27 September 2003
Chester City 0 Telford United 0
Attendance: 2,688 Half Time 0-0
Chester City: Brown, Collins, Bolland, Ruffer, McIntyre, Carden,
Davies, Harris, Brady (Twiss 68), Stamp (Rapley 74), Foster (Clare 75).
Subs not used: Carey, Guyett.
Telford United: MacKenzie, Clarke, Howarth, Whitehead,
Challis, Ricketts, Simpson, Green, Lavery, Mills, Naylor (Blackwood 46
(Murphy 64)). Subs not used: Williams, Rowe, Taylor.
Referee: G.Turner (Chesterfield).
fans will have left this game frustrated that the Blues couldn’t
break down a side reduced to ten men just before the half-time
break. Some credit must go to the visitors though who were
complemented by Mark Wright after the game who said: “They
defended better that anyone we have played so far this season.”
The Blues were looking for their seventh Conference
win on the run and welcomed back Wayne Brown in goal and Daryl
Clare to the bench.
The early play was with City. Darryn Stamp
headed wide from a Kevin McIntyre corner after just three minutes,
and five minutes later did the same after a McIntyre free-kick
had been swung in. Chris MacKenzie in the Telford goal was also
soon in the action saving twice from Ben Davies. The keeper would
prove to be a thorn in City’s side all afternoon though
with the Blues content to pump the ball in the air they certainly
didn’t help themselves. On the rare occasion when McKenzie
was beaten, experienced defender Scott Green seemed on hand to
clear things up.
On the half hour the keeper was in action again
this time saving from a 30 yarder from Paul Carden. The Blues
weren’t having it all their own way though. Sam Ricketts
and Lee Mills were combining well for the visitors and Wayne
Brown had t be alert to save at the foot of his post from the
former. Ex-Port Vale, Crewe and Cheltenham striker Tony Naylor,
making his Bucks debut also forced Brown into a couple of saves
before the visitors were reduced to ten men on the stroke of
half-time as Richard Lavery was given a straight red card for
a challenge on McIntyre.
After the break, despite dominating for long
periods, City found the visitors hard to break down. Michael
Twiss replaced Jon Brady but it was Paul Carden who came closest
to breaking the deadlock with a 20-yarder that MacKenzie tipped
round the post. With 15 minutes remaining, Ian Foster gave way
as Daryl Clare was introduced for his first game of the season
at the same time Kevin Rapley replaced Darryn Stamp. Last season's
top scorer Clare managed a couple of efforts just wide.
The last minute brought one final assault on
goal as Clare and Davies combined well but were denied by Green
once again who fought back to tackle. There was just time for
Andy Harris to pick up his third booking of the season for unsporting
So, four wins and a draw from September
may be enough to gain Mark Wright the Conference Manager of the
Month award, though Barnet boss Martin Allen, with an identical
record, including three away from home, may just take it.
23 September 2003
Chester City 4 Northwich Victoria
Attendance: 2,817 Half Time 1-0
Chester City: McCaldon, Ruffer, Harris, Bolland, Davies, McIntyre,
Collins, Brady (Rapley 70), Foster (Twiss 70), Stamp, Carden. Subs not
used: Heard, Guyett, Carey.
Northwich Victoria: Woods, Barnard, Royle, Charnock,
Brazier, Devlin, Blackburn (Norris 55), Garvey, Thompson (Ward 73), Allan
(Owen 70), Ross. Subs not used: Black, Connett.
the end City overpowered their near neighbours and bogeymen
of recent years but for forty-five minutes Northwich played
the better football. Chester found it hard to get to grips
with a hard-working and lively Vics side who passed the
ball around well in midfield even if their scoring opportunites
were limited by the usual robust City defence. McCaldon
was nevertheless called upon to make a couple of saves – one
from a direct free kick and to punch clear a dangerous
Stamp had the ball in the Northwich net early on but it was ruled out for
offside. When City did manage to threaten, the visitors defence looked
shaky and Woods, in goal, nervous. Twice he fumbled shots from Davies and
Foster but no-one was able to take advantage.
The home crowds frustrations at Chester’s stuttering performance
were taken out on an increasingly eccentric referee who seemed to miss
obvious infringements and penalise petty ones. But three minutes before
the break one of his assistants helped award City a free kick on the right
as Brady was impeded. From the free kick Collins glanced in the opening
goal. Though they hardly deserved it on the run of play, City nearly went
in to half time two up. McIntyre’s cross from the right just eluded
In the second half City proved too strong. Stamp’s perfectly weighted
pass split the Vics defence and Carden just beat Foster to the ball and
tucked it past Woods for 2-0.
Knowing City had blown a similar lead against these opponents last season,
their fans still could not relax. But when Foster crowned another glowing
performance with an exquisite goal we began to hope for at least a point.
