City came from behind to beat second placed Darlington
with a great strike from Ryan Lowe and a first senior
goal from Shaun Kelly. The victory at Darlington keeps
the Blues in 19th place in League Two and bring to an
end a run of four successive defeats.
Manager Mark Wright made two changes frm the side beaten
by Aldershot on Saturday. In came Paul McManus for Eddie
Johnson up front, while Jay Harris replaced Paul Rutherford
The omens had not looked good for the Blues when Darlo
took an early lead. There were just seven minutes on the
clock when Rob Purdie was allowed time to slot the ball
home from 12 yards out following a Franz Burgmeier cross.
Darlington pressed and John Danby was called into make
a save from Burgmeier, despite plenty of possession in
the opening quarter the home side couldn’t convert
it into more goals, Billy Davies missed the best opportunity
when he shot straight at Danby.
At the other end City created
little with Lowe sending a free-kick high and wide in
a rare effort on the home goal. Laurence Wilson tested
Brown from distance with the home ’keeper failing
to gather at the first attempt.
On 37 minutes City drew level with a spectacular
goal from Lowe. The City player picked up a Jay
ball before crashing a volley past Simon Brown in
the home goal from the edge of the box into the
Danby saved once again from
Burgmeier as City went into the interval level.
Darlo started the second half, like the first, on
the attack. Billy Clarke and Burgmeier both went
close before the Blues turned the game round.
Eight minutes into the second period Lowe swung over
a corner from the right that was met by Shaun
Kelly who headed past Brown and a defender on the
line to give City the lead.
Danby was immediately called int action as he saved
well from Jason Kennedy. Former Chester striker Gregg
Blundell came off the bench and
a resolute Blues defence.
The home side were restricted to long range efforts
with an effort from Kennedy failing to his
It was Chester who had the best chance to score next
as substitute Richie Partridge was sent through,
by Lowe, one-on-one with Brown but he dragged his shot
wide from 18 yards.
Five minutes of injury time was endured before the
small band of City fans could celebrate a victory
the fourth time this season.
22 November Chester City 0 Aldershot Town
Attendance: 1,653 (286 Aldershot) Half Time 0-0
Chester City: Danby, Linwood, Kelly,
Roberts, J.Vaughan, Barry, Hughes, Rutherford (McManus
63), Wilson, Lowe, Johnson (Harris 46). Subs not used:
Rule, Ryan Williams, Mitchell. Aldershot Town: Bull, Blackburn, Day
(Sandell 42), Charles, Straker, Soares, Harding, Davies,
Hudson, Grant, Morgan. Subs not used: Chalmers, Elvins,
Newman, Jaimez-Ruiz. Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire).
in from the cold by Mark Wright earlier in the week, Butler
and Dinning were both unavailable due to injury. With
Partridge reporting in with a pain in the neck and Ellison
beginning the first of his three match suspension, the
last thing City needed was for Damian Mozika to tweak
a hamstring in the pre-match warm up. So it was a depleted
City side that took the field against Aldershot for the
first time in the Football League since the ‘Shots
went out of business eighteen years ago.
The visitors had a poor away record but came into this encounter buoyed by a
three-nil win at Rotherham in a cup replay earlier in the week. They moved the
ball about quickly and confidently and looked likely to score a number of times
when they came forward. Marvin Morgan, signed from Woking in the summer was the
chief attacking threat, tall and busy – a constant menace. But it was his
fellow forward, Grant who came the closest to scoring when his shot from the
edge of the area hit the bar emphatically and rebounded to safety. Then, following
a one-two in the the box, Soares hit the base of the post with Danby beaten.
Chester, though outplayed, battled hard and competed well. Encouraged by riding
their luck and reaching the half time interval level, City came out trying to
press home an advantage. Roberts was guilty of missing a chance of glory when
he headed wide Lowe's corner with the goal at his mercy.
At the other end, Morgan was still proving a threat and Kelly capped an outstanding
display at the back by denying Grant a goalscoring chance with a last ditch tackle.
City grafted hard to chisel out chances. Lowe was now leading the line on his
own as Johnson had been replaced at half time by Harris. Lowe's best opportunity
came after McManus had been introduced to the game. The latter set Lowe through
but he shot too early and wide.
Aldershot were denied a goal in the 78th minute by the linesman flagging for
offside but just when it looked like City might get away with a hard earned point,
Morgan struck. There was an almighty scramble in the six yard box and at the
third attempt the tall striker thrashed the ball into the roof of the net.
