Date: 20th October 2006 at 5:03pm
Written by:

Chester City 1 Hartlepool United 0
20th February 1993

Today we focus our Classic Encounter attentions to a season where victories were few and far between. With long serving manager Harry McNally sacked in the autumn, three points against Hartlepool United were most welcome and somewhat unexpected.

Legendary goalkeeper Billy Stewart was the Hartlepool heartbreaker as Chester somehow snatched three points from the teeth of a gale at The Deva Stadium. The inspired city goalkeeper did more than anyone to prolong United`s goal famine, with a wonder show in a one sided performance in the second half. Hartlepool`s bid to avoid a seventh successive defeat was running out of a time when they were awarded a penalty. Stewart dived to the occasion to pull off his second successive spot save and City had victory in the bad.

“Billy was superb,” said player-manager Graham Barrow, now assistant boss with The Blues. “But this was really the battling Chester of old. It was desperate stuff in the second half. The strong wind made it very difficult to play out of our own half.”

It was no game for the purist, finesse was not in the city script and the high ball into the wind was the not the way to break down the United defence. But Stuart Rimmer managed it after 25 minutes. Brought down just inside the penalty area he calmly slotted home the penalty and a few minutes later squandered a golden chance when he shot past goalkeeper Frank Talia after being put through by John Kelly.

Hartlepool made much more the wind in the second half laying siege to the City goal but finding Stewart unbeatable even from the spot when Andy Saville had his shot pushed out after the goalkeeper had been judged to have been pushing in the six yard area. Stewart made half a dozen top class saves as it seemed only a matter of time before United would end a run of ten matches without a goal. It wasn`t a pretty site but Chester stuck it out under the most intensive pressure and they deserve credit for that, if nothing else.