28 March 1998
Swansea City 2 Chester City
Swansea City: Freestone, Lacey, Coates,
O'Leary, Cussack, Bound, Hartfield, Jenkins (Phillips
88), Watkin, Appleby, (O'Gorman 88), Barwood (Casey
Chester City: Sinclair, Davidson, Giles, Richardson, Whelan, Woods, Bennett
(Jones 77), Fisher, Murphy, Flitcroft, McDonald (Rimmer 77). Sub not
Referee: Mr D.Crick (Worcester Park)
Another defeat for City, their third
on the run, which leaves them now in 14th place seven
points from a play-off position. With the sale of Jenkins
and Alsford to Dundee United, Martin Giles and Neil
Fisher returned to the side. Gary Bennett was team
It was the captain who missed an
early chance for Chester after just four minutes. Richardson
fed Ross Davidson and his cross was inch perfect for
Bennett whose shot flew high over the bar.
The Swans took the lead on 14 minutes
as 17-year-old trainee Danny Barwood, on his full league
debut, beat the offside trap rounded Ronnie Sinclair
and slid the ball home. Rod McDonald then volleyed
wide following a through ball from Neil Fisher. Roger
Freestone in the Swansea goal didn't have a save to
make in the first 45 minutes.
Sloppy defending five minutes
from time gifted Swansea their second goal. The City
defence froze and Appelby's cross was headed home by
ex-Wrexham player Steve Watkin.
28 March 1998 Lancashire
League Division Two
Chester City A 1 Bury B 0
Chester City: Conkie, Moss, Whitehead, Carson,
Thompson, Lancaster, Lloyd (Patterson 49), A.Shelton, Rendell,
Chester's A side secured all three points against Bury thanks to an injury
time goal by midfield dynamo Danny Carson.
City made heavy weather of a drab game which
saw Blues keeper Matthew Conkie a mere spectator as Bury only threatened
his goal once in the entire 90 minutes. In a game that was, for
the most, confined in midfield, the attacking came from the Blues
with Randell, Wright, carson and Shelton all having long range
shots, none of which tested the shaky Shakers keeper.
City's best effort came from a free kick by Scott
Williams after 73 minutes which he curled around the defensive
wall only to see it beaten out from just under the bar.
Thie seemed to wake up the Blues and Wright should
have done better on 86 minutes but he completelt missed his attempted
bicycle kick after stalwart defender Scott Thompson demonstrated
his attackling skills down the right.
Then,just as both sides seemed to have settled
for a draw, the hard working carson blasted home from six yards after
a melee in the box. The win consolidates City's mid table position
but they have certainly played better this season for no reward.
21 March 1998
Peterborough United 2 Chester City 1
Peterborough United: Tyler,
McMenemin, Drury, Payne, Bodley (De Souza 40), Edwards, Farrel,
Castle, Carruthers, Quinn, Houghton. Subs not used: Cleaver, Bullimore.
Chester City: Sinclair, Davidson, Jenkins, Richardson,
Whelan, Alsford, Bennett (Thomas 68 (Rimmer 81)), McKay, Murphy,
Flitcroft, McDonald. Sub not used: Woods.
Referee: Mr K.Lynch (Knaresborough)
City's poor run of results continued with this
defeat at London Road. The Blues have won only one game out of
the last eleven games and now find themselves in 11th position,
six points adrift of a play-off spot. Ross Davidson returned to
the side following suspension, but where was Chris Priest?
Posh took the lead in the seventh minute with
Martin Carruthers scoring his 18th goal of the campaign. Keeper
Ronnie Sinclair and Julian Alsford collided while both attempting
to clear Adam Dury's cross. The ball fell to the ground and Carruthers
had the simplest of tasks to score. Rocked by the early goal, City
were stirred into action and had plenty of posession without troubling
the keeper. The nearest The Blues came to scoring was with an acrobatic
overhead kick by Gary Bennett that just cleared the bar. The equaliser
came right on half time. Ross Davidson crossed deep from the right
and Rod McDonald was on hand at the far post to volley the ball
home from an acute angle, and repeat his celebration routine from
Peterborough restored their lead came ten minutes
into the second half. David Farrell, was left in acres of space
at the far post and his speculative shot took a deflection and
lobbed high and over the stranded Ronnie Sinclair and nestled into
the far corner.
City brought on Rod Thomas for Gary Bennett and,
playing on the right, things looked more promising until he was
chopped down and hobbled off to be replaced by Stuart Rimmer.
