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29 November 1997
Chester City 1 Exeter City 1

Chester City: Brown, Jenkins, Fisher, Richardson, Whelan, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, Rimmer, Flitcroft, Thomas. Subs not used: Davidson, Jones, McDonald.
Exeter City: Bayes, Gayle, Cyrus, Blake, Clarke, Richardson, Rowbottom, Badderley, Flack, Devlin, Gardner. Subs Williams, Ghazghazi, Fry.
Referee: David Laws

City will be disappointed not to have taken all three points against a rather negative Exeter City who were reduced to 10 men following the sending off of Lee Baddeley. Baddeley was dismissed for punching Nick Richardson while in a free kick line-up.

The Blues stuck with the side that had beaten Swansea earlier in the week and totally dominated the game for long periods. Nick Richardson had another outstanding game in midfield, backed up well by Iain Jenkins and Neil Fisher at the back. Rod Thomas too, especially after the break, created chance after chance for the front line.

The game started fairly evenly with the Blues playing the better football in midfield as Exeter found it hard to adapt playing with the wind at their backs. Gary Bennett missed two guilt-edged chances to give City the lead just before the break. First he was put through by Richardson's through ball, only for Bayes to save well down. Then he shot agonisingly wide of the far post following good work by Rimmer.

City were made to pay for these misses in the next minute as Darren Rowbottom lobbed 'keeper Brown to put the visitors 1-0 up at the break with their first shot on goal, against the run of play.

The much-deserved equaliser came on 66 minutes through Stuart Rimmer. Once again Thomas went on a weaving run down the edge of the box before cutting in to the bye-line. He managed to thread a pass through to the unmarked Rimmer who slid the ball home from a couple of yards.City almost took the lead soon after as Richardson hit a piledriver from fully 30 yards against the left hand post.

Bennett headed over from ten yards and Rimmer had a shot cleared off the line as Chester pressed for the winner. By now it was wave after wave of City attacks.

In the dying minutes it looked as though City had conceded a penalty with Brown clumsily pulling down Williams in Exeter's only real attack of the second period. Still despite all their efforts the Blues couldn't snatch the winner, but, to their credit they tried to play football to the end and never resorted to the long-ball tactic as time began to run out.

Still, this was two points dropped as City missed a great chance to catch on on their fellow promotion rivals.

Nick Richardson was again named man of the match by match sponsors the Chester City Exiles.
26 November 1997
Chester City 2 Swansea City 0

Chester City: Brown, Jenkins, Fisher, Richardson, Whelan, Alsford, Bennett (Jones), Priest (McDonald), Rimmer, Flitcroft, Thomas Subs not used: Davidson.
Swansea City: Freestone, Bound, Clode, Edwards, Walker, Cusack, Ampadu, Appleby, Bird, Mainwaring, Coates, Subs not used O'Leary, casey, Lacey.
Referee: Phil Richards (Preston).

Not surprisingly there were only 1500 supporters for this hastily re-arranged game brought forward from March to help ease the cash-flow problems at the Deva. However three more points were welcomed as City overcame the Swans and put themselves back in the promotion frame.

The Blues had keeper Wayne Brown to thank for two crucial saves early on, as a mistake by Nick Richardson let in Tony Bird. Bird had a better chance minutes later but Brown smothered the close range shot.

Chester's first effort on goal came on the half hour through a Dave Flitcroft shot. And minutes later City took the lead with a Flitcroft penalty. Rod Thomas having another good game was brought down in the box by Ampadu. Freestone went the right way but couldn't stop the shot.

In the best move of the half, Stuart Rimmer and Gary Bennett set up Thomas. He in turn set up Priest who slipped when he was about to shoot.

Chester dominated after the break but didn't create any real chances. Their second goal came on 53 minutes with a superb towering header from Rod Thomas. He leapt above defender Mark Code to power home Iain Jenkins' first time cross.

Matt Bound thought he'd scored direct from a free-kick for the Swans on 67 minutes but it was ruled out however for encroachment and the retake was comfortably saved by Brown.

