27 October 2001
Barrow 1 Chester City 0
FA Cup fourth qualifying round
Attendance: 2,833 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Lancaster, Blackburn, M.Rose, Haarhoff, Halford.
Barrow: Bishop, Shaw, Maxfield, Hall, Hume, Anthony, Housham (Bullimore
67), Gaughan, Peverell, Warren, Holt. Subs not used: Doherty, Rogers, Jones,
Chester City: Brown, Ruscoe (Wright 82), M.Rose, Porter, Halford,
Lancaster, Ruffer, Blackburn, Haarhoff, Spink, Kerr (Beesley 61). Subs
not used: Kilgannon, Woodyatt, Jago.
Referee: S.Castle (Wolverhampton).
dear, oh dear. Just when we thought it was safe to come out of the
woods after the impressive start to Steve Mungall's managerial career,
the boys put on a performance like this. In truth Chester were awful
and deserved nothing from the game. Ok Barrow are no great shakes,
but by heavens they were up for his and battled and eventually outfought
Chester. Obviously, the Vaughan factor had a lot to do this which
whipped up the local support for this game (for a Unibond side Barrow
have excellent support), and together with a sub standard pitch,
you have a situation there for the taking.
Mungall's side was weakened by the loss of
three cup-tied player's plus the absence of a not fully fit Beesley,
who was quite wisely was left on the substitutes bench. Spink
retained his place up front and had what can described as one
of his poorest days! In fact Barrow started the stronger with
Brown making a fine save from Peverell, who along with his fellow
forward Holt ran Chester ragged all afternoon. City then got
a grip in midfield and really should have been a couple of goals
up by half-time, as Haarhoff and Ruscoe shot narrowly wide while
Spink was guilty of a bad miss when clean through.
The second half was different ball game, Barrow
(remember part timers) upped the tempo and dominated. It should
have been a different story if Bishop had not saved brilliantly
from Haarhoff. The awaited goal came on 58 mins when Holt headed
in from a corner poorly defended by Chester. Instead of City
moving up a gear the performance degenerated into a farce, just
like the referee who managed to book nine players in a
game which there was not a bad tackle. Beesley was thrown on
in a desperate attempt to save something and had a shot cleared
off the line, but in truth Barrow could have added to their lead
in the closing stages.
The supporters vented their frustrations on
the players at the end of the match. A bit harsh, but everyone
is entitled to pay their money and voice an opinion. Conference
survival is now a priority, aided by some new faces......please!!!
Saturday 27 October 2001
Chester City Youth 1 Rotherham United Youth
Football League Youth Alliance
Chester City: Louie Mackin, Brendan Nunnery (Tom Coulson), John Davies,
Paul Conolley, James Dean, Scott Bagnall, Kevin Towey, Carl Rodgers, Mark
Howell (Sion Griffiths), Chris Hopwood, Lee Reece.
The youth team were thrashed 6-1 by Rotherham United on Saturday in their
worst performance of the season, to date. Rotherham scored three goals
in each half with Scott Bagnall scoring Chester's consolation goal.
|Table as at 30/10/01
20 October 2001
Chester City 1 Doncaster Rovers 1
Attendance: 2,148 Half Time: 0-1
Booked: Haarhoff, Lancaster, Halford.
Sent Off: Spink.
Chester City: Brown, M.Rose, Halford, C.O'Brien, Lancaster, Kilgannon
(Ruscoe 46), Porter, Blackburn, M.O'Brien, Spink, Haarhoff (Wright 90).
Subs not used: Baxter, Ruffer, Jago (Gkpr).
Doncaster Rovers: Richardson, Marples, Barrick, Hawkins, Ryan, Carden,
Owen, Watson (Jackson 46), Paterson (Caudwell 67), Campbell, Whitman (Barnes
69). Subs not used: Squires, Warrington.
Referee: A.Marriner (Birmingham).
biggest Conference crowd of the day was at Deva Stadium to see the
two former Football League sides battle out a hotly contested 1-1
draw. There's no doubt that the visitors were on top for the opening
period, but City came out in the second half determined to get something
from the match and finished with a creditable point against a strong
Mark Beesley failed to make City the line-up, a niggling
groin strain keeping him sidelined while Dean Spink returned to the side
to lead the line. City also had a new reserve keeper from Liverpool,
Jago, on the bench.
It was City who had the earliest chance with Andy Porter's
long range effort flashing just wide of Richardson's post, but the visitors
looked the stronger set-up and almost took the lead on ten minutes before
a superb saving tackle by Steve Halford on the penalty spot rescued City
as Whitman seemed certain to score.
