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30 March 2009
Despite taking a point against promotion chasing Bradford City at Deva Stadium on Saturday, the Blues slipped further towards relegation with Grimsby Town picking up a home victory over Aldershot Town.

City manager Mark Wright was full of praise for the performance against the Bantams but realises that draws at this stage of the season are not good enough. The Blues are now three points below the Mariners, who, with a vastly superior goal difference are effectively four points clear.

Wright said: “A run of three undefeated games really counts for nothing because Grimsby won. I know that Bournemouth lost, but Grimsby scored a late penalty so it’s disappointing for us. I still think we should have beaten Grimsby 5-1 at our place – that would have been a fair result.”

“Drawn games aren’t quite good enough for what we really want and that is disappointing for the players because they are giving everything they’ve got.”

“We looked attack-minded by playing three in attack and I thought we did a lot of good things, but we didn’t quite get the result that in recent weeks we have deserved. I don’t think I could have asked more of the players. They showed plenty of fighting qualities and endeavour, and they created a number of goalscoring chances.”

“I decided to put Richie Partridge in the side and I thought he did really well, but we’ve just got to get past the last man and improve on our shooting practice. But it’s the same old story – if we’d had strikers in our team we would have won the game.

Wright will be hoping that injured duo Shaun Kelly and Damien Mozika will be fit for Saturday’s League Two match at Notts County. Both have been having intensive specialist treatment at Lilleshall over the last week.

Picture © Evening Leader

League table

27 March 2009
The club have changed their decision from earlier in the week and announced that Chester supporters only can pay on the gate for tomorrow’s home game with Bradford City. The match is still all-ticket for visiting supporters.

The Blues welcome Bradford City to Deva Stadium tomorrow still looking to register their first victory of 2009. With only seven matches remaining Chester simply have to start winning if they are to remain in the Football League next season. Despite picking up a deserved point at Bury, City slumped into a relegation spot last weekend as all their closest rivals for the drop picked up wins.

Once again manager Mark Wright will be without the services of both Damien Mozika and Shaun Kelly who are both recovering from injury at Lilleshall but may be back in the squad for the trip to Notts County in a week. Wright looks set to name the same side that featured at Gigg Lane.

Wright said: “I certainly hope the victory is coming. I don’t think we can do any more than we are doing behind the scenes, it’s just up to the players to go out there and believe in themselves. The main thing and most important thing, no matter what job you do, is to believe in yourself. That allows you to perform and if you don’t, there’s no point even going out on the field.”

“There’s seven games left and there’s a lot of points to play for. We’ve got to fight for every point and if we can get a result this weekend it would stand us in really good stead for the run-in.”

The Bantams themselves are currently in poor run of form having lost their last four matches to just slip out of the play-off positions. The run has led to manager Stuart McCall threatening to quit his post should the Yorkshire side fail to make the top seven at the end of the season. Striker Peter Thorne is available following injury though he may not be rushed back into the starting X1 tomorrow..

The two sides fought out a 0-0 draw when they last met at Valley Parade just before Christmas.

24 March 2009
The club have announced at short notice that Saturday’s (not Sunday as stated on the tickets!) game against Bradford City will now be all-ticket for both home and away fans. Season Ticket holders should use match voucher 21 on the day. The visitors have been allocated both the south and west stands.

Tickets are available at the following times.

Deva Stadium Ticket Office
Monday – Thursday 10.00hrs–19.00hrs
Friday 10.00hrs–16.00hrs

Watergate Street Club Shop
Monday – Friday 11.00hrs–17.00hrs

Ticket prices are as follows

Adult, £10.00
Student or OAP, £10.00
U-16 East stand, £10.00
U-16 North terrace, £5.00

23 March 2009
Manager Mark Wright can confirmed that he is to assess his own position at the club as the stranglehold of the transfer embargo seriously threatens the clubs League status. Despite a point and high-flying Bury on Saturday the Blues have dropped into a relegation spot following fellow strugglers Grimsby's surprise 3-0 over second placed Gillingham.

“It’s more than frustrating now because I think I’ve got to sit down, speak to my partner, Sue, and a few other people to find out for the team and for the boys where I need to be. Because where do we go and what do we do?”

“I knew he wanted to win games and see us compete. But now that has changed I’ve really got to assess my own position. At this moment in time I think I have done all I can to do for the players and for the club, and I can do no more.”

“I arrived at Chester after being told I could bring five players in – I haven’t brought in one new player, but we’ve got rid of six players.”

Ryan Lowe’s last minute equaliser at Gigg Lane on Saturday could yet prove priceless in the fight for survival but City have now extended their run of matches without victory to 17.

