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Saturday 30 October 1999 –
FA Cup Round One
Whyteleafe 0 Chester City 0

Whyteleafe: Rose, Alger, Golley, Arkwright, McKay, Ahmet, Fisher, Howland, Thornton, Lunn (George 90), Scott (Minton 90), Subs not used: Dawson, Kember, Martin.
Chester City: Brown, Moss, Doughty, Nash (Jones 65), Lancaster, Woods, Milosavijevic, Richardson, Wright, Beckett, Fisher (Shelton 60). Subs not used: Conkie, Cross, Berry.
Referee: P.Taylor (Cheshunt).

Another truly awful performance from Chester who were thankful for a late penalty save by Wayne Brown to give them a second opportunity to see off their part-time opponents in a replay at the Deva. Anyone who witnessed this 'performance' will agree that a replay was the least they deserved from a game which they dominated for most of the first half and a fair share of the second. Having now seen us in action I'm sure they'll be fancying their chances on 9 November.

City started quite brightly, in front of a record gate at Chruch Road, having a lot of possession in the opening stages but without threatening the 'Leafe goal. Golley and Arkwright mopping up anything pumped down the middle of the pitch for Luke Beckett; this ploy seemed City's only move for the opening 45 minutes, if we get the ball pump it up to Beckett, to the frustration of the 300 or so City fans who made the trip to Surrey.

The home side's main threats came from set pieces and the numerous corners that were conceded by City under pressure. Wayne Brown had to be alert to make one tremendous save, tipping over from a bullet header following one flag kick, and youngster Darren Moss cleared one effort of the line at the near post following another (many behind the goal thought the ball had crossed the line!). Brown's job wasn't made easier on the bumpy pitch, by some wayward back passes and poor clearances by City's defence, Woods in particular, putting the keeper under unncecessary pressure.

City's only shot on goal in the first half, by Beckett, was deflected wide for a corner; that's as good as it got.

A double substitution in the second half saw Andy Shelton replace the ineffective Neil Fisher and Jon Jones replace Martin Nash - who never got in the game. At least with Shelton up front City looked to have more purpose and his probing left wing runs at least forced a few corners and seemed to bring darren Wright more into the game. Richardson's header forced a fine save from Rose, who had a great game in the home goal, and then we actually had a shot on target, Shelton volleying straight at the 'keeper from 12 yards following another flag kick. The game now was very much end-to-end.

Whyteleafe continued to press and when, on 83 minutes, the lively Scott was tackled from behind by Moss on the edge of the box, the home crowd appealed for a penalty. Referee Taylor, waved play-on but the linesman's flag was raised and the penalty awarded. Steve Lunn, not the regular penalty taker, stepped forward to hit a weak shot to Brown's right, he then blazed the rebound high.

So City live to fight another day and avoided one of the most embarassing defeats in our history, perhaps that's just been delayed. One thing's for sure there will need to be an immense improvement if City are to progress to the next potential banana skin at either Stalybridge or Merthyr in the second round.

Following the draw Terry Smith commented: "I'm really happy for Whyteleafe. They did a tremendous job and more that deserved a replay. This is what the cup is all about."

Goalkeeper Wayne Brown said: "I wasn't surprised about how well Whyteleafe played. I came across them before during my non-league days with Weston-super-Mare and I knew they were a good side. They showed a lot of spirit and character. At times they really bombed us and it's a relief to get them back to the Deva. It will be another difficult game there."
Saturday 23 October 1999
Lincoln City 4 Chester City 1

Lincoln City: Richardson, Fleming, Brown, Barnett, Galloway, Smith, Finnigan, Miller, Philpott, Thorpe, Gordon (Stant 79). Subs not used: Battersby, Henry, Gain, Marriott.
Chester City: Brown, Moss, Doughty, Lancaster, Woods, Nash (Fisher 65), Milosavijevic (Finney 78), Richardson, Blackwood, Agogo, Beckett. Subs not used: Wright, Berry, Cutler.
Referee: P.Jones (Loughborough).

If ever a game showed up City's stark lack of experience in the centre of their defence, then this was it. City's rearguard has an apalling record that has seen 48 goals conceded in 18 matches. The defence lacks the kind of experience needed at this level of football, instead the grief falls on teenalgers Lancaster, Moss and Doughty.

