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MATCH REPORTS 2022/23

Pre-Season | August | September | October | November | December | January | February | March | April | May
OCTOBER
Hanley Town (FA Cup 3RQ H) | Hanley Town (FA Cup 3RQr A) | Darlington (H) | Oldham Athletic (FAC 4RQ A) | Oldham Athletic (FAC 4QRr H) | Kettering Town (H) | Gloucester City (H) | Boston United (A)
Saturday 29 October
Boston United 2 Chester 3
National League North
Attendance: 1,330 (104 Chester) Half Time: 0-3
Booked: Tyrer, Coates, Burke, Weeks.

Boston United: Long, Mills (Ferguson 30), Pollock, Belehouan, Brown, Platt, Atkinson (McLintock 58), Gyamfi, Pollock (Wright 67), Crawford, Goodson. Subs not used: Solanke, Davies.
Chester:
Tyrer, Coates, Burke, Edwards, Heywood, Roberts, Weeks, Devine, Murray (Hall 72), Dudley (Stephenson 51), Willoughby. Subs not used: Morgan, Kenyon, Thomas.
Referee: James Westgate
.

Goals from Kurt Willoughby, Anthony Dudley and Declan Weeks set Chester up for victory at Boston United

The Blues took an early lead in the eighth minutes as Kieran Coates in acres of space down the right crossed for the unmarked Willoughby to convert at the far post sending his shot into the roof of the net past Sam Long in the Pilgrims goal.

Nine minutes later and Chester doubled their lead as Anthony Dudley was sent through to score past Long from 20 yards.

Declan Weeks and Willoughby went close to adding another goal before Chester completed a remarkable first half by scoring a third on the stroke of half-time as Long fumbled a long range effort from Weeks into his own net. There was just enough time for Boston to threaten the Blues' goal as Ben Pollock saw a header canon off the crossbar following a corner and Harry Tyrer produced fine saves to deny Pollock, Jordon Crawford and Zak Goodson.

Boston increased the tempo in the second half and reduced the arrears on 71 minutes with a fine curling effort from Johnson Gyamfi. With three minutes remaining the Pilgrims grabbed a second goal as substitute Sam McLintock sent an unstoppable shot past Tyrer.

Chester endured a very nervy ending and six minutes into stoppage time were relieved to see Goodson send a final effort inches wide of the goal to ensure all three points headed back to Chester.



Picture © Rick Matthews


League Table | Match photographs | Match highlights [YouTube]
Tuesday 25 October
Chester 1 Gloucester City 1
National League North
Attendance: 1,955 Half Time: 0-1
Booked: Hall.

Chester: Tyrer, Coulton, Weeks, Willoughby, Dudley (Murray 66), Roberts, Williams, Coates, Lynch (Devine 66), Hall (Stephenson 79), Edwards. Subs not used: Morgan, Kenyon.
Gloucester City:
Hall, James (Tomlinson 76), Leadbitter, Nugent, Tiensia, O’Sullivan, Owers, Buse, Phillips (Evans 66), McHale, McClure (Mitford 46). Subs not used: Newbury, Hill.
Referee: Ben Wyatt.

Iwan Murray rescued a point for Chester as they broke another stubbornly resistant visiting side. His goal five minutes from the end of normal time came as the young substitute injected pace and creativity into the Blues attacking play.

The Tigers arrived on the back of three consecutive victories since new manager Steve King took over. Those victories had lifted them to fourth in the table and keen to continue their lofty ambitions. Combative and quick to close Chester down from the start, the visitors defended in numbers and attacked with pace. Blues found it difficult to make inroads and were reduced to a long range effort from Willoughby which flew wide of the target as their best effort of the first period.

In stoppage time as he carried the ball forward, Lynch went down under pressure and lost possession. Like a flash Gloucester got the ball to skipper McClure whose forward pass gave Phillips the chance to run on and tuck it past Tyrer for the opening goal.

Blues then grew increasingly frustrated as they tried to break down Gloucester’s well-disciplined defence. The Tigers gave a masterclass in getting behind the ball. Chester had plenty of possession but, as King commented, without forcing any clear-cut chances. Lynch had an effort blocked and Coulton whipped a dangerous cross from the left to be plucked out of the air by Brandon Hall in the visitors’ goal.

