Taylor scored a hat-trick as Chester hung on to win
a pulsating seven goal match having led 3-0 and 4-1
before the home side struck back twice late in the game.
Paul Linwood replaced the injured Joe Heath at left
back otherwise Chester were unchanged from the side
that dew at Lincoln City on Saturday.
The first real chance of the night
came on ten minutes when Tamworth’s on-loan striker
Matthew Godden found himself unmarked ten yards out
from a Nick Chadwick cross but managed to shoot over.
At the other end John Rooney saw an early effort blocked
before the Blues took the lead in the 23rd minute. Rooney’s
ball into the box found defender Michael Townsend who
couldn’t control it and Taylor pounced on the
loose ball and had the simplest of chances to score.
Seven minutes later Chester doubled
their lead as Rooney smashed the ball home from 30-yards
giving Cameron Belford no chance in the Lamb’s
goal. Godden saw a long range effort tipped onto the
bar by Aaron Chapman as the home side looked to strike
Taylor scored his second and Chester’s
third on 33 minutes taking advantage of a mix-up in
the home defence following Andrew Bond’s pass
and scored past the exposed Belford.
Rooney seeing belford off his line
tried a cheeky effort from inside his own half only
to see the ball go narrowly wide. Tamworth pulled a
goal back two minutes before the break as Godden scored
from six yards following a Richard Peniket cross.
After Gareth Seddon had gone close
to extending the lead in first half stoppage time, Chester
added their fourth on the hour mark as Rooney’s
perfect through ball was picked up and controlled by
Taylor who advanced before clotting the ball past Belford.
Tamworth brought on substitute Jessy
Reindorf who proved a handful for the Blues defence.
A mistake by Ross Killock allowed Godden to grab his
second from, 12 yards out on 76 minutes.
Eight minutes from Time Tamworth added
a third as Godden headed on to Reindorf who laid it
off to Peniket who drove the ball home for 18 yards.
Chester held out through the remaining
eight minutes plus five minutes of stoppage time to
record a vital win in front of another impressive away
following and move up to 19th.
improved second half performance saw Chester gain another
vital point towards their fight against relegation.
Manager Steve Burr picked the same starting X1 that
beat FC Halifax Town last week with Aaron Chapman continued
in goal for the Blues having recovered from the hand
injury suffered in that victory.
An even opening saw few chances created
for either side before the Imps took the lead on 16
minutes. A long throw from Tom Miller saw Chapman hesitate
as to whether to come for it, leaving Delano Sam-Yorke
unmarked to prod the ball home from close range.
Chester almost got back into the game
from the restart but Craig Mahon saw an effort deflected
wide, the remainder of the half though generally belonged
to the home side with former Blue Sean Newton teasing
Chapman with a succession of crosses and corners. Sam-Yorke
and Todd Jordan both missed great chances to extend
the lead for Lincoln while at the other end Lewis Turner
produced a save from Imps ‘keeper Nick Townsend
in a rare Chester attack.
It took Chester just seven minutes
after the restart to put the first half disappointment
behind them and draw level. A long through ball was
superbly controlled by on-loan striker Matt Taylor who
turned Thierry Audel before firing past Townsend to
the delight of the 250+ travelling support.
Moments later Matty Brown headed over
from a quality John Rooney free kick as Chester grew
in confidence. Just after the hour mark though Brown
was penalised for handling in the area following another
long Miller throw and referee Colin Lymer awarded Lincoln
Up stepped captain Alan Power only
to see his bottom corner effort saved at full stretch
by Chapman to keep the two sides level. Chester took
advantage of the home miss and began to control the
match. Ross Killock an Gareth Seddon both went close
and substitute Jamie Menagh forced a good save out of
Townsend as Chester sensed a winner.
Charlee Adams saw a long range effort
fly just over Chapman’s bar but it was Chester
who were now looking the more likely to score. Rooney
was unlucky to see a fine effort tipped onto the post
by Townsend with the ball falling back into the ‘keeper’s
The final chance of the game went
to the home side as Chapman dropped a Miller throw only
to see Adams shoot the loose ball over the bar.
“Fifteen years ago today”, waxed the Radio
Five Live commentator as he built Manchester City’s
European Champions League tie with Barcelona, “Man
City were playing Macclesfield in a League match…..”
The implication being – look what they are doing
now. What he neglected to mention was who the Silkmen
were up against this evening – the mighty Chester
in a glamourous Cheshire Senior Cup Quarter Final of
Although City are the current cup
holders even the most die-hard fans would admit that
Conference survival is the priority. There were few
raised eyebrows at the team selection for this match,
then which involved nine changes from the team that
played against Halifax last week. Notably Liam Blake
was given his senior debut and Nathan Turner made a
welcome return from injury.