It came as no real surprise when Rovers took the lead
on 12 minutes. Whitman broke down the right and crossed for Campbell
to slot the ball home after brushing off Lancaster's challenge, his double
fisted celebration (complete with spit) in front of the home fans didn't
go down too well. Campbell, had already been booked (with Halford) for
a tussle on the halfway line minutes earlier and was escorted by the
referee back to his own half.
Throughout the half Rovers were given far too much
space down the right, the source of most of their moves.
On 27 minutes the game exploded with two red cards
in 60 seconds. First to get his marching orders was Campbell after he
appeared to raise an arm over Mike Rose's face right in front of the
dug-out's and the fourth official, a second yellow card was followed
Campbell was still being waved off when Dean Spink
flattened Tim Ryan as the teams prepared for a free kick. A straight
red card for the assistant manager who should have known better.
Chris Blackburn did have the ball in the net for City,
lobbing the keeper from 25 yards but the flag was already up for an infringement.
City came out for the second half kicking towards the
Sealand End and were soon on the offensive. With Spink now off, Chris
Blackburn was pushed forward from midfield to help out Jimmy Haarhoff
who had run his legs off all afternoon. Mike Rose went close with a shot
into the side netting after cleverly making an opening for himself.
Scott Ruscoe replaced Wes Kilgannon and almost immediately
was on hand to score City's equaliser. A fine move down the right saw
Blackburn's inch perfect through ball find Ruscoe inside the box on the
right, he cut inside and unleashed a hard low shot that seemed to go
through 'keeper Richardson.
Haarhoff was chasing everything and twice he set up
great chances with crosses that eluded everyone in the box.
Doncaster's main threats came from set pieces; they
had several corners and Justin Jackson's header over the bar was the
closest they came to regaining the lead.
Mike O'Brien and Blackburn both went close for City
before the Blues missed a golden opportunity in the last minute to seal
victory. Haarhoff broke clear midway in the visitors half and bore down
on goal as a defender came across to close him down, Blackburn was unmarked
to his left but the diminutive striker elected to shoot for goal and
his cross-shot flashed agonisingly wide of the right post.
There was still time for a flurry of corners at
the other end but City defended well and earned their point against one
of the better sides played this season. Jimmy Haarhoff was rightly named
as the sponsors Man of the Match.
Saturday 20 October 2001
Chester City Youth 1 Stockport County Youth 1
Football League Youth Alliance
Chester City: Louie Mackin, Scott Bagnall, John Davies, Paul Conolley,
Lee Reece, Lee Sefton (Brendan Nunnery), Kevin Towey, Carl Rodgers, Mark
Howell (James Dean), Chris Hopwood, Rico Richards (Levi Kennedy).
The youth team drew 1-1 with Stockport County on Saturday taking the lead
immediately after half time with a well taken goal by trialist Rico Richards.
Stockport drew level from the penalty spot with 20 minutes remaining. Both
teams had chances to win the game.
Saturday 13 October 2001
Walsall Youth 6 Chester City Youth 1
Youth Alliance Cup (Group stage)
Chester City: Louie Mackin, Scott Bagnall (Sion Griffiths), Paul Conolley,
James Dean, Brendan Nunnery, Adam Kelly, Chris Hopwood (Tom Coulson), John
Davies, Lee Reece, Kevin Towey, Gethin Lloyd.
The youth team were hammered 6-1 in their second group match of the Youth
Alliance Cup by a very mature and powerful Walsall team. They trailed 4-1
at half time with their equaliser coming from Kevin Towey. Two more goals
were conceded in the second half and they were denied a consolation goal
when Tom Coulson's finish was strangely given offside.
13 October 2001
Morecambe 0 Chester City 3
Attendance: 1,764 Half Time: 0-1
Booked: Halford, M.Rose, M.O'Brien, Blackburn.
Morecambe: Mawson, Fensome, McGuire, McKearney, Colkin, Drummond, Gouk,
Rigoglioso (Eastwood 51), Talbot, Norma, Black. Subs not used: Arnold,
Curtis, Willcock, Hardiker.
Chester City: Brown, Halford, M.Rose, Kilgannon, Porter, Lancaster,
C.O'Brien, Blackburn, Haarhoff, M.O'Brien, Beesley (Ruscoe 77). Subs not
used: Baxter, S.Rose, Wright, Berocchi.
Referee: R.M.Pollock (Liverpool).
carried on at Christie Park where they left off at the Deva on Tuesday
night with another encouraging performance and three more points to lift
the Blues out of the relegation zone.