Latching on to McIntyre’s probing ball, Foster from the left hand
edge of the penalty area curled a venomous shot past his marker and beyond
Woods’ full stretch dive.
Soon Foster was substituted to a standing ovation and on came Twiss and
Rapley to make mayhem. City finished well on top and Rapley ran through
to score with an awesome finish in to the far top corner of the net having
lost his marker with a brilliant turn. For seven minutes or so City were
top of the Conference until Hereford's late winner, but if Chester continue
how they finished last night then they will be very hard to keep up with.
20 September 2003
Farnborough Town 1 Chester City 2
Attendance: 728 Half Time 0-1
Booked: Carden, Davies.
Farnborough Town: Packham, Ifura, Opinel, Burton, Wetherstone,
Beall, Hodgson, Hutchings, Clarke (Fashanu 46), Charlery (Belgrave 55),
Chaaban (Thompson 76). Subs not used: Osborn, Hayes.
Chester City: Brown, Ruffer, Harris, Bolland, Davies, McIntyre, Collins,
Brady, Foster (Rapley 82), Stamp, Carden. Subs not used: Guyett, Carey,
Referee: S.Rubery (Ilford).
Blues go joint top as Darryn Stamp scores a brace to give City their fifth
win on the trot for the first time since 1977/78 at a baking hot Cherrywood
Road. Manager Mark Wright made one change from Saturday’s side, introducing
Carl Ruffer for the transfer listed Wayne Hatswell. Scott Guyett also made
the bench after recovering from an injury that has kept him out all season.
Stamp will make the headlines with his
goal, but once again there was a tireless performance from
Ian Foster throughout, culminating in some great play to
set-up the second, and decisive goal.
The home side had the first chance of the
game in the opening minutes, forcing a corner and seeing
a close range header ail over the bar. The Blues had their
first opening a few minutes later which saw Jon Brady head
wide from 18 yards.
Ian Foster had City’s next chance
though the striker, who is yet to open his account with the
Blues, shot agonisingly just wide after being put through
by Brady. Farnborough went close on 25 minutes as the Blues
defence backed off Clark who weaved his way towards goal
before shooting wide of the right hand post.
On 34 minutes City opened the scoring.
A foul by Burton on Ben Davies gave Kevin McIntyre the chance
to cross. His first effort from the free-kick was charged
down but he had a second bite and sent in a header to the
unmarked Stamp who headed into the top corner from close
The Blues went into the break one up but
two minutes after the restart they were on level terms. Some
sloppy defending allowed Ken Charlery to set up Andre Fashanu
(on loan from Reading) with a free volley on goal that he
Three bookings followed in quick succession.
Ross Wetherstone and Richard Hodgson for Boro and Paul Carden
for City. Danny Collins and Phil Bolland had to clear for
City as the home side gained in confidence from their goal,
but it was the Blues to scored next on sixty minutes.
Foster cut down the left flank and appeared
to have lost the ball in a tackle on the edge of the box,
he won it back however cleverly turned and sent in a pinpoint
cross to the head of the stooping Stamp who made no mistake
from six yards to the delight of the City fans behind the
The only real action of note after that
came on 75 minutes when Wetherstone was given a red card
following a heavy challenge on Paul Carden. Kevin Rapley
replaced Foster for the final eight minutes as the Blues
looked to shut out a Farnborough side still looking for their
first win of the season.
Wednesday 17 September 2003
Chester City Youth 1 Darlington College
FA Youth Cup second
Attendance: 60 Half Time 1-1
Chester City: Brookfield, D.Jones, Lathom, Hunter (Edwards 32),
Cook, McLaughlin (Robbins 32), Selkeld, D.Ventre, Pennell, Leonard, Angiletta
(K.Jones 82). Sub not used: Owen.
The Chester youngsters were eliminated from the Youth Cup by a strong College
side who clearly benefited from their full time training. Chester took
the lead after 18 minutes when James Selkeld was brought down and Ian Lathom
scored from the spot. They almost extended the lead when David Pennell
shot narrowly wide after a good run. Darlington College equalized on the
stroke of half time when the City youngsters failed to clear a free kick
and the ball was scrambled home. In the second half the College gradually
took control of the game and scored the winner after 74 minutes when the
City youngsters were caught out playing the offside trap. Chester had a
chance to equalize when Tom Leonard volleyed over a Pennell cross but the
bigger College side held on for a victory they probably deserved on the
balance of play.
16 September 2003
5 Chester City 4
Cup round 1
Attendance: 161 Half Time 1-1
Congleton Town:Conkie, Pitts, Rudkin, Kay, Reilly, Owen,
Tunnicliffe, Fletcher, Worthington, Scully, Williams. Subs: Tate, Jones,
Chester City: McCaldon. J.Davis, Ruffer, Carey, Guyett, Dogun (Buckley
30), Heard, Leonard, Rapley, Twiss, Moore. Subs not used: D.Ventre, Byers.