At last Weeks crafted space to loft a ball for Coates to run on to. The flying full back knocked it up and over his opponent and ran in to the box to square for substitute Murray to sweep it home. Despite a further five minutes and an additional eight added for a string of stoppages the Blues could not convert their momentum into further goals. Both teams had to be content with a point.

Calum McIntyre admitted that Chester were not at their best tonight and that perhaps the matches with Oldham in the FA Cup had caught up with them. Attention turns next to a long trip to Boston at the weekend.

Colin Mansley


Picture © Rick Matthews

League Table | Match photographs | Match highlights [YouTube]

Saturday 22 October
Chester 4 Kettering Town 0
National League North
Attendance: 1,834 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: -.

Chester: Tyrer, Coulton, Weeks (Devine 80), Willoughby, Dudley, Roberts (Murray 80), Williams, Coates, Lynch, Hall (Stephenson 72), Edwards. Subs not used: Morgan, Kenyon.
Kettering Town:
Foulkes, Sault (Augstein 84), Toseland, Gascoigne, Stohrer, Graham (Bennett 64), Ward (Laithwaite 64), Cooper, Hill, Bakare, McDonald. Subs not used: Hogg, Sheriff.
Referee: Richard Aspinall.

Chester had to play a patient game against stubborn resistance from Kettering but once they forged ahead just after the break, the floodgates opened and blues ran out comfortable winners.

Harrison Burke remained on the sidelines for this one following the injury he picked up in the FA Cup tussle with Oldham. Edwards replaced him and Blues fans wondered whether there would be any fallout after the epic replay on Tuesday night. The Poppies pressed high up the field and Sault had a warning shot across Chester’s bows. The Blues, though began to settle into a rhythm and had a solid grip on possession. They found it difficult to convert this into creating chances to score. The best efforts came when they were able to work the ball down the wings. Coulton raced down the left and crossed invitingly but Hall could only scoop his shot over the bar. Playing through the middle was more difficult and Willoughby was often isolated. He did carve out a shooting opportunity just before the break, however when he turned inside from the right and curled a shot towards the top corner. Foulkes did well to claw it away.

With the second half barely two minutes old, Hall forced a corner. Weeks’ kick from the right was rebuffed but his follow-up cross was expertly glanced in by Dudley to give City the lead. Ten minutes later Dudley doubled both his and Chester’s tally as he stole into the box and picked up the loose ball from Weeks’ forward foray before turning and firing into the opposite corner. The Blues’ “Lewandowski” had made it all seem so simple. In the next five minutes or so he might have added another three but saw two goal-bound shots blocked and then his far post header to meet Weeks’ inviting cross was thwarted by Foulkes’ save.

Next it was Hall’s chance to have a spectacular volley towards goal following a clever one-two with Dudley as Blues began to run rampant. Williams headed narrowly over from a corner before going one better and volleying in from another. Weeks and Hall were withdrawn as the game appeared won and Kev Roberts, making his hundredth appearance, also left to a standing ovation. The fresh legs of Stephenson, Devine and Murray tormented the Poppies further and when Murray was felled in the box, Willoughby stepped up to convert for the goal his tirelessly energetic performance had merited.

The relentless nature of the current schedule continues on Tuesday with the visit of Gloucester City who are in good form themselves and climbed to fourth in the table following their crushing win against Farsley Celtic today.

Colin Mansley


Picture © Rick Matthews

League Table | Match photographs |
Match highlights [YouTube]
Tuesday 18 October
Chester 2 Oldham Athletic 2 (After extra-time, Oldham win 4-3 on penalties)
FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying Replay
Attendance: 3,651 (536 Oldham) Half Time: 0-1, Full Time: 1-1
Booked: Coates.

Chester: Tyrer, Coulton, Weeks (Murray 115), Burke (Edwards 46), Willoughby, Dudley (Stephenson 65), Roberts, Williams, Coates, Lynch (Devine 101), Hall. Subs not used: Beswick, Morgan, Daly.
Oldham Athleic:
Norman, Clarke, Maynard (Stobbs 102), Gardner, Sheron, Cooper (Vaughan 69), Rooney (Porter 105), Tollitt, Fondop, Okagbue, Couto (Francis-Ango 91). Subs not used: Leutwiler, Luamba, Kilner.
Referee: Aaron Bannister.