Two second half goals by Mick O'Brien and a superb
free kick in the opening period by Michael Rose certainly gave the 300
City fans who made the trip something to shout about, and also boosted
the credentials of caretaker manager Steve Mungall.
The early action belonged to the home side, indeed
Wayne Brown was called into a save in the opening minute from a smart
Andy Gouk free kick. Semi-Pro International Brown was in the thick of
the action soon after with a double save to deny Ryan-Zico Black and
Jimmy Haarhoff, the forgotten man during Gordon Hill's
managerial rign, was causing all sorts of problems down the right with
his tricky runs. Twice he set up Mark Beesley but home 'keeper Craig
Mawson denied the striker.
City took the lead on 34 minutes. Haarhoff was bundled
down outside the box by Paul McGuire and Michael Rose launched a superb
left-footed free kick into the top right corner.
The Shrimps almost drew level through long-range efforts
by Andy Fensome, which Brown saved well, and Lee Colkin whose shot just
skimmed wide of the post.
Mike O'Brien, having another good game for City, extended
the Blues' lead on 64 minutes. Haarhoff had colided with Mawson in the
home goal leaving the 'keeper poleaxed, while he was down injured the
ball fell to Mike O'Brien who shot home from just inside the box.
Morecambe were reduced to ten men when Dave McKearney
was red carded for a tackle on O'Brien. The forward exacted his revenge
on 82 minutes scoring superbly from a 20 yard free kick to secure the points
9 October 2001
Chester City 2 Hereford United 0
Attendance: 1,143 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Lancaster, Halford, Beesley.
Chester City: Brown, Halford, M.Rose, Kilgannon (Wright 60), Porter,
Lancaster, C.O'Brien, Blackburn (Ruscoe 90), Haarhoff, M.O'Brien, Beesley.
Subs not used: Baxter, Woodyatt, Berocchi.
Hereford United: Baker, Clarke, Capaldi, Goodwin (Gardiner 57), Wright,
T.James, Quiggin (Webb 29), Snape, Parry, Voice (Elmes 68), G.Williams.
Subs not used: K.James, Evans.
Referee: D.Foster (Newcastle).
Mungall's caretaking of Chester City got off to the best possible start
with this exhilarating win against Hereford. A couple of changes were made
to the line up from Saturday Kilgannon came in for Woodyatt; Blackburn
started the game and so too did Haarhoff who partnered Beesley up front.
Chris O'Brien played a holding role in the centre of defence. The side
had a solid look to it and the level of commitment and energy was vastly
improved on recent performances.
Mike Rose, for instance looked a different
player, finding plenty of space out on the left all evening
and tackling like fury. It was a combative battle in midfield
with chances few and far between to begin with. Porter
had a tremendous game and Mick O'Brien's influence grew
as the game wore on until he was the play maker in the
centre of midfield.
Chester began to get the better of things
and some chances fell to Mick O'Brien and Beesley who tested
the keeper. On forty minutes Beesley latched on to the
ball following a defensive error and was hacked down in
the penalty area. The offender was booked for his pains
but there the punishment ended as Beesley, despite a run
up as long as Glen McGrath's, hit the ball close to the
keeper who was able to save.
Both teams were applauded off at the
break Chester because of their much improved performance
and Hereford fans no doubt thrilled by the penalty escape.
Hereford began the second half by taking
the attack to City. But soon Chester had a numerical advantage
when Tony Capaldi (On loan from Birmingham City) was sent
off for two bookable offences in the space of three minutes.
His first misdemeanour was to trip Haarhoff in full flight
as he ran at the box. Then, as he tried to cut out a cross
field pass, he appeared to handle and the referee gave
him rather harshly in my opinion his marching
orders. Manager Robinson brought on Matt Gardiner to shore
up the defence.
Chester played patiently but with urgency
as they tried to breach a stubborn defence. Blackburn got
half a touch on Rose's cross and it was almost inadvertently
put into his own goal by Matthew Clarke.
The breakthrough came with quarter of
an hour to go with a delightful goal from Jimmy Haarhoff.
Mick O'Brien cleverly held the ball on the edge of the
box and released Beesley on the right, he pulled it back
to find Haarhoff nipping in at the near post to clip it
Hereford responded strongly and Rob Elmes
came on to cause several problems with his aerial power.
