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30 March 2008

There were chaotic scenes at Deva Stadium
on Saturday as City’s game against Stockport County was abandoned on 59 minutes after referee Iain Williamson decided the pitch was no longer playable. The score at the time was 0-0.

A heavy pre-match downpour had left standing water on the Deva Surface and both sets of players found the going tough in the opening half.

During the break however the City groundstaff did well to drain much of the water from the pitch, and, after an inspection by the four officials Williamson allowed the game to restart. With conditions improving it was to everyone’s surprise when he called the game off 14 minutes after the restart.

To add to the chaos, nearly 200 visiting fans had to be escorted around the pitch from the overcrowded West stand to an area cleared by stewards in the opposite corner of the ground, all this in the first half while the game was actually taking place. There must surely be an enquiry as to why the overcrowding happened in the first place. There were around 2,000 visiting fans at the game.

There is no new date as yet for replaying of the fixture or any details regarding admission for that match. City dropped one place to 20th after yesterday’s League Two results, Macclesfield’s 2-1 win over Accrington Stanley lifing them above the Blues.

League Two table

Picture © Evening Leader

The youth team won 2-1 at Oldham Athletic on Saturday morning.

28 March 2008

City have the chance tomorrow to complete the double over Cheshire neighbours Stockport County. The two sides meet at Deva Stadium (15:00hrs) and both sides have something at stake. City will be looking for the win that will almost guarantee League Two football for another season while the visitors need three points to continue their promotion push to League One.
The two sides last met at Edgeley Park on 20 October when a stunning brace of goals from Richie Partridge helped City to a 2-1 victory. That lifted Chester to second spot behind MK Dons, the defeat dropped County to 17th. How the tables have turned since then!

Blues manager Simon Davies will be without Tony Grant and Chris Holroyd through injury and the suspended Tony Dinning for tomorrow’s clash. Defender Paul Butler is expected to be back after missing the defeat at Peterborough United on Monday with a foot injury while Kevin Ellison may also make the squad after resuming training following an injury picked up at Barnet.

Davies has seen his side pick up form over the last two matches that has seen them defeat Darlington 2-1 before the narrow defeat against Posh. He was quick to credit the players over their improvement: �It was a good performance, but I don�t want to take anything from that. It was the lads who did that. The lads have put it in under my management, but not had the rub of the green. We haven�t had any luck whatsoever but with the performance and a touch of luck against Darlington it all went our way. I�m glad to see that the law of averages is still about.�

Davies’ opposite number Jim Gannon swooped in the transfer market yesterday to sign former Chester favourite Ryan Lowe (pictured) on loan from Crewe Alexandra until the end of the season.

Chester are expecting a large away following tomorrow from Stockport and with this in mind have allocated the whole of the South stand West stand seats to the visitors.

Picture © Evening Leader

27 March 2008

The weekly Evening Leader video diary from manager Simon Davies is now online.

Video link

26 March 2008

Tony Dinning has received a one match ban following his red card at Peterborough United on Monday. The defender will now sit out the home game against his former club Stockport County this Saturday.

Dinning told the Evening Leader: “I’m devastated about missing Saturday’s match against my old club because I didn’t realise the seven-day rule about suspensions had been scrapped.”

“I know people will say an experienced player like me shouldn’t have got sent off, and I appreciate that, but you never lose your passion for the game and I couldn’t help myself – I just got caught up in the game. I’m not defending my actions because I know how silly I was and, looking back, I know it was pathetic to get sent off.”

Picture © Evening Leader

A young reserves side lost 2-0 at home to Tranmere Rovers tonight in a Pontins Holiday League Division One West match.

Chester City: Palethorpe, Smith, Feliciello, Rowlands, Kelly, Owen, Mitchell, Morrin (Newman 81), Ellams, Thorpe (Williams 36), McManus (Ablett 75). Subs not used: Dorman, Gregory.

Reserve fixtures | Stats | Table

25 March 2008

Following victory over Darlington on Saturday the Blues ended their Easter weekend with a narrow 1-0 defeat at Peterborough United. City, missing the experience of Paul Butler and Kevin Ellsion battled well for much of the game against their high-flying opponents. Glenn Rule was also drafted in for a first team debut. The only goal of the game came 19 minutes from time by Dean Keates after a period of heavy home pressure that also saw one effort ruled out for offside and another cleared off the line.

