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29 August 2008
City entertain Barnet tomorrow at Deva Stadium (15:00hrs) looking to clinch their first points of the season. Manager Simon Davies has a fully fit squad to choose from. Trialist Eddie Johnson will not feature however as the club are still unable to sign new players after reaching the salary cap limit. The 23-year-old Chester born player is a free agent having been released by Branford City in the summer and has been training with the squad for about three weeks.

Davies said: “Eddie is wanting to join us and we’re wanting to sign him, but unfortunately it’s not that simple because we need to get one player out before we can get anybody in. We just need to be patient and hopefully we can then sign Eddie Johnson who would be a useful addition to our squad.”

Like City, The Bees have also had a point-less start to the new campaign with home defeats to Chesterfield (3-1) and Brentford (1-0) together with a 3-1 loss at Rochdale. Manager Paul Fairclough will be without defender Kenny Gillet through suspension but Ashley Carew has fully recovered from a back injury and is available to play.

League table

Forms for the 2008/09 competition are available to download from the link below. The closing date is 30 September.

PDF two page form

26 August 2008
It’s just one win in 16 games now for manager Simon Davies who saw his side beaten again on Saturday. City’s defensive problems were there for all to see as they conceded in the opening minute and shipped two more goals before the break. A goal from Kevin Ellison midway through the opening period briefly gave City hope but there was to be no way back after the break.

It's clear that the City defence, which has now conceded 16 goals in the opening four matches of the season, is in desperate need of strengthening but with time running out before the transfer deadline it remains to be seen who, if anyone, is signed.

Manager Davies said: “We’ve got an awful lot of work to do and it’s down to all of us. I will get my fair share of the flack which I will duly take but it’s about people believing in their own ability.”

“I laid into them at half-time because they weren’t doing what we have been working on all week. They have to remember that they are professional footballers, and some of the defending in the first half was far from professional. We changed things are halftime but it was always going to be a difficult task to come back.”

“It’s not just about turning up and training and listening to me gab on, It’s about taking the information in and taking it on board and doing what’s asked. Until we do that obviously I’m going to get the flack. At the end of the day, they won’t move on as a group because we’ve got to listen to information and that’s what’s known as a professional.”

Picture © Evening Leader

22 August 2008
Ex-manager (twice) Mark Wright has held discussions with club owner Steve Vaughan about investing in the club and taking on the role of Director of Football. Vaughan told the Liverpool Daily Post: “I have held preliminary discussions with Mark. We discussed possible financial investment into the club and also the possibility of him joining the board of directors.”

“Mark tells me he sees potential in our new training ground facility, and he’s also interested in our plans for the development of the Deva Stadium. I stress that the discussions are at an early stage but I can reveal that Mark is interested in taking on a Director of Football role but again I do stress that discussions are at a preliminary stage. However, we do plan to meet again next week.”

Wright has had two spells in charge at Chester. He was first appointed manager in January 2002 and led the Blues to the Conference title two years later before walking out on the club the day before their Football League return. He returned to manage in February 2006 following the departure of Keith Curle but was sacked, along with his assistant Graham Barrow, in April 2007 after a poor run of results saw just three wins in 20 matches.

Picture © Evening Leader

If signed in time striker Eddie Johnson could make his debut against Rotherham United tomorrow. The 24-year-old Chester-born player scored against an Everton reserve side in the week and City manager Simon Davies is hoping to complete his registration in time for the weekend game in Sheffield.

Davies said: “We’re doing our best to make something happen over the next day or so. We’re close to doing it, we’ve just got to make it happen now. He’s been here, we had a game during the week and he did well in that. He’s looking decent. We feel he would add to the quality of the squad.”

The Blues make the trip to Sheffield tomorrow for their League Two fixture against Rotherham United. The Millers are currently exiled at the Don Valley Stadium folowing a dispute over the rent of Millmoor with the landlords. Rotherham started the season on minus 17 points after failing to come out of administration.

