Top 20 Attendances

A recent request for a list of Chester’s highest attendances prompted me to look through the records and expand the search to find the top 20. I thought the results might provide interesting reading:

1 – 20,378 Chelsea FA Cup 3rd Round replay 18/01/52 L 2-3

2= 19,000 Leeds United League Cup 4th Round 13/11/74 W 3-0

2= 19,000 Newcastle United League Cup 5th Round 18/12/74 W 1-0

2= 19,000 Aston Villa League Cup Semi-Final 22/01/75 D 2-2

5 – 18,816 Sheffield Wednesday FA Cup 4th Round replay 25/01/39 D 1-1

6 – 18,706 Stoke City FA Cup 4th Round 25/01/47 D 0-0

7 – 18,251 Newcastle United FA Cup 3rd Round 22/01/66 L 1-3

8 – 18,004 Wrexham Division 3 North 29/08/36 W 4-1

9 – 18,000 Plymouth Argyle FA Cup 3rd Round 11/01/47 W 2-0

10 – 16,835 Wrexham Division 3 North 04/02/33 L 0-3

11 – 16,375 Tranmere Rovers Division 3 North 28/03/36 D 1-1

12 – 16,283 Wigan Athletic FA Cup 2nd Round 04/12/65 W 2-1

13 – 16,160 Wrexham Division 3 North 28/02/48 W 4-1

14 – 15,882 Derby County FA Cup 3rd Round 02/01/71 L 1-2

15 – 15,255 Stockport County Division 3 North 24/04/37 D 1-1

16 – 15,202 Wrexham Division 3 North 01/10/55 W 2-1

17 – 15,106 Wrexham Division 3 North 29/09/34 W 6-2

18 – 15,024 Wrexham Division 4 26/12/69 W 2-0

19 – 14,921 Wrexham Welsh Cup Final 03/05/33 W 2-0

20 – 14,782 Wrexham Division 4 27/02/65 W 6-1

I have seen various figures quoted for the Chelsea FA Cup tie in 1952 but have gone for the more precise figure of 20,378 rather than the rounded up one of 20,500 that is often used. I have also little doubt that the attendances of 19,000 for all three League Cup ties were probably based on the capacity of the ground at the time rather than a fully accurate total.

Given that there is a general belief that Chester always lose when there is a larger than expected attendance It is interesting to see that only four of the top 20 games resulted in defeat and three of these were against teams at least two divisions higher.

Fastest Goalscoring Debutant

When Matt Sargent scored after 87 seconds with his first touch of the ball against Kettering Town the question was asked if a Chester player had ever scored a quicker goal on his league debut.

The previous record holder for the reformed club was Johnny Hunt who scored after 4 minutes in the first game of the 2015/16 season when Chester beat Braintree Town 1-0.

Special mention should be made to Jamie Menagh who scored in the 8th and 10th minute in a 4-1 win over Lincoln City in December 2013 while Akwasi Asante scored a hat trick in 69 minutes against Darlington in December 2018 on his debut.

The following table is a definitive list of goalscoring league debutants since the club reformed in 2010 with the quickest first.