He should have done better with a free header at the far
post and John Snape also headed over with the goal at his
A fine team performance was capped however
when Ruscoe, on for the last few seconds, steered Rose's
cross past Baker for a second goal. You would think we
had won the FA Cup by the reaction of the fans (Into four
figures again) at the final whistle.
Sunday 7 October 2001
Chester City Ladies 2 Scunthorpe United
Northern Combination League
Chester City Ladies: Laura Edwards, Rachel Mckenzie (Clare Reynolds),
Linda Grainger, Joanne Reynolds, Annette Jones, Michelle Brady, Michelle
Hounslow (Michelle Berry), Leigh Bradbent, Helen Cann, Sarah Tyson, Caly
Reid. Subs not used: Laura McWilliams, Jenny D'Arcy, Gemma Teasdale.
The girls didn't look at the races first half. They allowed the Scunthorpe
United midfield to run things and suffered two body blows in the first
half hour after being guilty of not closing down opponents quick enough.
Second half the girls were encouraged to close down the Scunthorpe midfield
and make it difficult for them to play.
The girls responded superbly and showed
real character. Sarah Tyson brought just reward from 35
yards, when the Scunthorpe and ex England international
keeper failed to hold a wet ball which squirmed in at the
right hand post. Scunthorpe were really finding it difficult
coping with the close attention of this revitalised Chester
team and when Helen Cann was put through, she chipped a
tremendous shot over a stranded keeper to make it two a
Clare Reynolds replaced the injured Rachel
McKenzie with 15 minutes to go and was unlucky to not win
Chester all three points in injury time.
It was great to see George Rogers
at the game and was well entertained. Great advert for Women's
football this one, especially as it was the first points
Scunthorpe United have dropped this season and again against
Chester, the team that knocked them out of the FA Cup and
beat them in the Combination play-offs last season!
6 October 2001
Chester City 0 Margate 3
Attendance: 828 (about 30 from Margate) Half Time: 0-1
Chester City: (Sky & Navy Blue rumour has it that as this
kit has not been registered with the Conference that we could be reverting
to Blue and White again in the near future. Hurrah!) Brown, Halford, M.Rose,
C.O'Brien, Lancaster, Baxter (Kilgannon 46), Ruscoe (Porter 46), Woodyatt,
Wright (Hopwood 60), Beesley, M.O'Brien. Subs not used: Roberts, S.Rose.
Margate: (In fetching flourescent lime green) Turner, Blackford, Lamb,
Edwards, Porter, Williams, Munday, Graham, Saunders, Collins (Sodje), Braithwaite.
Subs not used: Beard, Hafner, Azzopardi, Spencer.
struggled to make headway against a robust Margate side. Every one of the
heavyweight vistors looked as though they had just walked off a building
site. City were lightweight in comparison.
The four new signings all made their
debut but the team did not play as a cohesive unit. Perhaps
to be expected with such a big infusion of new blood.
Halford and Lancaster struggled to cope with Collins
and Braithwaite up front for Margate. After City failed
to get the ball away cleanly on the left hand side they
were caught napping as the burly Collins nipped in and
was given time to turn and hammer the ball past Brown
from a narrow angle for the first goal of the afternoon.
City rallied a bit and tried to find
some width. But Margate were comfortably able to get
bodies behind the ball and deny Chester room to manoeuvre.
Ruscoe cut in from the right but his shot was tame. Beesley
did well to make space in the box but blasted his shot
Margate's second goal came from a corner
on the right wing. The far post cross caused problems
and from the knock back one shot was blocked on the line
before Saunders swept the ball into the back of the net.
Minutes later Baxter found himself
through on the keeper but his shot was easily smothered.
Porter and Kilgannon came on straight
after the interval for Baxter and Ruscoe. Woiodyatt seemed
to drop back to sweeper. City made a better fist of it
with Porter and the Liverpool Academic O'Brien showing
some nice touches. Clear cut chances were few and far
between though. Porter narrowly failed to get on the
end of a driven cross by Rose and later managed to put
the ball in the net only to be ruled offside. Beesley
drove a shot narrowly over the bar. It came as no surprise
when Braithwaite latched on to a poor clearance and beat
Brown for the third goal with four minutes left.
That seemed to put the tin lid on things
and the drummer boys took up residence behind the dug
out and led the "Hill Out!" chants which now reverberated
round the ground. The manager departed to jeers and boos
while the players were, pointedly, applauded off the
During the second half text messages
and phone calls were swapped back and forth as reports
of England's stumbling performance against the Greeks
were relayed. In sombre mood we made our way into the
club after the game to watch the dying embers of the
game at Old Trafford on the telly. With 93 minutes on
the clock Beckham shaped to take a free kick fully ten
yards outside the penalty area. He surely won't score
this time we thought.
