Chester City: Danby, Kelly (Rule 42),
Linwood, Roberts, J.Vaughan, Barry, Mannix, Ellison, Wilson,
Lowe, Jones (Partridge 62). Subs not used: Rutherford,
Ellans, Smith. Dagenham & Redbridge: Roberts, Foster,
Okuonghae, Arber (Uddin 75), Griffiths, Saunders, Southam,
Loft, Ritchie, Strevens, Nurse. Subs not used: Hogan,
Thomas, Montgomery, Taiwo. Referee: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire).
goals in the final four minutes brought a dramatic point
for City that never looked likely at the interval with
the Blues two down.
The visitors showed their intentions early on. Magnus
Okuonghae shot wide on three minutes and three minutes
later poor defending led to the Daggers opening goal.
Jon Nurse was given far too much time and space to work
his way to a shooting opportunity and, although John Danby
saved his effort, Ben Strevens was alert to tuck home
Scott Griffiths and Strevens both saw efforts saved by
the City ‘keeper and Chester’s rearguard couldn't
cope with the early pressure.
Danby came to City’s rescue midway through the half
as dangerman Strevens found himself one-on-one with the
shot-stopper who managed to push the ball onto a post
before it was cleared.
Moments later City threatened themselves with David Mannix
shooting wide from long range while Laurence Wilson also
Ten minutes before the break City were once again punished
for poor defending. Sam Saunders weaved his way into he
box down the City left. His shot was blocked and the ball
fell to Kevin Roberts who could only clear it straight
to Matt Ritchie ten yards out and he made no mistake.
In the closing stages of the half
two more chances came City’s way as the Daggers
‘keeper Tony Roberts saved an effort from Ryan
Lowe and Kevin Ellison pulled a shot wide from the edge
of the box.
Glenn Rule replaced the injured Shaun Kelly and City
were under the cosh at the start of the second period
as Richie saw an effort cleared off the line by James
Roberts was well placed to make a save from an Ellison
shot and Richie Partridge replaced youngster Ben Jones
up front as City tried to claw their way back into the
game against a resolute Daggers defence.
Twice Ellison saw efforts go close, and eight minutes
from time Lowe thought he’d won a penalty after
being brought down by Anwar Uddin but referee Mark Haywood
waved away his appeal. Moments later came City’s
With four minutes remaining Lowe swung in a right sided
corner that was met by Mannix who powered his header
past Roberts for his first goal in City colours. Three
minutes later Lowe again delivered a perfect cross,
this time from a free-kick, that was met by Roberts
who headed home to the delight of the City fans behind
Unbelievably City had a chance to snatch all three points
as Partridge saw an effort blocked by Roberts and Ellison
following up saw his shot cleared off the line by Danny
Ryan Lowe’s young son Alfie lined up with the teams
as mascot. A good omen as his Dad usually manages to score
when he does so. But it was not to be this time as Lowe,
returning to the side as captain, squandered the best
chance of the afternoon to break the deadlock in this
It was a tale of two cities beforehand as Exeter and Chester
approached the game from opposite ends of the League table.
The Grecians needed points to maintain their quest for
promotion, while, for Chester, depleted by injuries and
suspensions, any positive result had to be regarded as
a bonus. With Linwood injured, Glenn Rule came into the
heart of an inexperienced Chester defence alongside Roberts
and Kelly. All three had excellent games as they dealt
fairly comfortably with Exeter’s attack.
Chester had the better of a first half in which chances
were few and far between. Partridge drilled a shot wide
of the far post after good work by Ellison early on. But
it was as the half drew to a close that the Blues had
a double opportunity to take the lead. Partridge did well
to rob a defender and get through on goal. Jones did well
to block his shot but the ball fell to Lowe on the right.
He might have taken a second touch but instead hit the
ball first time and it squirmed agonisingly wide of the
The visitors only threat came when Stansfield used his
body to shield the ball and fire a shot in on goal which
It seemed like Exeter were getting more of a grip on the
game after the game and Chester were pushed back but were
never really troubled. Then, as City forced a couple of
corners came Lowe’s golden chance. Partridge was
replaced by Ben Jones and Exeter failed to clear a corner.
Mannix knocked it back into the box and a flick set Lowe
through. He seemed certain to score but stabbed at the
ball with his left foot and it trickled wide of the target.
Barry and Mannix worked tirelessly in midfield and tried
to make sure Chester were not pushed too far back. City
forced a succession of corners but the delivery was often
disappointing. Ben Jones got a shot in towards the end
which his namesake in the Grecians goal did well to save.
All in all it was an encouraging performance by Chester
to hold high-flying Exeter but, with Barnet achieving
a convincing win against Bradford to leapfrog over City
in the table, they may well rue missing out on three points.
17 February Shrewsbury Town 1 Chester City
Attendance: 6,133 (327 Chester) Half Time 0-0
Booked: J.Vaughan, Partridge. Sent-off: Harris.
