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Southport (A) | FC United of Manchester (A) | Winsford United (CSC1 A) | Guiseley (H) | Curzon Ashton (H) | Spennymoor Town (A)
Saturday 26 January
Spennymoor Town 2 Chester 0
Conference National North
Attendance: 863 Half Time: 1-0
Booked: Grand.

Spennymoor Town: Gould, Williams, Curtis, Brogan, Ramshaw, Anderson, Chandler, Taylor (Boyes 87), Hall (Tuton 75), Johnson (Agnew 68). Subs not used: Thackray, Elliott.
Chester: Shenton, Thomson, Grand, Howson, Livesey, McKenna (Deane Smalley 77), Jackson (Mooney 60), Roberts, McAllister (Green 46), Burton, Waring. Subs not used: Mahon, Waters.
Referee: J.Bell.

Gary Roberts missed a penalty as Chester were beaten at Spennymoor and as a result drop out of the play off places.

New signing George Waring made a debut for his home town club while Scott Burton returned to the midfield following a long injury lay-off.

It was an even opening period on the sloping Brewery Field ground with the Blues defence coping with the both the slope and swirling wind well, however a defence splitting through ball on 25 minutes saw Glen Taylor race through on goal but Grant Shenton pulled off a fine save to smother away his shot.

A minute later an identical through ball saw Ryan Hall advance on goal, he rounded Shenton to score into an empty net.

Chester made a change at the break with George Green coming on for Sean McAllister as they attacked down the slope for the second half.

Ten minutes after the restart the Blues were handed a lifeline as James Curtis fouled Waring in the box and Chester were awarded a penalty.

Roberts’ low spot-kick was well saved by Matthew Gould in the Moors goal with the rebound falling to Green who headed it over the bar.

The Blues continued to press, Burton saw a header flash just wide following a Simon Grand cross. Dan Mooney replaced Bradley Jackson moments before Taylor almost added a second goal shooting just wide when well placed.

The home striker wasn’t to be denied though and ten minutes from time Taylor shook off the attentions of Dan Livesey to shoot past Shenton to wrap up all three points.

Picture © Rick Matthews

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Saturday 19 January
Chester 0 Curzon Ashton 1
Conference National North
Attendance: 1,671 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Roberts, Grand, Green.

Chester: Shenton, Jackson, Grand, Howson (Deane Smalley 77), Livesey, Roberts, Mooney (Waters 74), McKenna (Green 64), McAllister, Mahon, Marsh-Hughes. Subs not used: Thomson, Burton.
Curzon Ashton: Mason, Thornley, McJannet, Hunt, Ali, Rowney, Crankshaw, Earing (McAtee 61), Reilly (Shenton 77), Brooke, Wall. Subs not used: Fawns, Lindfield, Miller.
Referee: Andy Sykes.

Chester dominated for long periods but paid for their missed chances with a late Curzon Ashton goal to inflict their first defeat of the year.

The Blues were without both strikers Akwasi Asante and Anthony Dudley through injury, in came Ben McKenna who made his debut after signing from Bradford (Park Avenue) recently.

Chester started brightly against a side which had won their three previous games, with Simon Grand shooting wide after just three minutes after good link-up play from Lloyd Marsh-Hughes and Craig Mahon. Moments later a great save from Cameron Mason denied McKenna a debut goal tipping his curling shot onto the bar.

Don Mooney and McKenna both went close again, and Grand saw a header tipped over the bar, as Chester continued to press for an opening goal.

The last chance of the half fell to the visitors who almost snatched the lead through Lewis Reilly whose close range effort was well saved from Grant Shenton in the home goal.

The Blues continued to press after the break as Grand saw another header cleared off the line and pressure almost saw Mohamud Ali head into his own net!

Fifteen minutes from time The Nash caught Chester on the break to score the only goal of the game, Oliver Crankshaw dispossed Grand in midfield before laying the ball off wide to Luke Wall who crossed for Oliver Crankshaw to score past a stranded Shenton.

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Saturday 12 January
Chester 1 Guiseley 1
Conference National North
Attendance: 1,759 Half Time: 0-1
Booked: McAllister.

Chester: Shenton, Grand, Jackson, Howson, Livesey, Roberts, McAllister, Mooney (Waters 69), Mahon, Deane Smalley (Brown 77), Dudley. Subs not used: Noble, Murray, Moran.
Guiseley: Dewhurst, Moyo (Thornton 43), Heaton, Cantrill, Langley, Halls, Felix (Purver 53), James, Liburd, Odejayi, Morrison. Subs not used: Green, Hussain, Clayton.
Referee: Amy Fearn.

Andy Halls returned to the Deva with Guiseley as their captain. His inside information led him to make the teams change ends when he won the toss, to irritate the home fans no doubt. His free kick on the left, awarded for a debatable handball, found the head of veteran Kayode Odejayi who found ample room to head firmly past a stranded Shenton. Double irritation.