City though still created some chances of note in the dying minutes with John Murphy seeing a shot deflected inches wide and Richie Partridge missing a golden opportunite from the resulting corner from just eight yards out. Paul Linwood also shot wide when well placed in stoppage time.

Tony Dinning was sent-off after picking up a second yellow card late in the game and will now face suspension.

Manager Simon Davies praised the side following the defeat, he said: “We were always going to find it hard at Peterborough, especially on their home ground, but I thought we put on a performance, stuck together, and nearly got something out of it.”

“We had two or three chances to score after they went 1-0 up and we started to maybe play a touch more football after they scored. We had a few more inexperienced players in the team again due to knocks from the Darlington match on Saturday, but, as I said to the players in the dressing room, if we carry on playing like we did against Peterborough then we won't go far wrong.”

The defeat stilll leaves City in 19th place, ten points above the drop zone. The next league encounter is on Saturday when Cheshire neighbours Stockport County visit Deva Stadium, kick-off 15:00hrs. A large away following are expected to make the trip and in anticipation the whole of the smaller West stand has been allocated to Stockport.

League Two table

Picture © Evening Leader
23 March 2008

Chester earned three crucial points on Saturday with the defeat of Darlington at Deva Stadium 2-1. Two first half goals from Paul Rutherford, his first for the club, and Richie Partridge set City on their way and despite a late effort from Darlo’s Steve Foster the Blues hung on for a vital victory. City however picked up more injuries with goalkeeper John Danby, Partridge and Chris Holroyd all having to be be replaced during the 90 minutes.

City remain in 19th spot in League Two but gained three more points on three of the sides below them. On Monday the Blues visit second placed Peterborough United (15:00hrs). Manager Simon Davies must wait on the fitness of Saturday’s injured trio before naming his side. The Posh are expected to be without Craig Mackail-Smith and Kieran Charnock through injury and Claude Gnakpa through suspension.

Since their return to the Football League, London Road has been a happy hunting ground for City with successive victories in the two visits there. The two sides last met at Deva Stadium in December with the visitors running out 2-1 winners.

Picture © Evening Leader

21 March 2008

Chester enter the Easter weekend facing two tough games against promotion chasing Darlington and Peterborough United.
The Blues are desperate for points having slipped to just seven points above a relegation spot after last weekend’s poor effort at Barnet that saw City crash 3-1.

The first of the holiday matches sees Darlington visit Deva Stadium tomorrow (15:00hrs). The Quakers lie fourth just a point behind an automatic promotion spot and are looking for the double after beating City 1-0 earlier this month. They boast the meanest defence away from home in League Two having conceded just 14 goals in 18 matches.

Blues boss Simon Davies looks likely to have the services of Richie Partridge, Chris Holroyd and Paul Butler again after the trio all missed recent games through injury. The visitors will be without both Tim Ryan and Clark Keltie who have knee injuries.

Ahead of the weekend manager Davies said: “I’ve set the team a target of staying up. That’s all that matters right now. Whether we do it in the next two games or the next eight games, we know where we’re at.”

“We know the job in hand and the task we’ve got and we need to stay in the league. We can pussyfoot around it all day long, but that’s what we need to do and as long as we stay in the league, then me or someone else can build for next season because the squad of players is three or four bodies away from being in the play-offs.”

“At the moment there are no players coming into the fold. I am a big believer in what we’ve got in the squad. It’s the same squad of players who were doing ever so well at the start of the season. We have got enough in that changing room to win any game in this division.”

20 March 2008

The reserves were beaten 1-0 by an experienced Burnley side last night. The Clarets fielded nine of their first team squad including Northern Ireland international Steve Jones who scored the only goal of the game three minutes after the break. The Blues fielder what is essentially the youth team.

Chester City: Palethorpe, Robson, Newman, Rowlands, Kelly, Owen, Mitchell, Rule, Thorpe, Morrin, Walker. Subs: Dorman, Gregory, Williams, Smith, Ellams.