Heads went down on the field after this and heads had to go down just behind
the ‘Shots’ goal as Wilson's last gasp thunderbolt went narrowly
over the bar and into the crowd.
It was a plucky display by City which nearly scraped a point against a classy
looking side – but the result was the same and Aldershot were not to be
denied in the end. Now City face a daunting long distance trip to high flying
Darlington on Tuesday and face an equally long journey to fellow strugglers Bournemouth
15 November Chester City 1 Morecambe 2
Attendance: 1,647 (312 Morecambe) Half Time 0-1
Booked: Linwood, Wilson, Partridge. Sent-off: Ellison.
Chester City: Danby, J.Vaughan, Linwood, Roberts, Wilson, Harris,
Barry (Partridge 62), Hughes, Ellison,
61). Subs not used: McManus, Kelly, Rule. Morecambe: Roche, Bentley, Adams, McStay,
Parrish, Stanley, Drummond, McLachlan (Artell 85),
McGivern (Wainwright 80), Howe
73), Carlton. Subs not used: Davies, O’Carroll. Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).
was a frustrating return to the Deva for Mark Wright and
Steven Bleasdale as they began their new regime in charge
at Chester. City dominated the match for long periods
but paid the price at the back door which Wright wants
to keep closed in future. Morecambe hit them twice on
the break to snatch the points.
The visitors threatened goal first when Carlton, their
new loan signing glanced a header to the far post from
a corner. Barry managed to clear the danger. As City
pushed the visitors back they began to get behind their
defence. Lowe got through but with the goal at his mercy
never quite seemed to have the ball under control and
his shot was blocked. Johnson had a header just over
the bar and Lowe, after a brilliant turn, had a shot
from distance saved at the foot of the post by Roche.
Harris and Barry were getting through a lot of work in
midfield and were helping City dominate possession but
the Blues were caught cold on the half hour mark. As
ex-City star Dave Artell went for a substitute’s warm
up down the line, his presence distracted the crowd.
City’s defence also had their minds elsewhere as midfielder
Craig Stanley ghosted in down the middle to latch on
to a through ball and had all the time in the world to
slot it inside Danby’s left hand post.
As Mark Wright resumed his seat in the dugout after the
break, City began to press for an equaliser. Johnson
headed straight at Roche from Lowe’s free kick. Chester
applied concerted pressure but Morecambe defended doggedly
and were hard to break down. As a City attack broke down
on the right with a poor pass to Vaughan which left him
stranded, the Shrimps broke quickly and directly. There
was no immediate danger when Carlton went down in the
box but he made the most of Wilson’s challenge and referee
Hooper pointed to the penalty spot. Howe converted the
penalty, despite Danby getting a touch on the ball.
A few minutes later Chester got themselves back in the
game when Johnson glanced in Wilson’s left wing cross
to notch up his first goal for his home town club. It
was a beauty too. Johnson grabbed the ball and ran with
it back to the centre spot, eager to look for an equaliser.
Bizarrely he was substituted straight away and with it
went much of City’s momentum. The double substitiution
of Partridge and Rutherford had been pre-planned but
seemed to unnecessarily complicate things.
Still City pressed, Ellison nearly equalised when the
ball bobbled on the line following a corner but the best
chance fell to Lowe on the inside right channel. His
rasping shot from just inside the box hit the side netting.
Morecambe did their utmost to break the game up and slow
it down whenever they could. Adams was eventually booked
for taking too long over a throw in and when, a few minutes
later, he ran several yards to mither the referee following
the foul which led to Ellison’s dismissal he received
a second yellow and joined Chester’s number eleven
for an early bath – as Eddie Waring used to say.
The omens had not been good at the beginning of the match
as the match sponsors were revealed as local funeral
directors. After Ellison’s red card City’s hope in this
game were well and truly buried.
This game had been there for the taking for City, they
really shouldn’t have lost it but then that has
been part of the problem this season and why Mark Wright’s expertise
in shoring up a leaky defence has been called upon once
FA Cup stardust failed to sprinkle on the Deva Stadium
as nearly 2,000 paying fans watched the most tedious first
round encounter I’ve witnessed in my 35 years of
sound a harsh summary, but all Chester could muster
in 94 minutes of football was two shots, neither of
which showed any danger of threatening the goal. And
Millwall, clad in their day-glo orange third kit, may
have scored three goals, but they were not exactly an
advert for League One football.
Both City efforts fell in the first
45 minutes, when a Ryan Lowe free kick on the eighth
was easily held by Lions’ goalkeeper, David Forde.
