target in the opening minute, Brown saving
City's first effort came on ten
minutes with Neil Fisher's angled drive being tipped
over by visiting 'keeper Paul Gothard. But chances
for the Blues were at a premium as they found it
difficult to create anything from midfield. Indeed,
their closest effort on goal came courtesy of a Hayes
clearance from Alvin Watts who sliced the ball against
his own post following a useful cross from Scott
Hayes finished the half the stronger
and had a golden chance to take the lead but Wayne
Brown somehow managed to get a hand to a close range
effort from Newton when a goal looked a certainty.
City had more urgency following
the break but once again they lacked any invention
to break down a well organised Hayes defence. Whitehall
and Mark Beesley were both denied by the impressive
Gothard but the visitors nearly had the last laugh
with Boylan shooting across goal in the last minute.
"It was disappointing. Unfortunately
we tired and that's unacceptable. We lost the plot,
particularly in the second half, and to be frank
they could have stolen it, such was our poor quality
towards the end" said City manager Graham Barrow
Despite the offer of free admission
for under-12s, the crowd of 1,658 was the lowest of
the season at the Deva. The club also decided not to
produce a new match programme, instead selling at full
price, £2, the issue produced for the original
match way back on 16 September, containing as it did
(in some copies anyway!) photocopied notes from the
18 December 2000
Hednesford Town 1 Chester City 3 (AET)
Nationwide Variety Club
Trophy Round 2 Replay
Attendance: 147 Half-time 0-0 · Score after
90 minutes 1-1
Hednesford Town: Gayle,
Shakespeare (Goodwin 65), Lake, Picknell, Griffiths,
Bagshaw, Sedgemore, Owen, Colkin (Blake 45), Russell
(Brown 83), Bonsall. Subs not used: Rhodes, Jenkins.
Chester City: Price (Mackin 90), Moss, Gaunt, Ruffer, P Beesley,
Fisher (Kerr 65), Carden, Porter, Ruscoe, M Beesley, Wright (Woods 61).
Subs not used: Lancaster, Berry
Referee: D Drysdale (Lincoln)
This has to be one of the coldest
nights I've ever watch City in action, it was also
nearly called off because of the fog! £7 quid
to get in not bad but there was only about
200 in total, a few Chester in some in the stand though
not many. First half went by without incident can't
really rember much action from it.
At the beginning of the second
half though Hednesford were awarded a free-kick,
it was at the far end on the ground so I couldn't
see who gave it away anyhow they hit the bar
and put away the follow up, Hednesford 1 City 0.
From then an though it was pretty
much all City, with Carden and Ruscoe running midfield.
City had a few chances and hit the post, Woods (who
was on as sub), should have scored but somehow, their
keeper kept it out, then with about 15 minutes to
go, Ruffer strode forward to coolly finished into
the corner to make it 1-1. Now there really was only
one winner. The game went into extra time and Hednesford
down to ten men when one of there players was stretchered
off (again at the other end of the ground) as they
had already used their subs.
Midway through first period of
extra time, Matty Woods hit a cracker into the far
right corner (another Matty Woods special). In the
second period City took real control and Hednesford
threatened only once more and after a slight mix
up in the City defence.
City made it three towards the
end through Carden and we are on our way to Southport!
For those who we're there I was
the one who kept singing and jumping up and down
behind the goal well I had to do something
to keep warm!
A very Happy Christmas and a hopefully
a great New Year.
16 December 2000
Doncaster Rovers 1 Chester City 0
Attendance: 2,553 Half-time 1-0
Doncaster Rovers: Richardson, Marples,
Hawkins, Kelly, Miller, Ryan, Caudwell, Atkins, Turner (Campbell
90), Whitman, McIntyre. Subs: Morris, Paterson, Watson, Walling.
Chester City: Brown, Fisher, Doughty (Woods 80),
Gaunt (Wright 60), Lancaster, P.Beesley, Ruffer, Porter,
M.Beesley, Whitehall, Blackburn (Ruscoe 46). Subs not used:
Referee: B C Sygmuta (Northallerton).
It's now over two months since City won
a Conference match and this latest defeat, their first since
Yeovil on 9 September, leaves them 19 points off the Conference
leaders (and 11 from a relegation place).
