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Posts Tagged ‘Rochdale’

When Paul Comstive joined the Clarets from Wrexham in the summer of 1987, in the aftermath of the Orient game, he had already notched around 150 league appearances for his four clubs.

He’d started his career as a youngster with Blackburn Rovers and made his league debut for them in a game against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in October 1980. It wasn’t the start of a fruitful first team career at Ewood Park though and he went on to make just two more appearances for them before signing for Rochdale on loan in 1982.

At Spotland he scored his first goals but returned to Blackburn after playing nine games for them. That was in September 1982, but in the following summer he made the move to Wigan Athletic where, for just over a year, he was a regular in the side.

That was at left back and it was in that position he played against Burnley for the first time, during the John Bond season at Turf Moor he was at left back in the side we beat 3-0 at Turf Moor with goals from Brian Flynn, Tommy Hutchison and Kevin Reeves.

In November 1984 Wrexham paid £3,000 for him and he spent three years there before making the move to Turf Moor alongside the Wrexham goalkeeper Chris Pearce. Both were out of contract at Wrexham and both were subject to tribunal fees. Burnley had to pay £8,000 for his services.

He soon settled into a midfield role at Burnley, alongside another new signing in Andy Farrell. Burnley had a much better season, holding the top position for a period, and although league wise it ended in disappointment there was the Sherpa Van Trophy Final to look forward to at Wembley.

Comstive had proved to be a big success. Offering height, and no little skill, in the midfield his style was likened to that of Glenn Hoddle by some and he certainly offered goals from that position. He scored eight times in the league and added four more in cup competitions including the clincher against Preston at Deepdale as we reached Wembley.

No one came closer than Comstive to scoring in that Wembley final either; he twice hit the woodwork as we lost 2-0 to a Wolves side who had won the Fourth Division.

The next season was one of change at Turf Moor with Frank Casper replacing Brian Miller as manager and that was thought to be a factor in it being Comstive’s last season as a Burnley player.

Again he reached double figures in goals, beating his previous season total by one, and for much of the season was a regular. He didn’t miss a single game in the first half of the season with Miller in charge but under Casper his position wasn’t quite so secure.

He was still at Burnley at the start of the following season but by now he was no longer involved with the first team and so in September 1989, after two years, he left to sign for Bolton Wanderers who were a division higher than us.

We’d certainly done more than alright from Comstive. We paid £8,000 for him, got two good years from him, and sold him to Bolton for £37,000. After just over two years at Burnden Park he signed for Chester City and spent a further two years there before ending his playing career in the league at the end of the 1992/93 season.

He was in the Chester side for both games against Burnley in that final season, scoring in their 3-0 win against us in what was the first ever league game played at the Deva Stadium.

Comstive played non-league football for a further four years for Southport, Morecambe and Chorley before hanging up his boots at the age of 35.

Away from the playing side he was reserve team coach at Burscough for a while and is now first team coach with Fleetwood Hesketh who are based in his home town of Southport. They play in the West Lancashire League.

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League Two leaders Rochdale have signed former Manchester United youth defender Michael Lea.

The 21-year-old has joined Keith Hill’s side on non-contract terms until the end of the season.

He was released after one year as a professional at Manchester United and went on to have spells with Scunthorpe and Chester City.

Lea was left without a club after Chester were wound up in the high court earlier this month.

He told the official Rochdale FC website: “I’m hopeful this move will be the one that takes me forward.

“You could say my moves so far haven’t been good ones in terms of progressing my career but I’m determined.”

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Stephen Vaughan Jnr, the former named owner of defunct Blue Square Premier club Chester City, is one of three new players to be signed by Marine.

Vaughan, whose father Stephen controversially transferred his stake in the troubled club to the now-25-year-old in the midst of the chaos surrounding the team’s financial issues, made 58 Football League appearances from 2005-2007 for Chester City before moving on to Rochdale and Boston United. He returned to Chester City in 2008.

Marine have also announced the signings of ex-Chester striker Lloyd Ellams and goalkeeper Kyle Clancy from Burscough, the UniBond League’s website is reporting.

Clancy, 20, has been signed as cover for the injured Tim Dittmer who has a lung injury.

Ellams, 20, is a young striker who was with Chester City from 2008 to 2010, including a loan spell at Droylsden during that time.