Soon after, Lowe saw a chipped effort go over the
Otherwise, the best chance of the
first half fell to Millwall’s Ali Fuseini. His
low, powerful, shot was well blocked by John Danby,
leaving the 389 travelling fans little to cheer in the
Jay Harris’s determination to
win the ball at one stage led him to accidentally kick
Damian Mozika in the face, as the Frenchman attempted
the head the ball away. After lengthy treatment, Mozika
had to go off for a new, numberless, shirt. But he was
so disorientated that he couldn’t stay on the
pitch for long and was replaced by Laurence Wilson on
the 31st minute.
Ellison has apparently vowed to keep growing his hair
until he scores a goal. But I’m afraid that on
his first half performance, he’ll be getting an
Alice band or two for Christmas. Striker Eddie Johnson
made himself busy, but didn’t have a sniff of
a shot either.
Ellison did win a couple of free kicks
in the early stages of the second half, but City failed
to capitalise on them and the game continued much as
the first half. Millwall’s leading scorer Lewis
Grabban made himself unpopular with the main stand with
a late tackle on Wilson that left the City defender
writhing in agony.
Wilson, only just returning to first-team
action after a long lay-off, wasn’t the same after
that challenge and after Millwall manager Kenny Jackett
made two substitutions, replacing Jermain Easter and
Fuseini with Chris Hackett and Daniel Spiller, the initiative
switched to the Lions.
It wasn’t long before Grabban
made himself even more unpopular with the City fans
by putting his name on the scoresheet after Chester
failed to clear a 75th minute corner. Any thoughts of
a replay at the New Den were then immediately wiped
from my mind.
The Millwall fans finally woke up
after their 6am start, cheering on their side as a good
Grabban pass a few minutes later led to an unstoppable
strike from Neil Harris, as the City defence backed
The time ticked by, and it wasn’t
until the 84th minute that Paul Rutherford came on as
an attacking replacement for City man-of-the-match,
Kevin Roberts. But it was too late for Rutherford to
make an impression.
Referee Richard Beeby added on four
minutes of stoppage time, but as City pressed forward
they were caught out at the back and Millwall substitute
Ashley Grimes made it 3-0 on the 93rd minute with his
first ever senior goal. I’m afraid it’s
going to be a long 12 months before Chester are in with
another chance of Cup glory.
1 November Exeter
City 2 Chester City 0
Attendance: 4,448 (143 Chester) Half Time 1-0
Booked: Roberts, Harris, Hughes.
Chester were a little unlucky to be facing a side still
smarting from a 6-1 midweek home defeat that was so embarrassing
the local TV company ran the Benny Hill theme tune behind
their match report.
were no comedy capers for Exeter on Saturday as they
scored two easy goals against Chester, without any real
danger of the visitors stealing a point.
Exeter manager Paul Tisdale made no
changes from the side that lost so heavily to Chesterfield
, with Simon Davies keeping faith with the team which
beat Brentford 3-0 in their midweek encounter. The opening
spell of the game was quite evenly matched, with Kevin
Ellison and Ryan Lowe both having chances inside the
first five minutes.
But a defensive error cost City on
the 21st minute when a Marcus Stewart pass came to the
feet of Adam Stansfield, who was almost right on the
line. He somehow managed to get a back-heel flick past
John Danby to put the Grecians 1-0 up.
Chances were a rarity for the rest
of the first half until Kevin Ellison stepped up to
take a free kick in injury time. His fierce shot was
well saved by Exeter’s orange-shirted goalkeeper,
At the other end, Danby was obviously
carrying a bad knock as he didn’t take a goal-kick
all game and grimaced every time he had to kick the
ball. But he turned City hero on the 51st minute when
he saved a Richard Logan penalty after Kevin Roberts
was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area.
Soon after, the only City substitution
of the game was made when Paul Linwood was replaced
by Shaun Kelly. The captain’s armband was handed
to Ellison, but he was largely quiet for the rest of
Exeter substituted Logan with the
intriguingly-named Jack Oberstellar on the 71st minute,
and they seemed to take on a bit more of a defensive
outlook as they aimed to hang onto their lead.
Then, just as the game seemed to be
petering away, Exeter made sure of the three points
when a Rob Edwards cross was headed for home at pointblank
range by Matthew Taylor.
City won three corners in the match’s
dying moments, but all came to nothing. It was by no
means the worst City performance I’ve seen so
far this season, but they may need more than the Benny
Hill theme tune to inspire them to beat Millwall on