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Friday 19 July
FC Isle of Man 2 Chester 5
Pre-season friendly
Attendance: TBC Half Time: 1-3

FC Isle of Man: Killey, Sherry (Lamb 83), Crook, Maitland, McDonnell (Watson 56), Whitley, Pinnington (Naylor 83), Hattersley (Murray 56), Gerrard (Gartland 56), Higgins (Booth 70), McVey (Corlett 66). Sub not used: Wilkinson.
Chester: Mason, Hunter (Burke 46), Rawlinson (Williams 46), Pollock (Roberts 46), Heywood (Woodthorpe 46), Bainbridge (Rosenblatt 46), Hancox, Weeks, Murray (Daly 60), Caton (Turner 46) Peers. Sub not used: Brown.

A first win of the pre-season for Chester comes at the Isle of Man Summer Tournament.
Thursday 11 July
Chester 0 Stoke City 3
Pre-season friendly
Attendance: 1,645 Half Time: 0-2

Chester: Mason, Hunter (Bott 67), Williams, Pollock (Burke 46), Heywood, Woodthorpe (Rawlinson 46), Bainbridge, Hancox (Murray 46), Rosenblatt (Weeks 46), Caton (Peers 46), Turner (Davies 89). Sub not used: Trialist (goalkeeper).
Stoke City (first half): Johansson, Gooch, Rose, Gibson, Bocat, Laurent, Sidibe, Burger, Léris, Tezgel, Vidigal.

Stoke City (second half): Bonhan, Tchamadeu, Dixon, Wilmot, Stevens, Thompson, Baker, Johnson, Manhoef, Junho, Ennis.

Chester – playing in all blue, were given a formidable run around by all black Stoke City from the Championship. This was an extremely one-sided contest with Chester barely able to get across the half way line as the visitors from the Potteries zipped the ball round quickly from wing to wing as they set about the task of trying to break down the home side.

Pollock made a first appearance in the Blues’ defence and then Connel Rawlinson did the same - albeit many years after his initial debut – in the second half as once again both sides made comprehensive changes to their line-ups at half time. So at least there was opportunity for the home supporters to see two more summer signings in action.

Three of Stoke’s new additions made their starting team. They took the lead after quarter of an hour having pulled Chester’s back line from left to right. Tegel popped the ball past Matty Williams and Mason could not prevent his firm shot from bulging the net. Blues did well following this to keep the Potters at bay. Hancox headed off the line and Mason did will to save from Leris as a shot opened up for him in the penalty area. Just as it looked as though they would hold out from conceding further till half time, Tegel persisted through a couple of challenges in the box and then deftly tucked the ball past Mason for Stoke’s second.

The pattern of play continued in the second period, though Chester’s defence marshalled by Rawlinson and shielded by Bainbridge held out slightly more comfortably. They did concede a third however as Stoke countered after a flurry of Chester possession, to attack down their left. Bae Juhno sped down the wing and crossed for Ennis to meet it first time and notch Stoke’s third.

City were put through their defensive paces by their Championship counterparts. They now look forward to a mini-tour to the Isle of Man where they would hope to have more of the ball in attacking areas too.

Colin Mansley

Picture © Rick Matthews

Saturday 6 July
Chester 2 Stockport County 3
Pre-season friendly
Attendance: 1,265 Half Time: 0-3

Chester: Mason, Bott, Burke, Roberts (Hunter 46), Trialist (Williams 46), Woodthorpe (Heywood 46), Murray (Davies 59), Weeks (Hancox 46), Bainbridge (Glendon 46), Peers (Turner 46), Rosenblatt (Caton 46).
Stockport County (first half): Addai, Connolly, Touray, Knoyle, Okeke, Horsfall, Diamond, Trialist A (Camps 20), Wootton, Gardner, Bate.
Stockport County (second half): Metcalfe, Okeke, Trialist B, Trialist C, Hughes, Bailey, Fiorini, Mann, Camps, Johnson, Pye.

One swallow does not make a summer and only one swallow was seen ploughing a lonely trail over the pitch as Chester’s pre-season programme began in this unseasonally cool, wet summer. Stockport were the visitors – as they had been a year ago – and the final score was exactly the same 2-3 to the away side.

This time it was very much a tale of two halves as both sides took the opportunity to make wholesale changes in personnel at half time. Burke, Mason, Bott and Murray remained after the interval although the latter was eventually replaced by Paddy Davies. There was no sign of new signings Pollock and Rawlinson but all the others made an appearance.

A Trialist was present in the centre of Chester’s defence as City spent most of the first half without the ball and strove to keep Stockport at bay. Che Gardner had already given the defence a bit of a scare – blocked by the trialist’s recovery tackle – before he opened the scoring latching on to Bate’s speculative pass to prod the ball past Mason. Chester rarely made inroads into the opposition half but when Weeks won the ball and found Rosenblatt on the right the youngster’s cross was deftly tucked home by Peers – only for the assistant’s flag to be raised for offside.

Almost immediately Stockport responded with a second goal – Gardner’s cross from the right met by Wooton who lunged to stab the ball home. City were further undone just before the break when Weeks was caught in possession and the loose ball fell to Bate who dispatched a spectacular curling shot from outside the area to give County a third.

The second half saw a different Stockport eleven which included new signing Sam Hughes – returning to the Deva ( –Jid Okeke and Ibou Touray had already appeared). There were first appearances in a Chester shirt for Jordan Hunter and Mitch Hancox and the latter in particular impressed with his box to box energy and eye for a good pass.

Burke took a quick free kick after he’d been tripped and launched the ball towards Glendon’s run. Caton was alert to his headed flick and steered the ball past Metcalfe for City’s first goal. Williams lashed home a second as he met a headed clearance on the edge of the area. Had Glendon not scuffed his shot following good work on the left by Turner then the Blues might have finished level. Though all agree that the results of friendlies are unimportant at least it was a better watch for Chester fans in the second half.

Colin Mansley

Picture © Rick Matthews























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Chester have announced the signing of 30-years-old midfielder Mitch Hancox who was recently released by Altrincham.
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A first win of the pre-season for Chester comes at the Isle of Man Summer Tournament.
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Chester play Lancaster City in the Isle of Man on Sunday, kick-off 11.00.
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