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Saturday 29 July
Chester City 0 Huddersfield Town 0
Attendance: 1,669 (250 Huddersfield) Half Time 0-0
Booked: -.

Chester City:
Danby, S Vaughan, (Marples 57), Sandwith (Wilson 71), Artell, Linwood, Hessey, Hand, Ravnehill, Martinez, Broughton (Blundell 67), Walters.
Huddersfield Town: Glennon, Holdsworth, Adams, Hudson, McIntosh, Clarke, Schofield (Abbott 46), Worthington (Brandon 46), Booth (Collins 46), Beckett, Taylor-Fletcher.
Referee: M.Dean.

Chester brought their pre-season preparations to a close with a respectable draw against their League One opponents Huddersfield Town managed by former City favourite Peter Jackson.

City gave debuts to both Ricky Ravenhill and Roberto Martinez, signed only 24 hours earlier, and both players gave a solid performance in City’s midfield alongside Jamie Hand. Martinez was instrumental in setting up early opportunities for Drewe Broughton and Jon Walters though both failed to take advantage.

At the other end The Terriers thoughy they’d opened the scoring when the tricky Gary Taylor-Fletcher got on the end of a right wing cross only to see his header hit the bar. Dandby was in action in the City goal soon after palming away an effort from Schofield and keeping an effort from Taylor-Fletcher out to keep the scores level at the interval.

Kevin Sandwith almost broke the deadlock on 50 minutes curling a free-kick just wide and tried another long-range effort that hit the side netting as City pressed. Martinex, busy in midfield, also brough out a save from Gannon in the Town goal from a 25-yarder.

Manager Mark Wright was forced to replace captain of the day Stephen Vaughan after an altercation following a late challenge and brought on Gregg Blundell for Broughton in the closing stages.

As the game wore on it was the visitors who had the clearer chances with former Chester forward Luke Beckett lobbing wide five minutes from time and Danby was well placed to save from both Holdsworth and later Abbott after the player had been sent through one-on-one on the ‘keeper. In injury time Simon Marples was well placed to head an Abbott effort off the line to earn City a well deserved draw.
Wednesday 26 July
Doylsden 0 Chester City 1
Attendance: 180 Half Time 0-1
Booked: -.

Chester City:
Vernon (Ryan 90), Wade, Marsh-Evans (Newton 34), Cadwallader, Allen, Hessey, Rutherford, McSporran, Newby (Barnes 79), Holroyd, Potter (Carroll 76). Subs not used. Roberts, Kelly.
Referee: TBA.

City turned out a reserve side for this fixture, with a handful of players with first team experience. It was triallist Jon Newby scored the only goal of the game on 10 minutes with a cool finish after being set up by a Sean Hessey though header. On the down side young defender Robert Marsh-Evans limped off with a foot injury that was later revealed as a hairline fracture of his fifth metatarsal, keeping the youngster out for 6-8 weeks.

Assistant manager Graham Barrow said of Marsh-Evans: “He’s really just done it out of nothing, as we’ve seen with some of the top players. There’s no explaining it really. I know it did happen at times when I played but not as frequently as it does now. Rob’s a big 6ft 2in, left-sided centre-half. The last one who I saw like him was Steve Walsh when I was at Wigan. He has all those attributes.”

The home side, who had the better of the play for the second half, featured five ex-City players with Carl Ruffer, Steve Brodie, Steve Halford, Dave Cameron and Kevin Rapley in the squad.

Monday 24 July
Chester City 1 Blackpool 2
Attendance: 692 (146 Blackpool) Half Time 1-0
Booked: -.

Chester City:
Danby, Marples (S.Vaughan 75), Sandwith, Linwood, Westwood, Artell, Bennett, Hand, Broughton (Blundell 66), Walters (McSporran 82), Wilson (Holroyd 77).
Blackpool: Jones, Coid (Joseph 60), Clarke (Slater 75), Jackson, Tierney, Forbes, Southern, Fox (Bean 60), Hoolahan, Vernon, Parker. Subs not used: K Clancy, S.Clancy, Burns, Paterson, Donnelly, Prendergast.
Referee: M.Dean (Wirral).

