Chester FC vs. Wrexham Town: the Cross-Border Derby

Offside’s Simon Stacpoole was on the front line of the Cross-Border Derby on Monday night as Chester FC hosted Wrexham FC for one of the fiercest fixtures in non-league football.

Yet its name is a touch misleading. Though each set of fans may largely reside on opposite sides of the divide between England and Wales, the clubs themselves both play their home games on Welsh soil.

Simon Stacpoole: A red flare is let off as Wrexham fans arrive at the ground.
Simon Stacpoole: A red flare is let off as Wrexham fans arrive at the ground.

Due to a quirk of geography and building planning, the pitch at Chester’s Deva Stadium lies on land that looks to Cardiff for leadership, rather than London.

Simon Stacpoole: Police officers stand guard outside the stadium.
Simon Stacpoole: Police officers stand guard outside the stadium.

Of course, that’s never dampened the animosity between the Blues and Wrexham, and while the supporters attending the derby may have impressed the authorities with their behaviour, there was still an electric atmosphere to the match, which Chester won.

The winner came from a last gasp effort by defender Ben Heneghan, who found the net in the dying moments of the game, with the score stuck on 1-1.

Simon Stacpoole: Police separate the two sets of fans.
Simon Stacpoole: Police separate the two sets of fans.

Wrexham had taken the lead in the just the fourth minute from a header, and were in front until their hosts found an equaliser in the 74th minute with a delightful back heel diverted a shot into the visitor’s goal.

Even with plenty of drama on the field, the focus of the match so often fell upon the emotions and reactions of the home and away crowds at the Deva Stadium.

Simon Stacpoole: Young Chester fans taunt their rivals after watching their team grab a late winner.
Simon Stacpoole: Young Chester fans taunt their rivals after watching their team grab a late winner.

Flares and police lines livened up the action off the pitch, and bottles and other missiles were thrown between the two sets of fans, although as stated above, the peacekeeping forces praised the conduct of the match going crowd after the game.

 

There may have been an edge to this Cross-Border Derby, and plenty of energy to add even more  excitement to the occasion, but it never strayed into anything regrettable.

Simon Stacpoole: A Chester fan wields his walking stick as he celebrates his side's late winner.
Simon Stacpoole: A Chester fan wields his walking stick as he celebrates his side’s late winner.

In fact, it was exactly what you’d want from an intimate and intense meeting between two local rivals.

Offside is the UK’s leading independent sports photography agency, home to an extensive collection of classic Football League and non-league football pictures as well as other images from across the world of sport. Explore Offside’s unique library at www.welloffside.com.

Follow Offside on Twitter at @welloffside.

Advertisements

Author: gregianjohnson

Football writer for The Blizzard, FourFourTwo, The Mirror, Squawka and VICE amongst others. Follow me on Twitter at @gregianjohnson.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s