They have got off to the perfect start as they attempt to claw back the defecit with wins in their opening two league fixtures at home to Lincoln City 1-0, and at Morecambe 3-1. Between those two victories hey also chalked up a memorable Carling Cup win over neighbours Sheffield Wednesday following a penalty shoot out.

Manager Simon Davies’ only concern appears to be a hamstring injury that Ryan Lowe has packed up in training.

21 August 2008

The club have re-entered the competition this season and are already through to the semi-final after receiving a bye in the opening round. They will now face either Stockport County or Crewe Alexandra.
20 August 2008
Bobby Williamson has been appointed the national coach of Uganda. Williamson, who was sacked by Chester on 4 March, is believed to have signed a two year deal and will be assisted by two Ugandan coaches, Sam Timbe and David Otti. Williamson replaces Csaba Laszlo, who left Kampala to take over Scottish Premier League side Hearts. The former Blues boss told the BBC “I am happy to be here to start a new challenge in Africa.”

Picture © Evening Leader

19 August 2008

A Chester City X1 played a behind-closed-doors friendly against an Everton Reserve side at Deva Stadium today and drew 1-1. Trialist Eddie Johnson was on the mark for the Blues.
The club have approached Wayne Allison to help out with coaching. He is expected to replace assistant manager Huw Griffiths who was sacked last week. Yorkshire-born Allison began his playing career in 1987 as a trainee at Halifax Town before moving on to Watford, Bristol City, Swindon Town, Huddersfield Town, Tranmere Rovers, Sheffield United and Chesterfield.
18 August 2008

The club will be looking to fill the assistant manager’s role this week after yet another home reverse on Saturday, The lowest Saturday Deva crowd since City returned to the Football League, just over 1400, witnessed the third defeat in seven days as Chester’s terrible start to the new season continued.

If they weren’t already, the alarm bells must be ringing following such a poor turnout, and with only two home wins since the new year it’s not surprsing that supporters have become disillusioned and are voting with their feet.

The latest defeat at the hands of Wycombe Wanderers did see an improvement on the efforts of the previous seven days, but despite playing some neat football at times, players were easily brushed aside by a much stronger team who themselves had not registered a win in their opening two games.

There are hints that a Director of Football may be appointed. Manager Davies said after the match: “We have a vacancy for an assistant manager and possibly we will bring somebody in to fill that post, or a Director of Football may join us. It will be decided next week.”

Match report | Photographs

Picture © Evening Leader

16 August 2008

The youth team kicked off their Youth Alliance season today with a 2-0 defeat away to local rivals Wrexham.

Youth fixtures | Table

15 August 2008

Assistant manager Huw Griffiths as been sacked by the club following an incident with an unnamed player at half-time in Tuesday’s game against Leeds United. Griffiths was only appointed in May having previously held a similar role at Southport and played with manager Simon Davies at Bangor City. but was dismissed last night due to “unacceptable actions”.

Club owner Steve Vaughan told the Daily Post: “We were left with no alternative but to dismiss Mr Griffiths, following an incident that happened during the half-time period in our match against Leeds United on Tuesday. It is not prudent to go into too much detail about the matter at this time but the incident was unsavoury and involved Mr Griffiths and one of our playing squad and that is all I am prepared to say at the moment.”

The club will not start to look for a replacement until next week.

Picture © Evening Leader

Peter Taylor brings his Wycombe Wanderers side to Deva Stadium tomorrow for a League Two clash, kick-off 15:00hrs. The Chairboys have had an indifferent start to the season with a 1-1 home draw against Morecambe followed by a 4-0 Carling Cup reverse against Birmingham City.

City manager Simon Davies is expected to start with youngster Shaun Kelly (pictured) in the centre of the defence after the former youth team player impressed when coming on for Paul Butler on Tuesday night. Fellow central defender Paul Linwood is expected to start alongside him despite still suffering with a back injury.

“I don’t think the result against Leeds was a terrible one. And, as for the performance, we can take a lot of pluses from it. Wycombe got a bad defeat by four goals as well themselves. So they’ve had a similar start start to us, but they have a point on the board which is always a nice thing to do.”