Reserve fixtures | Stats | Table

19 March 2008

The reserves have an away fixture at Burnley tonight. The game will be played at Accrington Stanley with a 19:00hrs kick-off. Admission is £3.00 for adults, £1.00 for concessions.
City currently lie ninth (fourth from bottom) in the Pontins Holiday League Division One West with their opponents two places higher.

17 March 2008

Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at fellow strugglers Barnet edges City uncomfortably close to the relegation zone. The Blues stand just five places and seven points above the drop now and three of the teams below have games in hand.

After the final whistle manager Simon Davies came over to apologise to the disgruntled Blues fans, those that hadn’t already set off for an early journey home, following the latest display.

Davies said: said: “Unlike our previous three games when I thought things could have gone our way, I thought we put in a very, very poor performance at Barnet, and decided to go across and apologise to our travelling supporters because they go to work all week to earn a wage to follow Chester around the country and we provide a poor performance like we did.”

“I can take not playing that well, but what I can’t take is those players who went out there and just went through the motions. Our players need to now stand up and be counted. There were only two or three players that came out of the Barnet match with any credit.”

City had their chances in the opening period, the best effort saw Bees ‘keeper Lee Harrison pull off a great save to deny a long range Paul Rutherford shot just before the interval. At half-time with the score at 0-0 the game really could have gone either way but poor defending by Tony Dinning, and hesitation from John Danby, allowed Albert Adomah to round him and open the scoring five minutes after the restart. On 72 minutes Cliff Akurang added the second from a controversial penalty after Dandy was adjudged to have fouled Akurang. Eight minutes later the same player was left totally unmarked to head the third from close range. Mark Hughes headed a consolation goal for City in added time.

The Blues go into the Easter break this weekend with two tough matches at home to fourth placed Darlington on Saturday before traveling to Peterborough United on Monday, the Posh currently lie in second spot. Both games kick-off at 15:00hrs.

Picture © Evening Leader
14 March 2008

Chester play 20th placed Barnet at Underhill tomorrow desperately looking for three points to ease any relegation fears. The Bees sit two places, and one point, below City but have three games in hand on the Blues. The Blues will be looking to turn a glut of missed chances over the last three games into goals tomorrow against their fellow strugglers.

Chester have injury doubts over Chris Holroyd, Tony Grant, Paul Butler and Richie Partridge ahead of the clash. All missed the midweek defeat against Bradford City and are rated as doubtful. Barnet manager Paul Fairclough has his injury worries too; The Bees will be without both Jason Puncheon and Michael Leary who are suspended, while there are doubts over Rob Beckwith (hamstring), Adam Birchall (hamstring) and Kenny Gillet (ligament damage).

Manager Simon Davies said: “It�s going absolutely wonderfully in terms of the job and performances � but in terms of points, it�s an absolute disaster at the moment. I�m looking up at the sky and thinking I must have done something wrong in a previous life. I�ve never experienced anything like it where we can produce so many chances per game and come out with nothing. I�m not one for praying, but I�ll have to start because something�s got to change. Hopefully it will at Barnet. With every game that goes on, I’m trying to keep the lads calm. But without the win and without the points, you get a little bit more desperate for them.”

The two sides last met on 4 December when a brace from Kevin Ellison and a Richie Partridge effort gave the Blues a 3-0 win at Deva Stadium. They have wone only twice since then.

13 March 2008
The lowest Deva crowd of the season, just 1,566, saw the Blues suffer their eighth home league defeat on the run this time at the hands of Bradford City.

Chester have now won just one game in 17 following last night’s home reverse. This run equals the dismal slide of two seasons ago prior to the departure of manager Keith Curle. Ironically on both occasions the solitary victory came at Mansfield Town. The Blues turned in a better performance from the defeat at the hands of Wrexham on Sunday, but once again in front of goal the chances went begging with some poor finishing.