As play unfolded it appeared the teams
were evenly matched though the visitors seemed a bit
more incisive in attack. Holroyd blazed a good chance
over the bar but profited just before the break when
he intercepted a soft back pass by Killock to Fearon
and knocked the ball over the keeper’s head and
followed up the simple task of scoring into an empty
City had a good spell of pressure
midway through the second period. Peers’ header
was fortuitously saved via the post by the Macclesfield
keeper. Blake and then Reed had chances in front of
goal where the ball wouldn’t quite fall to them.
A Macclesfield defender then headed narrowly wide of
his own goal from Turner’s cross.
The Silkmen weathered this particular
storm, however, and made the tie safe with a couple
of minutes to go as Boden headed in from a sweeping
left wing cross. The visitors could hardly bring themselves
to celebrate but City had relinquished their grip on
that most magnificent of trophies. Winning it last year
had been the icing on the cake of a fantastic season
but losing tonight will not be so disastrous if the
Blues do manage to stay up.
At least Nathan Turner was able to
improve his match fitness and Blake – with the
look of a young Ian Edwards (For those who can remember
that far back) impressed in midfield. Tom Batten also
came on for the last few minutes at left back and so
will remember this night fondly as his senior debut
13 February Chester 2 FC Halifax Town 1
Attendance: 2,127 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Rooney, Heath, Bond.
Chapman (Danby 70), L.Turner, Killock, Brown,
Heath, Rooney, Jarrett, Bond, Mahon (Menagh 87), Taylor
(Reed 90), Seddon. Subs not used: Linwood, Mainwaring. FC Halifax Town: Glennon, Bolton,
Roberts, Ainge, McManus, Maynard, Lenighan (Jackson
45), Crowther (Smith 73), Marshall, Wilson, Gregory.
Subs not used: Challinor, Worthington. Referee: Peter Bankes (Liverpool).
With sensational timing substitute Jamie Menagh rescued
City from the heartbreak of a late Halifax equaliser
as he snatched an even later winner for the Blues. For
the second successive home game of Steve Burr’s
reign it seemed he played a get-out-of-jail card to
ensure Chester secured three points when only one appeared
An almost full moon looked down on
the Deva on the Eve of St Milner’s Day as City
took on the team that were promoted with them last May.
The visitors have adapted much better to life in the
Conference arguably because they have taken slightly
longer to climb through the leagues following their
own journey to oblivion and back.
The Shaymen’s away form has
not been as impressive as their displays on home soil
and, as a team they defended deeply, making it difficult
for Chester to find room to attack their goal. Rooney’s
flick nearly found the top corner of the net early on
but Matt Glennon stretched to claw it away. At the other
end Aaron Chapman, making his debut on loan from Chesterfield,
dominated his area with his six foot eight stature and
his pro-active command of any threatening situations.
Josh Wilson provided Town’s
biggest threat of the first period with his enticing
cross from the right which eluded both Chapman and the
on-rushing Gregory. Wilson, though, didn’t make
it as far as half time as he was dismissed for a stamping
challenge on City’s captain for the night –
ex-Shayman Gareth Seddon. Taylor’s flicked header
crashed against the bar but the linesman’s flag
was raised anyway and the first half drew to a close.
City’s extra man advantage told
just after the break when Lewis Turner sent the ball
over from the right and Mahon, coming through on the
blind side, tucked the raking cross into the net. The
match continued, combative and error-strewn perhaps
but with City just about on top. Then play was held
up while Chapman drew attention to a hand injury which
forced him to give up his place in goal to Danby.
As City tried to close the game out
Reed replaced Taylor and Menagh came on forthe industrious
Mahon. One of Menagh’s first touches was unfortunate
as he inadvertently got in the way of a clearance. From
the rebound Bolton lashed the ball past Danby into the
corner. It was the 94th minute of the match. The sickening
feeling among the home faithful was that relegation
as well as two points dropped were now inevitable.
There was time just for one last forward
foray. Rooney knocked the ball into the box and this
time a Halifax defender’s ricocheted clearance
sent it back towards Glennon. Neither he nor his fellow
defender noticed Jamie Menagh closing in on them both
and, with the deftest of touches he tickled the ball
into the net, just inside the post.
The subsequent scenes on the Harry
Mac Terrace were of unbounded ecstasy. It was on a par
with George Horan’s late winner at Witton three
years ago after Albion had scored twice in injury time
to level the score. Those around the nation watching
live on BT Sport were also able to bask in a famous
City grandstand moment.
defence were made to pay for their inability to deal
with crosses as Macclesfield came from behind to inflict
defeat on the Blues. With Ross Killock missing through
suspension manager Steve Burr made four changes to the
side that were disappointingly beaten at home by Welling
United on Saturday. Joe Heath, Gareth Seddon, Paul Linwood,
Andrew Bond came in to replace Michael Kay, George Miller,
the injured Kevin McIntyre and Killock.
