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Nine men and they still can’t beat us!  This was one of the most thrilling derbies of all time.  It remains to be seen if we will ever take part in another derby date with Wrexham ever again.

The Original match report…

Derek Mann for manager? Nearly 1,000 Chester fans will be nominating him and his team for the freedom of the city after a truly amazing derby clash on Tuesday. This game had everything golden goals, great saves penalty drama, sendings off and white-hot passion and at the end of it, who would dare write off battling Chester as relegation certainties?

One point was scant reward for a second half come back with only nine men following the dismissal of Chris Lightfoot and Eddie bishop but the performance will take pride of place in the annals of these cross border skirmishes.

Two men short and 2-1 down, this should have been a St.Valentines day massacre, instead Chester won the hearts of the fans by not only frustrating Wrexham but at times outplaying them It was a triumph for organisation character and physical fitness on a glue pot pitch, yet this was not just about the second half The game had an astonishing start with three goals and a penalty save in the first 18 minutes and the first half ended with Lightfoot getting the red card for a second bookable offence, quickly followed by Eddie bishop following and off the ball incident with Gary Bennett. The former city striker was never out of the action.

He had a header disallowed for pushing in the second minute and then had his penalty brilliantly saved by David Felgate a minute later after he had been brought down by David Flitcroft. He had another effort ruled out in the last minute of the game after suffering a barrage of abuse from the Chester fans who were incensed at what they considered to be an over the top reaction to the incident which resulted in Bishops dismissal. Chester responded well to the early Wrexham pressure by snatching a 13th minute lead. Milner was felled by Barry Jones and bishop converted the spot kick. Wrexham though were inspired and bounced back with two goals in three minutes.

Karl Connolly fired in the equaliser and then Bennett put them ahead with a glorious goal which he started himself with a cheeky back pass to Gareth Owen in midfield. Chester re-organised at half-time and sent out Chris priest at left back and Iain Jenkins at the centre of defence and both were outstanding in a stirring performance. Felgate, already a hero for his penalty save kept Chester in the game with a superb save from a Steve Watkins header, but was grateful to Julian Alsford for a goal-line clearance later.

Chester fans would have settled for a 2-1 defeat in the circumstances but hopes of something better grew as Wrexham failed to make their numerical advantage count. City counter attacked effectively and six minutes from the end were handsomely rewarded.

Iain Jenkins sent Milner away from the half way line and with a sight of goal appeared to have missed his opportunity by checking back with defenders hot on his heels. He needn`t have worried, for Milner wrong footed a defender, spotted Andy Marriot off his line and chipped the ball over his head and into the net.

The final whistle brought scenes of celebration reminiscent of promotion. A point will do little for their Division 2 survival hopes but the performance will live long in the memory.

Quotes from the main men

Gary Shelton was quick to pay tribute to the City supporters. He said: “The fans were fantastic. They were worth two players to us and I was pleased that were able to reward them . We showed a lot of character. We knew that if we stuck together we could get a result.”

City midfielder Chris Priest said: “The fans were brilliant and it irritated Wrexham. That’s what kept us going. There is a great team spirit at the club and this performance proved it. We knew we had to get behind the ball and rely on quick breaks and I must admit I could not have predicted the result.”

There was also generous praise from beaten Wrexham FC manager, Brian Flynn. “I must admire Chester. They were fighting for their lives and we weren’t. We didn’t make our advantage count.”

But nobody was more delighted than City’s caretaker manager Derek Mann. “I have never seen a performance like it with only nine men. It was magnificent. We knew we would be in for a pounding early on but Dave Felgate got us out of gaol with his penalty save.”

Mann continued: “The performance speaks volumes for the type of lads we have at the club. There have been a lot of downs at the club this season and this match has given everyone a big boost. I think this result worth more than three points to our supporters whop were magnificent. I hope they will carry on where they left off.”

The match programme…

My prized possession, an autographed souvenir from the day itself.  Oh what memories.

