turned in one of their better displays of the season
as first half goals from Kevin Sandwith and Roberto
Martinez were enough to see off a poor Bristol Rovers
outfit at Deva Stadium.
Paul Linwood’s hamstring injury
once again ruled him out and striker Jonathan Walters
replaced Drewe Broughton who took a seat on the bench
otherwise it was the same team that picked up a midweek
point at Macclesfield.
The Blues started well, Sandwith forced
a corner kick in the opening three minutes, and Pirates
‘keeper Steve Phillips was well placed to catch
Gregg Blundell’s header after Martinez had swung
in the flag-kick.
Martinez saw a goalbound effort blocked
after he’d been set through by Walters and City
saw another chance go begging as Simon Marples, playing
well down the right, had an effort blocked
swung in another corner before manager Mark Wright was
forced to make a change replacing Ashley Westwood who
picked up a hamstring injury with Graham Allen, making
his debut since his summer signing from Tranmere Rovers.
City finally broke the deadlock on
18 minutes. Stuart Campbell was adjudged to have handled
the ball 25 yards out. Sandwith stepped up to blast
the free-kick through the box and in off the post past
the despairing dive of Phillips.
Within a minute the scores could so
easily have been level as Rickie Lambert’s shot
at the other end was pushed onto the post by John Danby
to rebound away to safety.
Dandy was called into action twice
more to save from Richard Walker before the Blues doubled
their lead with a delightful goal on 37 minutes.
Once again Walters fed Martinez, the
midfielder looked to spot Phillips off his line and
turned to chip a great shot into the far corner of the
City pressed again and Laurence Wilson
was only inches away from converting a Blundell cross
as Wright’s side left the field at the break in
Pirates manager Paul Trollope made
two changes at the break but, as in the first half,
it was Chester who started the stronger. A Martinez
corner and a shot from Blundell kept the pressure up
and Sandwith tried another long-range effort only to
see his shot flash wide.
City weren’t having it all their
own way though and Craig Disley should have done better
that blast the ball over when well placed and Marples
was on hand to make a superb tackle to dispossess Lewis
Haldane as he bore down on goal. The lively sub Haldane
also flashed a shot wide in the dying stages.
As the game moved into stoppage
time Blundell saw a volley smartly saved by Phillips
who tipped the ball over to deny the striker his second
goal of the season.
was a happy return to Moss Rose for Kevin Sandwith as he opened his Chester
account against the club he left in the summer with a second half equaliser.
Manager Mark Wright resisted the temptation to start with
Jonathan Walters and Dean Bennett, both of whom had played a part in Saturday’s
victory, instead the former Wrexham duo started the match on the bench while
Simon Marples replaced the injured Paul Linwood.
Macclesfield had yet to win this season but started strongly
against their Cheshire neighbours. The tackles were flying in from the start
and Stephen Vaughan found himself in the referee’s notebook after just
six minutes for a foul on Jamie Tolley and just three minutes later the Blues
found themselves a goal down.
Marples gave away a misplaced pass that was picked up by
Tommy Bullock, he then proceeded on a 60 yard mazy run, shrugged off two
challenges before firing past John Danby.
Chances were few and far between in the opening period,
though Ashley Westwood did well to block a Matthew Tipton effort 12 yards
out and prevent City from falling further behind.
In a first half littered with fouls former City player
Kevin McIntyre blazed a shot over and it wasn’t until just before the
interval before City had their first effort as Jamie Hand shot wide from
Wright introduced Walters for the ineffective Drewe Broughton
at the break and the Blues had a chance moments into the half. Laurence Wilson
got behind the Macc defence and crossed for Gregg Blundell to head wide from
12 yards out.
Unlike the first period, it was a rejuvenated City who
were now enjoying the majority of the play and on the hour mark drew level.
Roberto Martinez swung in a right wing corner and Sandwith rose between three
defenders to head home in front of the traveling City support.
Not content with that City surged forward looking for the
winner. Wilson was denied twice in a couple of minutes firstly drilling the
ball wide from 18 yards then seeing a similar effort blocked by Danny Swailes.
Swailes was in the right place again to block a long-range Blundell effort.
The Blues continued pile on the pressure, the minutes from
time Wilson saw a shot turned away for a corner, Marples crossed from a short
flag-kick only to see his effort cleared for another corner. Martinez rained
over another kick that was eventually cleared by the overworked Macc defence.
