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31 January 1998
Shrewsbury Town 1 Chester City 1

Shrewsbury Town: Edwards, Seabury, Tretton, Gayle, Hanmer, Taylor, Evans, Preece, Dudley (White 60), Steele, Barkley. Subs not used: Kerrigan, Herbert.
Chester City: Sinclair, Woods, Jenkins, Richardson, Whelan, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, Rimmer, Flitcroft, McDonald (Thomas 66). Subs not used: Giles, Murphy.
Referee: A.Bates (Stoke-on-Trent).

A screamer of an equaliser from Matt Woods earned City a point in a game that could have gone either way. The point extended City's unbeaten away run to four matches, and brought their first away draw of the season.

Spencer Whelan returned to the heart of the City side with Matt Woods dropping to right back, Iain Jenkins playing on his left. Rod McDonald started in place of Rod Thomas up front. Once again, City played in last season's second strip of yellow/blue, and how good it looked too!

Shrewsbury took the lead on seven minutes when ex-Northwich striker Lee Steele lobbed Ronnie Sinclair after Spencer Whelan had hesitated over a long through ball. Twice Sinclair was left in no-mans land as the flat back four looked as though they hadn't met before. Spenner made amends later in the half when he made a timely tackle to rob the same striker of a similar scoring opportunity.

Like last week, Dave Flitcroft was booked for a clumsy challenge before Gary Bennett and Chris Priest both had efforts off target. Benno hasn't scored for three months now and the strain is beginning to show. Both McDonald and Alsford headed over from good positions, while City's best chance fell right on half time with a Stuart Rimmer effort, neatly set up by Dave Flitcroft, from four yards being bravely cleared off the line by Kevin Seabury..

City's equaliser on 70 minutes was a classic. Matt Woods picked the ball up just in the Shrews half before beating two players and unleashing an unstoppable low shot from 25 yards right in front of the City supporters (numbering up to 1,000). Rod Thomas and Dave Flitcroft both had chances to secure our first ever win at Gay Meadow but it was not to be, and the draw (which was the fairest result) lifts City above Rotherham United into sixth place.
27 January 1998
Chester City 0 Cardiff City 0

Chester City: Sinclair, Jenkins, Giles, Richardson, Woods, Alsford, Bennett (Murphy 70), Priest, Rimmer, Flitcroft, Thomas. Subs not used: McDonald, McKay.
Cardiff City: Hallworth, Middleton, Beech, Young, Harris, Eckhardt, O'Sullivan, Penney, Saville, Partridge (White 70), Carss. Subs not used: Stoker, Jarman.
Referee: Brian Coddington (Sheffield).

A truly forgettable game played in front of City's second lowest crowd of the season. The Blues had a great chance to move into the heart of the promotion pack, but, and we've seen it all before, they failed to take advantage. Saturday's goal hero Rod McDonald made way for Rod Thomas and Martin Giles replaced the injured Neil Fisher at left back.

Richardson let fly on 20 minutes with a 25-yarder that was just over the bar, and the midfielder had City's only real effort of note in the first half came just before the break when he was sent through, though Hallworth saved in the Bluebirds goal. Up front, Thomas was making little impression on the left wing, while, over on the right Dave Flitcroft had another poor game.

Richardson, Priest and Woods all had chances to give City the lead after the break but failed.

Sinclair was called into action on the hour to make a good save from the menacing Scott Partridge. Penney and the veterans Andy Saville and Steve White also went close for the visitors

With 20 minutes remaining John Murphy replaced Gary Bennett but, as in the Barnet game, City were unable to break down a resilient defence.

With Macclesfield winning and Rotherham scoring twice in the last minute to peg back Cambridge, City have now slipped down to seventh in the table. While home performances have taken a nose dive in recent weeks, the Blues will be looking to continue their fine current away form at Shrewsbury on Saturday, but they'll have to play a lot better than this if they are to record their first-ever victory at Gay Meadow.
24 January 1998
Cambridge United 1 Chester City 2

Cambridge United: Barrett, Duncan, Wilson, Ashbee, Joseph, Campbell, Wanless, Brebner, Taylor, Kyd, Beall (Barnwell 65). Subs not used: Preece, Youngs.
Chester City: Sinclair, Jenkins, Fisher, Richardson, Woods, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, Rimmer, Flitcroft, McDonald.. Subs not used: Murphy, Thomas, McKay.
Referee: S.G.Bennett (Redhill).

A dramatic last-gasp winner from Rod McDonald gave City their first-ever League victory at the Abbey Stadium. Until that last minute strike, it looked as if the Blues were to be denied of all three points after United were awarded a controversial penalty for hand ball nine minutes from time.