Craig Gaunt replaced the suspended Paul
Carden with Carl Ruffer moving to midfield in an otherwise
Doncaster, who were comprehensively beaten
at the Deva back in August, were out for revenge and got
just the start they needed, and City didn't, with a goal
after just two minutes.
Gaunt lost out under pressure from Mike
Turner, the ball fell invitingly for Kevin McIntyre whose
shot deflected off Paul Beesley and past Wayne Brown in the
City goal. Turner almost made it two powering through the
City defence before Paul Beesley came to the rescue with
a well timed tackle.
City were creating chances at the other
end too with Steve Whitehall having a long eange free kick
pushed over the bar by Barry Richardson while Andy Porter
also went close with another effort well saved. Ruffer then
missed a golden opportunity for the equaliser, heading over
from close range.
Scott Ruscoe replaced Chris Blackburn at
the break as City searched for the equalised. It was Donny
though who came closest with McIntyre hitting a post from
Mark Beesley and Whitehall had a couple
of half chances but anything City created was matched by
Richardson in the home goal.
City pushed Matt Woods forward in a last
desoperate attempt to level but it took a fine tackle by
Martyn Lancaster to deny Rovers a second at the end.
The Blues have three home games over
the festive period against Hayes, Hereford United and Telford
United and will be looking to bounce back from this defeat
and pick up maximum points.
9 December 2000
Chester City 3 Oxford United 2
AXA F.A.Cup Round 2
Attendance: 2,798 Half-time 1-2
Chester City: Brown, Fisher (Wright
53), Doughty, Lancaster, Ruffer, P.Beesley, Carden, Porter,
M.Beesley (Ruscoe 75), Whitehall, Blackburn. Subs not used:
Gaunt, Moss, Woods.
Oxford United: Knight, Jarman (Whitehead 75), Brown, Richardson,
Linighan, Beauchamp, Hackett, Fear, Murphy, Gray, Anthrobus (Omoyinmi
83). Subs not used: Glass, R.Weatherstone, S.Weatherstone.
Referee: L.Cable (Woking).
doubt one of the most exciting cup game seen at the Deva
this one had just about everything! City’s dramatic fightback
from 0-2 down to win 3-2 earned them national headlines as
the Blues reached the third round and a tie at Blackburn
Rovers on 6 January.
In driving rain it was Chester who started
the brightest, Neil Fisher instrumental in City’s most
probing runs down the right. Several times City worked the
the United defence but were unable to create any clear-cut
chances, Whitehall’s shot from 25 yards being the only serious
effort on goal. Despite having tmost of the play, the visitors
came closest to opening the scoring when Phil Grey swept
the ball against the bar from close range following a fine
cross by the tricky Chris Hackett.
City were easily matching their League
opponents in every department, but, on 23 minutes (and to
be fair against the run of play), Oxford took the lead. Carl
Ruffer gave the ball away in the middle and it was quickly
despatched to livewire Hackett. His cross, hard and low,
was bundled home by Gray despite being surrounded by a couple
of City defenders. Two minutes later and the advantage was
doubled with Lee Jarman beating Wayne Brown to the ball and
heading home at the near post following an inswinging Beauchampe
It was crucial that City clawed somethang
back before the break and on 35 minutes they did just that.
Neil Fisher’s curled free kick was met at the far post by
a stooping Paul Beesley who glanced home his first goal for
the club. Suddenly the atmosphere changed as City fans could
sense a way back.
Following the break Darren Wright replaced
Fisher and within a minute City were level.
United keeper Knight failed to hold a harmless
cross and Steve Whitehall pounced. Two shots were cleared
off the line as the keeper remained on the ground, injured
in the follow up, and at the third attempt Whitehall hammered
the ball home from 12 yards. The noise from the home crowd
was amazing as City, sensing an upset was on the cards, pressed
forward once again. Two minutes later and the Blues were
Man of the match Paul Beesley won a header
on the edge of the United box and knocked the down for Whitehall
to lob Knight from the edge of the box. It’s impossible to
describe the tension in the remaining 30 minutes as Beesley
and Carl Ruffer were magnificent in defence as City, showing
great spirit, held firm for a never to be forgotten victory.