Despite a great display in goal from John Danby, City’s
miserable run of defeats continued at the New Meadow.
Ryan Lowe, injured at Morecambe on Saturday, was unable
to play against his former club so youngster Ben Jones
was given a first-ever start for the Blues. He was joined
up front by Richie Partridge who came in for David Mannix.
Danby’s busy night started in the opening minutes
denying Nick Chadwick a goal scoring chance after he’d
been set up by Grant Holt, and Holt himself saw a ball
cleared by Danby moments later as he tried to control
the ball before shooting.
Danby again tipped over a Chadwick effort and did well
to deal with the resulting corner from Mike Jackson as
the home side turned the screw.
Despite dominating the opening period City soaked up the
pressure well and countered themselves in the 25th minute
when James Vaughan sent in a perfect cross for Kevin Ellison
who saw his header go harmlessly wide of goal.
The overworked City ‘keeper could only watch as
a goal bound volley from Chadwick flashed just wide. The
best chance of the half fell to Steve Leslie in the 38th
minute but he saw his header blocked by Paul Linwood following
a Ben Herd through ball.
Manager Mark Wright made a change at the break bringing
on youngster Lloyd Ellams for Jones. City made a bright
start to the second period and almost snatched the lead
as Ellison, beating Graham Coughlan and cutting in from
the right, saw a fine effort strike the post and rebound
The Blues had another great chance to break the deadlock
minutes later. Ellams saw a shot hit ‘keeper Daniels
on the shoulder, the ball flew into the air straight to
Partridge but he was unable to find the net from ten yards
Despite having the better of the openings after the break
the home side, inevitably, punished City for their missed
chances a minute later.
A mistake by Laurence Wilson saw Chris Humphrey race through
on goal, he crossed for Richard Walker who tapped in from
close range at the far post to finally break Danby’s
Former City player Ben Davies met a Humphrey’s cross
but Danby was able to gather at the second attempt. Danby
made a great double save to deny Holt, the second saw
the ball fall to Leslie who hit the upright.
Davies and Walker both saw efforts saved and Davies also
saw a shot flash across goal as the home side looked to
kill the game off.
Eleven minutes from time City were reduced to ten men
after Jay Harris was given a straight red card following
a challenge on Humphrey. It was City’s seventh sending
off of the season.
The final chance of note fell to Davies who received a
through ball from Holt shot wide from 18 yards.
five successive defeats now for City who, after this latest
reverse, find themselves just seven points above the relegation
zone. The Blues last victory came on Boxing Day and with
their relegation rivals picking up points the sooner the
Blues rediscover that winning habit the better.
As at Griffin Park a week earlier
the game was all over at half-time as the Blues, once
again, found themselves 3-0 down thanks to some schoolboy
defending at times.
Manager Mark Wright was able to recall
Laurence Wilson following a three match suspension and
there was also a starting place to David Mannix starting
his first league game of the season since signing last
City were slow to start but saw an
opening in the first five minutes when Paul Linwood
headed on a Ryan Lowe free-kick towards home ‘keeper
Barry Roche who saved at the second attempt despite
the onrushing Kevin Ellison.
The Shrimps opened the scoring on
14 minutes as ex-City favourite Michael Twiss swung
over a right wing corner that was met by teenager Aaron
Taylor, who lost his marker, to head past John Danby
from inside the six yard box.
Kevin Ellison saw a header ruled out
for offside and James Vaughan saw a long range effort
go wide as City tried to get on level terms.
Another former Blues player Stewart
Drummond saw a shot go over before the home side doubled
their lead just after the half hour mark.
Lowe sent a free kick that was gathered
by Roche who immediately threw the ball out to Neil
Wainwright who raced the length of the pitch and into
the City box. He got a cross in that was blocked, Jay
Harris following up appeared to slip and play the ball
back straight to Wayne Curtis who gleefully side footed
The third goal was once again set
up by Roche. His long free-kick was met flicked on to
Taylor who set the ball up for Curtis to drill the ball
past Danby from the ends of the box to complete a miserable
City scored a good goal on 51 minutes
to reduce the deficit. Wilson intercepted a Wainwright
cross with this head and played the ball to Lowe. The
defender continued his run up field to receive the ball
back and race on into the box, he cut inside before
coolly slotting the ball past the keeper.
Lowe saw an effort deflected wide
by Jim Bentley and Ben Jones, on for the injured Vaughan,
nearly converted from a Lowe cross but Roche saved before
the young striker could pounce.
At the other end another ex-Blue
Dave Artell saw a header from a Twiss corner just clear
the bar. With minutes remaining Curtis almost completed
his hat-trick but watched as his 25-yarder bounced just
7 February Brentford 3 Chester City 0
Attendance: 4,719 (135 Chester) Half Time 3-0
first half hat-trick from Charlie MacDonald was enough
to give Brentford all three points and avenge their
defeat by the same score line at the Deva in October.
