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31 October 2005

City slumped to their first away league defeat of the season on saturday when they were beaten 3-1 at Gay Meadow. The Blues never recovered from conceding a sloppy goal in the opening minute and fell two behind seven minutes later with some more bad defending.

Ryan Lowe pulled a goal back just before the break from a well taken free-kick to give City some second-half hope but after Ben Davies had brushed the post the home side added a third through Kelvin Langmead with half an hour remaining. Neither Gregg Blundell or Carl Regan played.

Manager Keith Curle called the players in for Sunday morning training after seeing his side put in another disappointing performance in front of a large away following.

He described the display as “gutless” and warned his players: “Everything they get, they earn and you have to earn days off. I don't have days off. I work 24-7 and I’m not worried about my image. I'm not worried about what my hair looks like or whether my kit looks nice. I want to win football matches and I will surround myself with people of the same vein; nothing else will do. There will be changes to the team for next week, I can guarantee it. I only want players playing for this club who put everything into it.”

Two goals from Chris Holdroyd and another from Karl Noon gave the youth team a 3-2 victory at Bury in their North & Midlands West Conference League match on Saturday morning.

Match report

28 October 2005

Like at Stockport recently, the Blues can expect a large following to make the short journey to Shrewsbury Town tomorrow as Keith Curle’s men look to get back to winning ways and put last Saturday’s disappointing performance against Bury behind them.

Stewart Drummond misses the game as he serves the last game of his three match suspension. However, both Gregg Blundell and Carl Regan (left) have recovered from injury and are expected to feature at a ground where Chester have rarely tasted success. They have won only once at the Shropshire ground and that was back in 1999/2000 season when a superb Nick Richardson goal from a free-kick separated the sides. Our League and Cup record at Gay Meadow is P18, W1, D4, L13 – so it’s time for a change! Last season a hapless City were thrashed 5-0.

One player looking forward to tomorrow will be Ryan Lowe. He moved to City from Shrewsbury back in March and has hit form at the Deva scoring 11 goals in 20+2 appearances. One opposition player familiar to City fans is defender Richard Hope who joined the Shrews in the summer and had made 11 appearances so far this season.

Supporters making the short journey by train tomorrow have a bonus football special train added to the hourly service. This will leave Chester at 11:53 and return from Shrewsbury at 17:30.

Picture © Evening Leader
26 October 2005

The reserves game against Bury at Deva Stadium this afternoon was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. The Blues were going to give a run-out to 19-year-old Everton goalkeeper Sean Lake, a former England youth international, who has been training with them recently.
25 October 2005

It’s reported that striker Gregg Blundell resumed training yesterday and appeared to come through without any more problems. The striker hasn’t played since being carried off, following a heavy challenge, in the first minute of the home game with Rochdale two weeks ago. Fans will be hoping the record signing, who has scored 6 goals in 7+4 appearances so far, will be fit to resume match action against Shrewsbury Town on Saturday.

Meanwhile defender Carl Regan has also recovered from a hamstring injury and is also in contention for a place in Saturday’s squad.

23 October 2005

City have been given a home draw against Folkestone Invicta in the first round of the FA Cup. The tie will take place on Saturday 5 November, usual matchday prices will apply. Folkestone, who play in the Ryman Premier League, won 2-0 at Aylesbury United in yesterday’s fourth qualifying round.

This is the furthest the Kent side have ever been in the FA Cup
(although the town’s old club, Folkestone, reached this stage twice before folding in 1990) and will be a historic first match against a Football League side for them.

The winners of the match will pick up a handy £16,000 prize money. Should a replay be necessary it will take place at Cheriton Road on Monday 14 November, kick-off 19:45hrs.

On the back of Tuesday’s “unacceptable” performance at Cambridge, Chester turned in another below-par display on Saturday against Bury. The Blues came away with a point thanks to a second half equaliser from the penalty spot by Ryan Lowe but created little throughout. The Shakers had taken the lead in the ninth minute through a close range effort from Dwayne Mattis.

Manager Keith Curle said after the game: “We got a point but we didn’t deserve it. We were missing a link and although the effort was there, it was a frustrating day for us but Bury deserve credit for that.”

Despite the two points dropped City remain in fifth place in League Two.

21 October 2005

City entertain 17th placed Bury at Deva Stadium tomorrow. The Blues wil be without Stewart Drummond (suspended) and Gregg Blundell (injured) for the match. The Shakers recently removed former City favourite Graham Barrow as manager after a poor start to the season.

There are still two former City stalwarts at the club though in David Flitcroft and Colin Woodthorpe, both are expected to feature tomorrow. Barrow has been replaced by Chris Casper who, at 30, is the youngest manager in the League. Bury will be without goalkeeper Craig Dootson who was sent off in their 6-1 defeat at Halifax Town in the LDV on Tuesday. Bury have won just once away from Gigg Lane this season, 2-0 at Rushden & Diamonds two weeks ago.

