left it late to grab all three points as a Dave Hankin
goal just two minutes from time sealed the victory to
extend the lead over Brackley Town at the top of the league
to four points.
Chester controlled for much
of the opening period with Tony Gray shooting just wide
in the opening minute after good wotk from Danny Williams,
and they were rewarded with a goal from Matty McGinn
on 15 minutes after Scott Brown and Tony Gray had exchanged
passes to set up the defender for his second goal of
the season. Five minutes later Gray almost added a second
but saw his shot come back off the post.
Paul Walker produced a fine
save to deny Nathan Jarman as the hosts looked to double
their lead. There was some good play by on-loan Craig
Curran who beat two defenders before crossing to Gray
at the far post but the striker was unable to trouble
Walker with his header.
As with the game at Histon,
Chester seemed to lose their way in the second half
allowing the Steelmen to come more into the game and
it was no real surprise when they equalised twenty minutes
from time as Liam Hughes, on loan from Cambridge United,
headed home Avelino Vieira’s cross.
Five minutes from time Corby
defender Carl Piergianni was sent off after receiving
a second yellow card for a foul on Nathan Jarman. The
resulting free kick was floated over to George Horan
who nodded the ball down for substitute Dave Hankin
to drill the ball home and secure all three points.
24 November Histon
1 Chester 4
Attendance: 428 Half Time 0-4
Histon: Pentney, Roberts (Hawkins 45),
Fitzsimons, Sear (Waters 45), Clerima, Mills, Taaffe (Freeman
75), Stevenson, Tolley, Dowie, Hoban. Subs not used: Ahmed,
Danby, Baynes, D.Williams, Horan, Collins, A.Williams,
Curran (M.Williams 78), Sarcevic, Jarman (Mills 62), Gray
(Hankin 66), Brown Subs not used: Linwood, Howard. Referee:
superb first half performance from Chester was enough
to take them to the top of the league as manager Neil
Young celebrated his first game in charge since taking
on a full time role at the club. The manager kept faith
with the side that had picked up three points against
Gloucester last weekend and it took just eight minutes
for the Blues to surge ahead of their Cambridgeshire opponents
as a pinpoint cross field ball from Scott Brown found
Craig Curran on the left, his cross was dummied by Antoni
Sarcevic allowing Tony Gray to score from close range.
Chester were enjoying plenty of possession
but the home side also posed a threat a t times. John
Danby was called into action to make a great save to
deny a Lewis Taaffe effort from long range.
With the rain steadily falling
Chester doubled their lead midway through the half as
captain George Horan glanced a Wes Baynes corner home
at the near post, giving Carl Pentney no chance in the
home goal as the ball hit the net at pace.
Chester began to apply
more pressure and Curran saw a snap shot deflected wide
for a corner and Gray saw a header crash off the bar
from six yards though the raised flag would have ruled
out any goal.
The Blues added a third goal their
dominance deserved on the half hour as Sarcevic ended
a mazy run by pulling the ball back for Nathan Jarman
to have an easy tap-in from a yard out.
The home side were handed a lifeline
in the 36th minute as referee Queich pointed to the
spot following a handball by Curran from a corner. James
Stevenson’s penalty was hit to Danby’s left
and the Blues shot stopped saved the kick and got up
in time to also deny Taaffe’s effort from the
Two minutes before the Break Gray
added his second goal as he picked the ball up on the
right edge of the box, turned inside two players and
curled a left foot shot past Pentney into the bottom
corner to the delight of the 200 or so Chester fans
many of whom were standing behind the goal.
Histon made a double substitution
at the break and came out in a determined mood as they
dominated for much of the second period. Danby was at
his best and pulled off fine saves to deny both Shane
Tolley and Matty Waters who was through one-on-one with
The home side deserved a goal and
it came in the 61st minute as Tolley scored from close
range following a Claudiu Hoban cross. Young introduced
new signing Ben Mills into the action for Jarman minutes
later but the action remained very much at the other
end as Danby was called into action to deny Tolley a
second goal with a one handed save and also push a Hoban
free kick wide.
Chester created two more chances of
note as Baynes flashed an angled shot right across and
inched past the far post and substitute Marc Williams
seemed to slip as he was turning to shoot from eight
The game ended in disappointment
as Scott Brown was shown a yellow card, his fifth of
the season, which will rule the midfielder out of the
top-of-the-table clash at Brackley Town.
18 November Gloucester
City 0 Chester 1
Attendance: 852 (519 Chester) Half Time 0-0
Booked: Collins, Brown.