Once again manager Mark Wright
was forced to field a substitutes bench comprising
five youth team players and a starting X1 with three
players, John Danby, Shaun Kelly and Paul Linwood all
carrying obvious injuries. Richie Partridge, who picked
up a hamstring injury in the week, was replaced in
the side by Glenn Rule.
The home side were at City right from the off with on-loan striker Jordan Rhodes
seeing a shot loop over following a deflection off Paul Linwood in the opening
City’s chances in the first half were limited to long range with Jay Harris
seeing one effort from 25 yards pass harmlessly wide.
After a lot of home possession the deadlock was finally broken on 21 minutes.
Rhodes split the City defence with a through ball to McDonald who rode out
a challenge from Kelly to score past the advancing Danby with ease. Two minutes
later the same striker almost doubled the lead with a header that flew just
wide of the post.
Danby did well to get down and hold a Marcus Bean effort as the home side pressed.
Ten minutes before the break though the lead was extended. Rule took too long
on the ball and was dispossessed by Sam Wood, he turned and passed to McDonald
who took the ball wide to score past Danby from a narrow angle.
Chester had shown little up
front. Paul Rutherford saw a header blocked and Kevin
Roberts was unlucky to see an acrobatic effort cleared
off the line by Wood.
With half-time approaching McDoanald
completed his treble from the penalty spot after Anthony
Barry was adjudged to have fouled the tricky Rhodes in
the area. Danby had no chance with the spot-kick that
was hit high and straight down the middle.
Youngster Paul Smith replaced the injured Kelly at the interval but it was the
home side who continued to press. Wood raced clear on the left, rounded the advancing
Danby but saw his goal bound effort from a narrow angle cleared off the line
by Linwood. The City defender appeared to suffer a hamstring injury in the process.
Alan Bennett saw a header, from an outswinging corner, bounce back off the bar
twelve minutes from time. Roberts was well placed to deny the Bees twice in a
minute, firstly from substitute Nathan Elder then Rhodes.
City almost grabbed a consolation goal late on as Harris headed wide following
a good cross from substitute Ben Jones.
the end of the game, as Cleggy thanked those volunteers
who had cleared the snow off the pitch to make it playable,
they must have been wondering whether it was worth it
after all. They had seen City succumb to an accomplished
Rochdale side, gathering momentum for their promotion
City had more than held their own in the first half. ‘Dale
passed the ball about more effectively and had the lion’s
share of possession but through grit and determination
the Blues carved out some decent chances and could conceivably
have led at the interval. First Harris’s pass from
inside his own half found Ellison and the tall forward
teed up a shooting chance for Lowe. The resulting shot
was wayward and turned in to a pass to Rutherford on the
right. Rutherford himself went close when his cross was
turned on to the bar by Fielding. But City’s best
chance to take the lead came when Harris’s through
ball met Lowe’s curving run and he was through one-on-one
with the ‘keeper. His shot, unfortunately for City,
went wide of the post.
In defence Chester worked hard to restrict the visitors
to a handful of chances. The most alarming moment came
when Buckley took advantage of some slight hesitation
between Roberts and Kelly and fired in a dangerous low
cross – it was met at the far post by Rundle but
Danby saved admirably.
After the break City began to try to exert pressure on
the ‘Dale goal, something they hadn’t managed
to sustain up until now. Blues clearly missed Mozika and
the recently departed Hughes in midfield as they couldn’t
dominate possession long enough to cause trouble. Rutherford,
later named man of the match for his efforts, ran with
the ball when ever he could and his twists and turns were
hard to read but often he was crowded out by ‘Dale
Any hopes of City getting anything from the match evaporated
when Lee McEvilly was introduced as substitute on 55 minutes.
Goaded by the boos of City supporters who remembered him
as an ex-Goat, he trundled into the penalty area and contrived
to lay the ball on for Thompson who had room to score
with ease. McEvilly then injured Danby in a clash and,
while the ‘keeper was receiving attention took the
ball off him and rolled it into the net. He must have
had too many "E numbers" in his drinks. A few
minutes later he scored legitimately after robbing a City
defender and prodding the ball towards goal – it
trundled slowly in off the post. A later effort from the
same player clattered more severely the angle of cross
bar and post. By then, though, City were well beaten.
City fans should know better than to rattle someone’s
cage like this.
There seemed to be no way back for City after the first
goal as ‘Dale’s confidence soared in indirect
proportion to the Blues players whose heads dropped noticeably.
Lowe tried to conjure a shot or two but was closely marked.
Ellison got sucked more and more into midfield, though
a flowing move in the dying minutes ended with his header
on target. Earlier Roberts, when well placed, failed to
direct a loping header on target and then seemed to be
impeded as he put his header wide from a corner. Barry
had a long range effort on target saved comfortably.
Mark Wright was unable to to much to change things –
the squad is now so lightweight that all of the substitues
on Chester’s bench were untried sixteen year olds.
On this evidence it is hard to see where a much needed
win is going to come from.