City's best, indeed only, effort in the first half came in the opening minute with Rod McDonald slicing wide. Cambridge had the better of the play in the first period but failed to take any of several chances. The defence, with Matt Woods in for the injured Spencer Whelan looked decidedly shaky and City keeper Ronnie Sinclair struggled against a swirling wind, though, when he was called upon, he made several great saves. Gary Bennett was booked early on and was followed by Dave Flitcroft for a heavy challenge, though Campbell was lucky to escape the same punishment following a heavy challenge after Neil Fisher had bravely headed away from a corner.

Chester took the lead on 53 minutes with Stuart Rimmer being sent through on goal after a neat flick by Gary Bennett. Rimmer outpaced Ashbee and Joseph before cooly slotting the ball home past Barrett in vintage Rimmer style.

Cambridge were now rattled, questioning every decision by the referee. They brought on Barnwell for Beall (who had earlier been booked for a challenge on Bennett) and set about for the equaliser. City didn't make it easy for themselves by sitting back and defending too deep. But cometh the hour, cometh the man, and Ronnie Sinclair made several superb saves to keep City's lead intact. However with nine minutes to go, United were awarded a penalty after the linesman insisted that Brebner's cross had hit Neil Fisher's hand – harsh to say the least. Wilson, who had been the brunt of the City fans' stick in the second half, after his continual moaning, converted the spot kick via the post.

Within seconds of the restart Rimmer was sent through on the right and was blatantly chopped down in the box by Marc Joseph right in front of the City fans. It was also right in front of the linesman who refused to raise his flag.

However, in the final minute a left wing cross by Fisher, from a quick throw-in, was headed back by Flitcroft for Rod McDonald to lash the ball home from close range (even he couldn't miss from there!) and celebrated by ripping his shirt off and running over to the City fans to remind us he was still around.

Scenes of wild joy accompanied the final whistle a few seconds later. Our first ever victory at Cambridge follows our first ever wins this season at Cardiff and Hull. Let's hope for the same at Gay Meadow next Saturday.

Man of the match had to be Ronnie Sinclair, his second half performance was inspired. Unfortunately, Cambridge don't produce video's of home matches (I rang to enquire!). Shame, I think there may have been a few takers for this one!
21 January 1998 – Pontins League
Chester City Reserves 1 Scunthorpe United Reserves 2

Chester City: Brown, Warrington, Fisher (Williams 64), McKay, Woods, Thompson, Wright (A.Shelton 75), G.Shelton (Price 45), Murphy, Jones, McDonald.

Chester Reserves went down 2-1 at the Deva against a Scunthorpe side whose manager fielded their first team following their bad defeat at Macclesfield earlier in the week.

A volley from six yards after just five minutes put the Irons in front and Jonathan Jones shot narrowly wide in response.

Scunthorpe took a 2-0 lead on 14 minutes when a punch out from Wayne Brown went in on the rebound, and the visitors were denied a third six minutes later for offside.

City got on the scoresheet in style on 27 minutes when Neil Fisher neatly curled his free kick into the bottom right hand corner and they almost drew level shortly after when Jones saw his snap shot go just wide.

A minute after the break, Rod McDonald's header went the wrong side of the post after Jones won a corner. City's only other real chance in the second half came when Jones was surprised to find the ball at his feet after a corner.

This was a gritty performance from City, particularly in the second half which coincided with the introduction of trialist Chris Price who looked confident on the ball. A major disappointment was another booking for Matty McKay who now faces a ban just after he was beginning to establish himself.

Kim Fair, Evening Leader
17 January 1998
Chester City 0 Barnet 1

Chester City: Sinclair, Fisher, Jenkins, Richardson, Woods (McKay 77), Alsford, Bennett, Priest, Rimmer, Flitcroft (McDonald 68), Thomas. Sub not used: Murphy.
Barnet: Harrison, Goodhind, Harte, Heald, Howarth, Basham (Stockley 34), Doolan, Wilson, Devine, McGleish (Charlery 70), Simpson. Sub not used Searle.
Referee: Chris Foy (St Helens).

It was back down to earth with a bump for City who seven days earlier at Lincoln had looked real promotion candidates, but on this performance have a lot of hard work left if they are to mount a serious challenge to the leaders.

Manager Kevin Ratcliffe was forced to make changes with Matt Woods coming in for the injured Spencer Whelan and Neil Fisher filling in at left back for the injured Ross Davidson.

Barnet, with the impressive Sean Devine, Scott McGleish and Phil Simpson in attack had the better of the chances. It was Simpson who had the first effort after just five minutes but Ronnie Sinclair saved well. The Barnet keeper Lee Harrison also had to be alert keeping out Rod Thomas's curling effort.

Most of City's chances were coming through winger Rod Thomas, but unlike recent matches, the midfield of Nick Richardson and Chris Priest was non-existent. The visitors Phil Simpson was running the show from midfield. Dave Flitcroft had yet another disappointing game though he did test Harrison with a 25-yarder in the first half. Despite their possession City found it hard to break down a well organised Barnet defence.