Kevin Roberts’ stunning strike in extra time seemed to be the goal of destiny to take him and City to the home of his former employers and a meeting with Hollywood. But Mike Fondop was working to a different script when he looped a headed equaliser in the eternal last minute of the game. Although Fondop’s spot kick was saved in the resulting penalty shoot-out, so was Kev Roberts’ and the Latics emerged 4-3 winners to progress to visit Wrexham in the First Round Proper.

The stage was set for a pulsating night at the Deva. A sell-out crowd – albeit with a capacity limited for various reasons – made for a wonderful atmosphere. Manager Calum McIntyre said that he’s not seen the stadium like this for a long, long time and those sentiments were echoed all around. The Blues were vociferously and unflaggingly supported throughout the hundred and twenty minutes and beyond. A flag bearing the uncharacteristically thoughtful face of Harry McNally fluttered in his eponymous stand and, for many, thoughts of glories past and fond remembrances were re-kindled.

This was a replay in name and, seemingly in deed, as the pattern of play emulated last Saturday. Oldham dominated possession and were quicker to the ball, whisking it from right to left and forward for Tollitt to cut back and see his shot flick up off Coates’ frantic attempt to block and curl into the far corner. The Latics led, as they did in the original tie, but also similar was the way City grew back into the game. This time, though, they took the game to the visitors far more. Willoughby was on target with his free kick but Norman saved routinely. Less comfortable for the Latics’ keeper was a fizzing shot from Coates which he had to be at full stretch to keep out.
Blues built more momentum after the break and Hall set Lynch through on the left. His clipped cross was met by Willoughby’s stooping header at the far post and City were level. Chester had their tails up and looked to win the tie. The best chance fell to Hall when Willoughby broke down the right to cross into his path but Okagbue got back in time to block his shot. At the end of ninety minutes the two sides could still not be separated.

As space opened up for Kevin Roberts in the first period of extra time he let fly a left footed shot from outside the area just inside Norman’s right hand post. The home crowd were sent ecstatic. There was still a long way to go but City could not be accused of time wasting and instead went for further goals. Darren Stephenson was sent clear by Hall’s pass but instead of shooting opted to round the keeper. Norman’s finger tips took the golden chance away. So it was, as the final whistle loomed, a simple long ball in to the box found Fondop out-muscling Williams to head home the equaliser.

The penalty shoot-out took place under the bright gaze of the clock on top of the Hipkiss Stand. Willoughby, Devine and Stephenson scored their kicks but Kev Roberts and Cole Hall both slipped in their run-ups and saw their respective efforts either saved or sail over the bar as a result. Cooper scored the decisive kick to send the Latics through.

Although such a disappointing result, there was nothing disappointing about the performance of the Blues. They all left everything out there on the pitch and – on another night – could easily have gone through. Instead of dwelling on what might have been, I suspect most City supporters are now looking forward as Chester continue to build on the solid foundations Calum McIntyre and the players are putting in place. The club is moving in the right direction. More glory days beckon.

Colin Mansley


Picture © Rick Matthews

Match photographs | Match highlights [YouTube]
Saturday 15 October
Oldham Athletic 1 Chester 1
FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying
Attendance: 5,342 (1,969 Chester) Half Time: 1-0
Booked: -.

Oldham Athletic: Norman, Clarke (Luamba 46), Maynard, Gardner, Sheron, Roberts (Burgess 49), Rooney (Cooper 64), Tollitt, Fondop, Okagbue, Carragher. Subs not used: Leutwiler, Wellens, Vaughan, Kilner.
Chester:
Tyrer, Coulton, Weeks, Burke (Edwards 83), Willoughby, Dudley (Stephenson 73), Roberts, Devine (Lynch 63), Williams, Coates, Hall. Subs not used: Beswick, Morgan, Murray, Daly.
Referee: Scott Jackson.


The convoy of seven Lakeland and Lloyd coaches processed along the motorways then snaked through the labyrinthine lanes of a housing estate to deposit their cargo of Cestrians outside the Chaddy End in the pouring rain. Inside, Chester supporters renewed old acquaintances and queued for refreshments or contented themselves with gazing at the faded grandeur of Boundary Park. On three sides of the pitch stand venerable old stands that had witnessed Premier League action whilst the fourth boasts the more modern structure, complete with glass-fronted executive boxes of the Joe Royle Stand. Watching from the latter vantage point, according to the programme, was the legendary player for both sides Andy Holden. A reminder for older fans of the glory days of both sides.