Kevin Sandwith gives the Blues a half-time lead with a free-kick but City are beaten by two goals from Scott Vernon early in the second half.

City began the game well and it was ex-Rushden striker Drewe Broughton who forced the first save of the game as ‘Pool ‘keeper Lee Jones smothered the ball at the big strikers feet and saw another shot fizz past the post minutes later.

City forced the first corner of the night but couldn’t capitalise on it while at the other end Blues ‘keeper Jon Danby was called into action to save smartly from Parker.

Broughton must have through he’d given City the lead as he raced on to a on-on-one with Jones. The striker rounded the shotstopper but saw his shot cleared off the line by a back-peddling Forbes.

City were certainly on top and took the lead on 24 minutes. Jon Walters was fouled on the edge of the box, Sandwith stepped up and curled the ball round the wall and into the corner of the net from the free-kick as City went in at the break in front.

Blackpool came out strong and forced a couple of corners in the opening minutes. Ten minutes later the sides were level. The City defence failed to clear a ball pinging around the box and Vernon shot home from 12 yards.

On 65 minutes Pool took the lead. Once again Vernon was on the scoresheet heading home a cross from Tierney.

Manager Mark Wright introduced both Gregg Blundell and Chris Holroyd as the Blues looked for an equaliser but Jones was to deny Sandwith and Holroyd before the final whistle signaled a home defeat.
Saturday 22 July
Chester City 0 Chesterfield 2
Attendance: 551 (67 Chesterfield) Half Time 0-0
Booked: -.

Chester City:
Danby, Sandwith, S.Vaughan (Marples 58), Hessey, Hand, Blundell (Holroyd 64), Walters (McSporran 58), Bennett (Wolski 58), Wilson (Broughton 58), Artell, Linwood.
Chesterfield: Roach, Picken, Hazell (Wiggins-Thomas 85), Blatherwick (Downes 58), O’Hare (Jackson 66), Hall, Niven, (Kovacs 85), Allott, Hurst, Larkin (Lowry 66), Shaw (Allison 66).
Referee: J.Wock.

Two second half goals were enough to condemn City to their third pre-season Deva defeat this time at the hands of first division Chesterfield. The Blues enjoyed plenty of possession but worringly created very few real chances to score, the nearest being a second half free-kick from Kevin Sandwith that clipped the crossbar to deny an equaliser.

City playing with three at the back in front of Danby enjoyed the better of the early play, looking to set Laurence Wilson clear on the left several times. When City did attack the visitors keeper Roach twice flapped crosses away and headed one clearance away following set-pieces. Jonathan Walters was denied an opening goal midway through the first half as Blatherwick cleared his effort off the line, while Jamie hand shot over from a free-kick minutes later.

At the other end Dandy made his first real save of the day when he denied Shaw whose close range header looked goalbound but for the quick reflexes of the City shotstopper who saved on the line.

After the break City had a great chance to open the scoring as Blundell raced through only to hold the ball up and waste a pass instead of going for goal alone which looked a better option.

On 58 minutes City manager Mark Wright made four substitutions and they’d hardly set foot on the field when City found themselves a goal down as Mark Allott beat the diving Danby from 25 yards with his shot hitting the inside of the post on the way into the net.

Sandwidth’s free-kick apart, the Blues’ only real chance of note in the second half came from a stooping header by substitute Drewe Broughton that brought a save low down from Roach.

The Spireites doubled their lead ten minutes from time through Paul Hall who was sent clear one-on-one, his first effort was saved by Dandy but the ball fell back to the striker who cooly lobbed the ball into the unguarded net.

Wednesday 19 July
Cammell Laird 0 Chester City 3
Attendance: - Half Time 0-1
Booked: -.

Chester City:
Danby (Kaczmarek 64), Vaughan (Marples 61), Wilson (Sandwith 61), Allen, Linwood (Marsh-Evans 65), Artell, McSporran (Newby 57), Hand (Wolski 64), Broughton (Walters 57), Blundell (Holroyd 57), Bennett (Rutherford 71).
Referee: TBA.

Goals from Drewe Broughton, Jermaine McSporran and Jon Walters gave City a comfortable 3-0 victory over a well-organised Cammell Laird side.