The Blues got off to a great start
taking the lead on 19 minutes after Seddon coolly converted
a fine through ball from Matty Taylor giving Rhys Taylor
no chance in the home goal. The lead lasted barely three
minutes though, Scott Boden heading home past Danby
following a Danny Andrew cross.
Within a minute it looked like Seddon
had restored Chester’s advantage, pouncing on
a loose ball after Rooney had seen a shot partially
saved, only to see his ‘goal’ ruled out
for offside by the linesman.
On 33 minutes The Silkmen took advantage
of some more slack Chester defending to take the lead.
Peter Winn sent over a free-kick which found the unmarked
Steve Williams who headed home.
Chester, now chasing the game, came
close as John Rooney flashed a shot just wide, and the
Blues had the ball in the net again as Linwood headed
home from a Rooney free-kick only for the linesman’s
flag to deny the equaliser for offside.
The second half started with Craig
Mahon replacing Jason Jarrett who had been booked in
the opening minutes for a foul on Chris Holroyd. Jamie
Reed headed over from twelve yards following another
dangerous Rooney free-kick.
Macclesfield extended their advantage
on 53 minutes as Holroyd headed home a Jack Mackreth
right wing cross which the Blues defence failed to deal
with. The home side were now on top, Holroyd steered
a shot just wide and Scott Boden saw a goalbound effort
effort deflected away by Linwood.
Burr made two changes bringing on
new-signing Matty Mainwaring and Michael Kay replacing
Reed and George Horan who looked to have taken a knock.
Seddon sent an effort wide in the
closing stages before Rooney scored a great volley to
set up a tense final five minutes. Chester pressed hard
for the equaliser and it almost came in stoppage time
but Seddon could only steer the ball over from six yards
out following a cross from the right.
Expectations were high following Steve Burr’s
arrival as manager. Back-to-back wins against Barnet
and Woking had lifted the Blues out of the relegation
zone. True, they had come back to earth with a bump
at Forest Green but today City fans gathered thinking
that Welling at home was a winnable game. The Wings
had not read the script, however, and won comfortably
in the end to dent Chester’s hopes of Conference
The match was played in atrocious
conditions with virtually no respite all afternoon from
wind and rain. It was one of only four Conference fixtures
to survive the elements and others were involved in
the FA Trophy. Here, then was an opportunity to steal
a march on the teams around us but sadly, City didn’t
grasp it. The Blues were out-fought and out-muscled
by a business-like opposition who are punching well
above their part-time weight this season.
Welling pressed City high up the pitch
and put the Blues’ defence under pressure. Kay
seemed a strange selection at left back. Horan and Killock
were forced to resort to getting rid of the ball quickly
and often erroneously by the hard working visitors.
Beautyman shot wide at the end of an attacking move.
City seemed sluggish in their response as the Wings
were quickest to the loose ball and knocked it about
with greater pace.
McIntyre, started in left mid-field
but took a knock in a robust tackle early on and was
clearly struggling. Whilst a substitute was preparing,
a deft ball over the top of City’s defence caught
them flat-footed. Cornick latched on to the ball and
bore down on a retreating Danby. The teenager, on loan
from Bournmouth, scored his first goal for Welling with
composure. Worse was to follow just before half time
as another impressive loanee, Tobi Sho-Silva, signed
the previous day from Charlton, hunted down Danby and
robbed him of possession as he was trying to clear.
The Welling forward squared it back for top-scorer Lafayette
to stroke the ball into the unguarded net.
There seemed little way back into
the game after this for City. Only Jarrett seemed to
be competing on equal terms in midfield and all too
often the Blues were second best and behind the pace.
After the break City briefly contrived to exert some
pressure but the wind was well and truly taken out of
their sails when Healy was given time and space to drive
a shot towards goal. His powerful effort was too much
for a fully stretched Danby and City were undone.
Debutant Matt Taylor struck back almost
immediately following good work by Jamie Menagh down
the left. The control and emphatic finish by the Forest
Green forward showed promise. And if Jason Jarrett had
managed to convert a golden opportunity with twenty
minutes to go City might have been able to redeem a
point. Sadly for us Jarrett shinned his effort wide
of the post and the momentum was lost.
Just to rub salt into the wounds,
Killock picked up a second yellow card for tripping
Guthrie as he beat a couple of defenders. Lewis Turner
quickly followed him into the book for another rash
challenge as a frustrating afternoon for City limped
to a conclusion. Steve Burr has the difficult task of
restoring confidence to the squad after this deflating
defeat. A Cheshire derby with Macclesfield looms on