The rain had eased as the match began but the surface was still wet. Latics moved the ball slickly from side to side and found space to attack through line-hugging wingers. Tollitt cut in from the left and his deflected shot sat up for Clarke who headed across goal and wide. Then Coulton slipped and allowed Clarke to cut back to Fondop who gave Oldham the lead. Coulton pulled his shirt over his head in disappointment. The massed choir behind City sang on – not letting the setback of a goal detract from their enjoyment of the day’s outing.

Chester began to settle into the game. Dudley blazed a half-chance over the bar and then Hall volleyed an effort towards the top corner which Norman caught at the second attempt. Gardner and Carragher went close for the hosts but City remained in contention as the first half closed.

Confidence began to grow as the second half began and Coulton found space to cross from the left. Dudley had a shot through legs which deflected wide before, at the other end, Luamba just failed to get on the end of Carragher’s driven cross. Hall then had City’s best attempt on goal so far as he controlled deftly on the right and drove a left foot shot narrowly over the bar.

Belief was tangible now and Harrison Burke capped a sterling comeback by bulletting a header direct from Weeks’ right wing corner for a much celebrated equaliser with ten minutes to go. City were in the ascendancy as the Latics faded, but Burke still had to be alert to foil Fondop’s attempt and was injured in the process. His replacement Edwards also made a timely block as Chester held out to force a replay on Tuesday night.

So Blues were in the hat for Monday night’s first round draw and earned the revenue of another match on Tuesday as this year’s run in the Cup extended further.

Colin Mansley


Picture © Rick Matthews

Match photographs | Match highlights [YouTube]

Saturday 8 October
Chester 0 Darlington 1
National League North
Attendance: 2,169 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Morgan, Roberts.

Chester: Tyrer, Morgan, Burke, Kenyon, Coulton, Weeks (Lynch 70), Roberts, Devine, Stephenson (Murray 82), Willoughby, Hall (Dudley 74). Subs not used: Williams, Coates.
Darlington:
Taylor, Rose (Liddle 72), Beck, Lawlor, Dodds, Purver, Hazel (Rivers 79), Lambert (Barbosa 87), Sukar, Hedley, Felix. Subs not used: Martin, Mondal.
Referee: Richard Holmes.


Another close encounter which might have gone either way went to the visitors - courtesy of a slightly fortunate goal from Kaine Felix. A long punt from the keeper was flicked on by Beck. Felix latched on and got slightly the wrong side of Coulton and attempted a cross. As the left back attempted a recovery tackle the ball deflected off him and over Tyrer into the far corner of the net.

Clear cut chances were few and far between as Darlington gave a master class in defensive display while always carrying a threat at the other end mainly through Beck, their tall top scorer. Chester were patient in their build-up play but struggled to find a way through. At times they were guilty of trying to walk the ball into the net and Weeks did almost exactly that as he got to the goal line on the right just before half-time. His prodded cross across the six yard box nearly ended up in the goal but was scrambled clear.

After Felix had netted on the hour Chester probed for an equaliser. The most promising opening came when Willoughby was found by Hall’s pass. As he pulled the trigger to fire, Dodds – playing in a protective face mask - nipped in with a blocking tackle. Moments later the Middlesbro’ loanee went close at the other end following a one-two exchange. His shot went across goal and wide.

Roberts had a shot on target whilst being held by a defender but the referee dismissed his protests. Both Hall and Weeks, lacking match fitness after injuries were replaced by Dudley and Lynch respectively. Still City pressed. Dudley struck crisply from the edge if the area but straight at the keeper.

City had been beaten for the third time at home this season by one goal to nil. Never outplayed they will nevertheless be concerned that this does not become an enduring pattern. Certainly they have become difficult to score against but are also finding goals at the other end elusive too. Still the majority of supporters recognise the progress being made and remained at the end to applaud their efforts.

Colin Mansley


Picture © Rick Matthews

League Table | Match photographs |
Match highlights [TouTube]

Tuesday 4 October
Hanley Town 0 Chester 4
FA Cup Third Round Qualifying Replay
Attendance: 946 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: -.