Picture © Evening Leader

13 August 2008
City’s defensive frailty exploited by Dagenham on Saturday was exposed to a far greater audience in last night’s televised Carling Cup match with Leeds United.

The Yorkshire side put five goals past John Danby in the opening 35 minutes with Jermaine Beckford bagging a hat-trick as the League One side eventually ran out 5-2 winners. Ryan Lowe scored both City’s goals either side of the break. City needed to get off to a tight containing start but found themselves a goal down in three minutes as Beckford turned Paul Butler ten yards out to turn a long punt upfield from Ankergren past Danby.

Ryan Snodgeass doubled the lead on ten minutes before Lowe saw a deflected shot loop over Ankergren to claw City back. Beckford restored the two goal advantage with a well struck curling left foot shot before Andy Robinson added the fourth on 31 minutes. Four minutes later Beckford completed his hat-trick with a sublime finish after City had once again been caught in possession.

A foul on Damien Mozika, who once again turned in a good performance, 15 minutes from time gave Lowe the opportunity to complete the scoring from a spot-kick, which he did.

Blues boss Simon Davies said: “I thought it was a game where we matched them at times with our passing, our work-rate and our endeavour, but, same again, after two or three minutes one long punt down the middle ends up in the back of our net. You try to move on during the week and in coaching the players, but at the end of the day if we can’t deal with one long punt down the middle then we’re going to have problems.”

He continued: “It just wasn’t working in the first half – (Paul) Butler gives us a lot of things with his experience and organisation, and his power in the air and his size, but he’ll probably admit that he struggled slightly with the pace and they got behind us a little too often.
I also knew that the lad who came on to replace Beckford had the same attributes in terms of pace so I had to do something about that and I thought Shaun Kelly came on and did really well.”

“Damien Mozika played well, but he was also our best player in Saturday’s match at Dagenham and Redbridge. He’s a really good player and we’re fortunate to have him, but if he keeps putting in performances like that then we won’t have him for much longer.”

Match report | Photographs

Picture © Evening Leader

12 August 2008

The Blues will be looking to put Saturday’s disastrous start to the season behind them as they welcome League One side Leeds United to Deva Stadium tonight. The all-ticket match kick’s-off at 19:45hrs is being screened live by SKY. Manager Simon Davies will no doubt be looking to make changes to the side that suffered the heavy defeat on Saturday.

Ahead of tonight’s tie manager Simon Davies said: “We have got to bounce back. This is a big game and I expect a response from the players. The match is being televised and a big crowd is expected, so I know the players will respond accordingly.”

The sides have met before in the League Cup. Back in 1974/75 the then League champions came to Sealand Road for a fourth round tie and were beaten 3-0 in arguably the clubs greatest ever victory. Those in the sell-out 19,000 crowd that night will never forget the game, as two goals from John James and a third from Trevor Storton brought a victory for the fourth division outfit that shocked the footballing word, and brought national back page headlines the next morning.

In 1983/84 the two sides met in a second round Milk Cup tie with the tie being played over two legs. Again Chester caused a shock with an Andy Elliott goal bringing a 1-0 win at Elland Road. However the Blues were beaten 4-1 in the Sealand Road return, Peter Zelem scoring the consolation goal for the Blues.

More recently in 2006/07 the sides met at Elland Road in the first round and a single goal from Erik Bakke gave the Yorkshire side victory.

Despite the reverse on Saturday, Leeds manager Gary McAllister is expecting a tough game tonight: “I have got the reports from the game and they (Chester) were unfortunate to lose their centre-half in the warm up. It meant they had to re-jig their whole starting XI, but I expect a reaction against us. It is going to be tough.”

Forms for the 2008/09 competition are available to download from the link below. The closing date is 30 September.