At the other end Jordan Hadfield shot wide from outside
the box from a rare home attack. City continued to force corner after corner
in the dying minutes but were unable to breach a stubborn home defence and
had to be content with a draw from this hard fought derby.
Jonathan Walters was the City hero snatching all three
points for the Blues on their first visit to Milton
Keynes Dons thus ending the home sides unbeaten home
record. Walters, along with midfielder Dean Bennett
returned to the squad following injury and both played
a part in Chester’s third win of the season.
The home side, missing several regulars
through suspension or injury, started well taking the
game to Chester from the off. A half-cleared free-kick
gave Ben Chorley an opportunity though his volley was
saved by John Danby. Moments later Gareth Edds fired
a shot just wide of the City goal. Laurence Wilson created
City’s first effort on goal after 13 minutes seeing
his long-range shot parried by Adolfo Baines as City
looked to get into the game. Ten minutes Kevin Sandwith
saw a 30-yard free-kick well saved low down by Baines.
With ten minutes of the half remaining
Dons took the lead they'd threatened for most of the
half through Clive Pratt. A ball over the top of City’s
back line found its way to Scott Taylor, his shot was
blocked but Pratt was on hand to steer home the loose
ball from 12 yards. Three minutes later the home side
looked to have doubled there advantage with a header
from Platt only for referee Graham to rule the effort
out for a foul.
The Dons were causing all sorts of
problems for the City back line who managed to hold
out for the interval with out conceding a second.
Barnes was soon in the action after
the break saving from Wilson who had been sent through
by Roberto Martinez, a couple of minutes later City
were level with a well taken goal. Martinez played a
short corner to Wilson at the near post, he played the
ball back for Martinez to whip in a cross that was hooked
home at the near post by Ashley Westwood – his
first goal in City colours.
Danby had to move smartly to prevent
a Platt header restoring the home sides advantage just
before manager Mark Wright introduced Walters at the
expense of Gregg Blundell and minutes later also introduced
Bennett and Marples for Sandwith and Vaughan as City
began to look more lively.
Nicky Rizzo twice swung in dangerous
corners for the Dons but the City defence held firm
to clear each time.
Two minutes from time Walters timed
a through run perfectly from the half-way line to beat
the offside trap and meet Bennett’s perfect through
ball. He raced clear on goal before rounding Baines
then jinking past Smith to slot the ball into an empty
net to take the three points back to Cheshire.
16 September Chester City 0 Grimsby Town
2 League Two
Attendance: 1,957 Half Time 0-0
Booked:Linwood, Westwood, Blundell, Martinez.
Just as it looked like the Blues were heading for a
second successive stalemate, two defensive lapses in
the final minute cost City another three points in front
of their dwindling band of home supporters.
With the game heading into stoppage
time Ashley Westwood failed to clear a ball from the
edge of the area, his hesitation allowing Gary Jones
to score the Mariners first away goal of the season
with ease. To add insult to injury another defensive
lapse three minutes later allowed substitute Andy Taylor
to cut-in and shoot past the exposed John Danby for
a second for his first-ever league goal.
Manager Mark Wright picked an unchanged
side with The Blues looking to build on Tuesday night’s
point against Notts County. City had a lively start
and Roberto Martinez almost opened the scoring after
just five minutes. His powerful run and shot was heading
for the top corner before visiting ‘keeper Phil
Barnes managed to claw the ball away to safety.
Barnes almost inadvertently set up
Laurence Wilson who took advantage of a poor clearance
to attempt to lob the keeper only to see his effort
also drift over the bar. Drewe Broughton shot wide and
Westwood headed over as City enjoyed plenty of the play.
Those were the only real chances of
note though in an opening period that saw Ricky Ravenhill,
on loan at City earlier this season, have a good game.
The crossbar came to City’s
rescue shortly after the restart as Town’s top
scorer Peter Bore sent a 25-yarder crashing against
Just after the hour mark Wright introduced
Chris Holroyd at the expense of Broughton but the youngster
struggled to make and headway. Wilson tried another
effort from long range that skimmed wide and a Sandwith
free-kick was the only other effort of note from City.
With the game heading for a draw,
and the crowd heading for the exit, Westwood’s
mistake settled the match leaving manager Wright to
blast afterwards: “When the man-of-the-match goes
and makes a massive error, it’s hard to take,
it’s not the way I defended when I was playing.
You should never hesitate in your own box, and I’m
really annoyed with the way the goals came about after
we looked so comfortable.”