City played well in the first 45 minutes creating numerous chances and went in deservedly level at 1-1. But the second half was a difference story, one were more used to witnessing.

Lincoln opened the scoring on 10 minutes when a long throw from the right was met by three City defenders. All missed it before Barnett, unchallenged, headed the high bouncing ball in from six yards out. Thorpe and Philpott went close to adding to the Imps' lead before youngster Matt Doughty nearly opened his Chester account. His 25-yarder was dropped by Richardson in the home goal and Luke Beckett was on hand to blaze the ball over, not knowing that the linesman's flag was raised for offside.

Five minutes before the break however City were level courtesy a sensational striker from Manuel Junior Agogo. Moss took a quick throw in for City near the half way line. Agogo collected the ball and raced past Galloway before unleashing an unstoppable 25 yarder that flew past Richardson for the equaliser that City's first half play had certainly deserved. Lincoln almost took a half time advantege though as a Brown howler resulted in Matt Woods clearing off the line.

Brown saved well on two occasions after the break before Agogo missed a great chance to put City 2-1 with a free header before Lincoln regained the lead through Thorpe. They made it 3-1 with a goal that looked suspiciously offside. Thorpe broke down the left and despite a save from Brown, he and Moss got in a mixup leaving Finnigan a simple tap-in.

Phil Stant wrapped up the scoring in the last minute when he headed home with City's defence all at sea.
Wednesday 21 October 1999 - Pontins League Division Two
Mansfield Town Reserves 0 Chester City Reserves 0

Mansfield Town: Ian Bowling, Alister Asher, Lee Cowling (David Jervis 45 (Paul Overton (55)), Liam Lawrence (Lee Williamson 45), John Andrews, Craig Allardyce (Capt), Scott Gibbons, Ian Clark, Danny Bacon, Paul Wilkinson, Mick Boulding. Subs not used: Jamie Clarke, Kevin Tye.
Chester City: Neil Cutler (Capt), Paul Roberts, Martin Nash, Danny Carson, Chris Blackburn, Steve Malone, Andrew Shelton (Carl Rendall 84), Neil Fisher, Johnathon Jones, Steve Finney, Wesley Kilgannon. Subs not used: Matthew Conkie, Kwik Ajet.

A small crowd of around 50 people braved the cold and windy weather to see this twice postponed fixture. The crowd included a few first teamers (Clarke, Tallon, Sisson & Kerr) along with Ilkeston Town manager Keith Alexander (who spent 15 minutes before kick-off talking to his new groundsman, Dick Dennett). Stags Chief Executive Keith Haslam also put in an appearance for the game.

The Stags had much the better of the first half, with Stags keeper Ian Bowling rarely getting a touch of the ball. Danny Bacon could (and probably should) have had the game wrapped up for half-time, as he missed a fair few chances. A shot from the edge of the box straight into the keepers arms, a free header that sailed over the bar and a one-on-one which the Chester keeper, Neil Cutler, managed to get a touch to and put wide of the post. Half-time 0-0.

Lee Cowling, as it said in this week's CHAD, played only the first half and didn't emerge for the second, Liam Lawrence too didn't start the second half (Lee Williamson and David Jervis replacing them). David Jervis didn't last that long himself, ten minutes in fact, as he came off the worst in a fifty-fifty tackle for the ball. He was helped from the field to be replaced by Paul Overton.

Shortly after the substitution Paul Wilkinson had a couple of chances. The first, a through ball from Ian Clark ended when he shot staright into the keeper hands. The second ended with the keeper diving at his feet on the edge of the area and knocking the ball away.

Chester had few chances, but their best came on 65 minutes as a shot from 15 yards went past Ian Bowling and went inches wide of the post.

On 81 minutes, a poor clearance from Ian Bowling (outside his area) found a Chester player who lofted the ball over to a team-mate at the far post, but Ian Bowling had recovered his ground to save the resulting shot. Another couple of snap-shots did nothing but warm Ian Bowling's hands.

Within a minute, at the other end of the pitch, the Stags broke through and with just the keeper to beat, Danny Bacon from about 20 yards out lofted the ball over him, but looked on as the ball came back off the foot of the post and eventually back to the keeper.

A late Chester substitution failed to alter the outcome. Final score 0-0. Man of the Match: Ian Clark, just edging out Danny Bacon.

