Saturday 30 March 2002
Chester City Youth 0 Oldham
Athletic Youth 4
Football League Merit Division
Chester City: Louie Mackin,
Chris Tamm (Trialist), Paul Connolley, James Dean,
Tom Coulson, John Davies, Adam Kelley, Carl Rogers,
Lee Reece, Chris Hopwood, Kevin Towey (Mark Howell).
The youth team lost 4-0 to table
topping Oldham Athletic on Saturday morning. Oldham
were a very physical and powerful team and scored two
goals in each half. Chester had their fair share of
possession but were unable to force themselves on the
physically superior opponents.
Saturday 30 March 2002
Doncaster Rovers 2 Chester City 0
Attendance: 2,085 Half Time: 2-0
Doncaster Rovers: Warrington, Price,
Ryan, Miler, Squires, Tierney (Caudwell 59), Kelly, Owen (Green
90), Watson, Barnes (Campbell 82), Gill. Subs not used: Sandwith,
Chester City: W.Brown, Lancaster, Bolland, Brabin, Peacock,
M.Rose, McElhatton (Spink 82), Carey, McGorry (Woodyatt 45),
D.Brown (Blackburn 84), Beesley. Subs not used: M.Williams, Carden.
Referee: M.Ives (Stevenage).
In-form Doncaster took their goal tally to
seven in two games with a comfortable win over Chester at Belle
Doncaster, who beat Hayes 5-2 last week, made
a fast start and after Robert Gill's volley had been charged
down, Gareth Owen's effort was comfortably saved by Wayne Brown.
Chester launched their first attack in the
20th minute when Richard Peacock's fierce volley was scrambled
clear by Tim Ryan.
Peacock threatened again soon afterwards but
Andy Warrington kept out his 25-yard effort. Both teams created
openings during a frenetic five-minute spell and Doncaster opened
the scoring in the 34th minute.
Gill collected the ball on the edge of the
penalty area and curled a superb effort into the top corner of
The hosts doubled their advantage on the stroke
of half-time when Francis Tierney crossed for Paul Barnes to
power home a header.
Peacock continued to cause problems for Rovers'
defence in the second half but the hosts held on for victory.
Report from the BBC.
Tuesday 26 March
Hereford United 1 Chester City 0
Attendance: 1,295 Half Time: 1-0
Hereford United: Jones (Baker 13), Holmes,
Barrick, Clarke, Wright, James, Roboinson, Goodwin, Parry, Rodgerson
(Quigin 62), Williams. Subs not used: Davidson, Diamond, Hill.
Chester City: W.Brown, Bolland, M.Rose, Lancaster, McGorry,
Brabin, Carey (Blackburn 71), McElhatton, Peacock (Haarhoff 81),
Beesley, Tate (D.Brown 15). Subs not used: M.Williams, Woodyatt.
fans who were not at Edgar Street should not be too disheartened
by this result. After a shaky start City did more than enough
to win this game but eventually came away pointless. By law of
averages this result was due City were unbeaten since
January in the League and had a fine win at Boston at the weekend,
their hosts were still smarting from three consecutive home defeats
in the Conference.
The Bulls began on the rampage and lax defending
allowed Williams in to flash a shot wide in the first minute.
Hereford took the lead with a bizzare goal on six minutes. A
cross was headed out to the edge of the box by Bolland and Wright
toe-poked it first time towards goal where it skimmed past a
statuesque Brown. The Chester keeper was so flat-footed it could
only be assumed the shot had been deflected, he was unsighted
or just caught on the hop.
Still the goal was scored early enough for
City to mount a reply. City were struggling early on to get to
the pace of the game and the cacophony of the Cestrians' supporters
drum and tin (Banging on the corrugated stand wall) percussion
section gave the whole atmosphere an air of surreality.
Tate and keeper Jones both needed lengthy treatment
after colliding at a far post cross. Both tried to continue but
had to be replaced. Baker usual first choice keeper but
injured recently came on for the Bulls, David Brown for
Chester. One substitute denied the other when Baker pulled off
a magnificent save to beat out Brown's fierce shot after Bolland's
header had been cleared off the line. Just before the interval
Baker saved again as Beesley got through.
the re-start City, in their sky and navy stripes once again (Homage
to Saturday's Boat Race perhaps) really took the game to their
hosts. Carey was superb in the centre of midfield. McGorry, who
had struggled a little to get in the game in the first half was
now much more effective. City sprayed the ball about to either
wing, Brown and Beesley turned their markers time and again to
get behind them and threatened to score so often, I lost count.