Following his third straight defeat in charge manager Simon Davies (left) said: “I’m not getting disillusioned, but I do feel sorry for the lads because I thought they gave it everything. We switched off a little bit for the goal, but as I said in the dressing room, we can’t lay everything at the door of our defensive unit when we’re missing sitters up front. Kevin Ellison missed from four yards – how I don’t know, and we missed other half-chances. We keep creating, but at the moment we’re just not putting our chances away, so hopefully it will come.”

“We’ll keep working hard, and if we play like we did against Bradford, then we should get something at Barnet on Saturday.”

The Blues remain 18th in League Two, ten points above a relegation spot and travel to one of the sides below them, Barnet, on Saturday. Defeat at Underhill would pile the pressure on as City embark on a tough end of season run-in that sees them still have to play five of the current top six.

Picture © Evening Leader
12 March 2008

Chester manager Simon Davies has fresh injury concerns ahead of tonight’s League Two clash against Bradford City at Deva Stadium (19:45)

Forward Chris Holroyd (left) picked up a hamstring injury against Wrexham on Sunday and appears doubtful. Along with Holroyd, Paul Butler and Richie Partridge, who both missed Sunday’s derby defeat, are rated doubtful though late fitness tests will determine if they can play any part in tonight’s match. Bradford will be without Lee Bullock, who suffered a groin injury in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Stockport County.

The Blues slipped to 18th in League Two following last night’s results and will be looking to avenge two defeats by the Bantams at Valley Parade in the League (2-1) and FA Cup (1-0) within the space of five days back in November. This is Bradford's first visit to Deva Stadium since August 1994 when a Paul Jewell hat-trick set them up for a 4-1 victory in front of a crowd of 4,459.

Picture © Evening Leader
11 March 2008

Simon Davies has had his caretaker manager role extended until the end of the season. Davies took charge last week following the departure of Bobby Williamson and has overseen the two defeats since then against Darlington and Wrexham. Davies
said: “I spoke to the people upstairs and I was told they wanted me to continue as manager until the end of the season. It’s nice to know they have faith in my ability to turn things round at the club.”

“Our performances haven’t been too bad in the last two games and I’m confident that I and the players can start to pick up with a few wins. I must admit that I was surprised to be offered the job until the end of the season because it’s a results-orientated role and we’ve lost the last two matches, but it’s great to know the people upstairs have got faith in my ability – I’ve now got to repay that.”

Picture © Evening Leader
10 March 2008

It was yet again a case of missed opportunities against local rivals Wrexham yesterday as the Blues forced 16 corners and squandered several chances before conceding a goal in each half to bring their 11th home defeat of the season. Referee Andy D’Urso twice ruled out goals for City and on each occasion the visitors broke away to score straight after.

Caretaker manager Simon Davies said: “The two goals we conceded astonished me because we switched off which was unprofessional. I wouldn’t expect that of youth team players, and I certainly shouldn’t be expecting that of first team players.”

Ex-Chester ‘keeper Gavin Ward made a string of saves to deny the Blues including one in the opening minute from Chris Holroyd that he tipped round the post.

Davies added: “We were getting round the back of Wrexham and through the side of them, and we were six or seven yards out, and at the end of the day if we can roll it in the bottom corner and keep it on the deck then even the best keeper in the world won’t get to those. Gavin Ward made a few great saves, but I thought we gave him a chance by putting the shots at a nice height for him.”

The games come thick and fast in March and Bradford City are next up at Deva Stadium on Wednesday night (19:45) before a trip to fellow strugglers Barnet on Saturday (15:00).

Picture © Evening Leader

8 March 2008

Chester entertain arch-rivals Wrexham on Sunday hoping to pile on the misery for their opponents who currently lie four points adrift at the bottom of the Football League and in doing so ease any relegation worries themselves.

Caretaker boss Simon Davies is waiting on the fitness of Richie Partridge, Paul Butler and Tony Grant who all missed the midweek defeat at Darlington. Midfielder Mark Hugh is available though following suspension.

Ahead of the derby match caretaker boss Davies (pictured) said: said: “People talk about pressure, but I’d rather be in our dressing room with our pressure than their dressing room with their pressure. If we can get the three points, it’s a bit of room for us and it would put them in a real tough position. I’ve got a few friends at Wrexham but on the day we’ll all be enemies and we’ll go to beat them.”