“I didn’t need a team talk at half time,” added
Barrow afterwards. “It’s the best I’ve ever seen a dressing
room and there was never any doubt in the players’ minds that
they could win the game. “I’ve got nothing but admiration for
them and they’re a credit to the club. I’m proud of them all
because they’ve brought back some of the pride that has been
lost at this club over the years. “To come back from 2-0 down
and beat a second division is quite phenomenal. It was just
a wonderful day for everyone involved and especially the supporters.
5 December 2000
Chester City 1 Hull City 0
LDV Vans Trophy Round 1
Attendance: 770 Half-time 0-0
Chester City: Brown, Fisher, Doughty,
Gaunt, Ruffer, Lancaster, Carden, Porter, Ruscoe (Wright 72), Whitehall,
Blackburn (Woods 67). Subs not used: Moss, Kerr, Woodyatt.
Hull City: Musselwhite, Edwards, Whitney, Greaves, Goodison, Brightwell,
Swales, Harper, Whitmore, Brown, Wood. Subs: Bracey, Morley, Eyre, Whittle,
Referee: B Curson (Walsall).
LDV showed it had lost none of its attraction as 770 hardy souls
turned up to watch City defeat their second League side in a week.
Unimpressive performances by both Plymouth Argyle and Hull City
show that the current team would have been able to comfortably
hold its own in Division Three this season. If only…
There were two changes in the City side that
played Woking on Saturday. Scott Ruscoe started in place of Mark
Beesley, who missed the game with a back injury, while Matt Woods
was made the scapegoat for the defensive mistakes against Woking.
His place was taken by Craig Gaunt and the defensive changes certainly
made a difference as Hull offered few threats on goal. A great
deal of credit should go to Martyn Lancaster who received his fair
share of criticism after the Woking game. Martyn put in some excellent
tackles, kept his concentration throughout the game and showed
much better positional awareness. He was ably assisted by Craig
Gaunt who guided him through the 90 minutes.
The game started slowly and it was 10 minutes
before the first attempt on goal when Whitehall shot straight at
Musselwhite. Five minutes later the Hull goalkeeper was almost
embarrassed when he horribly sliced a backpass but recovered to
scramble the ball away for a corner. Unfortunately both Ruscoe
and Whitehall were caught offside on a number of occasions in the
first half and when City did get to the line their crosses were
too deep to cause any real danger.
City stepped up a gear on the half hour and were
unlucky not to take the lead after creating a succession of chances
in a five minute spell. Carden had a shot saved from the edge of
the area and Musslewhite was able to stop Doughty's follow-up while
Whitehall's header lacked the power to beat the Hull keeper who
saved well at the near post. It was Whitehall who had the best
chance but his attempted chip went wide of the post. This was a
similar chance from which Woking had scored on Saturday. On 35
minutes Hull had their first real chance but Wood scuffed the ball
after a good turn. Just before the interval Wayne Brown made a
fantastic save when he tipped over a Hull shot that had wickedly
deflected off Andy Porter.
Chester almost took the lead immediately after
the break, when Whitehall turned and shot inches wide, but after
52 minutes City finally got the goal that they deserved. Whitehall,
who was a constant thorn in Hull's side, put through a perfect
pass for Carden who side-stepped the keeper and put the ball into
the net from ten yards. The goal spurred Hull into life and they
began to press forward without creating many clear cut chances
as City defended more deeply.
On 62 minutes Chester had a penalty appeal turned
down when Ruscoe appeared to be caught by a defender. A few minutes
later the same player headed the ball onto the crossbar from Neil
Fisher's cross although the linesman had flagged for offside. In-between
these two incidents Matt Woods had replaced Chris Blackburn which
allowed Neil Fisher to move into midfield. As the game entered
the final thirty minutes Chester's intentions became clear and
when they were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal Whitehall
had little option but to shoot for goal as only one City player
ventured into the penalty area. With three minutes to go Hull had
a golden opportunity to score from a corner but Brown and Doughty
scrambled the ball away after a Hull player was left unmarked in
the area. Chester almost scored a second goal in injury time when
Carden got to the touchline and pulled the ball back to Doughty
who shot disappointingly wide.
All in all it was a comfortable victory despite
the scoreline. Chester's biggest threat in the closing stages was
themselves as they allowed Hull more possession and tried to defend
the lead. When the ball was pushed forward in the final ten minutes
there was a tendency to give the ball away cheaply in midfield
with some poor passes. However it seems churlish to criticise after
such a deserved victory.