Causing major concern for the
club will be the dramatic effect City’s current
slump is having on the Deva attendances. The crowd of
just 1,957 for this match was 1,138 down on the corresponding
fixture played, in midweek, almost a year earlier.
12 September Chester City 0 Notts County
0 League Two
Attendance: 1,818 Half Time 0-0
Wright praised his players’ committment after
gaining a point against Notts County. He was right
to do so and
the applause between players and fans at the end
of the game, while not rapturous, acknowledged the
had put in.
It has to be admitted that this was a dour encounter
though. Hardly a glimmer of a goalmouth incident
all night and
neither keeper having to save a goal bound shot.
City were pushed back to begin with by in-form County.
visitors seemed more urgent and slick going forward
pinned Chester back. They didn’t manage to
carve many openings. Dudfield might have done better
a short wide following a rare lack of concentration
in the City back line.
Towards the end of the first half and after the break
City regained territorial advantage but often their
was one-paced and lacking a cutting edge. Wilson
and Marples couldn’t get forward down the flanks
as much as we would have liked and Broughton and
the service they craved.
City’s efforts on goal were restricted to long
range shots from Wilson and Artell which flew high
Agonisingly in the final minutes a chance arose out
of the blue for Westwood, who was in the right place
up a knock down in a crowded penalty area. He seemed
to tread on the ball and the chance went begging.
would have sent the Cestrians home happy but in truth
Chester hadn’t done enough to win this game.
Report: Colin Mansley
9 September Oldham Athletic Youth 1 Chester
City Youth 0 Youth Alliance North West Conference Group B
Half Time 1-0
City’s youth squad suffered their first defeat
of the season against last seasons Youth Alliance champions
Oldham Athletic at Hollinwood on Saturday.
On a day perfect for football and a pitch to match, City’s
youth squad spent a lot of the first half on the back foot, which seemed to
affect their ability to play any sort of football, with very few passing movements
to talk about, and ironically it was following a good passage of passing by
Chester that Oldham took the lead, midfielder James Owen gave the ball away
needlessly in the centre of the field, following which an Oldham forward was
fouled just outside the box. At the free kick, poor marking from City’s
defenders allowed the Oldham striker a free header which found the back of
the net and gave Oldham the lead.
The second half saw a more composed Chester pass the ball
much better, unfortunately, they could not make their possession count and
created very few chances. Oldham managed to create chances, mainly due to City
chasing an equalizer, but luck and good defending kept the score at 1-0. Unfortunately,
Chester could not get on even terms and the game finished with neither side
troubling the scoreboard.
Overall, Chester City’s coaching staff were as happy
with the second half performance as they were unhappy with the first, and took
a lot of positives away from Oldham.
This Saturday, the team meet Burnley at Airbus UK, kicking
off at 10.30, and will be looking to build on the second half play from last
9 September Wycombe Wanderers 1 Chester
City 0 League Two
Attendance: 4,277 (212 Chester) Half Time 1-0
Another disappointing show from
Chester who for the second match running failed to make
their numerical advantage count as they lost by a single
goal to a Wycombe side reduced to ten men for the final
hour of the match following the dismissal of Anthony
Grant for a second yellow card.
City’s inability to create openings was all too
apparent at Adams Park with the Blues (yellows!) sluggish
forward line forcing home goalkeeper Ricardo Batista
into just one decent second half save from Drewe Broughton.
The opening exchanges were fairly
even with both Kevin Sandwith and Stephen Vaughan trying
their luck from long distance, while at the other end
Danby was restricted to catching crosses.
The game sparked into life on 13 minutes
however as Anthony Grant put in a late challenge on
David Artell who soon got up and to his and everyone
else's amazement received a yellow card from referee
Whitestone for his troubles, presumably for dissent.
Also booked for that offence, Grant found himself taking
an early bath minutes later after collecting a second
yellow for needlessly kicking the ball into the crowd.
Reduced to ten men the home side then
took the lead three minutes later. Jamie Hand picked
up a yellow card for a needless foul on Stefan Oakes.
The free kick was swung over and only partially cleared
by the City defence; the ball broke to Scott Golbourne
on the left who crossed for Kevin Batsy to head home
unmarked past a static John Danby from six yards.
Artell had a great chance to draw
City level missing a header after Broughton had knocked
back Vaughan's cross, and Sandwith blazed over when
Just before the interval Tommy Mooney
raced from the field holding his head after an accidental
50/50 collision with Paul Linwood left him with a large
nasty cut across his face that needed several stitches.
