29 September 2004
Wednesday 1 Chester City 2
Vans Trophy Round 1
Attendance: 7,640 Half Time 1-0
Lucas, Bullen, Aljofree, Collins, Smith, McGovern, McMahon
(Greenwood 75), Marsden, Brunt (Needham 82), Proudlock,
MacLean. Subs not used: Tidman, Shaw, Carr.
MacKenzie, Vaughan, McIntyre, Hope, Bolland, Rapley (Whalley
57), Ellison, Harris, Carden (Davies 45), Stamp, Booth
(Drummond 72). Subs not used: Brown, Edmondson.
In five year’s time you’ll
find there were 3,000 Chester fans who claimed to have
attended this memorable match. But the 300 lucky souls
who really did make the trip to Hillsborough were admirably
rewarded for their efforts.
dedicated City fans certainly made their presence felt
– making more noise than the famous Sheffield
Wednesday band and the 7,000 or so Owls fans. Chester
responded to their support with a second half performance
that demonstrated a new-found determination and resulted
in two goals being scored inside three minutes.
This was one of those rare nights
that made you feel great to be a Chester fan –
a real reward for enduring away trips to Gravesend,
Dover, Margate, Tamworth, Burton and the like.
Mind you, from Chester’s
first half display I’d
never have thought a victory against Sheffield Wednesday
was possible. The Blues’ starting line-up was also
the best, with Chris MacKenzie coming in for Wayne
Brown, Richard Hope and Rob Booth making their full
Stephen Vaughan in the back four and no sign of Danny
Collins, Michael Branch, Cortez Belle or Daryl Clare.
Sheffield Wednesday edged the first
20 minutes of the game, with a couple of dangerous free
kicks – one effort shading past the post in front
of the Blues supporters in the Leppings Lane seats.
The Blues earned a free kick at the
other end and Kevin Ellison looked set to take it –
perhaps with thoughts of Saturday’s
free kick at Lincoln on his mind. But Andy Harris took
it and his shot went over the bar.
Wednesday came into the game more
and more, with number 7 Jon-Paul McGovern continually
left on his own by a stranded Vaughan. It seemed inevitable
a goal would originate from his side.
Cue the 29th minute, and the ball
came across to an unmarked McGovern. He touched it across
the box to another unmarked Owl – Steve MacLean.
He had no trouble slotting the ball past MacKenzie.
The Sheffield Mac Lads (McGovern and
MacLean) continued to impress in the first period. McGovern
shot just over the bar and MacLean failed to connect
in front of a near open net. Chester were lucky to go
into the half-time dressing room just a goal behind.
Ben Davies replaced Paul Carden at
the start of the second half and immediately added a
touch of flair to the proceedings. He created a chance
for Darryn Stamp almost straight after the re-start,
but his goalbound effort took a deflection.
The ineffectual and tiring Kevin
Rapley was replaced after just 11 minutes of the second
by young Shaun Whalley. He made his presence felt throughout
the second period, although he didn’t have any real
signs of scoring.
The Blues’ golden opportunity came when Davies took a corner on
the 66th minute. Hope rose powerfully in the box and
headed the ball home in front of the cheering Chester
But the game wasn’t
over by a long way and Chester stepped up a gear,
as Wednesday seemed to run out of ideas. The City fans
had barely finished celebrating when Saturday’s goal
hero, Ellison, weaved around two Wednesday players
and thwacked an immaculate drive into the bottom corner.
The already buoyant Blues’ fans went delirious and Ellison almost repeated his
over-zealous weekend celebrations. But who could have
blamed him? City were 2-1 up at Hillsborough and coasting.
There followed a very nervous last
20 minutes or so, including four long minutes of stoppage
time. Wednesday looked almost certain to score soon
goal, but MacKenzie made an excellent stop.
The Owls continued to pile on the
pressure, but Chester kept hitting the ball away. Stuart
Drummond came on for Booth on the 72nd minute and Chester
fans continued to bite their nails.