As far as a Chester man of the match, that would have to go to keeper Neil Cutler who had an excellent game keeping the Stags at bay.

Report by Keith Parnill – Follow The Yellow Brick Road (Mansfield Fanzine)
Chester City 2 Cheltenham Town 1

Massive improvement from Saturday, with a bright more hard working performance against what was a very poor Cheltenham side.

The side had a more solid look to it, with Nicky Richardson restored to midfield and Goran having a fine game at centre half. Eclipsed however by Darren Moss, who was absolutely outstanding at right back, tremendous tackling with the distribution of Beckenbauer!!!

It was interesting to note thet Shaub Reid was up and down on the bench, with Smith far quiueter than of he getting the message?

A turgid first half with two bad sides cancelling each other out. The second half was illuminated by a moment of sheer class. Junior picked the ball up fully 40 yards out, beat at least 4 defenders on a mazy run before lashing a shot past a statuesque ' football!!

Fully half an hour left, we expected an onslaught from Cheltenham, but no, Junior scored another before 5 minutes had passed from a lovely Darren Moss cross. Cue more Wham and wild celebrations.

Cheltenham did score a goal (it should have been disallowed for a foul on Wayne Brown), however we held out with surprising ease for a well deserved victory.

At the end of the game Terry did his usual shaking of the players hands. Am I being too cynical to suggest he only does this to take credit? He never does it after a poor performance. Luke did not even look at him when they shook hands.

We must not carried away with this win. The best thing to come out of it, is that Cheltenham are a seriously poor side. It will be a dreadful side that finishes below them come May. Please, Luke must stay, Junior is only a short term fix, he will not sign for us permanently. If Luke goes we lose the only quality striker we have.

Tuesday 20 October 1999
Chester City 2 Cheltenham Town 1

Chester City: Brown, Moss, Lancaster, Milosavijevic,Woods, Doughty, Wright, Richardson, Blackwood, Beckett, Agogo. Subs (not used) Cutler, Berry, Finney, Fisher, Nash.
Cheltenham Town: Book, Duff, Victory, Banks, Freeman, Howells, Grayson, Yates, Howarth, Milton, Jones (Devaney 63). Subs not used; Higgs, Bloomer, McAuley, Jackson.
Referee: Kevin Lynch (Knaresborough).

Trust Chester to raise their game against a team nicknamed "The Robins". City played with five at the back again, this time Milosavijevic joined Lancaster and Woods in the centre of defence. Goran looked more up with the pace of the game and had his most effective match yet for Chester. The one blemish on his copybook performance was his booking early in the first half for demolishing Grayson from behind. The referee's lecture on the Serbian was wasted as he wouldn't have understood a word of it.

To begin with it looked like a repetition of Saturday's drab performance against Macclesfield. City, kicking towards the chocolate factory (Home supporters) end, didn't get out of their own half for the first five minutes.

Gradually the game became more even and City began to venture forward. From Richardson's delightful pass Agogo raced through only to see his shot crash off the post and end up in the arms of The Robins' keeper. This was about the sum of the excitement in the first half - very forgettable but at least City went in at the break with a clean sheet.

Chester came out on this bitterly cold but clear night and took the game to the visitors in the second half. They began to win a few corners, things were looking up. Then after working the ball skillfully out of defence on the left with a tightly woven set of passes, Agogo set off from the half way line towards goal. He got to the box and still had two defenders in front of him, but went one way then the other and jinked through them before slamming his angled shot into the far side of the net. A goal of breathtaking class. This time we could hear the tannoy as a Chester goal was scored. The tune: "Wake me up before you gogo", of course.

Five minutes later Cleggy had to do a rapid rewind as Manuel scored again. This time a swift one two between Moss and Beckett on the right led to Moss whipping a low cross in which Agogo glanced into the back of the net.

Not since that astonishing night at Vale Park had we looked down from the dizzy hights of a two goal lead. It was clipped to one after 75 minutes - an absolute travesty of a goal for Cheltenham. Brown was clobbered as he came to meet a cross, everyone stopped expecting a free kick to be given while Milton stooped to head the loose ball into the net. Amazingly the referee and linesman looked at each other and then gave the goal. No-one in the ground could believe it.