Midfielder Vaughan, meanwhile, started his career at Liverpool making 70 appearances for the Reserves and represented England at Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 level.

Marine Chairman Paul Leary said: “Tim Dittmer has had a reaction from an old lung injury he had some time ago and Kyle will provide that quality of cover that is needed as we push on.

“The signing of Lloyd and Steven will assist greatly with Kevin’s objectives in the final part of the season. It is hoped that all three will be eligible for tonight’s home game against Kendal Town.”

Marine Manager Kevin Lynch said: “The signing of the three players could not be better timed as the transfer deadline looms near. I am pleased that the three players have joined Marine and each will provide me with additional benefits and options as I try to continue to improve the overall quality of the squad.”

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David Felgate

His professional career lasted 17 years from 1978 to 1995 where he made a total of 612 Football League appearances. Of those 198 came at the Lincoln City and 238 came with the Bolton Wanderers, though he also played for Rochdale, Crewe Alexandra, Grimsby Town, Cardiff City, Chester City, and Wigan Athletic.

David was initially loaned to the Imps from the Trotters when Colin Boulton was dealt a hefty lay off with a broken leg with a permanent move soon forthcoming. Indeed Bolton would let him slip twice before finally seeing him make nearly 400 games for them when Phil Neal finally managed to make a loan deal permanent from Grimsby who we of all teams had sold him too. David would keep 24 clean sheets that season with 23 of them coming in a Division Four promotion winning campaign (second two points behind Southend) that saw vital shut outs at all our rivals, namely Southend, Doncaster and Wimbledon.

Fe -Fi- Fo Ffestiniog-born green giant Felgate was the immovable object and the irresistible force the following season as we narrowly missed a return to the Hallowed second Division not seen since the early sixties. A 1-1 draw at Fulham on the last day of the season saw nearly 6,000 Imps fill the away end in a twenty thousand crowd. In those three seasons David would miss just 3 matches and rack up clean sheets of 18, 14 and 16 respectively, becoming one of the bravest and best shot stoppers in the bottom two Divisions. On the 12th October he would become the first Imp to represent his Country as Wales beat Rumania 5-0. He would have got this a season earlier but for Neville Southall and the small matter of the Bobby Sands hunger strike causing the postponement of a home International with Wales

David`s season by season stats breakdown can be found below illustrating his fantastic contribution including a memorable performance against Spurs when we beat them 2-1 at home in front of a partisan 12,239 in the league Cup. Twice named in the PFA Division Three ‘Team of the Season’ and once as the Imps’ ‘Player of the Season’ – Felgate was sold to Grimsby Town in the summer of 1985 for £27,500. Some suggested we needed the money as crowds had dropped though the tragedy at Bradford, his final game for us, on the final day of the 1984/85 season also had a bearing.

Grimsby Town had him for one season, though he fell from favour and was initially loaned to Bolton Wanderers before returning permanently for seven seasons. After an initial relegation he got amongst the silverware as they again returned to better times. A free to Chester City for two seasons saw yet another promotion winner`s medal before a final move to Wigan Athletic. The competitive career was far from over despite a move to semi pro with Leigh RMI for several seasons. This included an FA Cup run and a goalless draw against Kevin Keegan’s Fulham in November 1998, with Kevin rating his performance as one of the best he had ever seen. He would win two promotions with Leigh then another at Radford Borough who went up as champions. Fabulous Felgate retired at 45 after two final seasons at Bacup Borough. having played nearly 1000 competitive games

These days he coaches for East Lancashires just for Keepers and is involved with Manchester City and the first team keepers at Stockport County

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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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Reports suggest that football league defender Clarke Keltie has been linked with a loan move to the Deva Stadium.

The Rochdale defender joined Dale from League Two rivals Darlington alongside Scott Wiseman in the summer of 2008. A centre midfielder, Clark spent 7 years in the North-East, before being released at the end of the 07/08 season. He made over 100 appearances for The Quakers in that time, scoring 11 goals.

He started his first season with Dale as part of the first choice pairing alongside Gary Jones, but suspension saw him lose his place to Ciaran Toner. He featured in the middle again when Gary Jones picked up an injury, and had successful runs alongside Ciaran Toner and Mark Jones, helping Dale push for automatic promotion.

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