The rumours in today's papers suggest that
City are interested in Port Vale's veteran striker Martin Foyle.
Transfer deadline day is this Thursday, it will be interesting to
see if anyone comes in for either Iain Jenkins or Chris Priest. Knowing
our desperate financial plight at the moment we may have to take
14 March 1998
Chester City 0 Notts County 1
Chester City: Sinclair, Jenkins,
Fisher, Richardson, Woods, Alsford, Bennett, McKay, Murphy, Flitcroft,
Thomas. Subs not used: G.Shelton, Jones, Rimmer.
Notts County: Ward, Hendon, Dyer, Richardson,
Hughes, Barraclough, Finnan, Robinson, Farrell (Lormor 85), Jones
(Jackson 85), Robson (Strodder 65).
Referee: Mr T.Heilbron
Before the game few held out much hope for City
getting anything from this match against the run away leaders of
the division. By the end we were choked that Chester hadn't got
at least a point.
Forced to field an under strength team because
of suspensions (Whelan, Priest, Davidson) and an injury (ahem)
to McDonald, City nevertheless began to take the game to the visitors
and penned them into their own half for long periods. Richardson
and McKay got through a tremendous amount of work closing down
the opposition and picking up the pieces in midfield.
City's best chance of the half came when Gary
Bennett brilliantly intercepted a back pass, rounded the keeper
and looked certain to score. He had, however, been forced to go
very wide on the left, almost to the touchline and, desperate to
notch his first goal for ages, he shot into the side netting. Alsford
also had a half chance from a corner but it fell to his left foot.
Richardson had a decent shot from outside the area.
At the other end, in front of the City fans,
Notts broke strongly and went desperately close to scoring when
Jones prodded the ball across the face of a completely open goal
only for it to trickle out for a goal kick. Ronnie also saved with
his legs from the same player when clean through. Most of the rest
of the time though County's strikers fell foul of City's offside
Just before half time City fans were delighted
to welcome a new drummer into their ranks. A snare drummer had
joined the usual base variety and they began rousing the Sealand
End with a virtuoso performance of which Cosy Powell would have
been proud. Soon the choir had joined them in a rendition of The
Great Escape theme definitely the best laugh we have had
City went off to a standing ovation at half time.
After the break City kept up the good work but
lacked that extra something to put the ball in the back of the
net. Murphy went the closest. His downward header from a corner
was going in all the way until it hit a defender on the goal line
who spawnily scrambled it off shin and knee round the corner.
With the ball not breaking for City where it
mattered it did not come as a complete surprise that County rode
their luck and scored a late winner. Jones flicked home another
of Hughes' (On loan from Oldham) long throw-ins. A few minutes
earlier Ronnies' goal had a miraculous escape when an overhead
kick hit the angle of post and bar, rebounded onto an airborne
Ronnie and somehow span away to safety.
Richardson deservedly took sponsors man of the
match; he worked incredibly hard and gave an inspired performance
in the middle. Unfortunately City just couldn't fine the telling
cross or the subtle one-two to unlock a solid Notts County defence.
Thomas faded in the second half, crowded out too quickly by at
leas two defenders every time he got the ball. Bennett too seemed
tired and a pale shadow of the player he was even at the start
of the season.
The result was a real pity because man for man
City worked hard and outplayed the best team in our division but
couldn't finish them off. Thankfully Chester fans showed their
appreciation at the end of the match. It had been a good performance
by City and if they had played anything like this at home since
Christmas they would be well into the play off positions by now.
Murphy and Bennett were victims of bizarre
bookings by referee Heilbron who showed no consistency in allowing
County to get away with sly off the ball pushes and shirt pulling
all through the match. Thomas was fortunate not to have both legs
amputated by a wild slashing tackle from Richardson (Ian not Nick) but
the shortsighted official didn't see anything wrong. So when he pulled
up the excellent McKay for a robust but fair sliding tackle he
was not flavour of the month with the Sealand End.
7 March 1998
Rochdale 1 Chester City 1
Rochdale: Edwards, Fensome,
Barlow, Hill, Leonard, Gouck, Jones, Painetr, Lancashire, Farrell,
Stuart. Subs not used; Robson, Russell, Bayliss.
Chester City: Sinclair, Jenkins, Fisher, Richardson,
Woods, Alsford, Bennett, McKay, Murphy, Flitcroft, McDonald.
Subs not used: G.Shelton, Giles, Rimmer.