Fifteen years on, St Milner himself recalls…

Speaking to the Chester Chronicle earlier in the week, Chester City legend Andy Milner remembered the moment that sent City fans into wild ecstasy.

“I set off and there was no-one around so I thought I’d have a nice little run with the ball because it just might give the defence some breathing space,” said the 43-year-old, now a driving instructor living in Crewe. “I just kept on going and it opened up.

“I didn’t fancy taking it on with my left so I made a little step back and got it on my favoured right. Anyone who watched Chester regularly knew that my left foot wasn’t the best!”

“The bus journey back was lively,” he recalled. “We just knew what it meant to everyone. It was nice. Even though we were having a terrible season and it was obvious we were going to go down, it was a little bit of local pride. It was something for the fans, to be honest.”

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As we prepare to visit the Racecourse on Sunday to face Wrexham in the Blue Square Premier League, today we reflect one of Chester best victories over the old enemy.

Wrexham Football Club

Wrexham Football Club

Chester 6 Wrexham 1 – 27th Febuary, 1965

 

 With some 68 league games and several cup ties played between ourselves and Wrexham the choiced for our memory match were many.  The big temptation was to plump for our FA Cup meeting just a few seasons ago but that might have caused Gary Bennett some embarrassment amongst his current teammates.  Instead the choice is our league meeting at Sealand Road in 1964/65.

The game was played on Feb 27 1965 and came at a time when Chester were looking to extend their unbeaten run to 8 league games and at a time when goals were flying in left right and centre.  In addition we were unbeaten at Sealand Road since our first home match of the campaign and looking to record our 15th home league win.  A crowd of 14,872 were present to watch the drama unfold and they didn’t have to wait too long.

Chester were fielding their famous Humes, Metcalf, Talbot, Ryden, Morris forward line for the 22nd consecutive game with Mike Metcalf and Elfed Morris in particular looking to do well against their former club and both succeeded almost immediately.

In the opening minute Peter Hauser set Gary Talbot up with a half chance but Steve Fleet in the Wrexham goal averted the danger but then in the third minute Talbot turned provider with a fine cross for Metcalf to volley the ball home for his 32nd goal of the season.  Wrexham came back strongly with Arfon Griffiths forcing a fine save from stand in keeper Reg Barton whilst Keith Webber and Sammy McMillan also went close.  Gary Talbot was caught offside a couple of times but then with just 12 minutes gone Chester went 2-0 up when Elfed Morris slid a low cross wide of Steve Fleet.  Back to the other end and Reg Barton again earned his keep saving from Webber, Phythian and King.  Ray Jones cleared another effort but with Metcalf in brilliant form in the middle of the park Chester were not short of attacking ideas either. 

On the half hour the score was 3-0, Metcalf did the spadework feeding the ball out to Morris who crossed for Jimmy Humes to slot the ball home.  Within a minute the Chester fans had a fourth goal to celebrate with Jimmy Humes again on target following good work by Talbot and Ryden.  Back came Wrexham with Barnes hitting the post and then with just two minutes of the half remaining they gained some reward for their efforts when Ernie Phythian netted.  Even then, however, Chester almost scored again before the break only for Morris to be denied by a fine save by Fleet.

The half time scoreline was 4-1 and yet the game had been fairly even, the difference was that Chester took their chances!  No one could really expect the second half to live up to the first but Chester gave it a go nevertheless.  With just three minutes gone Jimmy Humes completed his hat trick, heading home a centre from Morris and then six minutes later Gary Talbot got his name on the scoresheet with another header after fine work from Dave Durie.  That was the end of the scoring and Wrexham were no doubt grateful for that but Gary Talbot who’d been injured in the first half was rapidly consigned to the role of passenger and Chester were happy with their afternoon’s work. 

Not only had we recorded our biggest win of the season but we’d also established ourselves as the Football League’s top goalscorers!

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Big match derby tickets for Chester City’s visit to the Racecourse will go on sale at the Deva Stadium today between 10am and 4pm during office hours.  

The Blue Square Premier League match is scheduled to be played at the Racecourse on Sunday, September 27 (kick off 12pm).

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