But Halls’ afternoon went downhill shortly before half time when he was dismissed for a reckless tackle on Gary Roberts which had the main stand baying for a red card. After consulting her linesman, the referee duly obliged.

Chester had begun brightly and seemed capable of getting behind the visitors’ defence which looked shaky. Dudley was put through but took too long to get his shot away and his effort was stymied by a last ditch tackle. Lions’ forwards Liburd and Odejayi were a handful on the break and Liburd might have done better when he got through on goal only to curl his shot wide of the far post.

Mahon was brought down on the edge of the box as City strove to weave a way through but the free kick came to nothing and then Deane Smalley shot narrowly over. New signing McAllister looked neat in City’s midfield and whipped in one superb cross from the right which just eluded the head of Dudley and the lunge of Mahon.

Blues had the whole of the second half to play against just the ten men of the visitors but struggled to find a way through an increasingly stubborn defence. They did manage a breakthrough after ten second half minutes when Jackson ran strongly down the right and cut along the line but his low cross was cleared. Roberts picked up the loose ball and twisted deftly to hang up an inviting cross for Dudley who headed home the equaliser.

But the winning goal that Blues’ supporters craved did not materialise. Youngsters Waters and Brown were thrown on in place of the out-of-sorts Mooney and the tiring Smalley but despite flashes of skill they could not unlock a the Guiseley defence either. To relieve the pressure the Lions had the ever-dangerous twin outlet of Liburd and Odejayi and sought to make the most of set- pieces. Kingsley James – whose beard has grown immensely since he was here last season – launched a couple of free kicks (similar to the pass which found Ben Heneghan THAT sublime time a few years ago) but Howson and Livesey marshalled the defence well.

The visitors seem to be specialists at drawing games at the moment and went away with another point to their tally. They would have been the happier of the two teams this afternoon. City will see this as a missed opportunity but in all honesty did not do enough to win, the lack of a cutting edge and inconsistent play meant that they had to be content with a draw.

Colin Mansley

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Tuesday 8 January
Winsford United 0 Chester 4
Cheshire Senior Cup Round 1
Attendance: 236 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: -.

Winsford United: Langley, Delaney, L.Duckworth, Elliott, Foster, Boyle (Dean 19), Clarke, Hopper, J.Duckworth, Short, Bircumshaw. Subs not used: Collins, Collinson, Hibbert.
Chester: King, Jones, Waters (Cottrell 71), Noble (Molyneux 71), Moran, Macready, Murrey, Green, Deane Smalley, Crilly (Hayes 77), Brown. Sub not used: Gale.
Referee: Neil Evans.

Two goals from Nathan Brown and further efforts from George Green and Iwan Murray see Chester through to the third round of the Cheshire Senior Cup.

Saturday 5 January
FC United of Manchester 0 Chester 2
Conference National North
Attendance: 2,260 Half Time: 0-1
Booked: Green.
Sent-Off: Green.

FC United of Manchester: Allinson, Morton, Richards (McDowell-Jallou 82), O’Halloran, Lynch, Wallen (Donohue 64), Simoes, Winter, Sharp, Willoughby, Banister. Subs not used: Palinkas, Potts, Brierley.

Chester: Shenton, Howson, Grand, Livesey, Jackson, Mooney (Waters 64), Mahon, Roberts, Noble (Marsh-Hughes 46), Green, Dudley. Subs not used: Moran, Deane Smalley, Murray.
Referee: Dean Hulme.

Goals from Anthony Dudley and Gary Roberts bring a first away win since September.

Picture © Rick Matthews

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Tuesday 1 January
Chester 0 Southport 0
Conference National North
Attendance: 1,984 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Howson, Dudley, Roberts.

Chester: Shenton, Waters, Grand, Howson, Jackson, Roberts, Mahon, Mooney (Dawson 81), Smalley (Marsh-Hughes 81), Green, Dudley. Subs not used: Moran, Murray, Noble.

Southport: Hanford, Richards, Ogle, Edwards, Astles (Charles 62), Parry, Morgan, Wood, Green (Homson-Smith 84), Sampson (Gilchrist 65), Archer. Subs not used: Davies, Mohammed.
Referee: Richard Aspinall.

Injury-hit Chester picked up their first point of the festive season with a hard earned draw against Southport.

The Sandgrounders started well and it took a Simon Grand block in the opening minutes to deny Devarn Green a shot on goal, at the other end former Blue Ryan Astles was well placed to clear a Matty Waters cross shot off the line to deny the Blues an opening goal.

The best chance of the half fell to another former Chester player Jordan Archer who failed to connect with a Jack Sampson cross with the goal at his mercy, moments before the interval the same striker was denied by a smart save from Grant Shenton.

Dan Mooney just failed to meet an Anthony Dudley cross as Chester finished the half strong. The home side enjoyed plenty of possession in the second period without really troubling Dan Hanford in the Port goal.

Chester introduced both Lloyd Marsh Hughes and Adam Dawson from the bench for the final ten minutes but only had a Craig Mahon effort blocked in the box following a goalmouth scramble to show for their efforts.

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