City were dumped out of the Cup after conceding three goals in the final
several first-teamers, had the better
of the opening exchanges with ex-City
keeper Matt Conkie saving well from
a Ruffer header on 15 minutes. From
the resulting corner Scott Guyett saw
a header cleared off the line resulting
in a goalmouth scramble that City couldn’t
take advantage of. Against the run
of play the home side took the lead
with a well worked goal on 32 minutes
from former Chester youth player Scott
Williams. Congleton grew in confidence
from this but City levelled on 38 minutes.
A long ball down field was chased by
Twiss who lobbed the advancing Conkie.
On the stroke of half-time a mistake
by Davies almost let the home side
in but the chance went begging.
Dean Buckley gave City a 2-1 lead on 48 minutes after turning home a
cross from the right from close range. Eight minutes later City extended
their lead when Michael Twiss scored his second goal of the night following
a through ball from Kevin Rapley.
With ten minutes
remaining Kay caught McCaldon asleep
in the City goal with a quickly taken
free-kick to reduce the scoreline to
3-2. The Blues looked to be heading
to the second round though two minutes
later as Kevin Rapley shot low and
hard to restore City’s two goal
McCaldon was at fault
again three minutes from time as his
clearance went straight to a Congleton
player, he passed to Jones who promptly
scored. On 89 minutes Riley scored
a scrambled goal and City’s defensive
nightmare was completed in the final
minute as Worthington scored the winner
from close range.
1-0 Williams (Congleton)
So, City somehow
contrive to throw away a 4-2 lead with
three minutes remaining. I feel a quiz
question coming on!
1-1 Twiss (38 mins)
1-2 Buckley (48 mins)
1-3 Twiss (56 mins)
2-3 Kay (Congleton) 80 mins
2-4 Rapley 82 mins
3-4 Jones (Congleton) 88 mins
4-4 Reilly (Congleton) 89 mins
5-4 Worthington (Congleton) 90 mins
13 September 2003
2 Halifax Town 0
Attendance: 2,628 Half Time 1-0
Chester City: Brown, Collins, Bolland, Hatswell, Davies, McIntyre,
Harris, Carden, Brady, Foster (Rapley 82), Stamp. Subs not used: Carey,
McCaldon, Twiss, Ruffer.
Halifax Town: Davies, Sandwith, Hockenhull (Quinn
63), Garnett, Monington, Cullen (Parke 63), Elam, Midgley, Bushell, Lee
(Mallon 63), Killeen. Subs not used: Hudson, McAuley.
Referee: D.Foster (Newcastle).
goal in each half was enough to secure three points with a solid and in
the end comfortable win in a game with enough half chances to keep interest
to the final whistle.
The game began with
supporters basking in an afternoon
of splendid sunshine with City kicking
into their customary visiting end populated
with what was a modest total of away
fans considering the short journey.
At the back for Chester,
Collins, Hatswell and Bolland stood
in line supporting a busy midfield
which included Harris, Davies and Carden
while Stamp and Foster took the lead
in attack. McIntyre who when not defending,
penetrated down the left wing, while
on the right – and a few other
places – was Brady who ran tirelessly
throughout. As early as the fourth
minute, he gave warning by whipping
in a cross from the right which was
inches too high for Hatswell who had
done well to escape his marker.
Ten minutes later
and it was Brady again. Making the
best of escaping from a tight position
in the corner, he powered in a low
cross which Stamp reading well met
but under pressure stuck high. And
so it continued, until the first goal
with Chester superior and looking the
more likely to score.
On nineteen minutes,
Stamp played a one two with Foster
whose shot resulted in a corner. From
the ensuing kick Halifax cleared but
only as far as McIntyre. His long and
high centre dropped over the defence
perfectly to Hatswell who connected
with a met volley burying the ball
into the bottom right of the goal.
Briefly Chester looked
as though they would bag a quick second.
Bolland broke from his marker to head
over from another Brady cross and Foster
and Stamp both threatened to breach
a defence that was beginning to back-peddle.
It was a surprise
then that for the last fifteen minutes
of the half Halifax had what was probably
their best period of the game. Elan,
who ran hard and straight throughout,
collected the ball in space and taking
it square across the box beating two
defenders on the way kicked high with
a clear sight of goal. Shortly afterwards,
Shaun Garnett unchallenged headed straight
at Brown and on forty minutes, Midgely
missed what was probably the clearest
opportunity when he was allowed to
run unchecked in to the box goal forcing
Brown to get down quickly to his right.
