30 January 2001
Port Vale 2 Chester City 0
LDV Vans Trophy Round 2
Attendance: 2,507 Half-time 1-0
Port Vale: Goodlad, Cummins
(Briscoe 80), Walsh, Carragher, Tankard (Burns 46),
Smith, Brammer (Minton 80), Widdrington, Bridge-Wilkinson,
Naylor, Brooker. Subs not used: Delaney, Twiss.
Chester City: Brown, Fisher, Doughty (Ruscoe 60), Woods (Haarhoff
60), Lancaster, P Beesley (Moss 75), Carden, Blackburn, M Beesley, Wright,
Ruffer. Subs not used: Berry, Woodyatt.
Referee: M.Ryan (Preston).
There was little doubt that Port
Vale deserved to win this game and the result was
a formality once they had taken the lead, in the
21st minute, with a fortuitous goal. City, without
the injured Steve Whitehall, lined up with Carl Ruffer
playing just in front of Matt Woods, Paul Beesley
and Martyn Lancaster while Matt Doughty and Neil
Fisher played as wing-backs. This left Chris Blackburn
and Paul Carden holding the fort in midfield while
Mark Beesley and Darren Wright struggled manfully
up front. Unfortunately Port Vale gave the impression
that they wanted to win this game, an unusual phenomenon
for an LDV game, and consequently the wing backs
were occupied with defending while the depleted midfield
was completely overrun. Meanwhile Wright and Mark
Beesley were left chasing hopeful punts upfield.
Even with Luke Beckett we would have lost this game.
Port Vale pushed forward from the
first whistle and, although they had plenty of the
ball in the early stages, made few clear cut chances
as City defended well. Vale's best chance came in
the 17th minute when Matt Woods cleared off the line.
Considering it was his fault in the first place,
letting the ball run past him to a Vale striker,
it was the least he could have done. Two minutes
later Vale had a goal disallowed when a free kick
was taken before the referee blew his whistle but
they didn't have long to wait for a legitimate goal and
what a lucky goal it was. A long cross to the far
post was met by Matt Doughty who unluckily headed
the ball against the onrushing Marc Bridge-Wilkinson.
The ball bounced off Wilkinson's body giving Wayne
Brown no chance.
Even after conceding this goal
Chester struggled to make any progress. Although
they tackled well they seemed incapable of clearing
their own lines. When any balls down the wing found
Wright or Beesley there was little support in the
middle and City's only opportunities were half chances
to Darren Wright and a cross which almost found Matt
Doughty at the far post.
Something must have been said at
half time as City had their brightest spell shortly
after the interval as Doughty and Fisher finally
got the opportunity to push forward. First of all
Doughty had a good run to the bye-line and crossed
for Blackburn, whose shot was blocked, then the two
Pauls, Carden and Beesley, had shots scrambled away.
With Chester finally showing signs of life Graham
Barrow made an adventurous substitution on the hour
with Scott Ruscoe replacing Matt Doughty and Jimmy
Haarhoff taking over from Matt Woods. The change
allowed Carl Ruffer to return to his more natural
position at the centre of defence while the introduction
of "Big Jimmy", as he seems to have been christened,
gave City more attacking options. Unfortunately the
substitution seemed to disrupt City and Vale quickly
increased their lead when a mistake by Paul Beesley
let in Dave Brammer whose cross was converted by
Tony Naylor. Memo to Paul Beesley don't try
and beat players in your own half when there are
no defenders behind you.
At this point Chester seemed to
realise the game was up and Vale continued to have
most of the possession although Ruffer had a header
well saved from a City corner. There was a further
shuffle in the formation when Darren Moss came on
for Paul Beesley but it had little effect. Without
Steve Whitehall the attack was very lightweight and
Haarhoff had few opportunities to show his pace although
one exciting run, close to the finish, ended when
he was hauled down on the edge of the box.
All in all a fair result and at
least it alleviates the fixture congestion. Perhaps
too much was expected of City, having beaten three
League clubs already this season, and bearing in
mind recent results against Vale. It shouldn't be
forgotten that there are two divisions between the
sides. Pick of the Chester players was probably Martyn
27 January 2001
Chester City 1 Morecambe 0
Attendance: 1,717 Half-time
Chester City: Brown, Fisher,
Doughty, Woods, Lancaster, P.Beesley, Carden, Blackburn,
M.Beesley, Whitehall (Wright 79), Ruscoe (Haarhoff
59). Subs not used: Moss, Woodyatt, Berry.
Morecambe: Smith, Fensome, Brown, McKearney, Hardiker (Walters 50),
Lee, Drummond, Quayle (Eastwood 79), Lyons, Thompson (Black 53). SUbs
not used: Takano, Banks.