Davies could have had a chance to
seal the tie during stoppage time when he was almost
clean through on goal. But he went for the safe time-wasting
option and headed towards the corner flag as Wednesday
desperately tried to shift the action upfield.
But the Owls ran out of time and as
more and more of their fans streamed out of the exit
gates, the referee finally blew his whistle to cue more
rapturous celebrations from everyone from the other
side of the Pennines.
This time last year we earned
a point with a 0-0 draw at home to Telford United. Just
12 months have passed and we’re capable of coming
from to behind to beat Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
How thing’s have turned around in a year –
I’m still pinching myself!
25 September 2004
Lincoln City 1 Chester
Attendance: 3,985 Half Time 1-1
Booked: Ellison, Hessey.
Lincoln City: Rayner,
McAuley, Morgan, Futcher, Bloomer (Carruthers
74), Butcher, Gain, Peat, Taylor-Fletcher,
McCombe (Richardson 80), Green (Yeo 58). Subs
not used: Sandwith, Toner.
Chester City: Brown, Edmondson,
Bolland, Collins, Hessey, Drummond, Davies, Carden, Ellison, Rapley (Vaughan
81), Stamp (Hope 65). Subs not used: MacKenzie, Harris, Booth.
seems to be a high probability that watching
this level of football,
officials unfortunately take centre
stage. Here was another classic
with a difference, as it seemed to
go in Chester’s favour for
a change. Indeed
we know all the decisions even themselves
out through the season and referees
are part of the game etc, but when
up to £15 week in week out
for this level of football, the players
must be allowed to consistently make
(good or bad), and not the men in
The major incident coincided with
equaliser in the 36th minute. After
a quiet opening, Lincoln had gone ahead
in the 27th minute with a 20 yard
speculative effort from Green, which
and crept in the corner of the net.
a dubious indirect free kick was
awarded to Chester, following a Gain
handled by keeper Raynor, and the
resultant kick was blasted into the
net by Ellision.
The Lincoln players seem
to be convinced that the ball had entered the
directly, but the referee disagreed
the goal. Ellision, being a former
Lincoln favourite over celebrated
his goal in
front of the irate Lincoln fans
and was booked, quite rightly, for his
pains. Chester were now well on
time and Drummond missed a sitter,
following good work by Rapley and
The second half began with Ben Futcher
having a goal disallowed for offside
and Brown had to make a couple
of great saves, as the defence stood
hang on for a point. However, it
was not all
one way traffic, as Ellisions fine
run nearly brought the elusive
Darren Stamp, still short of match
fitness, was inches away from a
The last ten minutes were a little
nervy, as Rush tactically “shut
up shop”, and Chester finished
the match with
just Centre Back Richard Hope up
no recognised strikers on the pitch,
following the withdrawals of Stamp
But of course, the referee, had
the final word, sending off Lincoln
in the final minute for an alleged
punch on the outstanding Danny
else, apart from the officials
saw the incident and nobody complained!.
a complete mystery.
A good point for Chester in difficult
circumstances. Lincoln are a big
strong side who play direct football
strengths. As the season progresses,
they will be difficult to beat.
Chester look a lot better organised
Rush regime and their hard work
is paying off. Things should significantly
once Clare and Branch return and
confident strike force is reformed.
18 September 2004
Chester City 0 Cambridge
Attendance: 2,771 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Hessey, Davies, Rapley, Carden.
Chester City: Brown,
Edmondson, Bolland, Collins, Hessey,
Drummond (Vaughan 84), Carden, Davies (Harris
72), Ellison, Rapley, Stamp (Whalley 80).
Subs not used: MacKenzie, Hope.
Cambridge United: Ruddy, Tann,
Gleeson, Angu, Kholti, Nicholls (Duncan 35), Mbome, Walker, Easter, Oli (Turner
79), Chillingworth (Beech 74). Subs not used: Jowsey, Quinton.
and Cambridge United fought out a goalless
draw at a windy Deva
With eight of the previous eleven home matches
with the U’s drawn perhaps the results
wasn’t too unpredictable.