The one thing they lacked was that cutting edge and the instinctive
understanding that would have provided the split second timing
to make a clear cut chance. Brown, Beesley and McElhatton all
had shots blocked on the line. Bolland's headers were just over
the bar or within reach of Baker's grasp.
Best chance of all came to Brown who broke
into the box with just Baker to beat. He pushed it round him
and then tangled with the keeper and fell to the ground. May
be he was looking for the penalty instead of trying to have a
go himself. Certainly the ref thought he had dived and just
to rub salt into the wound booked him for good measure.
It capped a frustrating evening all round.
On another night City might have won by three
or four goals. They could not be faulted for effort and were
warmly applauded by the travelling supporters when the final
whistle brought great relief to the home team who barely
got out of their own half in the second period.
If City keep up this form then they should
stay up despite the tough programme fo their next matches but
nothing is a foregone conclusion, that is the lesson that could
be drawn from an excellent performance despite a disappointing
Saturday 23 March 2002
Chester City Youth 3 Mansfield Town Youth
Football League Merit Division 2 North
Chester City: Louie Mackin, Tom Coulson
(Trialist), Paul Connolley, James Dean, Scott Bagnall (Mark Howell),
Chris Tammy, John Davies, Carl Rogers, Lee Reece (Tom Leonard),
Chris Hopwood, Adam Kelley.
The youth team had a convincing 3-0 home win
against Mansfield Town on Saturday morning. There were no goals
in the first half as the Mansfield keeper denied Lee Reece and
Carl Rogers with two excellent saves, whilst at the other end Chester
keeper Louie Mackin pushed a long range effort onto the post.
Chester took the lead after ten minutes of
the second period when Chris Hopwood broke clear and lifted a bouncing
ball over the advancing keeper. They doubled their lead 15 minutes
later when Chris Hopwood netted his second following up Lee Reece's
attempt which had been blocked by the keeper. Substitute Tom Leonard
completed the scoring five minutes from time with a neat 15 yard
23 March 2002
Boston United 0 Chester City 1
Attendance: 0-0 Half Time: 2,519
Booked: Brabin, McGorry, Peacock, Tate.
Boston United: Bastock, Clifford, Gould
(Tarrant 63), Warburton (Costello 85), Rodwell, Ellender, Brown,
Cook (Town 70), Angel, Clare, Rusk. Subs not used: Elding, Conroy.
Chester City: W.Brown, Lancaster, Bolland, Brabin, McGorry,
Rose, Carey, McElhatton (Williams 70), Peacock, Tate, Beesley.
Subs not used: D.Brown, Haarhoff, Carden, Blackburn.
Referee: S.Dorr (Worcester).
came away from York Street all smiles following this tremendous
1-0 victory that steers them clear of the relegation zone towards
safety, and the 150 or so City fans who travelled from all points
of the country to see the game played a big part in that success.
Accompanied by the booming drums of two of their
ranks the blues faithful chanted Mark Wright's Blue and white
army non-stop for the last pulsating 20 minutes as manager
Wright's men hung on to defeat the Conference leaders and silence
the home fans amongst a crowd of just over 2,500.
Chester gave a debut to Richard Peacock, signed
from Stalybridge 24 hours earlier, who replaced Lee Woodyatt and
kept faith with Martyn Lancaster in the centre of defence alongside
Phil Bolland ahead of Mark Williams who took his seat on the bench.
Shaun Carey also returned to the side in midfield at substitute
Paul Carden's expense.
The Blues started brightly and were pressing
as early as the fifth minute with Chris Tate flicking on a Mark
Beesley cross only for Paul Bastock in the home goal to gather
the ball comfortably. Minutes later Tate was in the thick of the
action again as he seemed to be pushed in the box chasing a McGorry
through ball, referee Dorr turned his back on the appeals.
At the other end City keeper Wayne Brown, who
won his fourth England semi-pro cap in the week, was kept busy
cutting out some dangerous crosses but didn't have a shot of note
to save in the early stages except for a reflex save from Mark
Angel's quickly taken free kick.
