Monday 5 May 2003
Chester City 1 Doncaster Rovers1 (City
lose 4-3 on penalties)
Nationwide Conference Play-off
semi-final 2nd leg
Attendance: 5,702 Half Time 1-0
Chester City: W.Brown,
Bolland, Guyett, Hatswell, Davies, McIntyre, Collins,
Brady (Quayle 118), Clare, Carden, Sugden (Cameron
76). Subs not used; Kelly, Twiss, Ruffer.
Doncaster Rovers: Warrington, Beech (Blunt 67), Ryan, Morley,
Foster, Paterson, Ravenhill, Green, Barnes (Watson 111), Whitman, Tierney
(Blundell 78). Subs not used: Nelson, Doolan.
Referee: M.Atkinson (Leeds).
two punched drunk heavyweights City and Doncaster
slugged it out in this tense but absorbing match.
In the end only penalties could separate the two
of them. Doncaster delight, Chester devastation but
mutual respect as both sets of supporters could be
justly proud of their teams.
For the second time in the tie
Doncaster pegged City back after they had taken the
lead. Whitman’s turn and surging run caused
the damage and he fed Paterson on the right. His
cross shot was parried by Brown, a Doncaster forward
shinned it on to the bar and Barnes bundled the ball
over the line. If that was a messy goal then Chester’s
was equally scrappy. Hatswell notching his first
goal at the Deva after Foster’s header had
come back off the post.
The game ebbed and flowed all afternoon
with first Doncaster, then City dominating play.
Rovers’ lively midfield prompted their attacking
play, City’s defence magnificent. City’s
best chances seemed to come from set pieces but in
the end it was from open play that they came closest
to forging ahead again.
Chances were few and far between
but the majority of them fell to the home side. Clare
had a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 having been
set up by Sugden’s header. He seemed to want
too long and his shot was saved by Warrington’s
leg. Then, with the scores level, Clare was put through
by Carden, he beat his marker but saw his shot saved
at the post by Warrington when he might have squared
it for the unmarked Sugden. McIntyre’s header
was narrowly wide of the post but the closest City
came to regaining the lead was in the dying minutes
when Cameron’s clipped shot was tipped round
the post at full stretch by Warrington.
Extra time was nervy affair as
all knew that a golden goal would mean sudden death.
Players were edgy and even the crowd, both sets of
fans in fine voice, went quiet at times so
huge were the stakes. The game was there for the
taking but no-one could quite manage to take it.
And so it came to penalties. Brown
gave City a brief advantage, saving Paterson’s
kick, but Clare worn out by his heroic efforts
all afternoon saw his kick saved too. Quayle, McIntyre
and Davies all scored clinically. Brown almost saved
the penultimate kick but in the end Warrington’s
save from Cameron’s penalty proved decisive.
It’s a bitter way to lose
but, if anything the bond between players and fans
was strengthened and deepened yesterday. All the
players, management and staff can hold their heads
up high. As soon as it was over the North Terrace
began applauding knowing that every player had given
their all. Mark Wright came over to haul a visibly
dejected Brown up off the floor. He will no doubt
be trying to lift the spirits of all of them during
the summer they can all be sure that no-one
let the side down yesterday.
Thanks lads we’re
proud of you.
From the match programme:
Chester City v
Doncaster Rovers Top
Wayne Brown, closing in on a double
1 May 2003
Doncaster Rovers 1 Chester City 1
Nationwide Conference Play-off semi-final
Attendance: 6,857 Half Time 0-1
Booked: None. Sent Off: Quayle.
Doncaster Rovers: Warrington,
Beech, Marples, Ryan, Foster (Morley 84), Ravenhill, Paterson,
Doolan (Blundell 61), Barnes, Whitman, Watson (Green 61). Subs
not used: Tierney, Nelson.
Chester City: W.Brown, Bolland, Guyett, Hatswell, Davies, McIntyre,
Collins, Brady, Clare (Quayle 82), Carden, Sugden (Cameron 82). Subs
not used: Kelly, Worsnop, Ruffer.
Referee: Nigel Miller (Middlesbrough).
how deflated City will be following this game remains to be seen.
The Blues were in control for much of the game and deservedly
led at half time only to concede an injury time equaliser to
leave the scores level going into Monday’s second leg.
Too add to City’s late misery Mark Quayle
was given a straight red card following a challenge on Ravenhill
though TV replay’s appeared to show he’d got to the
Daryl Clare, Ben Davies, Danny Collins and
Scott Guyett all returned to the City starting line-up for the
first-leg game played in front of a large Belle Vue crowd.
It was a generally scrappy first half. Simon
Marples had the first real shot of he game when his direct free-kick
was caught above his head on the line by Wayne Brown. City were
busy with Clare and Sugden chasing up front though the two best
chances in the opening half hour fell to defenders Scott Guyett
and Danny Collins, the latter saw a stooping header fly high
and wide from six yards out following a Jon Brady corner.
dominating much of the play in the opening half hour, with defenders
Phil Bolland and Guyett coping easily with the home side’s
long ball tactics, City deservedly took the lead on 37 minutes.
Ryan Sugden sent a ball through to Clare, the striker showed
some neat control to turn two defenders on the right of the box
and lob a cross to the unmarked Kevin McIntyre who steadied himself
before lashing a left footed shot home from 12 yards. This was
the defender’s second goal in a week.
Minutes later the home side had two great chances
to level as Ravenhill hit the crossbar after the ball broke to
him from a challenge 18 yards out, and the lively Tristram Whitman
skilfully turned three defenders on the edge of the box but dragged
his shot wide of the left hand post.
Doncaster forced a flurry of corners following
the break all cleared by City, Paul Barnes headed wide when well
placed and at the other end Daryl Clare shot wide from 18 yards
before the home side changed things bringing on Gregg Blundell
and Andy Green up front.
Still City looked solid at the back coping
with everything thrown at them but the game took a dramatic course
of events in the final ten minutes. City brought on Dave Cameron
and Mark Quayle for Sugden and Clare and just four minutes later
Quayle was heading straight back down the tunnel after receiving
a harsh red card.
Three minutes of extra time were added,
and in the fourth! City were finally undone by a swerving shot
from Whitman that beat Wayne Brown for a last-gasp equaliser.
“We went to Doncaster with a bit of a plan, and we were only 30 seconds
from pulling it off. We feel a little bit disappointed because we feel we should
have been going away with a 1-0 win. We need a little bit of luck now and we
need to score a couple of goals to kill the game off, but I don’t think
home advantage counts for anything in cup games and semi-finals. I just think
it’s all about whose got the bottle and holds their nerve on the day”.
said manager Mark Wright.