Michael Branch (hamstring)
and Kevin McIntyre (eye infection) were
still not fit to take to the pitch though
Darryn Stamp returned for his first home
start of the season, while Cortez Belle
sat out the first game of a three match
ban. There was also a place in the bench
played for the Youth and Reserve teams
this season and signed professional
terms with the club late last week.
The opening few minutes
of the game were littered with fouls, Ashley
Nicholls shooting over the bar for the visitors
on ten minutes producing the first goal effort
of the game. Wayne Brown was called into
action just after the quarter hour to save
at the feet of Oli as the U’s forward
broke following an Mbone through ball for
a clear goalscoring chance. Ben Davies cleared
corner and Blues had another let-off minutes
long-range effort his the post.
It was almost mid-way through
the first half before City had their first
attempt on goal, Kevin Rapley shooting over.
Sean Hessey then became the first of four
City players to find themselves in the referee’s
There were loud appeals
for a penalty as Ellison’s header appeared
to hit a defenders arm in the box but referee
Mason was having none of it. City began to
exert some pressure and had two opportunities
to take a half-time lead. Stamp header over
when well placed before Rapley, again, had
a great opportunity to open the
but couldn’t convert Stamp’s
flick-on from just eight yards out.
Oli tried his luck from
long range but Brown saved comfortably just
before the break.
City started the second-half
with a series of corner that were dealt with
comfortably and a free-kick from Davies that
Ruddy in the visitors goal also dealt with.
Stewart Drummond and Kevin Ellison, who had
more time that he probably thought, both
saw shots sail over the bar.
Stamp saw a difficult chance
on the turn on 70 minutes go over the bar.
Ian Rush made a couple of changes bringing
on Andy Harris for Davies and gave Whalley
a debut, replacing Stamp.
It was the visitors who
missed the best opportunity in the closing
minutes. Brown did well to block a Duncan
header and the ball fell to Oli who somehow
contrived to hit the post with the goal at
his mercy just yards away.
City forced two late
corners but Paul Carden and Ellison’s
flag-kicks were cleared to safety.
Manager Lan Rush
told the local press after the game: “It
was a point gained, particularly with all the
injuries. I’m happy that we kept a clean sheet.
The main thing was that we didn’t
get beaten and that was down to our organisation.
Brown made fantastic save and we had
bit of luck towards the end.”
Saturday 18 September
Chester City Youth 3 Mansfield
Town Youth 2
Youth Alliance North
Half Time 2-1
Chester City: Ryan Brookfield, Peter Owens,
Ian Latham, Danny Ventre, Darren Jones, James
Scales, Paul Rutherford, James Salkeld, Gavin
Lynch (Wayne Morgan (David McCoy)), Mike
Walsh (Kenny Rollinson), Adam Wade.
The first home game for Chester City Youth
ended in a 3-2 victory for the hosts, with
goals from Ian Latham (2), and Gavin Lynch
This was the proverbial
game of two halves, with Chester City coming
out firing on all
cylinders for the first 35 minutes, scoring
through Gavin Lynch on 10 minutes, (a 25
yards left foot curler into the top left
corner), and Ian Latham’s 30 yard free
kick, during that time Chester City were
also guilty of missing a hatful of chances
against a young Mansfield Town team.
At the 35-minute mark, a catalogue of mistakes
allowed Mansfield to score their first goal.
The momentum then changed and where Chester
City had looked composed and strong, Mansfield
began to make steady inroads into the Chester
City half and had two or three good chances
to equalize before they were awarded a penalty
in the 65th minute following a reckless challenge
from Chester City captain Danny Ventre. The
penalty was scored and Mansfield always looked
the more likely to get a winner, however,
in the 88th minute substitute Kenny Rollinson
picked up a defensive clearance and managed
to feed the ball to Ian Latham wide on the
left, and Latham drove forward purposefully
before firing the ball into the bottom right
corner of the net, and provide the winner
for Chester City Youth.