The busy Tate, winning much in the air, went
close again midway through the half when a close range shot was
blocked in the box following a goalbound melee and minutes later
fellow striker Mark Beesley saw a shot from 20 yards deflect agonisingly
inches wide of the post with the City fans behind the goal about
to cheer an opener.
At the other end of the pitch debutant Peacock
was handily placed minutes later hooking the ball off his own line
as Ellender beat Brown with a low shot.
As anticipated, Boston came out strongly in the
second half and went close twice with far post headers. Mike Rose
saw a long-range effort scream just wide before City got the breakthrough
on 53 minutes.
Peacock swung over a left wing free kick and
Mark Beesley rose unchallenged in the box to head past Bastock
into the corner.
City brought an extra defender in Williams (for
McElhatton) and sat back a little on the lead they had. Twice Wayne
Brown was called upon to make close range saves with his legs and
he also pulled off a superb effort at full stretch to deny Jamie
Brown when a goal looked certain.
Boston pressed hard for the equaliser and forced
several corners in the dying minutes, but City's back line, with
Phil Bolland and Gary Brabin once again impressive, held on for
three crucial points and the body language of the players in the
bar afterwards said it all. There seems to be a great team spirit
instilled in the club at the moment long may it continue.
Sunday 17 March 2002
Stockport County Ladies 3 Chester City Ladies
Northern Combination League
Although goals from Clare 'sticks' Reynolds and
Sarah Tyson, Chester's Ladies were unable to stave off a comprehensive
second half performance from a young bright Stockport County side.
The girls were comfortably ahead early in the
first half when Sticksy, at her usual coolest, rounded the keeper
to net her 13th of the season. It remained the same till the second
period when a poorly placed volley toward the Stockport back four
was intercepted and from the resulting clearance, the quick Stockport
strikers ran the Chester rearguard ragged and slid the ball under
Laura Edwards in the Chester goal.
After coming on for the out of luck, Cally Reid,
Tys's goal put Chester ahead again but another costly error by
the Chester defence earned the home side a corner which they converted
to bring the game back to all square with 20 minutes to go! The
longer the game progressed, the more pressure was brought to bare
by Stockport County and when Michelle Hounslow was forced to play
back to her keeper a misunderstanding between centre half and keeper
saw a Stockport County player come clean away with the unclaimed
ball and finish into the top corner.
Although seconds later Tyson had the ball
in the home net again, the goal was disallowed as she was penalised
a trip on a defender, CCLFC really didn't deserve a thing from this
short journey up the M56.
Saturday 16 March 2002
Grimsby Town Youth 0 Chester City Youth 1
Football League Merit Division 2 North
Chester City: Louie Mackin, Trialist,
Paul Connolley, John Davies, James Dean, Tom Coulson, Carl Rogers,
Mark Howell (Scott Bagnall), Lee Reece (Adam Kelley), Kevin Towey,
The youth team made the long journey to Grimsby
on Saturday morning, but it was worth the trip as they returned with
a 1-0 victory. Carl Rogers headed the all important goal in the first
half. Louie Mackin pulled off a tremendous save in the dying minutes
to secure the three points.
16 March 2002
Burton Albion 2 Chester City 0
FA Umbro Trophy Round 6
Attendance: 3,584 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: W.Brown, Carden, M.Rose.
Burton Albion: Duke, Hoyle, Hensahw, Kavanagh,
Blount, Evans (Wall 77), Stride, Webster, Moore, Clough, Anderson.
Subs not used: Bailey, Lyons, Glasser, Robinson.
Chester City: W.Brown, Woodyatt, M.Rose, Lancaster, Bolland,
Brabin, Carden, McGorry, Tate (Haarhoff 72), Beesley, McElhatton
(D.Brown 72). Subs not used: Spink, Blackburn, Whittaker.
Chester are free to concentrate on the League. And this disjointed
performance illustrated that they will have to concentrate a lot
harder against Boston on Saturday. With so many new additions to
the squad, it is fair to say that Mark Wright has had a difficult
task in quickly moulding the players into a cohesive unit. His
job is far from complete and if Stalybridge win their game in hand
then we are only two points from the drop zone.
Maybe I am being too harsh and unrealistic but
I miss watching Chester sides that had poise on the ball and a
degree of control. On Saturday this happened all too fleetingly.