The Blues could have drawn level
not long after the restart as Laurence Wilson, one
few City players to come away with any credit, appeared
to mis-hit a shot across goal after he’d worked a good
position inside the box. Three minutes later Batista
was called on to make a rather dramatic looking save
to catch a Broughton effort from 12 yards under the
The Blues were finding the going tough
and Mark Wright introduced Gregg Blundell and Chris
Holroyd to the attack but both made little impression
as City continued to struggle to create any chances
of note for the remainder of the game. When they were
awarded a lifeline in the shape of a free-kick ten yards
outside he Wycombe box the resulting ball was floated
straight down the middle into the safe, unchallenged,
hands of Baptista.
If anyone was going to score in the
closing stages it was Wycombe as Jonny Dixon forced
a save from Danby when he should really have done better
2 September Chester City Youth
2 Rochdale Youth 0 Youth Alliance North West
Conference Group B
Half Time 0-0
a wet and windy Airbus on Saturday, Chester City’s youth team eventually managed
to overcome a dogged and hard working Rochdale outfit with two goals in the
last 15 minutes.
The game started with both teams taking time to get used
to the conditions and the first half saw little goal mouth action as both sides
tended to struggle to keep hold of the ball.
The second half was little better, although Chester City
seemed to spend more time in the Rochdale half as the period wore on, however,
it took until the 77th minute for Chester to score the opening goal after substitute
Steven Thorpe played a pass between the centre half and left full back for
Paul McManus to collect, and McManus then showed great composure in taking
the ball inside the committed centre half and steering it past the Rochdale
goalkeeper into the bottom right corner of the goal.
Having scored the goal, City almost allowed Rochdale back
into the game within a minute, and it took an excellent save from Chester City
keeper Craig Vernon to keep the score at 1-0. Following the scare, Chester
continued to press for a second goal, and it came from another substitute,
Shamim Ali, who latched onto a pass from Glenn Rule and scored a left foot
shot from just outside the box.
Overall, it was a relieved Chester City who took the points
with a display that was workmanlike rather than the sharp and positive play
that had been expected.
The next match is away against the reigning Alliance League
Champions Oldham Athletic on Saturday 9 September, and we hope to give a better
account of ourselves than we did last year where the result was 7-2 to the Latics.Friday
1 September Chester City 0 Swindon Town
2 League Two
Attendance: 3,382 (807 Swindon) Half Time 0-0
Blues crashed to another home defeat as Swindon Town
left Deva Stadium with the three points following a
two goal victory to maintain their 100% record following
relegation from League One in the summer.
Kevin Sandwith, injured on the
eve of the season, made his long awaited debut for City
at the expense of Dean Bennett who dropped to the bench.
City’s first Friday night venture
of the season brought a crowd of 3,382 with nearly a
quarter of it (807) making their way up from Wiltshire,
one wonders how many they would have brought on a Saturday?
The visitors started strongly Aaron
Brown sending in a header that John Danby saved well
after just six minutes.
Midway through the half Brezovan in
the Town goal had to rush out to head a dangerous through
ball from Laurence Wilson clear and then scramble back
to deflect Jon Walters’ follow-up effort.
Brown thought he’d opened the
scoring midway through the first half as he converted
after Jerel Ifil’s shot had been saved only for the
referee to finally whistle for a foul in the build-up.
Minutes later Comyn-Platt tried his luck with an overhead kick from a low-struck free-kick only to see his effort fly over the bar
Walters and Drewe Broughton both had
chances to give City the lead before the break but saw
efforts go wide. The Blues were left to rue those chances
as Swindon took the lead minutes after the restart through
Lee Peacock who scored from close range after being
set up by Brown.
Brezovan produced a great save to
deny Laurence Wilson whose shot was heading for the
top corner before the Slovakian ‘keeper intervened.
Mark Wright introduced Gregg Blundell for Broughton and Chris Holroyd for Sandwith as City looked for more attacking
On 70 minutes The Robins were reduced
to ten men following a second yellow card to Ifil, this
did little to halt their charge and four minutes later
doubled their lead. Again Peacock took advantage of
some slack marking in the City defence to convert a
Paul Evans free-kick from close range.
There was no way back for Chester
from here, indeed substitute Andy Clayton almost added
a third in stoppage time as his first time shot was