Referee: Mr R. D.Furnandiz
A fine headed goal from John Murphy five minutes
from time earned City a deserved point from this encounter at Spotland.
The game was played on an awful surface that was passed fit following
an 11am inspection, the pitch however resembled the infamous Sincil
Bank 'beach' of a couple of season ago.
City gave a full debut to 17-year-old Matt McKay
who had a confident first game. Rod Thomas missed the game with
a hamstring injury but mystery surrounds the non-appearance of
Ross Davidson (cricked neck apparently). Rochdale had the better
of a scrappy first half as Ronnie Sinclair came to City's rescue
with a couple of smart saves from Painter and Gouck.
The home side took the lead in the 68th minute
and it was two of City's old boys that did the damage. Julian Alsford
made a mess of a headed clearance after a long through ball from
Edwards. The ball fell invitingly for Rob Painter whose cross was
slotted home from close range by Graham Lancashire. City fought
back well with Julian Alsford having a goal-bound header hacked
away by Mark Leonard, and Gary Bennett having a shot well saved
by Edwards in the Dale goal. John Murphy, had another fine game
up front, holding the ball up well. He went just wide with headers
on two occasions before Iain Jenkins swung over a free kick from
the right and Murphy powered the ball home off the underside of
In the last minute City had a chance of all three
points but Rod McDonald hit the foot of the post from 10 yards.
Warrington born trainee Matt McKay (17) earned
rave reviews following his full City debut. "Considering
he hasn't played a lot with the lads before, he did very well. He's
got stronger as the games gone on and is certainly one for the future" enthused
City manager Kevin Ratcliffe after the game.
3 March 1998
Chester City 1 Leyton Orient 1
Chester City: Sinclair, Davidson,
Jenkins, Richardson, Woods, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, Murphy, Flitcroft,
Thomas (Fisher 77). Subs not used: Whelan, Rimmer.
Leyton Orient: Turley, M Joseph, Smith, Hicks,
Clark, Naylor, Ling, Warren, Griffiths, Raynor, Inglethorpe.
Subs Channing, R Joseph, Harris.
Referee: Mr P Rejer
Weather conditions: Heavy drizzle turning to
steady rain at times.
Not surprisingly Ratcliffe made some changes
to last Saturday's starting line up. Jenkins was fit again and
resumed his place at left back. Thomas was back in the side, Bennett
replaced Rimmer and Whelan, after making some glaring mistakes
in the last couple of matches was dropped in favour of Matthew
City began brightly with Flitcroft and Thomas
finding plenty of space on either wing to get plenty of crosses
in. Both Bennett and Murphy went reasonably close with headers.
Jenkins drilled a venomous shot in towards goal which was blocked.
Richardson was more wayward with his shot but the overall beginning
When Orient broke, though they did so in numbers
and more as a unit than City. From a corner on their left in the
twenty seventh minute they took the lead. Ronnie seemed to be eclipsed
by bodies in the six yard box and was nowhere near the ball when
defender Smith rose unchallenged to head into an empty net. City's
bright start had dissolved into nothing.
After the break City began to press again but
found it hard going against another well organised defensive side.
As often in the past City's ponderous and sideways passing movements
were too predictable. Richardson and Priest got through a lot of
good work in midfield but were often outnumbered and crowded out.
Flitcroft had a reasonable game running strongly with the ball
on several occasions but his movement off the ball was sometimes
a little too late. Thomas, again playing deep on the left was closely
marked, especially in the second half. Yet it was from this source
that City got their deserved equaliser. Thomas and Jenkins combined
well on the left to set up a shooting chance for Richardson outside
the box. Nick sent his shot skimming across the rain soaked surface
and into the near corner with the goalie absolutely flat footed.
City weren't able to force a winner and, truthfully,
probably didn't merit one, The best chance falling to Murphy who
blazed high and wide from ten yards out. Orient far from settling
for a point, kept pressing forward.
Ratcliffe, interviewed on Merseyside afterwards
said he was very happy with City's performance. And he couldn't
believe Iain Jenkins was still playing with us and hadn't been
snapped up by a club at a higher level. To most of us City had
not shown the strength up front or the guile needed to break
down Orient's defence. And Jenkins although voted man of the
match by the sponsors (A decision greeted by howls of derision)
did not have one of his better matches. I suspect Ratcliffe is
desperate for someone to come in and buy Jenkins or maybe Priest
and help ease the rather worrying cash flow problem off the pitch.