Against Burton, too many passes went astray and that was on the
occasions that the ball wasn't in the air. On the positive side
Brabin won virtually every header he went for but there seemed
to be an aversion to good passing football played on the floor
and many of the players were ill at ease with the ball at their
feet often over-hitting aerial balls, even from free kicks where
there was no tangible pressure from opposition players.
The game started scrappily with both sides failing
to find their composure for a good 20 minutes. The bumper crowd
was fairly quiet apart from the marvellous vocal support of the
visiting fans and percussion. Chester could have taken the lead
when a firm Brabin header was fumbled over the crossbar by Clough
and Duke. There were few clear-cut chances and the flow was not
helped by the numerous free kicks for late City tackles. Burton
hit the back of the net through Moore eventually, only for the
apoplectic crowd to be silenced by the outstretched arm of the
linesman's offside flag.
City started much more brightly in the second
half and Beesley was unlucky not to put them ahead in the 50th
minute when the ball struck the upright and the follow up was blocked
by some frantic defending. Not long after this McElhatton slipped
when bearing down on goal, which summed up the frustrating game
he was having. Not having heeded Burtons first half warning Chester
were hit on the break with an excellently constructed goal set
up by Moore and wonderfully finished by Kavanagh and the crowds
celebrations were not curtailed this time. Two minutes later Webster
punished some hesitant defending and Burton were in the draw for
the semi-finals. City played some of their best football in response
and the arrival of the much-underused Haarhoff was a welcome reminder
of what good ball skills can bring to a side. He caused the Albion
players much discomfort on the occasions he got the ball and there
were some resulting smart moves, although there was something faintly
absurd to see balls being played to his head rather than feet.
Burton will be a welcome addition to the Conference
and on this showing will not struggle to make the grade. As with
the comparison with the lower reaches of the Third Division and
the Conference it would be fair to say that several clubs below
the Conference would beat the bottom eight at least. Burton were
quicker to the ball on most occasions and made the Chester players
look far from fleet of foot. Far too many times the crowd around
me in the stand were howling for a City player to be booked for
an act of clumsiness and Wayne Brown was the luckiest of all to
stay on after the referee obviously decided that the Burton player
was going away from goal when he was clattered. My father, who
first saw City in 1947, looked on wistfully at the shadow of what
was once a fairly accomplished outfit an Alan Oakes or Ken
Roberts ensemble this was not.
I am not being deliberately negative; there is
at least now a structure within the club capable of getting Chester
back into the League and there is much to be pleased with the current
league position compared to when Wright took up his tenure. Hopefully
there will now be a period of stability that will result in preservation
of Conference status and a good campaign next year. I think we
all deserve a brighter future and a taste of success. The view
from the top is always infinitely more interesting than from the
Say, for what were hopyards meant, Or
why was Burton built on Trent? .......
Ale, man, ale's the stuff to drink for fellows whom it hurts to think.
(From AE Housmans's Shropshire Lad)
most famous product was some consolation for Cheshire lads as
they saw their side put out of the Trophy. It was a hard fought
game without a great deal of incident, with Chester just beginning
to shade it until the Brewers broke away and scored a well-worked
Mark Beesley had just hit the post and somehow
the keeper had saved the shot from the rebound as well. But within
another couple of minutes City went two down when they failed to
deal with one of Burton's many looping corners to the far post
and Webster swept home the knock back.
City could not raise their game to rescue the
tie against a well disciplined Burton side. The towering Duke in
the Brewer's goal didn't have a save to make after the Beesley
shot. So the dream of a Villa Park final and the cash bonanza that
Chairman Vaughan could clearly do with evaporated. Mark Wrignt's
priority lies elsewhere with Conference survival and
he was hoping to avoid injuries and any uneccessary bookings and
red cards. Although he seemed to get his wish for the former, City
picked up some stupid yellow cards in an even first half. Carden
was extrememly unlucky to be cautioned, Brown was lucky to stay
on after another reckless dash from goal and the upending of an
If City stay up then it's likely we'll meet the
Brewers next season as they are winning the Unibond by a street
and will probably do well in the Conference. It will no doubt prove
a popular away trip for Chester and other fans not only
the wares of three breweries to provide both refreshment and solace
in defeat but also, judging by the length of the queues
for the hot food kiosk all afternoon, something more solid to enjoy
Saturday 9 March 2002
Chester City Youth 3 York City Youth 0
Football League Merit Division 2 North
Chester City: Louie Mackin, Chris Tammy,
Trialist (Tom Coulson), James Dean, Kevin Towey, John Davies, Carl
Rogers, Adam Kelley (Scott Baganall), Mark Howell (Trialist), Lee
Reece, Chris Hopwood.