This was City's first win in this competition
since beating Bury in October 1994. It was also Chester's 15th
unbeaten game. Their last defeat was at Crewe on September 20th
in the Cheshire Senior Cup.
2 December 2000
Chester City 3 Woking 3
Attendance: 1,694 Half-time 2-3
Chester City: Brown, Woods, Ruffer, Fisher,
Doughty, Lancaster (Gaunt 77), Carden, Blackburn (Wright 56), Porter,
Whitehall, M.Beesley (Ruscoe 73). Subs not used: Moss, Woodyatt.
Woking: Matassa, Smith, Hollingdale, Perkins, Wye, Roddis, Steele,
West, Kadi (Drewett 82), Randall (Teague 82), Griffin. Subs not used:
Alighieri, Ruggles, Baverstock.
Referee: N. Yates (Blackburn).
game. Another draw. The most frustrating unbeaten run in the history
of the universe just goes on and on. To be fair this was a thoroughly
entertaining game as Woking exploited the absence of Paul Beesley
from the heart of the City defence and at times ran the partnership
of Woods and Lancaster ragged. You have to feel sorry for Carl
Ruffer who once again played well but was let down by his colleagues.
At the other end Chester had plenty of the ball, especially in
the second half, and at times put together some excellent passing
moves. Three goals at home should be enough to win a game but this
is Chester we are talking about and nothing can be taken for granted.
City got off to a dream start, in the 7th minute,
courtesy of an outrageous mistake by the referee. The phrase "bad
decision" took on a new meaning as the referee failed to spot Steve
Whitehall blatantly scoop the ball away from behind the goal line
with his hand following a Woking corner. With the Sealand End unable
to believe what they had seen Chester promptly took the ball down
to the other end and Neil Fisher swept Matt Doughty's cross into
the net. Cue mass complaints from the Woking players while Chester
fans had a good laugh and awaited the long-awaited goal rush.
The first predictable cry of "Come on Chester
you can beat this lot, they're rubbish" was heard on 20 minutes
and four minutes later the incredibly irritating Martin Randall
scored the equaliser. Poor defending and an excellent dummy saw
the ball fall to Randall who finished in fine style from the edge
of the area. The Woking players ran over to the Chester fans to
celebrate and were met with deserved abuse. This didn't deter them
from repeating the celebration after each goal. Ten minutes later
Woking were in front when Woods lunged into a tackle and Lancaster
was caught on the wrong side of Scott Steele who executed a perfect
chip to beat Wayne Brown. A great finish but a goal that should
never have been allowed to happen. As Chester fans argued amongst
themselves the players responded quickly and the ever-reliable
Steve Whitehall found space for himself in the area and curled
the ball round Mattassa on 35 minutes.
There were four minutes to go until half time
when Woking regained the lead following a dubious penalty decision.
Wayne Brown seemed to get to the ball first but Charlie Griffin
went crashing to the ground and the referee pointed to the spot.
Brown was booked as the linesman flagged frantically to attract
the referee's attention. Eventually Mr Holdsworth went over to
consult the linesman who can only have said to him "That was another
really bad decision but it cancels out your previous appalling
mistake." Scott Steele scored from the spot and received more abuse
from the disgruntled City fans.
Chester stepped up a gear in the second half
and played some decent football. They were rewarded in the 65th
minute when Mattassa brought down Steve Whitehall in the area in
an almost identical incident to the one which lead to Woking's
penalty. The only difference being that Chester's was definitely
a penalty while Woking's was totally unjustified. That's even-handed
reporting for you.
Andy Porter sent the keeper the wrong way from
the spot and the arrival of Darren Wright and Scott Ruscoe prompted
another wave of attacking football. Neil Fisher capped an impressive
display with a couple of fine runs and some defence-splitting passes.
Wright showed what a good substitute he makes by running his heart
out and causing all sort of problems with his pace while Ruscoe
deserves to start a game on his recent showings as a substitute.
Late in the game Randall once again caught out
the City defence but his shot hit the inside of the post while
Whitehall almost scored at the other end when his shot\cross shaved
the post. A draw was all Chester deserved for their defensive frailties
but all credit to Woking for having a go at City instead of just
sitting back and soaking up the pressure.
Incidentally this was the first 3-3 home draw
since September 1989 (against Notts County) and the first time
City have conceded three goals since mid-March (at Southend).