PDF two page form

11 August 2008

Chester got off to the worst possible start to the season on Saturday with a six goal drubbing at Dagenham & Redbridge. Manager Simon Davies (left) predicted a tough game and he certainly got that. The cause wasn’t helped with the very late withdrawal just before kick-off by captain Paul Linwood, his absence highlighted the alarming lack of cover in that position with Kevin Roberts being asked to play out of position to fill the role on day. The one bright point of the day was the debut of Damien Mozika who ran all afternoon and was City’s best player by far.

The home side took an early lead through a Dominic Green free-kick on 16 minutes and doubled their advantage from a Ben Strevens penalty three minutes before the break. Home goalkeeper Tony Roberts ensured the two goal interval advantage with a flying save from an Anthony Barry header.

The home side extended their advantage as a long range Sam Saunders free-kick was allowed to sail right through the City backline and past Danby. A terrible mix-up between Danby and Paul Butler allowed Saunders to add his second and dagenham's fourth.

At the other end City created two good chances themselves with Richie Partridge shooting straight at Roberts when he had been sent though and substitute Paul Taylor headed straight at the ‘keeper from six yards out after a pin point cross from the left wing.

The home side added a fifth with a deflected shot from Paul Benson 11 minutes from time and the rout was completed in the last minute as substitute Mark Nwokeji scrambled the ball over the line from close range.

Following the defeat manager Davies said: “I’m lost for words, I’m so disappointed it’s untrue.”

He continued: “I just said to the lads to be a bit more honest out there. It’s totally my fault. The way they’ve been playing in pre-season games and in training, it’s just shocked me. I’ve seen a million good training players in my time and it looked like we had about eight or nine out there who don’t want to do it in games, so it’s back to the drawing board.”

“Their two lads up front are as good as you’re going to see in this division. They overpowered us. We lacked a bit of height and it was an issue, but it was nothing we couldn’t have overcome if we had stuck together. If we would have had 11 out there being honest and not just going through the motions, we’d have been OK. But we only had about five who were doing what I asked. You can’t afford that at any level. I thought Damien was the best player on the pitch and I feel for people like him.”

Manager Davies now has the unenviable task of picking his players up before tomorrow night’s all-ticket live televised Carling Cup tie with Leeds United. Whether Linwood will be fit to return to the side remains to be seen.

Match photographs

Picture © Evening Leader
8 August 2008
City travel to Dagenham & Redbridge tomorrow as they kick-off their 2008/09 League Two campaign.

Manager Simon Davies has injury concerns over defender Paul Linwood who has missed part of the pre-season with a back injury. Davies said: “Paul was OK at the beginning of the week, but then he had another setback. He’s dying to play and I’m dying for him to play as well because the major threat when I went to watch Dagenham the other day was the size of their team.”

The new club captain said: “I was back in training yesterday, but I have been nursing a back injury. I’ll be fresh for the weekend hopefully, but I was rested in our last two friendlies as a precaution. The gaffer didn’t want to risk me against Swansea or Telford because any further problems would have pushed me out of contention for our first league match.”

Victoria Road is not a happy hunting ground for City with two draws and three defeats in their previous five visits. Their last visit in February resulted in a shambolic 6-2 defeat that cost assistant manager Jimmy Bone his job 24hrs later. The Blues will go into tomorrow’s game determined to put that performance behind them.

Linwood is determined to play his part in helping to erase the memory of last seasons match: “Last season’s result at Dagenham and Redbridge was horrible to be fair, but I’m now keen to go back there and put the record straight. I’m excited about the start of the new season and I’m quietly confident about our chances of victory at Dagenham – we owe them one. We suffered from setpieces last season down there because they had a lot of big lads and they loaded the box. The Dagenham side hasn’t changed a great deal since last season, so we’re expecting another tough match against them.”

Picture © Evening Leader
The Blues have been given a bye in the first round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. Other teams in the north west section to receive a bye are Bury, Rochdale and Carlisle United. They will now enter the competition in round two which will be played during week commencing 6 October.