Gloucester City: Mike.J.Green, Mike.F.Green,
Mann (Harding 63), Coupe, Hamblin, Webb, Hogg, Goddard
(Morford 74), Edwards (Rawlings 74), Davies, Harris. Subs
not used: Holland, Mustoe. Chester:
Danby, Baynes, D.Williams, Horan, Collins, Brown, Gray
(Hankin 63), Sarcevic, Jarman (M.Williams 89), Curran
(Howard 84), A.Williams. Subs not used: Linwood, Clancy. Referee:
Craig Hicks (Surrey). More
than 500 travelling Chester fans were expecting a far
better performance against Gloucester City than the last
match, which resulted in a disappointing exit from the
FA Trophy. They weren’t to be let down as the Blues
left Gloucestershire with three points in the bag which
put them back within touching distance of the League leaders.
It was an encouraging opening spell as the Blues, shooting
towards the away fans, had several early chances. Antoni
Sarcevic was a threat throughout the half and confidently
tried to chip the Gloucester goalkeeper, Mike Green. But
Green, who went on to be the home team's man-of-the-match,
had the measure of him.
Soon after the Chester fans were on their feet about to
cheer a goal when Green failed to hold onto a Tony Gray
shot. The rebound fell to Nathan Jarman, who had two chances
to score – the first was stopped by a defender,
and then Green saved the follow-up. This was hearts-in-the-mouth
stuff for the away end.
A goal really did look a certainty not long afterwards,
when a fierce Danny Williams strike seemed homeward-bound
until it hit the inside of the goal-post and somehow didn’t
hit the net. Chester were still in the ascendency and
Green was forced into action again to save a Scott Brown
The second half started in much the same way, with Jarman
having a chance for a headed goal in the opening spell.
Dave Hankin came on in the 63rd minute to replace Tony
Gray, who had tried hard, but had drifted out of the match
And it was Hankin who started the move that resulted in
Chester finally finding the net on the 65th minute. He
passed to Wes Baynes, who found Jarman, and he thumped
the ball home with a well-taken half volley.
The chance of the Tigers netting a replay looked all the
slimmer when Lewis Hogg was sent off after a mis-timed
midfield challenge on Brown. And Chester could have made
it two, but for a spectacular save from Green, who tipped
a Craig Curran volley over the crossbar.
The away fans looked nervous as the clock ticked down
the last few minutes, but Chester held firm and wound
down the time before fussy referee Craig Hicks finally
So it was an enjoyable return visit to Cheltenham –
the temporary home of Gloucester City – and a very
happy 38th birthday for Chester manager Neil Young. I
like to think he celebrated it with a £2.50 plate-filling
‘stottie’ in the nearby Kemble Brewery Inn,
but then again, perhaps not!
14 November Worksop
Town 2 Chester 0
FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round Replay
Attendance: 457 Half Time 2-0
Booked: Linwood, Baynes, Sarcevic, Collins, Jarman, Brown.
Worksop Town: Bastock, Clarke, Ludlam
(Wood 85), Young, Miller, Hawes, Beeson (Shiels 67), Towers,
Burbeary, Mettam (Menga 79), King. Sub not used: Telling. Chester:
Danby, Baynes, Clancy, Linwood, Collins, A.Williams (Brown
46), Hankin (Gray 46), Sarcevic, Jarman, Curran, Mackin
(M.Williams 79). Subs not used: Horan, Howard. Referee:
Richard Wigglesworth (South Yorkshire). Chester
have been knocked out of the FA Trophy after a disappointing
replay performance at Evo-Stik Premier League Worksop
The Blues can have no arguments about the 2-0 defeat as
their hosts could have scored more, particularly in a
first half which saw them have several chances after their
eighth minute opener.
That first goal was scored by Matt Young after a Leon
Mettam strike was saved by John Danby. Mettam laid the
ball back to Young for him to slot the ball home past
Danby. And Mettam himself was on target just nine minutes
later with a shot into the far corner.
The first half continued to be dominated by Worksop, with
Chester producing arguably their worst 45-minute performance
since the birth of the new club. Manager Neil Young tried
to change matters by bringing on Tony Gray and Scott Brown
in place of Ashley Williams and David Hankin for start
of the second half.
Chester did look more lively after the re-start, and Nathan
Jarman had chances to put the Blues on the scoresheet,
but he failed to find the target. Worksop’s 42-year-old
goalkeeper, Paul Bastock, managed to save any Chester
attempt and a strike by on-loan Chris Curran was also
cleared off the line.
But there were to be no more goals in the match and Chester
must be left to rue not only their first half performance,
but how they let slip a two-goal lead at home in the first
match. Still, now they must concentrate on the League.
10 November Chester
2 Worksop Town 2
FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round
Attendance: 1,410 Half Time 2-0
Danby, Mackin, Linwood, Collins, Clancy, Hankin, A.Williams,
Sarcevic, Howard (Curran 59), Jarman (Gray 82), M.Williams.
