Date: 8th January 2009 at 8:33pm
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No matter whether it be a truly inter-city confrontation such as Manchester United against Manchester City, Liverpool versus Everton or Arsenal’s meeting with Spurs, or merely a duel between near neighbours, local derby matches rarely fail to produce encounters that arouse the most fervent of passion and pride in both the competing clubs, and amongst their supporters. This match falls into this category. Played on Boxing Day 1977, this Chester versus Shrewsbury game played on the Sealand Road ground proved a highly emotional affair, tempers raised on both sides on several occasions.

Although eventually decided by a single goal the game lacked little in Christmas Cheer for the 5,071 spectators, but it was non the less a game that could have gone either way. Chester went into the game in mid table having scored just twenty two League goals in their twenty games, whilst the visitors were hoping to end a run of five league games without a win. The home side’s performance on the day was mediocre to say the least, however Shrewsbury’s was little better, although they did enjoy much more possession than their hosts during the opening exchanges. Shrewsbury’s failure to capitalise in that most vital area – the penalty area – was due to Chester’s solid defence that was both compact and resolute.

Telling centre’s especially from the feet of the impressive Paul Maguire, were soon sussed out by the home side, and their predictability in this area of their play ensured Chester the luxury of easy clearances time and again. Having beaten Stockport County, away by two goals to one in an FA Cup replay seven days beforehand, Shrewsbury threatened rarely, however striker Chic Bates did strike a post just prior to the interval, a gaping wide goal almost beckoning the ball in after he’d left keeper Brian Lloyd stranded.

Tempers had begun to get somewhat fragile throughout the opening half, matters coming to a head in the 31st minute when an already booked Doug Livermore clashed with former Chester defender Graham Turner. The latter was booked, the former sent off as Chester were reduced to ten men. Town defender Griffin also went into the referee’s notebook, as did the name of striker Bates in what was now fast becoming a true boxing day. With just thirteen minutes remaining and a goal less draw was almost certainly due to the lack of scoring efforts by both sides, a mad mix up between Ken Mulhearn and defender Carlton Leonard allowed Chester’s top scorer Paul Crossley to lob the ball over both, and into an unguarded not to claim both points for the home side.

Ironically the very next day – December 27th Chester visited Walsall losing 3-0, whilst Town entertained Bradford City, winning 4-0! What a funny old game.

Chester: Lloyd, Nickeas, Walker, Storton, Delgado, Oaks, Crossley, Livermore, Kearney, Edwards, Philips.

Shrewsbury Town: Mulhearn, King, Leonard, Turner, Griffin, Durban, Irvine, Nixon, Lindsay, Bates

Attendance: 5,071