At the moment It looks to be a straight fight between City, Grimsby Town and Luton Town for the two relegation spots now. The remaining fixtures for the sides are:

Chester City:
Bradford City (H), Notts County (A), Macclesfield Town (H), Accrington Stanley (A), Bournemouth (H), Aldershot Town (A), Darlington (H).
Grimsby Town:
Aldershot Town (H), Shrewsbury Town (A), Accrington Stanley (H), Notts County (A), Port Vale (H), Bournemouth (A), Macclesfield Town (H).
Luton Town:
Morecambe (A), Rotherham United (H), Lincoln City (A), Chesterfield (H), Barnet (A), Wycombe Wanderers (H), Rochdale (H), Brentford (A).

The youth team slipped to fourth from bottom of the Puma Youth Alliance North West Conference after a 3-0 home defeat to Bury on Saturday.

Youth fixtures | Table

20 March 2009
With all the talk currently surrounding the off field situation at City, the Blues travel tomorrow for an important League Two tie at promotion chasing Bury. Manager Mark Wright will once again be without the services of Damien Mozika (hamstring) and Shaun Kelly (knee). In an effort to boost their recovery for the survival push Kelly has been sent to Lilleshall along with midfielder Stephen Vaughan for more intensive treatment.

The Shakers currently lie fifth and are just two points from an automatic promotion spot and have lost only twice in their last 13 matches, having won ten at home already this season. In contrast Mark Wright’s men have the worst away record in the division having picked up just ten points on their travels so far this season. The will be hoping to improve on last Saturday’s points against relegation rivals Grimsby Town and record their first win of 2009.

Trying to prevent City from scoring tomorrow will be former Blues ‘keeper Wayne Brown. He pulled off a couple of great saves as the two sides drew 1-1 at Deva Stadium in the reverse fixture back in September.

Chester precariously lie one point above the relegation places. Both of the sides below them are in action tomorrow, Grimsby Town host second placed Gillingham whilst Luton Town entertain Macclesfield Town.

19 March 2009
Chester radio station Dee106.3 has reported this afternoon that the football club has been sold to a property developer, Gary Metcalf (left). He is believed to have bought all of Steve Vaughan’s shareholding in the club. A press conference will be held at the ground tomorrow. Metcalf is the managing director of Liverpool-based Property First Asset Management Ltd who have been involved with the proposed extension to Deva Stadium.

Vaughan told the Chester Chronicle: “People have made their views known to me that it’s time for a change. I’ve put eight seasons of my life into the club and millions of pounds, but now’s the time to go. I’ve done a deal with a person who’s convinced me they’re going to move the club forward. I’m stepping down all together as I’ve found the right buyer. I feel I’ve done the right thing for the supporters and for the football club because, in my opinion, I’ve sold to the right person.”

Full transcript of the press conference
Press conference | Gary Metcalf interview with Chester Chronicle

Picture © Evening Leader

18 March 2009
Former Chester defender John “Jack” Capper died recently in his hometown of Wrexham after a short illness. A strapping six foot centre half Jack joined Chester from Lincoln City for £1,500 in September 1959 and played 37 league games for the club.


17 March 2009
Manager Mark Wright must do with the current squad he has to try and preserve League Two football for City. After weeks of speculation of co-owners, new investment, and up to five players coming in before the loan transfer deadline day, Wright has been told that no fresh new blood will be available to boost the already threadbare squad.

In an interview with the Chester Evening leader Wright said:

“I’ve been told to say that there isn’t anybody coming in now. What we’ve got is what we’ve got and we’ll see where we are at the end of the season. That’s the reality and that’s what we’ve got to get on with.”

“It’s frustrating for me as I know what we could do with the ilk of players I’d sorted out to come here. But I also know it’s a difficult and frustrating situation for the chairman as well.”

Full interview

Picture © Evening Leader

16 March 2009
Things at the foot of League Two remain as they were following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Deva Stadium. Ryan Lowe’s 14th goal of the season after the break brought City level after they had fallen behind to a Nick Hegarty’s strike midway through the opening period.

The Blues missed a couple of great chances to win the game, Laurence Wilson headed wide in the dying minutes, as City failed to put a four point gap between themselves and their opponents.

“I feel for our boys because they have done most things right but we seem to need goodness knows how many chances to actually finish teams off.”

“In fact I thought we were quite comfortable and played well but we’ve had four clear-cut chances which we haven’t put away and that’s why we haven't won the game. It’s disappointing for me because I feel that if I had been allowed to bring in some new strikers we would have won this game.”