Referee: A.Penn (Kings Winford).
Lancaster's first senior goal for Chester brought
three points and City 's first double of the season
following their win at Christie Park back in September.
A scrappy match was settle in the 13th minute when
Lancaster pounced from six yards following-up Steve
Whitehall's blocked shot.
City were having all the play but
it wasn't until after the break that they created
the better chances. Steve Whitehall almost doubled
the lead on 49 minutes when he sent a shot crashing
against a post, and Paul Carden also went close but
should have done better than direct a shot straight
at visiting 'keeper Smith when well placed.
Not long after and Carden was red-carded
for a second bookable offence after two challenges
on Stewart Drummond in as many minutes.
Morecambe's best effort came minutes
later when debutant David Lee tested Wayne Brown
from 20 yards but the City 'keeper saved well.
Two minutes from time and Ryan
Black was sent off for the visitors after a lunging
tackle on Neil Fisher.
14 January 2001
Liverpool Ladies 3 Chester City Ladies
AXA Ladies FA Cup Round
Attendance: n/a Half-time 2-0
The girls went the way of their
male counterparts in the AXA sponsored Ladies FA
Cup last Sunday. Although they gave a spirited performance
especially in the second half, they eventually down
3-0 to Liverpool.
Not able to get out of first gear,
they were behind after only 5 minutes. An error at
the back allowed a Liverpool forward to latch on
to a badly cleared ball which left her with a simple
one on one with Laura Edwards in the Chester goal
which she coolly took. Minutes later Laura was again
called into action. This time she pulled off what
can only be described as a 'world class' save diving
quickly and athletically down to her left. The second
goal brought more heartache.
As the ball was running through
with the Chester keeper odds on to collect, she lost
her footing on the thawing surface to give an advancing
Liverpool striker the advantage. The striker couldn't
believe her luck and was quick to recognise the opportunity.
She made contact first and pushed the ball home past
the stricken keeper for the reds second.
Half time: Liverpool 2 Chester
The adage, a game of two halves
certainly applied here. Gresty, the Chester Manager
was quick to recognise that Leigh Broadbent on the
right side was not being utilised and substituted
her with Lisa Pritchard who was fresh back from ankle
The tempo of the Chester game improved
dramatically and they penned, the now tiring Liverpool
team, back in their own half for long periods of
A goal looked on the cards but,
only a series of half chances was all the girls had
to show for their efforts and when the ball eventually
broke out into the Chester defensive third Liverpool
again capitalised on the fact that Chester had thrown
all but the 'kitchen sink' forward.
As the final whistle approached,
the game became a little scrappy and ill tempered.
Clare Reynolds was sent from the field of play for
foul and abusive while Sass also received a yellow
After a respectful and proud 6
game run in the competition, the girls can now turn
their attention to the remaining competitions, League
title (considered most important by the girls themselves),
League Cup and the County Cup competitions.
It all starts again in the County
Cup first round game this Sunday away at Stockport
13 January 2001
Chester City 2 Doncaster Rovers 0
FA Umbro Trophy Round 3
Attendance: 1,479 Half-time 2-0
Chester City: Brown, Moss
(Woodyatt 89), Ruscoe, Lancaster, Ruffer, P Beesley,
Carden, Porter, M Beesley, Whitehall, Blackburn (Woods
85). Subs not used: Wright, Berry.
Doncaster Rovers: Richardson, Marples (Alford 83), Shaw, Hawkins,
Stone (Price 26), Kelly (Watson 75), Patterson, Penney, Campbell, Whitman,
McIntyre. Subs not used: Caudwell, Carrington.
Referee: G.Salisbury (Preston).
the 3200 Chester fans who came out of the closet
for the Blackburn game vaporised down to 1000 in
a paltry crowd of just over 1400 (including about
300 visitors). This was potentially the match of
the round but the game failed to ignite, at least
in a footballing sense, and Chester cruised to a
straightforward victory. Doncaster couldn’t re-create
the form they showed in their victory at Belle Vue
last month and after Chester took a 2-0 half-time
lead the result was never in doubt It is perhaps
fortunate that the game did not result in a draw
as any replay could have turned into a bloodbath
as one or two personal vendettas on the pitch continued
in the tunnel after the game.
Chester started the game with Scott
Ruscoe and Darren Moss as full-backs in place of
Matt Doughty (injured) and Neil Fisher (suspended).
Neither player was put under much defensive pressure
by Rovers which gave them plenty of time to push
forward, indeed Ruscoe was at the heart of most of
Chester’s best moves in the first half with a series
of penetrative runs down the left flank.