Raffle tickets will once again be on sale tomorrow at the club priced £1.00 each. The prize on offer is an executive day at a future match for two people including a pre match meal, wine, access to Executive Lounge and Executive seating. Tickets will be available around the ground.

20 October 2005

Chairman Steve Vaughan (left) has confirmed that Keith Curle is going knowhere at the moment following a reported approach from third division rivals Bristol Rovers for the manager. Curle was born in Bristol and started his career at Rovers. The west country club have been looking for a replacement for sacked manager Ian Atkins, a former Chester boss, for a few weeks now. Curle has had a tremendous start to his career at City after bringing in a virtually new squad during the summer.

Vaughan said: “I am extremely disappointed that a club at our level had the arrogance to think that they could just breeze in and try to spirit away our manager. If it had been a big club like Leeds United or Southampton from the Championship who had come in then we wouldn’t have stood in Keith’s way, but I consider it an insult that a club beneath us in our division should try to destabilise our success with this type of approach. Keith Curle is one of the brightest young managers in the Football League, and we know that we have a man who can take us to the next level, promotion is our main priority this season, we have certainly profited from Mansfield Town’s loss. Keith is under contract to Chester City and I will be sitting down with him in the near future to discuss extending our partnership.”

Manager Curle confirmed to TeamTalk that he was going knowhere. “I had a call from the chairman saying there had been contact and that he had said he was refusing permission so that’s the end of it. I started my playing career at Bristol Rovers. I have a lot of fond memories and it’s nice to be linked. But it’s recognition of what’s happening here. I’m not disappointed that the chairman said no – I would have been disappointed if he’d said yes.

Picture © Evening Leader
City have been allocated ball number 13 in Saturday’s draw for the first round of the FA Cup. The draw will be live on BBC1 and Sky Sports at approximately 17:10 and ties will take place over the weekend 4-6 November. Two of the 40 first round matches will be televised, one on Sky Sports on Friday night the other on BBC1 on Sunday at 13:05. First round winners will pick up a handy £16,000.

19 October 2005

City crashed out of the LDV Vans Trophy at the first hurdle 3-0 at Nationwide Conference side Cambridge United last night. Manager Keith Curle played a side consisting mainly of fringe players though there was a full debut to winger Paul Rutherford. City were under the cosh from the off and only a series of fine saves from Chris MacKenzie kept the Blues in the match at the interval. It was no surprise when the home side took the lead midway through the second period and two further goals late on added to the misery of the 83 fans who travelled from City.

A furious manager Keith Curle admitted that last night’s performance was unacceptable. He told the Evening Leader:

“I put eleven professional players out to face Cambridge United. Eleven players who are at Chester City Football Club and their performance was unacceptable. All I can stress is that I was very disappointed. If any of the Chester supporters who travelled down to watch their football club at Cambridge would like to contact me I will ensure they will receive a free ticket for our next home game*.

I feel our supporters and I have been badly let down, but make no bones about it, the players in the changing room knew that they not only let themselves down, but they let me down.

There is a horrible side to me – I don’t shout or scream – but I’ve been realistic with the players and just said to them that a club of our size with the ambitions that Chester have got with the chairman, manager, and staff, cannot afford to carry passengers at the football club. I thought last night that some people have got aboard a bandwagon and not contributed.”

*Note: The offer of free tickets only applies to the samll group who travelled on the official supporters coach from Chester.
In an effort to help fans get down to the ground a bit easier, the club have arranged for bus transport to be laid on to the ground from the city centre.

Beginning with the home match against Bury on Saturday there will be two supporters buses running too and from the ground to the Town Hall. They will be leaving the Town Hall from STAND 4C at 13:45 hrs and 14:25hrs. There will be both single and return tickets on sale, however Return tickets will have prioritory on the journey leaving the ground. The Bus back will be departing 20 mins after the final whistle.

18 October 2005

The Blues travel south once again tonight to play their first round LDV Vans Trophy match at Nationwide Conference side Cambridge United, kick-off 19:45hrs.

Manager Keith Curle, who has played in the final of the competition on three occasions in the past said: “We are treating this trophy with respect. There is competition for places at the moment, and whichever team takes the field, it will be a side that I consider is strong enough to win the match. Competition is not only for places in the starting eleven at our club these days, it is also for places on the bench and that is extremely healthy.”