While it was their best period, these
were not gilt-edged chances and better
strikers on the day were need to prise
open a defence that has now conceded
just four goals in eight matches.
The second half was similar to the first. Darren Stamp continued to impress
with some nice touches and sensible distribution. Foster battled courageously
winning far more balls than he ought to and Brady looked a sharper, fitter
and penetrative player than at any time last season.
On fifty one minutes, Foster received the ball on the far right square
to the edge of the area. Looking up he delivered and inch perfect ball
to Stamp. Rising high and hanging in the air, he planted a powerful header
down to the goalkeeper’s left which although parried but could
not prevent from crossing the line. It was a classic ‘big centre-forwards’ header
reminiscent for those that remember, of Ian Edwards of the late 1970s.
And although the cross was overly ambitious, it was just reward for Foster
who had partnered Stamp effectively all afternoon.
A minute later it
was nearly three. Foster, this time
stealing in from the right wing, received
the ball in the centre. Unmarked he
advanced into the area and moving forward
with only the goalkeeper to beat saw
his shot well parried. In the confusion
that followed Brady crept in and whipped
in a shot with his left foot inches
over the bar at an almost impossible
There was little
now to encourage Halifax. Chester looked
rampant and without doing any special,
opened up the defence with some neat
one touch football. Carden, who was
having one of his more quieter games,
burst through into the box and surprised
everyone with a shot cum shot which
Stamp could only divert on to the left
post. Moments later Foster, in what
was the pick that followed, turned
in a crowded box to drive a curling
shot on to the outside of the right
In the final ten minutes, Foster was replaced by Ripley and Halifax,
who to give credit did not capitulate as had once looked, had a couple
of half chances of their own.
Chester who were
unlucky not to be awarded a penalty
in the dying minutes when Stamp was
held continued relatively untroubled.
All in all it was
a good team performance. The defence
stood strong and tall and there was
enough pluck and energy in midfield
to deny Halifax any chance to assert
any authority on the game. Darren Stamp
was excellent but my vote on the day
goes to Ian Foster who is making himself
very popular with the home fans. Fans
leaving the game were talking about
the many near misses and in truth it
could have been five but the scoreline
was about right and anything more would
Better teams that
Halifax will come away with nothing and
you couldn’t help thinking that
Chester are still holding something in
reserve. Let us hope it is against Hereford
that we see this. Guyett and Clare are
expected back by then and City will need
to be at their very best.
6 September 2003
Margate 1 Chester City 2
Attendance: 634 Half Time 1-1
Booked: Bolland, Davies, McIntyre, Stamp.
Margate: Smith, Oates, Zoricich, Annon, Sodje,
Clarke (Abbott 74), Keister, Beard, Saunders, Stadhart, Pullman (Kwashi
59). Subs not used: Mitten, O’Connell.
Chester City: Brown, Harris (Twiss 68), Bolland, Hatswell, Davies,
McIntyre, Collins, Brady, Foster (Rapley 82), Stamp, Carden. Subs not used:
Carey, McCaldon, Ruffer.
Referee: F.Graham (Stanford-le-Hope).
continued their good start to the new campaign with a workman like, if
unspectacular victory at the Crabble, Dover, landlords of opponents Margate.
Not for the first time this season, Chester did not play particularly well
but still came through with the points. This is a sign of a good side to
take the rewards in such circumstances and it is no secret that Chester
will be there or thereabouts in the end of season shake up.
The game began in quiet fashion, with a small crowd enjoying the late summer
sunshine. Jon Brady, who had a fine game, had the first opportunity with
an overhead kick that went just over the bar. With Darren Stamp proving
a handful up front with his height, Chester were well in the game, so it
came as a bit of surprise when Margate took the lead on 39 mins, as former
Chester trialist Sam Sodje rose to head home unmarked following a corner.
Chester, however, responded in positive fashion with Darren Stamp scoring
with a header following a great cross from Jon Brady.
The second half brought a more positive and determined approach. The Margate
keeper Smith made a great saves from Foster and Collins and Chester got
the ball on the floor and had more of the game. Twiss (oh, why isn’t
this guy playing from the start?) was introduced for the ineffective Harris,
as almost at once brought the reward as his fine run and cross was tapped
in by Brady for a deserved winning goal.
Chances to sew up the game then went begging
as both Stamp and substitute Rapley missed gift wrapped opportunities.
However the referee once again took centre stage with an inconsistent
display and a spate of needless bookings. The Margate Manager
Chris Kinnear was sent from the dugout for disputing a decision
while it can be argued that Ben Davies was lucky to stay on
the pitch, after a late tackle while on a yellow card.
Still in conclusion three points for the boys. Stamp has made a huge
difference with the addition of height to the forward line. The impending
return of Daryl Clare to partner Stamp is anticipated with relish!