Spenner had a header cleared off the line before Mark Code was shown the red card for retaliating after a foul by Priest. City's midfielder was booked, and that fifth yellow card of the season will now bring a three match ban beginning on December 10th.
18 November 1997
Chester City 0 Peterborough United 0

Chester City: Brown, Jenkins, Fisher, Richardson, Whelan, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, Rimmer, Flitcroft, Thomas (McDonald 69). Subs not used, Murphy, Giles.
Peterborough United: Tyler, McMenamin, Lewis, Linton, Bodley, Edwards, Farrell, Payne, Carruthers, Quinn, Houghton. Subs not used, Drury, Bullimore, De Souza.
Referee: Graham Lewis (Whitley Bay).

An excellent game (despite the scoreline) between two quality sides. Posh came looking for the win and played with two out and out strikers and two wing backs always looking to go forward.

But first blood to Chester. Richardson, who had an outstanding game put Bennett in down the inside right channel – his brilliant chipped shot looked to be going in but hit the foot of the post and rebounded to safety.

At the Sealand End, Carruthers and Quinn both had one-on-one chances put through by beautifully weighted passes – but Brown stood up to both and saved robustly.

Posh started strongly in the second half and threatened to overwhelm City who seemed to be defending too deeply. But when City got back at Peterborough Bennett (who ran his heart out) and Rimmer got behind the defence only for Flitcroft and McDonald to miscue good chances.

The best chance of all came with four minutes to go when Priest smashed a cracking shot from 10 yards out against the inside of the post. McDonald also had a good header saved on the line.

Great match, two good sides, fair result. The crowd of 2,612 was slightly disappointing. How is it there are standing queues outside before the match but when you get in you think "where's the crowd?"

Neil Fisher was named Man of the Match. he deserved it too. One classic goal line clearance in the second half when he dribbled the ball out of the six yard box, wrong footing a Posh forward to get the ball away.

Colin Mansley
15 November 1997
Chester City 2 Winsford United 1

Chester City: Brown, Jenkins, Fisher, Richardson, Whelan, Alsford, Bennett (Murphy 89), Priest, McDonald (Rimmer 72), Flitcroft, Thomas. Subs not used, Shelton, Sinclair, Giles.
Winsford United: Oakes, Clegg, German, Came (Russell 81), Talbot, Byrne, Doherty, Bermingham, Shaugnessey (Dulson 84), Steele, Wheeler (Aspinall 66). Subs not used, Goodall, Burn
Referee: Steve Lodge (Barnsley).

Two second half goals from the midfield secured City's place in round two and prevented the shock result which looked on the cards at halt-time. Winsford's Winfield Steele gave the visitors an 11th minute lead with a superb curling shot into the top corner.

City came more into it as the game progressed. Neil Fisher hit a shot that rattled the bar and Chris Priest put a couple of efforts wide.

After the break City dominated and spent much of the 45 minutes in Winsford's half. They equalised through Nick Richardson on 53 minutes, volleying home Rod McDonald's right wing cross. Fifteen minutes from time Chris Priest grabbed the winner.

This time it was Iain Jenkins who crossed from the right to Priest, who turned and slotted the ball home from six yards.

8 November 1997
Leyton Orient 1 Chester City 0

Leyton Orient: Hyde, Channing, Naylor, Smith, Hicks (Joseph 76), Clark, Ling, Warren, Regis (Harris 73), Hanson, Inglethorpe. Sub not used, Baker.
Chester City: Brown, Dobson (Thomas 80), Giles, Richardson, Jenkins, Alsford, Bennett (Murphy 73), Priest, McDonald, Flitcroft, Rimmer. Sub not used, Shelton.
Referee: Robert Harris (Oxford).

It was definitely a case of 'after the Lord Mayor's show' for City, who, after the euphoria of winning at leaders Notts County in midweek, failed to score in a league game for the first time this season.