The Mariners have a game in hand with City and should they pick up a point at bottom club Luton Town tomorrow night they will send the Blues into the bottom two for the first time this season.

Picture © Evening Leader

13 March 2009
Manager Mark Wright has issued a plea to supporters to turn up in numbers for tomorrow’s crucial home game against Grimsby Town. The Mariners are expected to be backed by 1,000+ supporters for a match both sides are desperate to win in their fight against relegation.

Wright told the Chester Chronicle: “To be fair to the fans, they haven’t had much to shout about, but we’ve all got to get behind the players. The people of Chester have got to come and get behind the team. They’re not turning up in their droves at this moment in time, but if we want to stay in this league, we need the supporters to come and lift the team.”

Only Grimsby, who have a match in hand over City (at Luton Town next Tuesday), lie between Chester and a relegation spot and a win for the Blues would give them a crucial four point cushion over their relegation rivals. Wins aren't easy to come by though, the Blues have yet to taste victory in 2009 with their last win coming way back on Boxing Day, a staggering 16 matches ago.

Once again the Blues boss will be without Damien Mozika and Shaun Kelly through injury.

Grimsby themselves have only won once in the last 11 matches and that was against Lincoln City last week when they ran away 5-1 winners. They are managed by former Evertonian Mike Newell and are preparing for the match by training at Everton’s Finch Farm training ground today.

Tomorrow’s game kick’s-off at Deva Stadium at 15.00hrs and admission is £10.00. The visiting fans have been allocated the whole of the West stand tomorrow as well as the seats in the away South stand.

Picture © Evening Leader

11 March 2009
Another match, another defeat. The latest terrible performance came last night as City were thrashed at home 5-1 by Rotherham United in front of the lowest Deva gate of the season 1,235. Despite taking an early lead through Kevin Ellison (left), the side capitulated through poor defending to trail 3-1 at the interval before two more goals, including a hat-trick from Reubin Reid wrapped things up for The Millers after the break.

The Blues have picked up just two points from the last possible 45 and have not won since Boxing Day. Last night’s result was compounded by away victories for relegation rivals Accrington Stanley and Bournemouth. Should Grimsby Town pick up a point at Chesterfield tonight then City will slip into the bottom two relegation places with Luton Town.

Picture © Evening Leader

10 March 2009
Damien Mozika is doubtful for tonight’s League Two match against Rotherham United. The French midfielder returned after a nine game lay-off on Saturday at Barnet but lasted only 56 minutes before limping off. Also out of action tonight is defender Shaun Kelly.

Having started the season on -17 points the Millers currently sit five above City with an away record that boasts six wins and five draws. The sides last met early season at the Don Valley Stadium where a Kevin Ellison goal couldn’t prevent a 3-1 defeat. Manager Mark Robins is expected to name an unchanged side from the one that held leaders Brentford 0-0 on Saturday.

9 March 2009
City’s survival hopes took another knock on Saturday when they were beaten 3-1 at Barnet, also struggling at the wrong end of the table. With another of the relegation threatened teams Grimsby Town winning, the pressure is mounting for success in the two home fixtures this week against Rotherham United tomorrow and Grimsby Town on Saturday.

In an effort to attract larger crowds for their relegation run-in matches, admission prices for the remaining six home matches at Deva Stadium this season have been reduced. Adult admission prices for the matches against Rotherham United, Grimsby Town, Bradford City, Macclesfield Town, Bournemouth and Darlington will now be �10.00, there is no change to the concession price.

The Kids For Free offer remains unchanged for the remainder of the season. For £10.00 you can buy an adult and child (Under 12) ticket for the west stand. Tickets must be pre-purchased at the ticket office before entering the stadium.

Club owner Steve Vaughan said: “I have taken the decision in an attempt to boost our home support at this important time. The decision will cost me a lot of money, so hopefully people in the area will rally around and come along and support the club, and show us that football at this level is important to them.”

League table

Picture © Evening Leader

6 March 2009
City travel to Underhill tomorrow for the first of three games in a crucial week for the Blues. Tomorrow’s match against fellow relegation candidates Barnet is followed by two home against against Rotherham United on Tuesday and Grimsby Town, a team in the same dire relegation predicament as Chester, the following Saturday.

Manager Mark Wright will have Jay Harris available after a three match suspension and is hopeful that midfielder Damien Mozika will have recovered from an injury that has kept him out of the last nine matches.

Goalkeeper John Danby is set to break a 42 year old club record tomorrow. An appearance at Underhill will be his 128th consecutive one in a City shirt, beating the record currently held by Mick Metcalf.