2 October 2001
Scarborough 2 Chester City 1
Attendance: 783 Half Time: 1-0
Booked: M.Rose, Lopez.
Scarborough: Woods, Atkinson, Keegan, Rennison, Ingram, Wilford (Jewell
46), Blunt, Faure (Windross 65), Stamp (Hogg 78), Brodie, Pounder. Subs
not used: Swales, Newton.
Chester City: Brown, M.Rose, Lancater, Porter, Hill, Kilganon, Ruscoe,
Spink (Lopez 42), Malkin (Wright 30), Beesley, Woodyatt. Subs not used:
S.Rose, Kerr, Berrochi.
Referee: G.Mellor (Doncaster).
Let me spell out something very clearly Chester's only aim for this
season should be to live to fight another season in the conference. Survival
from relegation looks far from certain after a performance at Scarborough
last night that made me want to weep.
This was my first game this season and
having supported City for 30 years I thought I would make
the short 35 mile trip to the seaside to see if the doom
merchants were following that very British trait of 'knocking'
anything that walks or if the were right. Boy were they
right. Sitting with the 50 or so battle weary fans in the
west stand I found it hard to comprehend just what an awful
legacy Smith has left Steven Vaughan. I only hope that
the new chairman was there to witness what I could hardly
believe, but what the fellow supporters around me wearily
accepted with resignation mixed with anger.
Chester now field a side that is the
worst that has ever worn a Chester shirt. It has at least
six players who are clearly completely out of their depth.
There is no experience, no one taking charge in this team
of raw talent that should be on youth team duty. Sadly
one such player is the manager's son Sam Hill. Like
the rest of the side he had clearly no tactical instruction
at all and wandered aimlessly up and down right midfield,
rarely chasing back or forward a rather forlorn
figure. This is not his fault it is the managers.
Gordon Hill is not employing the wrong tactics he
is employing no tactics. There was no interplay, players
did not look for space, they did not get in the box for
crosses until late in the second half when at last they
started to use the right wing to any effect. At corners
there was no movement in the box and as for the marking the
strategy was to hope that the Scarborough players were
incapable of finishing when given open space. For much
of the match this was the case they were at best
as bad as Chester!!
The bare facts of the game are thus.
It started off at a quick pace, both teams finding it very
hard to find shooting opportunities due mainly to an inability
to find players with an incisive ball that would give them
a clear shot at the old onion bag. Chester always defended
with commitment but there was no-one to 'marshall' the
young lads no Beesley, no Hicks no experience.
The Scarborough goal came from a mistake the Chester
defender slipped on the ball leaving Stamp to round Brown
and sidefoot neatly in.
The BBC report says that Chester dominated
the rest of the half. I would say they had more of the
play but it was mostly ineffectual with long hopeful balls,
one glaring miss by Beesley (who had a good game), one
excellent run by Mike Rose and little to suggest that a
better side wouldn't have punished Chester three or four
The second half followed the same frustrating
pattern short of talent players exchanging a few
moves before giving the ball away. The one bright note
was an excellent through ball by Beesley to Ruscoe who
finished well for the equaliser. There was a nagging inevitability
about the injury time winner by Rennison caused
by the inability of City to play down the clock and use
a bit of experience to clear their lines.
Gordon Hill is like many of his squad woefully
short of experience and totally lacking any tactical know-how.
There was no shape to his game and certainly no semblence
of organisation amongst his players. The sooner Mr Vaughan
humanely gives him his cards and gets a proper footballing
brain in at the Deva the better, otherwise the lure of
the Unibond will be easy to resist for any manager capable
of getting Chester back into the League. After some of
the games I have watched in the past Hill is a very
sad insult to the likes of Ken Roberts, Alan Oakes, Kevin
Ratcliffe, Ian Atkins and Graham Barrow. Tragic, truly
"They don�t do the simple things � control,
pass and move. They force the ball. I�ve got people just
lumping it from one end to the other, yet I�m trying to
tell them I want the ball at people�s feet. We play off
the floor. Our training sessions are geared to that, but
either they don�t listen or they�re incapable of doing
it. I will be going out and getting experienced players
into this club. I will be speaking to the chairman, we�ll
be sitting down and looking at it, because that game should
have been put to bed, and it wasn�t. I will not stay down
the bottom of this Conference. I can promise you that." Gordon
City made a first appearance
in their away strip, a rather garish yellow and black check