Chester 4 Goole Town 1 (FA Cup 1st Round) – November 26th 1949

1 – Pre-Match

After five consecutive away ties Chester finally received a home draw for the first time since hosting Bishop Auckland in the 1st Round in 1947. They were the first team out of the bag and paired with the winners of the Goole Town v Scunthorpe United tie which had finished goalless the previous Saturday. Both teams were in the Midland League but top of the table Scunthorpe remained favourites to go through against a side who were bottom of the table with only five points from 13 games.

The replay took place the following Saturday and manager Frank Brown travelled to Goole to watch the game which was abandoned, due to fog, with 15 minutes to go. The home side had been winning 3-1 and the scoreline was repeated the following Monday as Goole sprung a major surprise to reach the 1st Round for the first time since 1915.

Chester Chronicle headline

Remarkably, the Chester tie was scheduled to be Goole’s 10th in the competition that season with four of their Qualifying Round ties needing replays. Having comfortably beaten Barton Town in the Preliminary Round they had needed replays to dispose of Frickley Colliery, Bentley Colliery, Brodsworth Main and Scunthorpe.

The extended cup run partially explained why Goole were rooted to the bottom of the Midland League having played far fewer matches than everyone else. Frank Brown was keen to say that he wouldn’t take the opponents lightly and reported that: “They are a strong workmanlike side who believe in the direct approach to goal.”

Cheshire Observer headline

The part-time visitors had every reason to be confident as Chester themselves were having an up and down season and languished in 17th place although they had beaten Lincoln City 3-1 at Sealand Road the previous week. This improved performance had come on the back of four consecutive defeats and the club were keen to have a good cup run to revive the flagging enthusiasm of supporters.

Frank Hindle
Image Chester Chronicle

The victory over Lincoln had seen Chester make an enforced change. Eric Lee had missed the game due to an amateur international trial match so Frank Hindle, a summer signing from Blackburn Rovers, had been moved from left back to centre half while long-serving Dave McNeil returned to the team for the first time since the opening week of the campaign. Both were set to retain their positions for the Goole match with Hindle’s sturdy build seen as invaluable against robust opponents.

One other positive for Chester was the form of 18 year old defender John Molyneux. The Warrington-born, England youth international had made his debut against Rochdale in September after two years careful development with the ‘A’ team and reserves. He had replaced veteran Eric Sibley, a summer signing from Grimsby, at right back and was considered to be a very bright prospect.

John Molyneux
Image Chester Chronicle
Grenville Booth – Chester Chronicle cartoon

Chester’s only injury concern was on the left wing where another former Grimsby player, Bill Pearson, had picked up an injury against Lincoln. He was expected to be replaced by Grenville “Bunty” Booth, a locally-born school teacher who had made eight league appearances in the 1948/49 season but had yet to feature in the current campaign. Booth had been a regular with the Cheshire County League team but had made his first appearance for the club in wartime football. Although recognised as a half back he was seen as a reliable replacement for Pearson with his height and weight seen as a positive asset against the strong Goole side.

Goole were expected to bring around 1,000 supporters and the game was scheduled to kick off at 2:15pm.

2 – The Match

As expected, Bill Pearson failed to recover from his knee injury and was replaced by Grenville Booth at outside left otherwise Chester lined up with the same side that had beaten Lincoln City the previous week. Meanwhile Goole relied on the same starting eleven that had beaten Scunthorpe in the previous round.

In the end Chester had little difficulty in disposing of their Midland League opponents and once Harry Jackson had put Frank Brown’s team ahead in the first five minutes there was little doubt about the result. Jackson went on to complete a hat-trick as Chester dominated the game and were much the better side. Goole did have a short spell of pressure at the end of the first half but it became a case of how many goals Chester would score.

Chester Chronicle headline

Chester almost opened the scoring in the opening minute. First of all goalkeeper Robert Ferguson had to make a smart save low down from Joe Davies before a smashing drive from Jackson struck the inside of the post and bounced back into play. The respite only lasted until the 4th minute when Jackson collected the ball from Davies and calmly steered the ball past Ferguson.

Harry Jackson

Chester continued to control the game but just before half time Ted Elliott was forced into a brilliant save when he pushed a powerful effort from Pringle round the post.

Early in the second half Brown missed a golden opportunity for Goole before Kimber cleared off the line from Albert Burgess and Ferguson saved well from Jackson. In the 68th minute Chester extended their lead through Jackson and 10 minutes later the centre forward completed his hat-trick when he headed in a Billy Foulkes cross.

Cutts pulled a goal back for Goole, after Brown had hit the post, but the afternoon was rounded off when Burgess added a fourth with two minutes remaining.

It was a comfortable win for Chester and could easily have been more convincing. Grenville Booth did himself justice at outside left and almost scored a couple of goals including a header that hit the underside of the crossbar. Joe Davies also did well at inside right and deserved to be amongst the scorers with two great shots, one of which was brilliantly saved by Ferguson.