Overall, it wasn’t
a good performance from Chester City Youth,
who lost Robbie
Booth and Shaun Whalley to first team duty,
and Gavin Lynch to injury in the first 10
minutes, and they will need to improve considerably
before taking on Wrexham F.C Youth next week.
On a final note,
Shaun Whalley and Robbie Booths elevation
to the first team squad
is a great credit to both players, and Whalley’s
debut in front of a home crowd provided a
great moment for all players and staff involved
with the youth department, let’s hope
these two are not the last to progress.
11 September 2004
Scunthorpe United 1 Chester
Attendance: 4,203 Half Time 0-2
Booked: Carden, Drummond, Edmondson. Sent-off: Belle.
Scunthorpe United: Musselwhite,
Stanton, Crosby, Butler, Ridley, Taylor, Kell,
Baraclough, Sparrow (Brighton 45), Hayes, Keogh
(Featherstone 78). Subs not used: Evans, Jackson,
Chester City: Brown, Edmondson, Bolland,
Collins, Hessey, Carden (Harris 70), Drummond, Ellison, Davies, Rapley (Stamp
90), Belle. Subs not used: MacKenzie, Navarro, Hope.
(Tyne & Wear).
City recorded their second win in seven days as they
upset the odds by winning at top of the league Scunthorpe United who had
been unbeaten so far this season.
Manager Ian Rush was forced to make two changes late in the
week as Kevin McIntyre, with an eye infection, and Michael Branch, with a hamstring
were forced to miss the game. Sean Hessey and Kevin Rapley deputised.
With a swirling wind at their backs City had the better
of the opening exchanges. Ben Davies shot from 25 yards only to see
his drilled effort go wide. Kevin Ellison saw a dangerous inswinging corner
cleared before the same player tried his luck again with a free-kick that was
over the bar by home ‘keeper
Musselwhite. Danny Collins headed over from a Davies corner and Collins again
saw a headed pushed wide following a long-throw by Cortez Belle.
Good work again by Belle resulted in the opening goal on
24 minutes as his right wing cross was met by Kevin Ellison who converted with
ease in front
of the home fans.
It was all one-way traffic in the first half as Scunthorpe
rarely mounted an attack, anything they did was comfortably dealt with by Danny
Collins and Phil Bolland, both looking solid at the back.
Bolland proved his worth at the other end too as he gave
City a two-goal on the half-hour as he met Belle’s long throw to head
past Musselwhite to delight of the noisy band of traveling fans.
City were dominating play and should have scored a third
as Belle, clean through on the right, shot across and wide when well placed.
paul carded also volleyed over as City finished the opening period on top.
The Blues had three more chances soon after the break to
extend their lead. Belle, through on the right, saw his shot saved and the
same played again miskicked on the left when well placed. Davies almost got
on the scoresheet as his rasping drive from 20 yards sailed over Museelwhite
and rebounded off the bar to safety.
Carden found himself in the referee’s notebook and
was shortly replaced by Harris as the home side picked up some momentum.
On 77 minutes The Iron pulled a goal back as Butler bravely
dived in to force home after Brown had saved Taylor’s shot. Minutes later
things went from bad to worse as Belle was sent off. He and former City player
Andy Crosby both chased a ball down the left, Crosby appeared to foul the
striker who reacted by raising an arm. There didn’t appear to be any
contact with Crosby who fell to the ground but referee Webster thought differently
and brandished a straight
red card to the striker.
Scunthorpe pressed in an effort to make their one man advantage
count. Brown made a great save from Paul Hayes and both Collins and Hessey
headed dangerous corners away. It was backs to the wall stuff for the final
minutes. Rush brought on Darryn Stamp for Rapley midway through the five minutes
of added-on time and there were hearts in mouths as Richard Kell shot over
at the far post when well placed. That was to be the last chance for the home
side, City held firm and the referee’s whistle signaled three more points.