In truth they never looked like scoring either, with only Chris Priest's first minute volley, and a Stuart Rimmer shot late in the first half (after our best move of the match) forcing the home keeper into good saves. There was a suspicion of offside for the O's goal on 24 minutes with Smith running through onto Regis' through ball to leave Wayne Brown no chance in the City goal.

The Blues had plenty of possession after the break without creating any clear-cut chances. At the back City looked ok with Iain Jenkins (playing with a broken nose and a gashed ear) and Julian Alsford again playing well together, and Martin Giles had a good game at left back and looks quite an asset from City's youth policy. Once again though, City were second best in midfield, with Nick Richardson and Dave Flitcroft bearing must of the supporters' frustration.

The substitution of Gary Bennett brought an angry response from the travelling faithful. Although he didn't do a great deal he's the kind of player who'll turn a game given half a chance. John Murphy for Rimmer (who'd run his legs of all afternoon) might have been a better option.

Orient nearly doubled their lead with a free kick from Clark that rattled the bar, then Rod McDonald shot over from a good position, and Stuart Rimmer went close in the dying minutes as City pushed for the equaliser.

Matthew Giles (not Chris Priest) received a yellow card.
4 November 1997
Notts County 1 Chester City 2

Notts County: Ward, Hendon, Pearce, I.Richardson, Strodder, Baraclough, Finnan, Derry, Farrell, G.Jones (Martindale 76/ Robinson 86), Robson. Sub not used: S.Jones.
Chester City: Brown, Dobson, Giles, N.Richardson, Jenkins, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, McDonald, Flitcroft, Rimmer (Murphy 86). Subs not used: Shelton, Thomas.
Referee: Paul Taylor (Cheshunt).

This was a remarkable result in many ways as City, with one of the worst away records in the league, won thanks to a late Gary Bennett strike. With Wayne Brown playing only his fourth league game in goal, Ryan Dobson making only his second start for City and youngster Martin Giles making his debut at left back.

It was one-way stuff for most of the game and City had Brown to thank for a series of superb saves that denied County. Although at fault for the goal (he dropped Mark Robson's corner) his handling in difficult conditions was superb all night and his long kick forward with minutes left led to City's winner.

Derry headed wide midway through the first half from Pearce's cross and City appealed for a penalty after Bennett fell under a challenge from Strodder. County took the lead through Strodder, slotting the ball home after Brown had dripped Robson's cross.

But City hit back immediately through Rod McDonald. Priest flicked the ball through to the striker and his powerful shot went in off the post. County, again, piled on the pressure and it took a superb tackle by Julian Alsford to deny Gary Jones. Then Brown did well to hold a long-range effort from Ian Richardson.

On 87 minutes a massive clearance by Wayne Brown was missed by Strodder and Gary Bennett drew keeper Ward before rounding him to slot the ball home in front of City's jubilant travelling fans.
1 November 1997
Chester City 4 Rochdale 0

Chester City: Brown, Dobson, Fisher, Richardson, Jenkins, Alsford, Bennett (Jones 85), Priest, McDonald, Flitcroft, Thomas (Rimmer 64). Sub not used: Murphy.
Rochdale: Key, Fensome, Barlow, Hill, Farrell, Gouck, Bryson, Painter, Leonard, Russell, Stuart. Subs not used: Carter, Irwin, Stott.
Referee: Mick Fletcher (Warley).

A flattering scoreline this as City keeper Wayne Brown made three outstanding first half saves to deny Dale. City took the lead on 10 minutes through Rod McDonald who finished off an Alsford/Bennett move. McDonald appeared to control the ball with his hand before hitting a left foot volley past Key.

Brown then saved from Russell and Gouck before denying former City favourite Robbie Painter. It was all Dale and City's only response was a free kick from Neil Fisher which went inches wide.

In an entertaining second half, City got the vital second goal on 69 minutes as Bennett shot home from an acute angle following fine work by Priest. They got the third just a few minutes later as Alsford headed down a Jenkins free-kick for Rimmer to volley home.

Richardson and McDonald both missed chances before Rimmer added the fourth to leave Chester with the best home record in the League.

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