Date: 16th October 2006 at 4:25pm
Written by:

Chester City extended their unbeat run to five matches at the weekend with another valuable point against Mancunians Rochdale. Although is should have been three, that was the take from City gaffer Mark Wright after he saw The Blues dominate the first half right from the start. Shots rained in but City couldn’t break the deadlock and as the half headed towards the 30 minute mark things began to quieten down.

The second half started quietly before City once more started taking the upper hand. It was Rochdale though who dominated the dying stages of the game with chances to score a late winner which would have been thoroughly undeserved.

Chester started brightly and Roberto Martinez rounded the Rochdale defence nicely in the first minute before firing in a shot. It took a deflection and fell to Jon Walters but as he floated the ball back into the area Matthew Gilks in the Rochdale goal rose to collect it.

At the other end almost immediately James Sharpe could have given ‘Dale an early lead as the ball fell nicely at his feet but he could only manage to blast the ball well over the bar.

It was Chester though looking the brighter of the two sides in the early stages and Dean Bennett made a good run through midfield on 8 minutes but ended it with a weak shot which was straight at Gilks.

Chester had another decent chance on 16 minutes when Jon Walters floated in a cross which fell nicely for Laurence Wilson. He volleyed it from 12 yards but sent it sailing high over the crossbar into the stand.

City kept up the pressure and won a corner in the 20th minute which Roberto Martinez played short to Martinez. he played the ball into the goalmouth area where Dave Artell rose to meet it with a header but had to watch in agony as it came back off the crossbar.

On 24 minutes Jon Walters chased after a long ball forwards and beat Alan Goodall before turning inside and threading a shot through the gathering Rochdale defence. His shot went just wide of the left hand upright but Gilks would have been well placed anyway had it been on target.

After a great opening period for City things began to quieten down somewhat and it wasn’t until 32 minutes that City had another shot at goal with Martinez blasting over from 18 yards out.

On 43 minutes City had a chance from a set piece about 22 yards out in the centre of midfield. Sandwith and Martinez lined up for the free kick and it was Martinez who took it, getting it around the wall but also about a foot over the crossbar.

Rochdale started well in the second half but it was still Chester looking good when Laurence Wilson played a good ball forwards for Jon Walters to chase. He just missed out on it though with Stanton just beating him to it. At the other end almost immediately Morike Sako shot at goal from 18 yards out in the left hand channel but Danby collected the ball comfortably.

Jamie Hand set up Jon Walters with a chance for a header at goal just on the hour mark after a good build up using both channels. Unfortunately he was off target and the ball drifted wide of the left hand post.

On 70 minutes Jon Walters ran through into the area and dodged past the defence before firing in a shot from 10 yards out which went just wide. Moments later and Roberto Martinez had a crack sending in a 20 yard drive as the Blues started to take the upper hand once more.

There was little now from Rochdale although they did win a corner in the 78th minute, Marples puting the ball out under pressure from Moyo-Modise. Nothing came from the corner though with the ball going behind for a goal kick as the game started looking to be heading for stalemate.

From nowhere though it was Rochdale who dominated the last 10 minutes and could have taken the lead in injury time from a free kick 20 yards out but it was blasted over by Alan Goodall.

The referee was slowly losing the plot with a collection of late bookings, including one for Jon Walter protesting at the game playing on whilst Jamie Hand lay injured in the Rochdale goal area.

Deep into injury time and Rochdale were still looking for a late undeserved winner and had another free kick in the 7th minute of added time, this time Lee Crooks blasting the dead-ball over the crossbar.

That was the final chance of the game with Joslin finally blowing the whistle as Danby took the goal kick. After dominating much of the game it was City who were thankful for proceedings coming to an end.

Rochdale: Gilks, Ramsden, Stanton, Sharpe, Goodall, Jones, Crooks, Cooksey, Barker, Sako, Dagnall. Subs: Boardman, Rundle, Clarke, Moyo-Modise, Thompson.

Chester City: Danby, Marples, Sandwith, Hand, Blundell, Bennett, Artell, Westwood, Wilson, Martinez, Walters. Subs: Broughton, Bolland, Hessey, Holroyd, Palethorpe.

Attendance: 3149
Referee: Mr. P. Joslin
Linesmen: Mr. D. Handley
Mr. A. Smith

4th Official: Mr. P. Kettlewell