Winning Numbers

Following Saturday’s 2-1 win over Colwyn Bay a few people were asking me about the best ever start to a season and this prompted me to quickly check up on a few more records before this afternoon’s game at Altrincham.

Best start to a season

As I pointed out in my last article, Chester are not known for winning the first game and the current run of three equals that of the 1978/79 season when Alan Oakes’ side won at Southend and then beat Walsall and Exeter at Sealand Road in the old Division Three.

Victory at Moss Lane today would equal the record of 1934/35 when Gateshead, Accrington and Hartlepools (twice) were defeated in Division Three North. The overall club record was seven wins in the Combination at the start of the 1906/07 season. There were also seven wins at the start of the 1914/15 campaign but I have discounted this because Chester later resigned from the league.

Unbeaten League Run

Chester are now unbeaten in 19 league games with the last defeat on January 21st at home to Hednesford Town. This is now the second longest sequence without a loss but there is a long way to go before the club record is beaten. Between January 1908 and March 1909 Chester went an incredible 31 games unbeaten in the Combination.

However the current run has beaten the Chester FC league record. Following the 3-2 home defeat to Radcliffe Borough on December 11th 2010 the Blues didn’t lose again until the 2-1 setback at Lancaster City on March 19th 2011, a run of 16 games.

This sequence also passes the 18 game unbeaten run set by Mark Wright’s Conference promotion team which started with a 2-1 win over Shrewsbury in August 2003 and was ended, by Stevenage Borough, at the Deva in December. The 1934/35 team, which finished third in Division Three North, also remained undefeated for 18 games between October 1934 and February 1935.

Unbeaten Away Record

Chester are now unbeaten in 13 away games, a run which stretches back to the 2-1 defeat at Bradford Park Avenue on November 2nd last year.

In 2010/11 the Blues went 15 games unbeaten away from the Deva. Starting with the 1-1 draw at Warrington Town in the very first game Chester didn’t lose a league away game until the aforementioned 2-1 setback at Lancaster in March.

The club record for away 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.

Consecutive games scored

One record that has been smashed is the record for scoring in consecutive games. Chester have now scored in every league fixture for the last 12 months which is a run of 42 matches. The last time they failed to find the net was at Hednesford in the 1-0 defeat last year.

Since the club was re-formed in 2010 they have only failed to score in 2 out of 89 league matches. The other game, besides Hednesford, was the goalless draw at home to Witton Albion in March 2011.

The previous record was a run of 36 games between September 1930 and April 1931. Prior to this there were also two sequences of 28 games in the early 1900s.

and finally

In recognition of today’s game I thought I would mention that Chester’s record victory was set against Altrincham when they won 13-2 at Sealand Road in November 1929 and, just to bring everyone down to earth, on Bank Holiday Monday last year Chester lost 4-1 at Nantwich Town.

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500th Game at the Deva Stadium

This Saturday’s game against Mickleover Sports will be the 500th game played at the Deva Stadium.

It’s 20 years in August since the first game was played at the ground, when Stockport County were the visitors. The grand total takes into account all first team league and cup matches played by Chester City and Chester FC.

I thought I would use my first proper post to briefly explain how I came to this figure and after Saturday’s game I will publish the full statistical breakdown. There will also be some more detail in Friday’s Leader article.

The games for Chester FC are easily accounted for and the Hednesford defeat was the 41st match at the ground. Although I have included last season’s Cheshire Senior Cup tie against Congleton Town I have excluded the county cup ties played when the Blues were in the Conference between 2000 and 2004. Although the competition was technically meant for non-league teams the old City never treated it as such and invariably played a second eleven. I used the same principle for first team matches in On The Borderline.

The pre-2010 Chester played 458 games at the Deva Stadium. This figure excludes the three abandoned games against Worksop Town in 2003, Stockport County in 2008 and Eastbourne Borough in 2009. However I believe it is valid to include all the games from the truncated 2009/10 season even though they were technically expunged from the record books.

While putting together these figures a couple of other recent landmarks came to light. First of all Chris Clements opening goal for Hednesford last Saturday was the 500th league goal conceded at the ground. Somehow it seems a lot more. Secondly Michael Powell’s second goal against Worksop Town was the 700th goal league and cup strike from the Blues.

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