Hanley Town: Harrison, Cotterill, Stubbs, Shotton, Dickinson, Sanders (Jones), Avery, Dagnall, Glover, Dodds, Lawrie. Subs not used: Chapman, Twyford, Blake.
Chester:
Tyrer, Morgan, Coulton, Burke, Kenyon, Stephenson, Willoughby, Roberts (Williams 79), Devine, Lynch (Weeks 71), Murray (Hall 71). Subs not used: Beswick, Dudley, Thomas, Daly.
Referee: D.Bradley.


Two goals apiece in the second half from Kurt Willoughby and Kole Hall set up a trip to Oldham Athletic in the next round of the FA Cup as Chester finally saw off a plucky Hanley Town.

Manager Calum McIntyre made two changes t the side held at home on Saturday, in came Alex Kenyon and Iwan Murray replacing Matty Williams and Adam Thomas who both dropped to the bench.

In front of a bumper crowd at Potteries Park, home ‘keeper Kieran Harrison was again in fine form producing two smart saves to deny first Willoughby then Danny Devine as Chester looke for an early breakthrough.

The home side threatened in spells and almost took the lead through Danny Glover who prodded a shot past Harry Tyrer only for Alex Kenyon to clear the ball offf the line.

Ten minutes into the second period Chester finally broke the deadlock. Iwan Murray’s through ball found Joe Lynch who in turn squared for Willoughby to beat Harrison.

Chester brought on Declan Weeks and Kole Hall, both returning from injury. Hall added the second goal with his first touch sending an unstoppable show past Harrison on 71 minutes. Hall was well placed to pick up a loose ball on 83 minutes to score the third and Willoughby sealed the tie with the fourth goal four minutes later.

The final scoreline was harsh on the home side, who’d battled well over the two games but in the end Chester had that little bit of extra quality needed to get the job done.

Saturday 1 October
Chester 0 Hanley Town 0
FA Cup Third Round Qualifying
Attendance: 1,704 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Thomas, Lynch.

Chester: Tyrer, Morgan, Williams, Burke (Kenyon 77), Coulton, Roberts, Devine, Lynch (Murray 86), Thomas (Dudley 64), Willoughby, Stephenson. Subs not used: Beswick, Weeks, McHugh, Edwards.
Hanley Town: Harrison, Blake, Stubbs, Cotterill, Dickinson, Sanders (Twyford 76), Avery (Jones 75), Dagnall, Glover, Dodds, Lawrie. Sub not used: Chapman.
Referee: Dane McCarrick.


The Blues were thwarted efforts to reach the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup by a stubborn Hanley rearguard.

The visitors’ team brought with them a wealth of Football League experience that belied their status two levels below Chester and marshalled a gritty defensive performance to earn a replay on Tuesday night. City began brightly enough and may well have bagged two or three goals in the opening quarter of an hour. Early corners saw headed efforts from Burke and Williams go narrowly wide. Williams had another near miss with a diving header from Lynch’s free kick and Stephenson and Bishop also had attempts on target.

After the initial flurry however the game settled in to a pattern of Hanley sitting in and doubling up on Stephenson and Thomas on either wing, leaving Willoughby isolated. Chester struggled to play through the middle of the field and were pegged back to the half way line. In the last round City were able to bring Stephenson on from the bench to make a decisive impact. On this occasion though he was already well-marked from the start and without the injured Hall up front and Weeks, (encouragingly on the bench today) in midfield they struggled to make a vital breakthrough.

As the game drew on Chester did managed to force the pace better. They won a number of corners and began to test Hanley’s chunky goalkeeper Harrison. He had taken some stick from the terraces but had the last laugh in denying several late attempts on goal. First he got down well to Bishop’s effort low by the post. Later he tipped a wickedly deflected shot from Roberts over the bar and he also fielded a couple of other efforts as the pressure racked up. Substitute Iwan Murray added elan to City’s forward play in the final minutes and seemed to hold the key to unlocking the unyielding defence.

Tyrer at the other end was rarely troubled though he did have to react smartly to keep out a low free kick from Stubbs that deflected off the foot of the defensive wall. But City will know that they will have their wits about them to survive a tricky replay away in the Potteries.

Calum McIntyre, speaking shortly afterwards felt the frustrations of the afternoon as much, if not even more than the fans did. Some of the comments he had heard had got under his skin. He knows the club’s recent history and how desperately Chester fans yearn for a money-spinning Cup run but he also knows, and Cestrians ought to realise by now, that no opposition can be taken for granted.

Colin Mansley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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