  • Matt Sargent v Kettering Town 19/3/22 – 87 seconds
  • Johnny Hunt v Braintree Town 8/8/15 – 4 minutes
  • Wayne Riley v Kidderminster Harriers 25/8/14 – 5 minutes (substitute 78 score 83)
  • Rob Hopley v Warrington Town 24/8/10 – 6 minutes
  • Jamie Menagh v Lincoln City 21/12/13 – 8 minutes
  • James McCarthy v Skelmersdale United 20/11/10 – 11 minutes (substitute 72 score 83)
  • Jordan Archer v Barrow 24/10/17 – 11 minutes
  • Brendon Daniels v Vauxhall Motors 23/2/13 – 12 minutes
  • Luke Holden v Whitby Town 12/11/11 – 14 minutes
  • Matt McNeil v Rushall Olympic 13/8/11 – 14 minutes
  • Matt McGinn v FC United 24/8/11 – 17 minutes
  • Levi Mackin v Rushall Olympic 7/1/12 – 17 minutes (substitute 73 score 90)
  • Danny O’Brien v Altrincham 16/2/16 – 26 minutes
  • Akwasi Asante v Darlington 1/12/18 – 27 minutes
  • Jack Redshaw v Blyth Spartans 25/9/21. – 27 minutes (substitute 59 score 86)
  • Chris Simm v Ossett Albion 22/1/11 – 43 minutes
  • James Caton v Grimsby Town 12/4/14 – 45 (substitute 45 score 90)
  • Okera Simmonds v Curzon Ashton 22/1/22 – 47 minutes
  • Matty Taylor v Welling United 1/2/14 – 55 minutes
  • Declan Weeks v Kidderminster Harriers 6/10/20 – 57 minutes
  • Cain Noble v Maidstone United 21/4/18 – 58 minutes
  • Jerome Wright v Burscough 17/8/11 – 62 minutes
  • Danny Williams v Vauxhall Motoirs 30/10/12 – 65 minutes
  • Conor Wilkinson v Aldwershot 2/11/13 – 67 minutes
  • Matty Hughes v Aldershot 7/10/14 – 80 minutes

FA Cup Oddity

Chester have not received much luck in recent seasons when it comes to the FA Cup and it was no surprise when they were handed a trip to Worksop in this season’s 2nd Qualifying Round. In the nine seasons and 13 FA Cup draws since reforming they have had to travel nine times and only been pulled out of the hat first on four occasions.

Even when drawn at home they have only managed to win one tie and that was two seasons ago when City of Liverpool were convincingly beaten 4-0. On the other occasions, Gateshead won at the Deva Stadium in 2013/14 while matches against FC Halifax in 2012/13 and Altrincham in 2019/20 both finished all-square with Chester losing the away replay. Two other FA Cup matches have been played at home as a result of drawn games at Gainsborough Trinity (2012/13) and Barnsley (2014/15). In the first case Chester came out on top after extra time while Barnsley were comfortable 3-0 winners after the heroic goalless draw at Oakwell.

Regardless of whether the Blues have been drawn at home or away the FA Cup record has been nothing to shout about with only four wins against the aforementioned City of Liverpool and Gainsborough alongside the thrilling away wins at Stockport County and Southend United in 2014/15.

While the reformed Blues may not have had much luck in the FA Cup they had a remarkable run of good fortune against non-league teams after joining the Football League in 1931. Although they were beaten 2-1 at Darwen in the 2nd Round in 1931/32 the draw favoured them in subsequent campaigns and over the next 50 years they were drawn against non-league opponents on 13 occasions with every single one played at Sealand Road. It wasn’t until 1981/82, when they were beaten at Penrith, that they received another away draw at a non-league ground.

The full record reads as follows:

1932/33 – Yeovil & Petters United W 2-1

1934/35 – Dinnington Athletic W 4-1

1947/48 – Bishop Auckland W 3-1

1949/50 – Goole Town W 4-1

1951/52 – Leyton W 5-2

1958/59 – Boston United W 3-2

1961/62 – Ashington W 4-1

1961/62 – Morecambe L 0-1

1963/64 – Blyth Spartans W 3-2

1965/66 – Wigan Athletic W 2-1

1973/74 – Telford United W 3-2

1978/79 – Runcorn D 1-1 (won replay 5-0)

1979/80 – Workington W 5-1

Elfed Morris and Gary Talbot in action during the 3-2 FA Cup win over Blyth Spartans in November 1963 – Chester Chronicle

Chester FC – The First 500 games

Chester celebrated the 500th game in style with that 3-2 win over King’s Lynn on Tuesday. I had a few people ask me about the breakdown of the matches so here is the spreadsheet.

It is worth noting that there have still been significantly more victories than defeats (225 against 165). The next away win will be the 100th.

Copyright ©  Chas Sumner http://www.chesterfootballhistory.com All Rights Reserved

Another Records Update

There has been another three victories since my last post so it is time for another update and some more observations before tomorrow’s fixture at Gainsborough Trinity.