But in the end City held on fairly comfortably for a well-earned and welcome win. One of Goran's clearances seemed to go higher than the moon in the clear night sky. Another easily cleared the main stand.

The relief at the end was palpable. The players came to milk the standing ovation from the home faithful. It was so good to see the smiles back on people's faces again.

Colin Mansley

Saturday 16 October 1999
Chester City 1 Macclesfield Town 2

Chester City: Brown, Wright, Carver (Berry 62), Lancaster, Cross (Moss 14), Richardson, Nash, Blackwood, Fisher, Agogo, Beckett. Subs not used: Cutler, Woods, Shelton.
Macclesfield Town: Martin, Ingram, Collins, Tinson, Rioch, Durkan (Tomlinson 80), Priest, Wood (Ware 83), Davies (Sedgemore 62), Barker, Askey. Subs not used: Brown, Whitehead.
Referee: C.Wilkes (Gloucester).

Well, this was a totally inept performance.

Lacking in any guile, skill or brilliance. The boys worked hard enough, with Neil Fisher tackling!!! The problem lies solely at the feet of the coaching staff. They picked the team, and decided on the formation. For those not there, picture if you will a fabulous sunny day at the Deva, a local derby, and the words of our esteemed leader ringing in our ears- "We are a good side".

On the way to the ground it is revealed on Radio Merseyside that Ross had been released, no reason given. I was astonished, for God's sake he is by far our most experienced defender, arguably our best. He was on his way, presumably on a Terry whim...and I sponsor his boots in the name of my 9 month old son!! Gutted is an understatement.

More surprises in store at the ground. It is now clear why he signs so many strikers. He played one at right back (Darren Wright), one in centre midfield (Junior Agogo), our best midfield player, Nicky Richardson at centre half...he was totally lost poor fella. He played Joe Carver up front, and he was absolutely useless. So poor it was untrue. He has no control, no awareness...NO ABILITY!!

Luke was marooned up front by himself (according to Sunday reports he is going to York City). Smiths ego trip must come to an end, he patently does not know what he is doing. Let us not forget Macclesfield were a very poor side...and we were considerably worse. He has petty rows with people who disagree with him...Kevin Ratcliffe, Ross Davidson, Luke Beckett and ultimately disposes of them...we must get a manager, if we don't we have had it.

Terry Smith does not care one jot for our club, if he did we would have a man in chrge who knew what he was doing.

Saturday 9 October 1999
Peterborough United 2 Chester City 1

Peterborough United: Tyler, Hooper, Drury, Scott, Chapple (Rea 40), Edwards, Clarke, Forinton, Martin, Green (Inman 68), Shields (Gill 83), Subs not used: Griemink, Broughton.
Chester City: Brown, Moss, Doughty (Nash 73), Davidson, Lancaster, Woods (Cross 50), Wright, Richardson, Agogo, Beckett, Blackwood (Carver 46). Subs not used: Cutler, Berry.
Referee: W.Jordan (Tring).

Same old story, sloppy defending once again cost City dear as they gave away two bad goals at London Road and remain firmly rooted at the bottom of the Football League. With Goran Milovaijevic sidelined with a hamstring injury City welcomed back Ross Davidson following suspension.

It was Chester who had the brighter of the opening few minutes with good work by Junior Agogo forcing a couple of corners which the home defence cleared. Nick Richardson almost set up Balckwood down the left before right out of the blue Posh opened the scoring. Martin's long punt forward from deep in his own half caught the City defence square and £250,000 signing Howard Forinton raced through to unleash an unstoppable shot past Wayne Brown into the roof of the net without a City defender in sight.

Five minutes later though and the Blues equalised through Luke Beckett. Wayne Brown launched a massive goal kick down the centre that Posh defender Edwards missed entirely, as 'keeper Tyler came rushing to the edge of his box, Beckett nipped in between the two, flicked the ball over Tyler and headed over the defender to send the 150 City supporters behind the goal wild.

Forinton almost added a second on the half hour, the home striker seeing his header graze the woodwork before the home side went 2-1 up courtesy some more slack City marking.

Beckett and Darren Wright both had chances to tackle Drury, both missed as the midfielder fed the ball out to Clarke on the left wing. His simple cross eluded both Lancaster and Davidson leaving Forinton the easiest tasks of side footing the ball home from from eight yards out.