Chester – Elliott, Molyneux, McNeil, Astbury, Hindle, Kirkpatrick, Foulkes, Davies, Jackson, Burgess, Booth

Scorer – Jackson 4, 68, 78, Burgess 88

Goole Town – Ferguson, Kimber, Rogers, Sherwood, Towle, Pringle, Cutts, Hall, Hunt, Glasby, Brown

Scorer – Cutts 85

Attendance – 6,774

Chester Chronicle photograph

3- Post-match

The attendance of 6,774 was the lowest FA Cup attendance for a Chester game since 1938 when 6,672 attended the 1st Round match against Bradford City at Sealand Road. It was estimated that 500 Goole fans made the journey, half the original estimate, and the receipts were £525.

The FA Cup match marks the only meeting between Chester and Goole.

Harry Jackson became the first Chester player to score an FA Cup hat-trick since Sammy Armes against Darlington in 1933.

Grenville Booth returned to the Cheshire County League side and made no further first team appearances for the club. He went on to play for Colwyn Bay but remained a teacher in Chester. He died in 1990.

The 2nd Round draw handed Chester a long trip to Devon where they faced Division Three South side Exeter City.

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

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Scotland Tour 1992 – Vale of Athol

After playing East Stirlingshire on the Saturday, Chester paid a visit to Vale of Athol for an informal game against a team organised by Morrisons, the Scottish company that built the Deva Stadium. The team, largely comprised of youngsters, was notable for an appearance by manager Harry McNally at right back.

Only a handful of supporters attended the match, which Chester won 5-0. I’m grateful to Dave Wright for his photos of the game and the team line-up which estimates the crowd as between 25 and 30.

Chester played in the rarely seen red shirt and the match proved memorable for an injury sustained by McNally early in the second half. At first it was believed he had twisted his ankle but this turned out to be a broken leg and supporters may remember him hobbling around at the start of the first season at the new ground.

Dave has these memories of the Vale of Athol game:

I remember we got a taxi to the ground/pitch and wondered how we would get back. As luck would have it the people from Morrison’s offered us a lift back into town, but that changed to the hotel where the team were having post match food. We then had to rush for our train back to Edinburgh. When stepping on to the train I slipped and my right leg went between the train and the platform edge, it hurt and I still have the scar on my leg.

Another fan who attended the game with Dave was Howard Jolley. He remembers that the game was meant to be played at Pitlochry but when they arrived they found a fairground on the pitch and discovered that the match had been moved a couple of miles down the road to a Sunday League pitch at Vale of Athol. There were four Chester fans at the ground and Howard recalls that Sunderland were on tour in Scotland at the same time and quite a few fans had gone to see them play instead.

Like Dave he also remembers waiting in the car park and being taken by Morrisons staff back to the hotel where they were given food and drink with the players.

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Scotland Tour 1992 – Cowdenbeath

Chester’s final match of the 1992 Scottish tour saw them play out a dull goalless draw against Cowdenbeath at their Central Park ground.

Unlike the other two grounds on the tour Central Park remains and is still shared with stock-car racing. At the time of Chester’s visit the stadium was looking very neglected with untidy fencing and portakabins after half the stand had burnt down earlier in the year.

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Scotland Tour 1992 – Dumbarton

After the first game of the tour, at East Stirlingshire, a City select eleven faced a team put together by Morrison’s, the company building the new Deva Stadium, the following day. An article and photos of this game will follow.

On Monday, Chester played their second first team fixture of the tour at Dumbarton. The game was played at Boghead Park, another Scottish ground that no longer exists having been vacated in 2000. The match finished 0-0 with City playing in red and manager Harry McNally in plaster after breaking his leg in the friendly the previous day.

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Scotland Tour 1992 – East Stirlingshire

Chester’s second pre-season tour to Scotland took in games against East Stirlingshire, Dumbarton and Cowdenbeath along with an unscheduled fixture at Vale of Atholl. The first match was staged at East Stirlingshire’s Firs Park with Chester winning 5-2. Eddie Bishop scored a hat-trick with the other two goals scored by Stuart Rimmer and John Kelly.

East Stirlingshire vacated Firs Park in 2008 and it was demolished in 2012.

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Scotland Tour 1990 – East Fife

Following the game at Berwick Rangers on the Saturday Chester travelled up to East Fife for a Monday night fixture. Chester won the game 3-1 with goals from Neil Ellis, Graham Barrow and Carl Dale.

The game was played at Bayview Park which was vacated in 1998. East fife now play at the Bayview Stadium.

I couldn’t attend the final game of the tour at Meadowbank Thistle so unfortunately I have no photos of the game.

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Scotland Tour 1990 – Berwick Rangers

In August 1990 Chester embarked on their tour to Scotland with games against Berwick Rangers, East Fife and Meadowbank Thistle. The first match at Berwick ended 1-1 with Carl Dale scoring for Chester.

These are my photos taken at Berwick’s Shielfield Park. This gallery is of interest for lovers of old photos of football grounds rather than being specifically Chester related.

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