Opponents Barnet are on a bit of a revival winning their last two home games against Rochdale (2-1) and Bradford City (4-1). They have also drawn five of their last nine matches and are expected to field former City midfielder Mark Hughes in their line-up tomorrow. However Bees manager Ian Hendon must do without goalkeeper Lee Harrison who is out injured for six weeks.

The last time the two sides met back in August City turned in a great performance putting five goals past their opponents with goals from Ryan Lowe (2), Kevin Ellison, Paul Linwood and Kevin Roberts sealed an emphatic win.

Despite the recent poor run of results Wright is upbeat ahead of tomorrow’s clash. He said: “We have done well in our last few matches. We deserved to beat Exeter a fortnight ago then the players did extremely well to come back and earn a draw against Dagenham and in midweek at Wycombe we should have been two up before they got anywhere near us. The result was an injustice to me.”

4 March 2009
Yet again City were to rue missed chances last night as the Blues slipped up 2-0 at Wycombe Wanderers. City started the brighter team and battled well at a rain soaked Adams Park but once again failure in front of goal brought their own downfall.

Ryan Lowe missed a guilt edged opportunity from inside the six yard box, and Kevin Ellison saw a shot well saved in the opening stages before the Blues fell behind to a breakaway goal, against the run of play, following a mistake from a City corner.

The Chairboys doubled their lead in the 67th minute when Chris Zebroski rose unchallenged to head a free-kick across goal for Jon-Paul Pitman to score with ease. There were more injury problems as well with Laurence Wilson hobbling off at the break with a foot injury to be replaced by James Owen.

City’s only real effort of note after the break came from a dipping Ellison shot that Jamie Young tipped over the bar, the ball demolishing a front row seat in the process.

A frustrated manager Mark Wright said after the game: “I knew what was needed at Chester when I first arrived and the chairman knows what I need, but we can’t do what we want because we’re under a transfer embargo.”

“We are facing a race against time, but it is now vitally important that something gives because we’re missing scoring chances.”

“The chairman has been talking to people and I think there are people there, but I wish they would make a decision otherwise time moves on and then we’re in trouble. I don’t want to be pessimistic about it, but that’s the reality.”

Wins for both Barnet and Bournemouth, both seem to be finding some form, heaped more relegation worries on City who are desperate for a win to keep up with the pack. City’s next two games are against their closest rivals for the drop, first there is a trip to Barnet on Saturday followed a week later by the visit of Grimsby Town.

2 March 2009
City grabbed a point with two goals in the last four minutes and deny Dagenham & Redbridge at Deva Stadium on Saturday. A first goal for the club from David Mannix (left) and another header from Kevin Roberts rescued a priceless point from a game that looked well beyond City at the break.

The Daggers had taken an early lead through Ben Strevens and doubled their advantage ten minutes before the break as Matt Ritchie cashed on on a poor clearance from Kevin Roberts to score from close range.

But it was top scorer Ryan Lowe who supplied crosses in the dying minutes for both goals and the Blues almost snatched a dramatic winner as Kevin Ellison saw an effort cleared off the line in the dying moments.

Manager Mark Wright was full of praise for Lowe after the match. He said: Wright said: “In recent weeks Ryan Lowe has started doing even more than he had been doing for us. In the first half he was one of three players who I thought played well for us. He chased a Dagenham player down in the right back position and won the ball back and did everything right which impressed me.”

“I think Ryan has got great ability on the ball, but I just want to see him score because of the effort he has been putting in. The things he has been doing have been first class.”

“In recent weeks Ryan has had chances against Rochdale, Chesterfield, and Exeter, but we are all now wanting the ball to go in the net for him because his work ethic has been first class.”

The point moves City further away from relegation rivals Bournemouth and Grimsby Town who both lost at the weekend. Barnet, the other side in trouble picked up a point at Chesterfield.

The Blues will look to build on that point in a vital week that sees them visit promotion chasing Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday night followed by a trip to Underhill next Saturday to play Barnet.

For the trip to Wycombe the Blues will once again be without the suspended Jay Harris while defender Shaun Kelly looks set to miss the clash through a knee injury. Midfielder Damien Mozika could return to the squad.

Mark Wright’s post match interview

Picture © Evening Leader
Goalkeeper John Danby is set to become a City record breaker. Providing there is no mishap in the pre-match warm up John is set to equal a long-standing club record at Wycombe. The record for consecutive Football League appearances is currently held by Mike Metcalf who started 127 games for Chester between October 1964 and September 1967.

John has started the last 126 games and should go on to break the record at Barnet. Although Mike Sutton appeared in 138 consecutive games he came off the substitute’s bench on one occasion so John can legitimately claim the record for Football League starts.

Picture © Evening Leader


































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