“I can’t wait for the game now. All the lads are champing at the bit. We know everything about them and we’ve prepared correctly. A derby game is a big occasion, so we’re going to need big players out there who are going to perform.”

The Dragons have injury doubts over captain Neil Roberts (ankle) and defender Steve Evans (knee). Several former players could feature for Wrexham tomorrow: Phil Bolland, Drewe Broughton, Richard Hope, Gavin Ward and possibly Sam Aiston.

The two sides last met in November when they shared four goals in a pulsating game at the Racecourse Ground. On that occasion City took the lead twice through Kevin Roberts and Paul Linwood only to be pegged back on each occasion. Sunday’s match is all-ticket and will kick-off at 12:00hrs.

Picture © Evening Leader
6 March 2008

Adam Mitchell, who made his senior debut at Darlington on Tuesday, scored the equaliser as the reserves drew 1-1 with Accrington Stanley at Deva Stadium today.

Reserve fixtures | Stats | Table

Defender Simon Marples has been placed on ‘garden leave’ after apparently refusing to take a place on the subs bench on Tuesday night at Darlington. The PFA were called in to advise on a course of action after discussions between Marples and caretaker manager Simon Davies.

A spokesman for the club confirmed: “The manager has acted speedily and firmly in this matter, the ball is now very much in the player’s court.”

Marples has made 18+0 appearances for City this season, his last appearance was at Brentford on 29 December.

Picture © Evening Leader

5 March 2008

A goal from Darlington’s Pawel Abbott in the 27th minute was enough to bring another defeat for Chester at their high-flying opponents. Abbott’s winner was controversial with City claiming that Kevin Ellison had been fouled in the build-up.

Caretaker manager Simon Davies said after the match: “The referee came up to me and apologised after the match and said he would review the incident leading to the goal. Apparently the fourth official and the assessor said that Ellison was fouled, and the Darlington manager went into the referee’s dressing room and also said he thought he was wrong, but unfortunately that doesn’t help us.”

Like on Saturday, City created several chances but were unable to convert them into goals. Manager Davies gave a debut to youth team player Andy Mitchell, the winger came on for Paul Rutherford in the second period.

The Blues are next in action on Sunday when they entertain rivals Wrexham at Deva Stadium. The match is all ticket with a 12:00 kick-off.

4 March 2008

Youth team manager Simon Davies will start his second stint as caretaker manager as Chester City head for a League Two match at third placed Darlington tonight. Davies stepped into a similar role following the departure of Mark Wright last May for the final game of the season at Lincoln City a week before the appointment of Bobby Williamson.

With Williamson now departed, Davies has the unenviable task of lifting a side that has picked up just five points form the last 42 and dropped from a play-off position at Christmas to 17th in League Two. Midfielder Mark Hughes will once again miss out through suspension for the game which has twice been postponed due to the weather in recent weeks. Also out is Richie Partridge who has a hamstring injury that ruled him out last Saturday.

Davies is looking forward to his second stint in charge. He said: “I’m looking forward to it, because I don’t think the squad is far away from being a good unit at this level. There was a good atmosphere in training, and the players were extremely lively. We have a run of three games in eight days coming up, and I am looking to take five points from those matches.�

“I've been asked to take charge on a caretaker basis for tonight's match at Darlington and I'm going to do the job to the best of my ability. We must be organised and do everything right because my role as manager is based on results, and we must produce respectable performances against Darlington tonight, and at home to Wrexham on Sunday.”

“The task ahead is clear – we must do all we can to get Chester City into a safe league position so that the club can compete in the same league next season.”

Home manager Dave Penney is expected to name an unchanged side from the one that beat Brentford 3-1 on Saturday.

Picture © Evening Leader
Former manager Bobby Williamson has spoken since his departure following Saturday’s defeat at MK Dons. He told the Chester Chronicle: “I’d like to thank the fans, and I’d also like to thank Mr Vaughan for giving me the opportunity to work at Chester. I met a lot of great people – people I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It was a great opportunity, and I’m just disappointed it never went further. But for any manager out there who might fancy going to Chester, I wouldn’t have any hesitation in recommending him (Stephen Vaughan). He�s a good man to work for. At the end of the day you’re judged on results and results weren’t good enough, and I’ve paid for that by losing my job.”