Three triallists played for City, Jon Newby (Bury), Michael Wolski (Stockport) and Wojtek Kaczmarek who apparently played for a Polish Second Division side last season.

The Blues took the lead on 38 minutes when Laurence Wilson beat the offside trap and centred to Drewe Broughton who volleyed home from 10 yards. Three minutes after the break minutes Broughton and Gregg Blundell combined to set up McSporran whose scored from close range after his first effort had struck the post.

City completed the scoring on 74 minutes as a fine cross-field pass from Simon Marples set up Jon Walters who sidesteped a defender and finished with style.

Despite the victory manager Mark Wright wasn’t overly pleased with the performance. He said: “We could have won the game by a lot more goals. The referee disallowed one and Gregg Blundell should have scored one, maybe two goals in the first half. But I wasn’t pleased with what I saw overall in the first half and I gave the players a hammering at half-time. It was all too easy in the first half and they came up with the excuse that the pitch wasn’t good. I’m not accepting that – the game was there to be won and the game was there to go after and I don’t think we did that as a unit in the first half.”
Saturday 15 July
Northwich Victoria 1 Chester City 0
Attendance: 548 Half Time 0-0
Booked: -.

Northwich Victora:
Chester City: Craig Vernon, James Vaughan, Sean Newton (Karl Carney 52), Kevin Roberts (Shaun Kelly 75), Rob Marsh-Evans, Adam Wade (James Gregory 56), Paul Rutherford (Jordan Barnes 84), Mark Cadwallader (Glenn Rule 65), Chris Holroyd, Paul McManus (Neil Carroll 30), Freddie Potter (Kieran Morrin 71).
Referee: K.Evans.

This was a hugely impressive performance by a very young Chester side against an experienced Conference eleven. With a squad that included a number of sixteen year olds Chester never looked overawed and for long periods of the game played the better football. With the first eleven otherwise engaged Chester were led from the bench by Jim Hackett, new youth team manager Simon Davies and Mark Newman all of who can be very proud of the way their youngsters performed.

On a blistering hot day the first chance fell to Mark Cadwallader who fired narrowly over the crossbar from 30 yards but Vics gradually secured a foothold and both Kevin Townson and Chris Williams wasted good opportunities. Rob Marsh-Evans showed himself to be an excellent prospect in the centre of the defence with some timely tackles and powerful headed clearances and he was probably the pick of the City players. Just before half time Vics almost took the lead when a cross from Tony Gallimore deceived Craig Vernon and bounced off the top of the crossbar.

Chester stepped up a gear in the second half and could easily have taken the lead. First of all a Ben Connett clearance hit Adam Wade and almost fell to Neil Carroll but the best chance came in the 50th minute when a dangerous James Vaughan cross caused panic in the Vics defence. Freddie Potter's header was well saved by Connett who then blocked Adam Wade’s follow up shot. The ball finally fell to Vaughan whose cannonball shot from the edge of the area was well saved by the beleagured keeper. Two minutes later Connett had to be alert again to a Chris Holroyd effort and it came as a surprise when Vics snatched the lead in the 56th minute after former City man Craig Dove, on trial at Victoria Park, fired through a ruck of players after a corner by Danny Mayman.

Chester refused to fold and the increasingly influential Paul Rutherford ensured that the Blues continued to press forward for the remainder of the game as both sides made a stream of substitutions. In the closing stages Vics had a couple of chances to extend their lead but it would have been cruel on the youngsters to concede another goal.

After the game Jim Hackett expressed his pleasure with the performance: “Although it was a poor goal to concede from a defensive viewpoint we could have gone ahead before this with two or three good chances. They may have looked the better side on paper but I though we edged the game and it could be argued that we looked the better side. We now have three players from the youth set up in the first team squad and three others training with them so the future looks terrific. In the past there has always been talk about the youth setups at Crewe and Wrexham but this performance shows that we now have a good youth system at Chester. I’m very happy with the way the players played today and the youngsters didn’t look out of place against some seasoned professionals.”

Thursday 13 July
Chester City 0 Cercle Brugge 1
Attendance: 269 Half Time 0-0
Booked: Hand.