The match got off to a niggly start,
a pattern that continued throughout the game, and
Shaw was booked in the first ten minutes after petulantly
kicking the ball away. City found plenty of room
in the early stages and Ruscoe shot over from the
edge of the box following a low right wing cross.
On two occasions Mark Beesley found himself with
time to spare on the edge of the box but his low
crosses remained unconverted. At the other end Wayne
Brown was fortunate to escape unpunished when Jamie
Patterson beat him to a ball on the edge of the area.
Fortunately Patterson was hustled off the ball before
he could put the ball back into the centre.
Chester’s best opening came after
27 minutes when Andy Porter chipped the ball over
the Donny defence. Carl Ruffer, who had mysteriously
materialised in an attacking position, found himself
in acres of space but after chesting the ball down
his powerful shot was brilliantly saved by Barry
Richardson. Although Richardson saved well Ruffer
could have scored had he shown more composure. Two
minutes later Richardson had turned from hero to
villain when his horrendous mistake led to City’s
opening goal. A harmless pass from Porter ran slowly
towards the Rovers keeper with Steve Whitehall making
a token chase for the ball. Richardson wound himself
him to blast the ball into orbit but totally missed
his kick and a grateful Whitehall walked the ball
into an empty net. A wonderful moment. Perhaps the
ball took a nasty bobble on an uneven pitch but its
more fun to blame Richardson.
minutes later City put the game beyond Rovers reach.
Porter brilliantly won possession of the ball on
the edge of the area and fed a pass through to the
hard-working Mark Beesley. His cross was met by Whitehall
whose clever header found the corner of the net.
A fine goal. With a two goal lead Chester started
to play their best football of the game and Blackburn
and Mark Beesley both had good opportunities shortly
afterwards. With Chester cruising Doncaster had their
best chance just before the break but Tristan Whitman
fired over. Whitman was Rovers most dangerous player
although he was susceptible to the "I’ve been shot
by a sniper" syndrome.
When the players came out for the
second half the unfortunate Richardson received the
best reception for an opposition keeper for many
years. The second 45 minutes proved an anti-climax
as City defended in depth while Doncaster lacked
the ability and ideas to break down a solid defence.
Perhaps this is unfair on Rovers but they had shown
far more promise in their League defeat earlier in
the season. City failed to create many chances in
the second half and struggled to put any decent moves
together. The best moment came when Mark Beesley
crossed for Whitehall but his spectacular volleyed
effort lacked direction.
There were a series of bookings
in the second half for some bad fouls and it was
perhaps surprising that no-one was sent off. Moss
was booked for a scything tackle on Patterson, who
always seemed to be at the centre of the trouble,
and Campbell was booked for a spectacular dive in
the 18 yard box in a dismal attempt to win a penalty.
Shaw should have been sent off for a disgraceful
tackle on Carden but the referee played the advantage
and by the time the ball had gone out of play Mr
Salisbury had lost interest. After 65 minutes the
game exploded into action as a Doncaster tackle from
behind was missed by the referee. Paul Carden went
in with a two footed challenge and a general free
for all ensued which saw bookings for Ruffer, Brown
and Patterson. Mark Beesley was fortunate not to
be booked for a bad tackle on McIntyre who was promptly
booked for swinging at the City forward in retaliation.
Martyn Lancaster was probably Chester’s
man of the match as he continued his recent good
from with another confident performance.
After the game Graham Barrow commented:
"I was pleased with the first half
and although we defended well after the interval
I thought we could have got more out of the game.
The second half was very scrappy and there was a
definite physical edge to the game. However the most
important thing is that we won the match. The first
goal was lucky but it is the first lucky goal we
have had this season. I thought the second goal was
a beauty and well set up by Mark Beesley who really
deserves a goal at the moment. I think we have a
real chance in the FA Trophy especially as we have
beaten one of the favourites for the cup."
6 January 2001
Blackburn Rovers 2 Chester City 0
AXA FA Cup Round 3
Attendance: 15,223 Half-time 0-0
Blackburn Rovers: Friedel,
Curtis, McAteer, Bjornebye, Taylor, Dunn, Mahon,
Dunning (Douglas 45), Hignett (Hughes 71), Jansen,
Ostenstad (Bent 58), Subs not used: Kenna, Filan.
Chester City: Brown, Fisher (Woods 76), Doughty (Moss 67), Lancaster,
Ruffer, P.Beesley, Carden. Porter, M.Beesley, Whitehall, Blackburn (Wright
79). Subs not used: Ruscoe, Woodyatt.
Referee: S.Baines (Chesterfield).
2-0 scoreline may not come as a surprise to anyone
who wasn't at Ewood Park but it doesn't do justice
to a fantastic City performance, which, had we taken
our chances (and there were many) could have earned
a draw at least.