Deva Stadium will be staging the England v Northern Ireland U16 Victory Shield match on 3 November, kick-off 19:45hrs.
Admission prices for this match are as follows:

Adults (bought in advance from Chester City) £3.00
Adults (pay on the day at the turnstile) £5.00
Children under 16 and OAP’s £1.00

Two adults and two under 16’s can gain entry by advance purchase of a family ticket at £5.00.

17 October 2005

City’s fine start to the season continued with a hard fought 3-1 win at Barnet on Saturday. Goals from Michael Branch and, on the stroke of half-time, Ryan Lowe gave the Blues a two goal advantage at the break.

The major talking point of the first half however was the sending off by referee Andy D’Urso of Stewart Drummond after an incident between him and Nick Bailey. A 21 man scuffle followed that also saw a yellow card for Marcus Richardson.

City were forced to defend for long periods in the second-half but the defence coped well and Tom Curtis wrapped things up with the third goal, and his first for the club, twenty minutes from time. Moments earlier the home side had themselves been reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Anthony Charles for a second yellow card.

Barnet did pull a goal back through Giuliano Grazioli on 78 minutes but City held out for their third away success of the season.

The Blues remain in fifth spot in league Two on 24 points, just three behind current leaders Grimsby Town.

City are next in action tomorrow night when they travel to Cambridge United in the first round of the LDV Vans Trophy. The match at the Abbey Stadium will kick-off at 19:45hrs. Admission prices are: Adults £10.00, concessions £5.00, under 16s £2.00.
Thanks to manager Keith Curle, his assistants and the players for agreeing to meet the Exiles at the team hotel the night before the Barnet match. Thanks also to commercial manager Bob Gray who organised the get together at very short notice following a suggestion from Exiles chairman Pauline Meakins at the recent fans Forum. The players mingled with members, chatted, signed autographs and posed for pictures before Keith Curle joined the delighted group for an hour long open Q&A session.

Stewart Drummond has been suspended for three matches after his red card at Barnet on Saturday. He will miss the LDV match at Cambridge United on Tuesday, followed by the League Two matches against Bury and Shrewsbury Town.
16 October 2005

Two goals from Chris Holroyd, one a penalty, helped the youth team fight back from a two goal deficit to draw 2-2 at home with local rivals Tranmere Rovers on Saturday morning.

Match report

14 October 2005

City take their six match unbeaten away league record to Barnet tomorrow. The Bees have won just once in the League at home since being promoted at Conference champions in May, that victory against Macclesfield Town in mid-August took them to the top of the table, they currently occupy 17th position.

City must do without the services of striker Gregg Blundell who is still suffering after effects of last Friday’s challenge and defender David Artell (left) is rated as 50/50 after picking up an ankle injury in that home defeat by Rochdale. Sean Hessey has resumed training and will be fit to join the squad.

Barnet are hoping to welcome back forward Giuliano Grazioli following a thigh injury.

Manager Keith Curle is happy to be playing Barnet now. He told the Chronicle: “You don’t want to play a team that’s just come up at the start of the season. Sometimes you find that momentum carries on into the early stages of the season. The best time to play them is after 14 or 15 games when they’re settling into the division above.”

The two sides last met in March 2004 when the sides drew a blank at a windswept Underhill in front of 500 travelling fans.

The last time we met

Picture © Evening Leader
13 October 2005

For those travelling to Underhill on Saturday you should be warned that there is currently no service on the Northern Line and this is quite likely to be suspended for Saturday. This line serves High Barnet tube station which is the last station on the High Barnet branch and five minutes from the ground.

Should the line be closed, an alternative route is by train from London Kings Cross to New Barnet, this is about 20 minutes walk from Underhill. Turn right out of the station then left into Station Road. Turn right at the traffic lights opposite the cinema, under the bridge and the ground is on your left.

Trains leave Kings Cross at .14 and .44 and the journey takes 48 minutes, with a change at Alexandra Palace (for a bus replacement service). Check before planning your journey though and allow plenty of extra time.

There is also a rail replacement bus service, as well as a regular bus service, that operates from Arnos Grove tube station on the Piccadilly line to High Barnet tube station.

Rail timetable | Transport for London (tube/bus info)
9 October 2005

City have appointed Ronnie Taylor as head of their junior scouting system. Taylor has previously worked at Tranmere Rovers and Preston North End as a Youth Development Officer. Taylor said: “I intend to put a scouting system into place at the Deva Stadium, as well as utilising our contacts in the Irish football scene.”
8 October 2005

The Blues have slipped to fifth in League Two after losing to Rochdale 3-2 at Deva Stadium on Friday night in front of the biggest home gate of the season, 4,327. City missed a host of chances during the opening period, and, against the run of play found themselves a goal down at the break. Two goals in as many minutes through Stewart Drummond and Ben Davies soon after though put the Blues in the driving seat only to hand a gift equaliser to Holt and Lambert snatched the winner five minutes from time.