Saturday 4 September 2004
Chester City 1 Macclesfield Town 0
Attendance: 2,913 Half Time 0-0
Chester City: Brown, Edmondson (Harris 77), Bolland, Collins, McIntyre, Davies, Drummond, Carden, Ellison, Belle, Branch. Subs not used: MacKenzie, Hessey, Hope, Rapley.
Macclesfield Town: Wilson, Bailey, Briscoe, Barras (Brightwell 68), Welch, Potter, Whitaker, Harsley (Sheron 62), Widdrington, Tipton, Parkin. Subs not used: Miles, Fayadh, Deasy.
Referee: B.Curson (Leicestershire).
What an improvement! An injury
time goal from Danny Collins gives City a deserved
victory, their first clean sheet and their first
three points of the season.
The Blues’ new management
team of Ian Rush and assistant Mark Aizlewood took
charge of the players on Tuesday and changed the
training routine to two sessions a day and the improvement
was there for all to see. Both men stood in their
‘technical area’ for the entire 93 minutes,
coaching and encouraging the side from start to finish.
I haven’t seen a more animated manager since Harry!
Rush made changes on the
pitch as well. Out went youngster Stephen Vaughan
replaced by Darren Edmondson. There was also a
place in the starting line-up for Paul Carden, with
captain’s armband, replacing Alan Navarro.
Forgotten man Richard Hope was also
named on the bench for the first time this season
as City reverted to a back four system.
game, played in sweltering conditions, got off
to a quick start with City pushing
forward for a quick breakthrough. It nearly came
as well, with Cortez Belle being denied following
a pinpoint cross from fellow striker Michael
Branch. Branch was causing problems down the
left flank and twice he turned his marker inside
deliver teasing crosses into the box but agonisingly
no-one could add the finishing touch.
City didn’t have it all their own
way though. A mistake by Kevin McIntyre allowed dangerman
Parkin a run through on goal. He twisted in and
out of the City rearguard before hitting a low shot
that beat Wayne Brown to hit the outside of the post.
Kevin Ellison had a chance to open
the scoring following a set piece on the City left,
however his shot from eight yards out cannoned away
from the crossbar. At the other end Brown had to
make a smart save to fingertip Tipton’s piledriver
over the bar as the half drew to a close.
In the closing minute both Branch
and Drummond had efforts on goal before City left
to a rapturous ovation from their
appreciated the efforts put in by the players who’d
done everything but score in the opening period.
Following the break however it
was the visitors who began to exert some authority.
City could hardly get out of their own half and slipped
back into the long-ball game that had caused them
so many problems in the opening matches.
Stewart Whitaker forced a save
from Brown before Branch missed an great opportunity
shooting wide with only Wilson to beat. The striker,
with head in hands, knew he should have broken the
deadlock. Rush was forced to make a change on 77
minutes with Edmondson, who appeared to be nursing
an injured right ankle, replaced by Andy Harris.
City weathered the post half-time
Macc pressure and began to push forward more as the
second half went on. Belle may be a little raw
in talent but he gave 110% all afternoon winning
and being a general nuisance for the Macc defence,
he used his long throw-in to good effect on
several occasions too.
With time running out Brown had
to make a superb save. Carden gave away a free-kick
outside the penalty area and Matthew Potter’s shot
was parried away by Brown who managed to get an outstretched
right hand to push the ball to safety.
Ellison had two more chances in
the closing ten minutes. First he intercepted a poor
back pass by Ian Brightwell though his shot from
long range took a deflection wide for a corner. Minutes
later Ellison again had a shot but this time his
effort, right on target, was smartly blocked by Wilson.