Former Bradford City defender Eddie Johnson has been training with the Blues and it’s possible that the Chester born 23-year-old may sign a deal before the weekend. Johnson had interested manager Simon Davies earlier in the summer but Johnson chose to have a trial at Crewe Alexandra. The Railwaymen didn’t offer the utility player a contract however.

Transfer activity

Tickets for next Tuesday's Carling Cup round one clash with Leeds United are still on sale. Supporters can pick their up from the ticket office at Deva Stadium today and on Monday between 10:00-16:00hrs, and also from the new club shop at the bottom of Watergate Street.

6 August 2008

Manager Simon Davies has hinted that there may be another signing in the next day or so as he finalises his squad for the coming season which starts at Dagenham on Saturday. He is reported to be having talks with two players today and is hopeful of offering one of them a contract.

Davies said: “I would rather not divulge the players’ names at the moment, but I will have talks with both players and hopefully I will be in a position to offer one of them a deal. I will not be signing both of them, but both have been linked with us during the summer. One in particular interests me, so we will see what develops and then hopefully conclude formalities in the next 24 hours.”

4 August 2008
Chester lost their final pre-season friendly 4-1 at the hands of AFC Telford United on Saturday. Midfielder Anthony Barry scored the consolation goal from the penalty spot seven minutes from time.

Prior to the match manager Simon Davies said: “I will use this match to give those players who didn’t get too many minutes on the field against Swansea, the chance to get a full game under their belts.”

“Paul Linwood, Anthony Barry and James Vaughan missed out on Thursday because of niggling injuries. If the game against Swansea had been a league match they would have played, but I left them out as a precautionary measure.”

“I have learnt a lot about my squad during this pre-season campaign and it has shown me who is ready for our forthcoming Coca-Cola League Two opener against Dagenham next week and who needs to put in some extra work, in order to bring them up to an acceptable level of fitness. Telford United have a good squad of players and we know that they will test us, which is just what we are looking for.”

Davies was away on a scouting mission and it was his assistant Huw Griffiths who took charge of the side, he clearly wasn’t impressed by what he saw: “We weren’t good enough. When it got into certain areas with certain individuals, they weren’t good enough on the day. That’s up to me and the manager to sort out and they’ve been told in no uncertain terms in the dressing room that wasn’t good enough and it won’t be tolerated at the club.”

Chester City: Sanna, J.Vaughan, Rule (Wilson 75), Hughes, Roberts (Kelly 46), Taylor, Harris, Barry, McManus, Mannix (Owen 71), Mitchell (Ellison 82).

1 August 2008

Chester lost by the odd goal in five as their pre-season campaign continued with a home defeat against Swansea City last night. The Blues found themselves a goal down in the opening minutes through Darren Pratley before the Swans doubled their lead before the interval as substitute Stefan Morrison converted.

Manager Simon Davies made four changes during the second period and saw his Blues side battle back with two goals from summer signing Jay Harris bringing the sides level with six minutes remaining. Parity lasted only a minute though as Marcos Painter capitalised on a defensive error to score the winner.

City have just one more friendly at AFC Telford United on Saturday before the League Two campaign kick’s-off at Dagenham seven days later.

Chester City: Danby, Roberts, Wilson, Dinning (Harris 58), Kelly, Butler, Partridge, S.Vaughan (Mannix 45), Lowe (McManus 86), Mozika, Ellison (Taylor 79).

Good luck to forward John Murphy who has completed his move to St Patrick’s Athletic for an undisclosed fee. Murphy began his career in 1995 as a trainee at Chester City before moving to Blackpool four years later where he scored 103 goals in 270+28 appearances for the Seasiders. In 2007 he moved to Macclesfield before re-signing at Chester last summer. Last season Murphy scored 9 goals in 39 appearances.

Murphy told the Eircom League of Ireland clubs official website: “I’m looking forward to helping the club challenge for the league title and hopefully play in UEFA Cup should tomorrow’s game go to plan. It’s always sad to leave a club where you’ve spent a large number of years there. Chester have a good first team squad and I wish them all the best for the new season.”

Picture © Evening Leader







































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