The only goal of the game came ten minutes after the break, a well worked move that left Devine with a simple tap-in. City were reduced to just one second half effort with Howarth saving from Thomas, and like in the Wrexham game, once behind, never looked likely to get back into the match.

Ronnie Sinclair deservedly got the Man of the Match vote for several one-on-one saves which kept the scoreline down.

So City's unbeaten home record of 13 games comes to a disappointing end. It doesn't get any easier either. Next up is a trip to Cambridge where City have never won in the League (we've only ever beaten them once and that was the first time we played them at Sealand Road!), followed by the re-arranged home game with draw specialists Cardiff City and a trip to Shrewsbury, where, yet again we've never won!
17 January 1998 – Lancashire League Division Two
Everton B 2 Chester City A 0

Chester City: Conkie, Moss, Lloyd (Whitehead 65), Shelton, Thompson, Pendleton (Lancaster 65), Patterson, Warrington, Kilgannon (Doughty 65), Wright, Williams.

Everton once again pinched all three points despite an impressive display by City on Everton's Bellfield training ground which suited Chester's neat passing game.
The Blues took control straight away with Wes Kilgannon, Scott Williams and Darren Wright having opportunities to open the scoring, but on 15 minutes Everton's first threat resulted in them taking a surprise lead.

Chester, however, still remained top and looked the more dangerous with Phil Patterson's volley flashing across the goal, Craig Warrington shooting over and Scott Thompson heading narrowly wide.
The second half began in very much the same vein as the first. Andy Shelton's shot went just over and a minute later he was unlucky following up a Williams free kick.
With 64 minutes gone the Toffees scored their second goal against the run of play as Chester struggled to clear. A disappointing result from a game in which City's neat football and team commitment deserved at least a point.

Evening Leader
10 January 1998
Lincoln City 1 Chester City 3

Lincoln City: Vauaghan, Barnett, Whitney, Fleming, Holmes, Austin, Walling, Stones (Bimson 45), Alcide (Brown 45), Thorpe, Smith. Sub not used: Gordon.
Chester City: Sinclair, Davidson (Thomas 78), Jenkins, Richardson, Whelan, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, Rimmer, Flitcroft, Woods. Subs not used: Murphy, Jones.
Referee: K.Leach (Staffordshire).

A superb all-round performance from the Blues as they swept promotion rivals Lincoln aside to record their third victory on the trot, and take them to 4th spot in the third division. We haven't lost to Lincoln now in seven meetings between the sides. The match was played on a heavy pitch which was passed fit following a 9.00am inspection.

Two late goals in the first half set up the victory. Chris Priest and Iain Jenkins – his first goal in senior football, did the damage and Stuart Rimmer got a vital third as the home side came back into the game after the break.

Sinclair was first into the action after only 30 seconds, racing out to clear for a throw. A bizarre Lincoln corner soon followed when Thorpe took the kick with the ball six feet outside the quadrant. He tapped it forward then hit it again, the referee whistling for a foul!

Flitcroft shot high over roof after a Nick Richardson free kick had set him clear. Bennett looked dangerous down the right and forced a corner in the seventh minute. This was headed out to Woods who prodded the ball out for a goal kick.

Chester took the lead on 37 minutes. Priest found space on the left hand side of the box and with no challenge coming in calmly slotted the ball home across Vaughan into the far corner. This was followed by the first booking of the game, that of Austin for a foul on Bennett.

City had plenty of possession and Jenkins went close with a header following a cross from Flitcroft. The Blues doubled their lead on the stroke of half time. Richardson's cross from the right was only half cleared and Jenkins sent in a 20-yarder which Vaughan reached but could not prevent from hitting the back of the net to send the 200 City fans wild in the Linpave Stand.

Lincoln thought they'd pulled a goal back within seconds but Fleming's effort was ruled out for offside after Sinclair could only parry Alcide's shot.

As expected Lincoln started the second half on fire and pulled a goal back on 49 minutes. A speculative cross from the left wing was left by Jenkins to run out. Smith nipped in and cut the ball back for Brown to deflect it into the roof of the net.

Sinclair was called upon to make two fine saves as Lincoln pressed for the equaliser. Richardson did his best to take the heat off with a couple of surging diagonal runs, the second of which saw man-of-the-match Priest shoot straight at Vaughan from 12 yards. Bennett, Woods and Richardson linked well for another attack which saw Bennett just failing with a header.

Siinclair made another crucial save on 71 minutes when Brown was sent clear. Sinclair blocked the shot then clawed the loose ball away for a corner. A minute later the Blues were 3-1 up.

Bennett made a surging run down the right. His cross looped over the goalkeeper and was left to go out by the home defence. Matt Woods stepped in and swung the ball back to Rimmer who flicked it in at the near post from four yards out. Flitcroft nearly made it four with a dipping 20 yards that was just over the bar.

All in all a great effort with City's midfield of Richardson and Priest again outstanding.

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