With three minutes on added-on
time indicated by the fourth official City began
to mount a late attempt on goal. A Belle throw in
caused panic in the penalty area and a corner was
conceded. Man-of-the-match Davies’ inswinging
effort was met by Danny Collins but his header was
over by Wilson. The resultant corner, taken on the
opposite wing by Ellison was met again by Collins
who headed for goal. The ball was blocked on the
line but the linesman indicated the ball had crossed
and a goal was awarded. Collins rushed to the City
fans behind the goal to celebrate, and was promptly
booked for his efforts whist Rush and Aizlewood danced
a jig of delight on half-way.
There was hardly time to kick-off
before referee Curson brought the game to an end
and City could celebrate. Rush took to the pitch
to shake the hands of each of his players who’d
given the fans a performance they could have been
11 September 2004
Chesterfield Youth 0 Chester
City Youth 1
Youth Alliance North Central
Half Time 0-0
Chester City: Ryan
Brookfield, Peter Owens, Adam Wade, Darren Jones, Danny Ventre, Paul Rutherford,
Robby Booth, James Salkeld (James Scales), Gavin Lynch, Shaun Whalley,
Mike Walsh (Wayne Morgan).
Having waited three weeks to resume their programme, Chester City Youth made
the long journey to Chesterfield hoping to kick start their season with a win,
which they duly managed thanks to a Shaun Whalley strike 10 minutes from the
Although the final score was 1-0, the result didn’t
reflect the true story of a match where City could have scored a hatful,
and were it not for
poor finishing would have sewn the game up before half time.
Despite City missing the majority of chances, it was Chesterfield who started
the game stronger, forcing City onto the back foot for the first 15 minutes
without creating any notable chances. After the first 15 minutes City began
to make regular forays into the Chesterfield half, mainly through some excellent
play from Robbie Booth down the right side and Gavin Lynch who continuously
got in behind the Chesterfield defence. Unfortunately, despite creating two
or three clear-cut chances, City arrived at the break without any reward for
their good build-up play.
The second half saw City continue to make good goal-scoring
chances, most of which fell to Booth, Walsh and Lynch, who failed to hit
the target each
time after working themselves into good positions. The second period also saw
Shaun Whalley begin to trouble the Chesterfield defence with his pace and unpredictability.
It was Whalley’s pace that allowed him to get beyond the defence and
he was only stopped by the Chesterfield goalkeeper who handled the ball outside
the area. From the resulting free kick the Chesterfield keeper pulled off a
great save from James Salkeld.
In the 80th minute it was Whalley, who chased down a Chesterfield defender
attempting to clear the ball, and managed to get hold of the ball before moving
across the area and planting it into the Chesterfield net to give City a lead
that they never looked like conceding.
Overall, it was a good performance from the youngsters, although the slow
start is something that will need addressing. Good first half performances
from Booth and Lynch were supplemented by good second half performances from
Whalley, Danny Ventre and Darren Jones, and with no major injuries it made
the long journey home a lot happier.
Stockport County Reserves
2 Chester City Reserves 2
Pontin’s Holiday League
Division One West
Attendance: 129 Half Time 1-1
Stockport County: Coppinger;
Brownhill, Meadowcroft, Hardiker, Jackman; Morrison
(Campbell), Goodwin (Allen), Pemberton, C
Williams, Byrne, Daly (Le Fondre).
Chester City: MacKenzie, Edmondson,
Wade, Ventre (Walsh), Hope, Harris (Salkeld), Rutherford, Carden, Rapley (Lynch),
A last minute goal from County’s
substitute Adam LeFondre denied the reserve side
their first victory of the season. Ian Rush fielded
first teamers as he took the opportunity to continue
to look at his squad
Danny Jackman opened the scoring
for County in the fourth minute but the lead was
half hour as Andy Harris struck the equaliser
direct from a free-kick.
Kevin Rapley gave City the lead
from the penalty spot on the hour mark and City looked
be be heading for their first Pontins League victory