Chester City:
Danby, Rutherford (McSporran 56), Sandwith (Wilson 56), Linwood (Allen 65), Westwood, Artell (Hanson 69), Hand, Bennett (S.Vaughan 65), Walters (Blundell 65), Broughton (Holroyd 70), Hessey
Cercle Brugge: Vandendriessche, Portier, Grondin, Van Mol, Pivaljevic, Dekelver, Valenta, De Wulf, De Smet, Pinas, Gjuzelov.
Referee: S.Mathieson.

With such short notice given, and two games in two days, it’s hardly surprising that there was a small crowd to witness City’s second pre-season match of the season.

Those who did attend saw a second defea, as Tom De Sutter scored the only goal of the night for the visitors seven minutes from time shooting on the turn from the edge of the penalty area to completely deceive John Danby, with the suspicion of a deflection.

City gave a trial to Christian Hansen a central defender who played 23 matches for Grays Athletic last season. The visitors were reduced to ten men on 72 minutes as Milenko Milosevic was sent off for Brugge after appearing to head butt Jamie Hand who was also booked.

The Blues are next in action on Saturday afternoon when they make the short trip to the Victoria Stadium to play Cheshire neighbours Northwich Victoria.

Tuesday 11 July
Chester City 0 Stoke City 2
Attendance: 1,277 Half Time 0-0
Booked: -

Chester City
(first half):
Danby, Marples, Allen, Artell, Hessey, Wilson, Bennett, S.Vaughan, Newby (triallist from Bury), Walters, Cronin.
Chester City (second half): Danby, Marples (Hessey 60), Sandwith, Bolland (Wilson 78), Westwood, Linwood, McSporran, S.Vaughan, Broughton, Blundell, Hand.
Stoke City: Simonsen, Hoefkins, Duberry, Hill, Buxton (Wilkinson 54), Chadwick (Henry 54), Brammer (Pullis 54), Russell, Harper (Kopteff 54), Blake (Sidebe 19), Sigurdsson (Rooney 74).
Referee: M.Jones.

Chester kicked off their 2006/07 pre-season campaign with a 2-0 defeat against Championship side Stoke City. The result itself was meaningless as supporters and players alike tried to figure out who was who and why the 20p teamsheet only included three Chester players in the correctly numbered shirt. As is the tradition with the early friendlies Chester fielded a different eleven and formation for each of the 45 minutes with only captain Stephen Vaughan and goalkeeper John Danby playing the full game.

Chester started the game with triallist Jon Newby playing up-front alongside Jon Walters and it was the former Bury player who proved to be one of the most impressive players on view in the first 45 minutes. The midfield lined up with Glenn Cronin on the left and Dean Bennett on the right with Stephen Vaughan in the centre just in front of the three central defenders Graham Allen and two familiar faces Dave Artell and Sean Hessey. Laurence Wilson looked a useful acquisition at left wing back with some promising runs while Simon Marples played a more defensive role and occupied the “Regan Gap” – the large area on the right hand side of the field where no defender dared venture last season. Chester probably shaded the first half and put together some good moves without overly troubling Steve Simonson. The system looked fairly solid thanks to the inclusion of Artell, Hessey and Vaughan, three players who knew each others play from last year.

In the second half the formation looked more fluid ie I didn’t understand it. Marples, Vaughan and Danby all remained on the pitch as a new batch of signings emerged to further confuse everybody. The attack featured Drewe Broughton and Gregg Blundell supplemented by Jermaine McSporran. Vaughan was joined in the centre of midfield by the energetic Jamie Hand while Kevin Sandwith took over from Laurence Wilson at left wing back. The central defence for the second half included Paul Linwood, Ashley Westwood and the unfortunate Phil Bolland who lasted thirty minutes before what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury. Certainly the second half performance didn’t match up to the first 45 minutes but it would be extremely harsh to judge anyone on this initial game. Stoke scored two well-taken goals, although the marking was questionable, but otherwise caused few problems for Danby.

Finally a mention for triallist goalkeeper Ricky Banks from Crystal Palace who took the Theo Walcott what-am-I-doing-here role. Perhaps he will be given a chance on Thursday night.

All in all a useful work out. Bring on the Belgians.























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