Such was the size of the away following
(over 3,000) that congestion outside the ground forced
the kick-off to be delayed by 15 minutes. City's
fans, packed into half of the upper and lower tier
of the Darwen End stand sang and banged their drums
non-stop for two hours, the atmosphere created was
electric and the players responded superbly.
Chester playing in a smart black
and white striped kit got into the thick of the action
right from the start. Fisher sent over a right wing
cross that tantalisingly eluded Steve Whitehall at
the far post. Rovers responded but Ruffer mopped
up the danger tackling Matt Jensen and bringing a
neat move to an end. Indeed City's defence of Beesley,
Ruffer and Martyn Lancaster remained composed throughout.
Matt Doughty was causing all sorts
of problems with his probing runs down the left wing.
Several times he got round the defence only to see
his teasing crosses evade everyone in the box. Just
before the break Whitehall tried his luck from distance
but two long range efforts passed well wide of the
The nearest Rovers came to opening
the scoring came on 22 minutes when former Crewe
player Craig Hignett, with the City defence backing
off, shot against the outside of the post with Brown
beaten. Goalless at half-time you had a feeling that
City really could get something from the match.
It was Rovers who had more of the
play following the break. Ostenstad headed straight
at Brown, and the keeper also saved well from Hignett.
City suffered a setback on 67 minutes
when a hamstring injury robbed them of the services
of the impressive Doughty, Darren Moss replacing
A minute later came the turning
point of the tie. Neil Fisher, in front of the massed
ranks of City fans, swung over a right wing corner.
The ball was headed goalwards by Paul Beesley only
for 'keeper Friedel to palm the ball out; it fell
to Steve Whitehall who calmly slotted the ball home
from six yards, cue jubilant chaos on the away end.
However, referee Steve Baines disallowed the 'goal'
claiming a push by the defender.
minutes later the ball was in the net at the other
end. Martin Taylor heading home Rovers debutant Alan
Mahon's letf wing corner, Brown having no chance
in the City goal.
Substitute Marcus Bent doubled
the lead six minutes from time heading home an inswinging
kick from close range.
The City fans turned up the volume
as Chester pressed forward looking for a goal. Whitehall
had two efforts on target, one superbly saved following
a flowing move, and substiture Darren Wright had
two glorious chances for a goal, the first shooting
tamely from eight yards and the second a free header
which went straight to keeper Friedel. Mark Beesley
could have also done better when given time on the
right of the six yard box he hastily shot across
So City's gallant cup run came
to an end as they left the field to a standing ovation
from both sets of fans.
“I’m a bad loser,” said Barrow. “I
was as a player and am as a manager and after the game
instead of going to the fans, I just wanted to get
in the dressing room.” Chairman Terry Smith said: “I
was tremendously proud of the players. They worked
so hard and the support we had at Blackburn was unbelievable.”
1 January 2001
Hereford United 2 Chester City 0
Attendance: 2,321 Half-time
Hereford United: Cooksey,
Lane, Sturgess, Clarke, Wright, Wall, Robinson, Snape,
McIndoe, Elmes, Williams. Subs not used: Quiggin,
Baker, Gardiner, Giddings, Rodgerson.
Chester City: Brown, P.Beesley, Ruffer, Fisher, Doughty, Lancaster,
Carden, Blackburn, Ruscoe (Wright 85), Whitehall, M.Beesley (Moss 44).
Subs not used: Woodyatt, Kerr, Berry.
Referee: A. Williams (Kingstone).
can have few complaints after a lacklustre performance.
They dominated the first half territorially but Brown
had to make the more saves. Early on he dived at
the feet of Williams to cut off the danger but after
twelve minutes was rescued by Matt Doughty clearing
off the line after City failed to clear a corner.
Beesley had City's only effort on target of the first
half saved at full stretch by Cooksey.
Barrow made a strange substitution
as half time approached. Mark Beesley was withdrawn
and defender Moss thrown on. Possibly Beesely was
carrying an injury but the half time whistle sounded
only seconds after the change was made.
The home team raised the tempo
after the interval just as they did at the Deva six
days ago. City appeared to be weathering the storm
until Moss made a reckless challenge and Williams
went sprawling. A penalty was awarded and Lane converted
easily. The annoying thing was that Moss had no need
to make a tackle Williams was heading away from goal but
how many penalties has the lad given away now?
Two minutes later the game was
over as City conceded a second, killer blow. Elmes
headed home at the near post from a corner.
City, with Fisher playing in a
strikers role for the second half, never looked like
scoring one let alone the two goals needed to rescue
Any thoughts of the championship
have surely gone now. Not just because of today's
result but because City have very little firepower
up front or a wide player to unlock some of these