The talking point of the game however came in the opening two minutes as Gregg Blundell (left) was brought down by visiting keeper Matthew Gilks in a heavy challenge as he chased a Drummond through ball. The shot-stopper received a yellow card and, after lengthy treatment, Blundell was stretchered off and taken to hospital as a precaution. The extent of the injury is as yet unknown but is believed it may be concussion. Defender David Artell was also forced to leave the action through injury with just under twenty minutes remaining.

Despite the defeat manager Keith Curle was in a positive mood after the match: “I thought we were on the front foot and caused Rochdale a lot of problems – more so in the first half, but I got the feeling that we were going to have to earn everything we wanted. But I said in my programme notes that everything you get off a Steve Parkin team you have to earn. I still believe we will get promoted, no problem at all.”

City are next in action on Saturday when they travel to play Barnet at Underhill, kick-off 15:00hrs.

Picture © Evening Leader
The youth team drew 0-0 at Rochdale on Saturday morning. The Blues played the last hour of the game with ten men following a controversial red card for Neil Carroll. The youth team are next in action when they entertain Tranmere Rovers at the Airbus UK ground on Saturday morning.

Match report | Youth fixtures | Youth stats
| Youth table
7 October 2005

City entertain Rochdale at Deva Stadium tonight (19:45hrs) looking for three more points to maintain their challenge at the top of League Two. Like City Dale have started well and lie one place below the Blues in fifth spot.

Manager Keith Curle looks set to add Phil Bolland to the match squad after the defender came through Wednesday’s reserve game at Wrexham, following his ankle injury at Notts County. Fellow defender Sean Hessey is still sidelined though.

Dale welcome back top scorer Grant Holt for tonights Deva clash, David Artell has been given the job of taiming the dangerman who has netted 9 goals this season. Dale have so far won twice on their travels at Shrewsbury Town (1-0) and Leyton Orient (4-1).

Manager Keith Curle knows City will have to be at their best tonight: “What we’ve got to do is match their work rate, their enthusiasm, their determination, and then find out if they can keep their back door shut – I dont think they will. In Grant Holt they have the second highest leading scorer in our division and, like Nathan Tyson, they have an obvious goal threat. But its down to us to nullify him and play our own football because we’ve got players throughout our team who can score goals.”

With no Premiership football at the weekend, and a fair few expected to travel from Rochdale, the club will be hoping for a good turnout from City fans tonight that their current form deserves.

City’s youth team travel to play their Rochdale counterparts tomorrow morning.
6 October 2005

A penalty deep into injury, following a foul on substitute Chris Holroyd, converted by Robert Marsh-Evans brought City a 1-1 draw in last night’s Pontins Holiday League Division One West match at Wrexham. The point still leaves the Blues at the bottom of the table after five matches.

The home side had taken the lead through Marc Williams seven minutes from time and generally had the better of the play during the match. City took the opportunity to field several players with first team experience, including Phil Bolland who was making a return from injury.

Match report | Reserve fixtures | Reserve table | Reserve stats

3 October 2005

City and Wycombe Wanderers fought out a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Causeway Stadium on Saturday that was a great advert for League Two football. The Blues twice took a first half lead through Stewart Drummond and Michael Branch (left) only to be pegged back on both occasions. Wanderers then took the lead following the break before Branch popped up again on the hour mark to add the final goal of the game. Branch also hit the woodwork on two occasions including a cross/shot in the last minute.

Manager Keith Curle told the Daily Post: “The two teams have got a way of playing and they are prepared to stick to their principles. We are two teams plying our trade at the top of the table, so you might expect a little bit of caution, but caution went out of the window in this match. Michael Branch was excellent. He led from the front and typified everything we were trying to do. We are very pleased with the way we played and with a little more luck we could have nicked it at the end.”

The point sees City drop a place to fourth with Leyton Orient jumping up to second spot after beating Mansfield Town 3-1. The Blues are next in action on Friday night when they entertain fifth placed Rochdale at Deva Stadium, kick-off 19:45hrs.

Picture © Evening Leader
The youth team lost 1-0 at home to Wigan Athletic on Saturday morning in their latest North & Midlands West Conference League match. Meanwhile the draw has been made for the second round of the Youth Alliance Cup and the boys travel to play Shrewsbury Town on Saturday 22 October (kick-off 11:00hrs). The match at Port Vale scheduled for that day will now have to be rearranged.

Match report | Youth fixtures | Youth stats
| Youth table
There’s a chance for fans to meet the management soon as they club hold a Fans Forum at 19:00hrs tonight at the ground. In attendance will be chairman Steve Vaughan, manager Keith Curle and commercial manager Bob Gray.

















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