Unbeaten League Run

Following the 2-0 victory over Altrincham this now stands at an incredible 28 games. As mentioned in previous articles the overall club record is 31 games in the Combination between January 1908 and March 1909. This means that if Chester can avoid defeat against Gainsborough Trinity and Boston United the record will be equalled at Guiseley of all places.

Unbeaten Home Record

Chester are now unbeaten in 33 league and cup games at the Exacta Stadium. They are fast closing in on the post-war record set between November 1973 and January 1975 when Ken Robert’s Blues were unbeaten in 35 games at Sealand Road. In this current sequence there has been 27 league fixtures, two FA Cup ties, one FA Trophy match and three Cheshire Senior Cup games. This record can be equalled with the last home game of the season against Solihull Borough.

The overall club record was set in the early years of the 20th century when Chester rarely seemed to lose a home game. Between September 1904 and September 1908 there went 42 league and cup games unbeaten. This covered two different grounds as the club moved from Whipcord Lane to Sealand Road in December 1906.

The record for league games only is 44 games from the start of the 1925/26 season to September 1927.

Unbeaten Away Record

The Blues are now unbeaten in the last 13 away league games a record that stretches back to the Boston United fixture in September. The Chester FC record currently stands at 15 games. This began with the 1-1 draw at Warrington Town in the very first game in 2010 and ended at Lancaster City the following March.

The club record for away league games unbeaten is 17 in the Cheshire County League during the 1930/31 season. The run started with a 3-3 draw at Runcorn in September and was ended by Manchester North End the following April.

If the current run continues the overall record will be equalled in the last game of the season against Worcester City.

Goals

The 100 league goal target is looking a formality with only three more needed to reach 100 for the third consecutive season. The 300th goal was reached with Tony Gray’s first strike at Colwyn Bay. It remains to be seen if the current team can go on to beat last year’s total of 102 and the 2010/11 total of 107. In the Football League the best was 119 in 1964/65 while the club record is a frankly ridiculous 170 set in the Cheshire County League in 1930/31.

Victories

There have been 31 victories so far this season and with six games to go this record will almost certainly be overhauled. Chester won 31 games in the Evo-Stik league last year and also won the same number in 1926/27 and 1930/31. Out of interest City were champions of the Conference in 2003/04 with 27 wins and in other promotion seasons won 23 in 1974/75 and 1985/86 and 21 in 1993/94.

Defeats

Last season Chester was only defeated in four games which equalled the total of the 2003/04 Conference winning side. Although the team that won the 1908/09 Combination championship lost a mere two games they only played 30 matches so it is a bit of an unfair comparison.

Hat-tricks

Tony Gray became the fourth different player to score three in a league game this season with his hat-trick at Colwyn Bay. He follows on from Ben Mills (v Guiseley), Iain Howard (v Stalybridge) and Craig Curran (v Bishop’s Stortford). It is the first time that four different players have scored league hat-tricks in a season since1964/65 when Gary Talbot (v Stockport County), Elfed Morris (v Aldershot), Jimmy Humes (v Wrexham) and Mike Metcalf (v Newport County) all hit three.The last time five different players scored three was in 1934/35 so come on Nathan Jarman.

Tony Gray completes his hat-trick at Colwyn Bay Copyright © Rick Matthews

Tony Gray completes his hat-trick at Colwyn Bay
Copyright © Rick Matthews

Championships

It goes without saying that Chester has never won three back to back championships. Previously the club won two on the bounce in 1925/26 and 1926/27. I don’t want to tempt fate but hopefully this record will be beaten.

Blue Square North records

Following on from my article on March 14th Chester is threatening to completely tear up the record books for the Blue Square North. They have already equalled the 97 point total of Kettering Town in 2007/08 and beaten the same club’s record of 30 wins. The 97 goal total of Alfreton Town and Northwich Victoria has also now been equalled.

Copyright © 2013 http://www.chesterfootballhistory.com All Rights Reserved