After the break it generally one way stuff with City 'keeper and man of the match Wayne Brown pulling off a series of outstanding saves that kept the scoreline respectable.

Speaking after the match Terry Smith hinted that there would be no more new signings now unless "someone special" came along and that City's shaky defence would be sorted out with the players currently in the squad. Wednesday night's Cheshire Senior Cup match with Tranmere would be used to perhaps try one or two permitations with the line-up.
Saturday 2 October 1999
York City 2 Chester City 2

York City: Mimms, Hocking (Jones 55), Fairclough, Serotri, Hall, Fox, Hulme, Atkins, Bullock, Turley (Garratt 55), Ormerod (M Williams 71). Subs not used: Howarth, J Williams.
Chester City: Brown, Moss, Lancaster, Woods, Milosavijevic, Doughty, Wright, Richardson, Blackwood, Beckett, Agogo. Subs not used: Cutler, Berry, Malone, Nash, Jones.
Referee: T.Parkes (Birmingham).

Strange game last Saturday, we should have had it won inside ten minutes, with Luke the chief culprit, missing three.

Smithy strikes again with his psychology, wasn't Luke on his way out last week..dropped for the York game for our new Yankee doodle dandy Striker? I reckon Terry believes his own bull sometimes, the players do not know if they are coming or going. We are a fickle bunch of fans at Chester... I stood behind the goal at York and could not believe the stick Goran got!! For crying out loud, he speaks no English, seems to be a gifted player in MIDFIELD, plays at centre half to the best of his ability, and gets racist abuse from so called supporters, who I wish would just not watch my side.

The players who deserve the stick are those that do not try, and the management structure who simply try and con the fans. Junior Agogo is a very average player who is not interested in Chester City, granted he finished well for his goal, but his attitude stinks. Michael Blackwood is working his socks off for the cause and was rightfully rewarded with a well taken header and supplying Agogo with the pass for his goal. We need more players of his quality, preferably at centre half!!

The plus points from the game came from Wayne Brown, Matt Doughty (again...and still not signed on a long term contract!), Blackwood and the back to form Nicky Richardson

The negative points came from not having an experienced centre half, and a manager who does not know one end of a football pitch from another.

PS I have just read that we are to be charged full price to see Chester play Tranmere reserves in the pathetic Cheshire Cup...ISA are you on the board?

York City 2 Chester City 2

A well deserved point for City, but, with more clinical finishing, they could have come away from York with all three.

Three times in the opening ten minutes City had chances to score, all three openings falling to Luke Bekett. The best of his trio saw him round veteran 'keeper Bobby Mimms before squaring the ball agonisingly across the face of the goal with no support. The home side too had cahances in the first half with Wayne Brown tipping a Turley header onto the post and saving well from Mark Atkins minutes later at point-blank range when a goal seemed a certainty.

City took the lead on 54 minutes with Michael Blackwood heading home Matt Doughty's fine outswinging left wing cross, Blackwood himself had instigated the move. Things looked to be going well for City with the home crowd showing their displeasure at York manager Neil Thompson. However, the home side equalised on 73 minutes when some indecision by Martyn Lancaster allowed Wiliams, who'd only been on the pitch two minutes, to shoot home through 'keeper Brown's legs.

Three minutes later and York were in front. A left wing corner was inexplicable headed into his own net by Martyn Lancaster under no pressure at all. City's determination soon bought an equaliser though with Junior Agogo cooly picking up Blackwood's superb through ball and finishing from 15 yards, much the same as his goal at Brighton, to give City a point which still keeps them at the foot of the table one point behind their hosts.

York City 2 Chester City 2

There are a couple of advantages to living in York and supporting Chester. The first - living just 2 mins 36 seconds from the ground. The second - being able to enjoy a considered conversation regarding the afternoons events with opposition supporters over a couple of pints. The different perspective on the game from opposition fans enables a more complete overview of events between 3pm and around 4.50.

Radio York somewhat ungraciously suggested that the match illustrated why the respective teams are where they are. Not true. Both York fans and myself agreed the level of skill shown by Chester belied their position in the league. York City did not come off so well. The chants of "you don't know what you're doing" aimed at the York bench were echoed in bars throughout York on Saturday night.

Nick Love

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