The youth team won their opening game in Merit
Division 2 with a convincing 3-0 home win against York City on a
windswept Saturday morning. They took an early two goal lead through
a 20 yard strike from Carl Rodgers and neat finish from Chris Hopwood.
They had further chances to increase their lead, but had to wait
until the 70th minute to secure the points with a well taken second
from Chris Hopwood.
9 March 2002
Stalybridge Celtic 0 Chester City 4
Attendance: 1,002 Half Time: 0-1
Booked: Bolland, Brabin, M.Rose, M.Williams.
Stalybridge Celtic: Walker, Murphy, Woods,
Wood (Mike 67), Perkins, Peacock, Beesley (Williamson 70), Parr,
Pickford, Ayorinde, Courtney (Turley 74). Subs not used: Wharton,
Chester City: W.Brown, Woodyatt, Bolland, M.Williams,
M.Rose, Carey, Brabin, McGorry, McElhatton, Beesley, Tate. Subs
not used: Spink, Haarhoff, Blackburn, Whittaker, D.Brown.
Referee: C.Boyeson (Hull).
It was standing room only in the nationally renowned
station buffet (Leeds Platform) as pre-match refreshment was sought.
By the time we got there Howard was well-ensconced and in conversation
with a couple who turned out to be Paul Beesley's Mum and Dad.
We walked briskly through the almost deserted streets and were
distracted only by Graham knocking on the window of the Pavilions
Bar. He polished off his lunch in double quick time and caught
us up at the entrance to Bower Fold. Graham's diplomatic skills
came into play as he negotiated a parking space for his silver
machine in an already choc-a-bloc car park.
Undeterred by Tuesday night's awful spectacle
against Scarborough, a horde of 3-400 had made the trip for this
relegation dogfight with our most distant Cheshire relations. The
Chester contingent huddled below the roof at the Mottram-in-Longdendale
end of the ground, taking nervous glances at the glowering sky,
just visible between the surrounding hills, as it threatened to
unleash lashings of hail and heavy rain. Others queued stoically
for the refreshments bar.
City began brightly and had a real opportunity
to forge ahead when Tate broke through a statuesque defence (which
included Paul Beesley and Mattie Woods) but fired high and wide
with the goal at his mercy. Tate had another shot, on target this
time, but Walker managed to beat it away. City were dominating
the game with Carey and McGorry exercising a virtual stranglehold
But then Celtic had spell of pressure. The dangerous
Sammy Ayorinde threatened down the left and Williams (in for Lancaster)
earned a booking for his clumsy challenge. Twice the home team
caused us problems down the inside left channel.
Chester reasserted themselves however and the
clinching factor came when with ten minutes to go to half
time Richard (a nearby spectator) decided to go to the toilet.
In time-honoured tradition Chester scored and Richard missed the
goal. For his benefit let me tell you that the ball cannoned off
two Celtic defenders before McElhatton and Tate exchanged passes
and put Beesley through. He made no mistake as he lashed the ball
in to the back of the net.
It was an upbeat half time interval for the visiting
supporters. The only complaints were that we only had one goal
to show for all the dominance. This looked like proving costly
for a couple of minutes after the break as Celtic attacked us down
their right and got a couple of shots in on goal. Wayne Brown did
well to cover them both.
then broke from midfield and set Lee Woodyatt away on the right.
His cross was met by Tate in the centre of the area whose classic
downward header bounced once before thudding into the net (left).
An important goal which gave us a bit of daylight. Right on cue,
the sun broke through the scudding clouds, making the floodlights
Four minutes later Chester were out of sight
when McElhatton ended a neat passing move on the right by curling
a left-footed belter into the far top corner. More shots rained
in after that as Brabin and McElhatton were denied goals by Walker's
Bolland, Brabin and Rose were booked by a fussy
referee but the coup de grace was delivered in the final minute
as McElhatton clubbed another shot (outside of the right foot this
time) into the same top corner as before. He had been set up by
Beesley's lighting turn and pass.