Subs not used: Fearon, Horan, Miller. Worksop Town: Bastock, Clarke, Miller,
Hawes, Warlow, Beeson (Ludlam 74), Young, Towers, King,
Burbeary (Menga 88), Mettam (Sheils 83). Subs not used:
Wood, Telling. Referee:
Ian Hussin (West Derby). City
let a two goal lead dwindle away to nothing as they allowed
Worksop to force an unwanted replay in this third qualifying
round of the FA Trophy.
The visitors were familiar opponents from last season
in the NPL and began brightly. They have done well on
their travels this season and swept forward in confidence.
Danby did extremely well to clutch a goal bound header
from Mettam following a right wing cross.
But City quickly put a few moves together. Marc Williams
linked up well with Hankin who spread the ball out right
where Mackin was deputising as full back. He switched
the ball to his left foot and put in a hopeful cross at
the far post. Jarman jumped to nod it in between Bastock
and the post. It was swift payback for Jarman as he responded
to taunts of “Worksop Reject!” from the raucous
A quarter of an hour later Jarman sprang clear to loop
the ball over the stranded Bastock to make it two-nil.
It was all too easy and proved to be too soon for City.
Had Jarman completed his hat trick just before half time
with a shot that came crashing back off the bar then it
might well have been game over. The trouble was psychologically
the Blues thought that the game was won by then only to
receive a rude awakening after the break.
Guest celebrities Colin Murray and Beth Tweddle were introduced
to the crowd at half time to make the match day and monthly
draws. The former had agreed to sponsor the Chester women’s
team shirts and Tweddle was actually wearing one –
though no-one confirmed that she would be turning out
for the Blues. We could look forward to some extravagant
goal celebrations if she did.
It was entirely predictable that the Tigers would come
out all guns blazing to try to rescue the tie –
which they did – Mettam fired a shot across goal
and just past the post to serve warning. But City could
not rouse themselves to respond as the visitors upped
When Worksop did pull a goal back it was after monumentally
sloppy play by City. Clancy surrendered possession meekly
at left back to put the Blues’ defence under pressure.
Danby rushed to the edge of the box to try to deal with
the danger but was dispossessed by Mettam. His shot from
the corner of the box found the net despite the attention
of back-pedalling defenders. It was an awful goal to give
away and handed the impetus to Worksop to look for an
It came as no surprise when Burbeary crashed home his
first time shot following a low cross from the right.
Worksop now had all the confidence in possession and moved
the ball about fluently. City by contrast were pedestrian
and lacklustre. Clancy and Hankin spurned good chances
to cross the ball into the danger area by putting it over
Gray and new signing Curran were introduced but –
though lively – could not alter City’s clumsy
approach play. To be fair Worksop stuck to their tasks
well and defended with discipline. Sarcevic went solo
and tied to slalom his way through a forest of defenders
but was overwhelmed. His left footed effort from the edge
of the area went narrowly wide and was City’s closest
effort of the entire second half (bar Williams inadvertently
blocking Gray’s shot when Bastock was out of goal).
Chester will rue the fact that they did not test Bastock,
Worksop’s veteran keeper, at all in the second forty-five.
A brief dash out of goal to chase the ball in the right
hand corner left him feigning breathlessness as he leaned
on his goal post afterwards.
Worksop earned their replay which City will not relish,
neither will their supporters – there were few takers
for coach trip in the club afterwards. But at least the
Blues are still in the draw and will know the measure
of the task ahead of them on Wednesday.
Chester fielded a strong side and included two youth team
players Sean Miller and Tom Peers on the bench as they
traveled to east Cheshire for the opening match in the
competition they last won in 1931/32.
Chester started well against a side
who play four levels below them in The North West Counties
Football League Division One. Wes Baynes was unlucky
to his the woodwork twice in the opening 15 minutes
but slack marking from a Cheadle corner allowed Ben
Brooks to open the scoring for the home side on 17 minutes
from a yard out.
The Blues responded well and were level within a matter
of two minutes as Antoni Sarcevic added a final touch
to a goalbound Danny Williams effort following a Chester
Sarcevic was on the spot again six
minutes later to give Chester the lead as he steered
the ball home as shot from a corner had been blocked
but fell for the midfielder ten yards out. Five minutes
before the break Baynes found the target as he fired
home a 20-yarder into the top corner for a deserved
goal to give Chester a 3-1 interval lead and leaving
Stephen Piggott no chance in the home goal.
Both Peers and Miller came on after the break and showed
promising touches for their first appearances in the
senior team but it was Cheadle who threatened as Andrew
Lindon saw a shot crash back off the post and Aaron
Caroll shot just wide after being sent clean through
on Martin Fearon in the Blues goal.
On 70 minutes Cheadle pulled a goal
back as Fearon fumbled a Ben Roberts free-kick into
his own net. Peers hit back seeing a shot hit the post
and Piggott denied Miller with a smart save.
Eleven minutes from time Tony Gray put the entertaining
tie beyond doubt as he scored his first goal for the
club turning smartly and beating Piggott from 18 yards
with a left-footed drive.