It’s reported that assistant manager Steve Mungall, who only joined the club on 13 February, has also left following Bobby Williamson’s departure.

Tickets for the forthcoming home game against Wrexham this Sunday 9 March (kick-off 12:00) are still on sale at the Deva Stadium ticket office. You can collect the during the following times.

Tuesday 4 March 2008 – 10.00 until 16.00hrs
Wednesday 5 March 2008 – 10.00 until 16.00hrs
Thursday 6 March 2008 – 10.00 until 16.00hrs
Friday 7 March 2008 – 10.00 until 16.00hrs

Prices are:
Adults (seated) £16.00
Concession (seated) £11.00
Under 16 (seated) £ 5.00

Adult (home standing) £14.00
Concession (home standing) £9.00
Under 16 (home standing) £4.00

A Concession must be either a Senior Citizen (aged 65+), a junior (aged under 16) or a student (in full time education with NUS Card). All claims for a concession MUST be supported with suitable proof of qualification.

For postal applications (you’ll have to be quick now for these to arrive in time), please send a stamped and self addressed envelope with appropriate remittance to:

Chester City Football Club
(Wrexham Tickets)
Bumpers Lane
Cheshire CH1 4LT
2 March 2008

After just nine months in the position manager Bobby Williamson has been sacked by Chester. Youth team manager Simon Davies will take charge of first team affairs for the visit to Darlington on Tuesday night.

Williamson’s reign comes at the end of a disastrous run that has seen City pick up just one victory in 14 matches, a run that has seen them drop from a play-off position to 17th, ten points from relegation.

Williamson arrived at Deva Stadium in May 2007 following the departure of Mark Wright. Along will his assistant manager Malky Thomson, the duo saw City start the season in fine form, particularly away from home, going joint top in early November following a win at Lincoln City. But Thomson’s departure in early December to Inverness Caledonian Thistle signaled a down turn in form, the Blues have picked up only 11 from 51 points since. Thomson was replaced by Jim Bone, he departed a couple of weeks ago following a 6-2 thumping at Dagenham & Redbridge and was replaced immediately by former manager Steve Mungall.

Williamson’s record at Chester reads: P38, W12, D7, L19

Chester owner Stephen Vaughan said last night: “This wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction. I thought long and hard about the decision and it was a decision taken in the best interests of the club.”

He continued: “One win in 14 games isn’t good enough by any standards and if the current situation hadn’t been arrested we could have found ourselves returning to Conference football. It is an extremely sad time when you have to change a manager and I would like to thank Bobby for all his efforts during his time at Chester City.”

“I’ve backed Bobby all the way and Bobby knows very well that it was a hard decision to make. But it was a decision that we’ve got to make that puts the club first.

“We’ve had to make the change and give someone else the opportunity to keep us in the division. I’m looking for a local man now, and somebody who’s just got to do what’s required at this football club – and that’s win matches.”

So the search is now on for another new manager. The Blues have made four appointments since returning back to the Football League in 2004.

Williamson appointed at City | Former managers

Picture © Evening Leader
City slipped to 17th in League Two after they were beaten 1-0 at MK Dons on Saturday
. A second half volley from Danny Swailes following a corner was enough to keep the hosts at the top of the table but things could have been different had captain Paul Butler converted a penalty, just after the break, against his former club eight minutes earlier.

Chris Holroyd was adjudged to have been fouled in the area by Jordan Hadfield, it looked a bit harsh!, and despite Tony Dinning taking last weeks spot-kick, Butler had been substituted at the time, it was the skipper who grabbed the ball but shot weakly to goalkeeper Willy Gueret’s left.

City created a few chances of their own, mostly in the first period, with Kevin Ellison missing the best opportunity as he clipped the ball over the advancing Gueret on a one-on-one, only to see his effort drift just wide of the far post.
The defeat was to prove to be the last straw for manager Bobby Williamson who was sacked next day.

Picture © Evening Leader






























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