City's away form is little short of rampant at
the moment. Why can't they repeat this at home? Mark Wright, interviewed
afterwards, alluded to problems with the bobbly pitch at the Deva,
the high expectancy levels among the fans and also the fact that
Stalybridge allowed Chester to play football. Celtic seemed to
be low in confidence but I hope they manage to stay up along with
Chester as it's a brilliant place to visit.
5 March 2002
Chester City 0 Scarborough 0
Attendance: 1,475 Half Time: 0-0
Chester City: W.Brown, Lancaster, M.Rose,
Bolland, Blackburn, Brabin, Carey, McElhatton, Whittaker (Woodyatt
53), Beesley (Haarhoff 65), Tate. Subs not used: M.Williams, McGorry,
Scarborough: Woods, Jordan, Hotte, Shepherd, Rennison,
Stoker, Blunt, Patterson, Sugden (Rose 84), Stamp, Pounder. Subs
not used: Salt, Connell, Faure, Shannon.
Referee: M.Penn (Kingswinford).
had to settle for a single point for the second time in a week
against a well-organised and determined Scarborough side. In what
was for most part a featureless and physical struggle, City failed
to create many notable opportunities on a cold night dominated
by a strong wind that blew the ball like litter up and down the
Out of the starting line from Saturday were Carden,
Spink and Woodyatt. Returning saw Whittaker, Mike Rose along with
loan signing Chris Tate from Leyton Orient. The early exchanges
set the scene for what was a scrappy and disappointing first half.
Scarborough strong and uncompromising style coped comfortably with
City's blunt edge attack but having won possession were content
to launch an aerial bombardment that tested Brabin, Lancaster and
Bolland but rarely threatened.
Up front, Beesley as ever ran his heart out but
tonight did little to trouble Scarborough on City's rare excursion
up field. Tate produced a creditable if uneventful first forty-five
matching Scarborough's robust style with some forceful play of
his own. McElhatton ran hard but seemed too often to lose the physical
exchanges. Whittaker, lively and positive, was denied the space
required to make the best from his position wide on the line. As
so often in games of these, it was left until injury time for the
best chance to appear. Bolland won the ball in midfield and in
a rare moment of fluid passing, found Beesley well positioned in
space who drilled his strong shot wide and high.
The second period began with the Blues again
on the offensive. Beesley and Whittaker combined well down the
right to make space behind the defence but City's final pass lacked
direction. The crowd, sensing deadlock, grew slowly restless. Persistent
Scarborough fouling along with some baffling fouls called on Chris
Blackburn seem to unsettle City and it was little surprise when
Woodyatt and later Haarhoff were called upon to replace the tiring
legs of Whittaker and Beesley. For a short period of time, Tate
who enjoyed his best spell of the game, City looked briefly capable
of taking the lead. Good close control and a turn by Tate in the
box following some smart work by Woodyatt saw Scarborough scrambling
back forcing the ball out for a succession of corners. Haarhoff's
pace and ability to win possession where others had failed endeared
him to the crowd bringing McElhatton and Blackburn briefly out
of the shadows.
But between these moments of penetration, some
alarming gaps were appearing in City's defence. Bolland, in a moment
of indecision, almost allowed Scarborough to breach a defence that
was beginning to look increasingly frayed following what had been
an hour of highball attrition. On seventy minutes, Scarborough
missed what proved to be their best chance. A long ball hooked
over the City defence appeared to catch their retreating striker
some yards off side. City stopped momentarily waiting for the linesman
to raise his flag. Instead, the flag remained firmly down interpreting
the trespass as non-interference of play. Scarborough's Darren
Stamp playing to the whistle was well clear of City's static defence
in a matter of seconds. With Brown some way advanced off his line
a simple lob would have been all that was needed but choose instead
to hit the ball high and wide. Scarborough's bench ran from their
dug out holding their head in their hands. Everyone felt that in
a night of few chances the best one was probably gone.
The final moments were played out with Scarborough
showing the more likely to score, as City looked least able to
cope against the wind that was still raging. So when the final
whistle was blown it was greeted with some relief although it would
have been rough justice on either side if they had lost.
Man of the Match went to Martyn Lancaster
which for the game that was played was well deserved. Credit
too should be given for another tough and fearless display by
Gary Brabin and recognition to Shaun Carey for another workmanlike
if not unassuming performance.
Sunday 3 March 2002
Scunthorpe United Ladies 1 Chester City Ladies
Northern Combination League
Although the side went to Scunthorpe on Sunday
with only 13 players available (Lisa Pritchard Neck, Cath
Davies - Welsh International Duties in Portugal, Sarah Tyson Tonsils
out, Zoe Spencer Respiratory infection, Annette Jones Flu,
Laura McWilliams holidays), the girls performed with real
belief and came away from there with all 3 points. It means that
a top three finish in the Northern Combination in our first year
is more than a conservative goal.
If a few other results go our way we could once
again be real title contenders! The girls went one down on Sunday
but it was very mush against the run of play but minutes later
Clare Reynolds took a chance to chase a long kick from Laura Edwards
and was rewarded with a spot kick when the centre half wrestled
the ball away her only to be spotted by the assistant who saw the
use of hands! She composed herself to convert the penalty.
Within 20 minutes of the restart Rachel McKenzie,
deputising for Helen Cann who had been switched to central midfield,
the position historically occupied by Lisa Pritchard, split the
Scunny back four with a lovely waited ball. Clare 'sticks' Reynolds
was quickly onto the through ball. She rounded the advancing keeper
and knocked the ball into the empty net for her second.
If not for a superb performance by the home
keeper, it could have been four or five and it sets the girls up
for another big big game against Newcastle United at home this coming
2 March 2002
Chester City 1 Leigh RMI 1
Attendance: 1,572 Half Time: 1-1
Chester City: W.Brown, Woodyatt, Bolland,
Lancaster, Carden, Brabin, Carey, McGorry (Blackburn 69), McElhatton,
Beesley (Malkin 57), Spink (Haarhoff 57). Subs not used: M.Williams,
Leigh RMI: Westhead, German, Harrison, Durkin, Swan, Kielty,
Ridings, Twiss, Hallows, Black, Monk. Subs not used: Fisher,
Thompson, Farrell, Heald, Dootson.
Referee: A.Marriner (Coventry).
in-form teams clashed at the Deva on Saturday, Leigh had taken
thirteen points from the last fifteen including a crucial midweek
victory at fellow strugglers Stalybridge. Chester, prior to Saturday,
had a run of nine unbeaten matches under their belt.
The Railwaymen's record came under pressure first
as City made a whirlwind start. Brabin powered a header into the
top corner from Woodyatt's free kick out wide on the right. It
was a goal reminiscent of Eddie Loyden in his pomp. Leigh proved
to be dangerous opposition though, especially on the counter-attack
where the speed and cohesion of their forward line opened Chester's
defence up on several occasions.
Wayne Brown was knocked out cold as he went to
collect an awkward cross from the left. He came down still holding
the ball but out for the count in the lap of centre-forward Hallows.
After a lengthy time of treatment, Joe Hinnigan's smelling salts
finally revived him. Surprisingly he was allowed to continue but
showed no after effects of concussion. It will be interesting to
see if Chester have a goalkeeping substitute next match. The newly
signed and towering Hughes was on duty at half time attempting
to save penalties form a City fan (To no avail). City continued
to dominate but couldn't convert their chances. Beesley did well
to turn his man in the box but scuffed his left-footed shot wide.
City were to pay for missed opportunities just
a few minutes before the break. An otherwise impeccable Brabin
committed himself for a ball he couldn't get and Twiss was released
like a greyhound from a trap. He cut inside from the right and
fired a shot towards goal. Brown might have saved it but it clipped
Bolland's heel on the way and nestled in the corner of the net.
After the break Chester applied sustained pressure
but there was something disjointed about their play. Whittaker
(A mysterious absentee) was sorely missed. Wright put Haarhoff
and Malkin on to replace Beesley and Spink. The fresh legs livened
up City's attacks with Malkin winning plenty of headers and Jimmy
Haarhoff tying defenders up in knots as they tried to tackle him.
Blackburn also added urgency when he came on for McGorry.
The Leigh goal survived several near misses.
Bolland towered above the defence to head goalwards but straight
at the keeper. McElhatton powered in a fierce drive which the keeper
parried and Malkin looked certain to net the rebound but it bounced
just beyond his flailing drive.
So, honours even in the battle of two in-form
but struggling sides in terms of their league positions. Leigh
will be happier with the point. It was not Chester's most convincing
of recent performances and a little disappointing after euphoric
wins a Telford and Nuneaton. There will soon be chance to make
amends with the visit of Scarborough on Tuesday and the Cheshire
derby with Stalybridge to come.