Chester Football Club made their first ever home appearance at their Faulkner Street ground back in September 1885. The game was a friendly derby encounter with Cheshire rivals Northwich Victoria. It was hotly contested with "fast, rough and furious" play being reported at both ends of the field.
Sadly, the new football club in the City struggled to find the net and lost their first match on home turf by three goals to nil.
The club's aim was to challenge the likes of Northwich Victoria and other cheshire clubs for local bragging rights. Northwich proved to a strong and well organised outfit who soon went on to play in the higher reaches of the football league when organised league football came about.
How things have changed as today we see our friends from Northwich struggling for their lives both on and off the field. The original match report from the Chester Chronicle tells the tale:
Chester 0 Northwich Victoria 3
Saturday 26th September 1885
This match was played in five weather before seven or eight hundred spectators. The Chester club has been greatly strengthened by an amalgamation of all the footballing talent of the City, and can now place on the field a more formidable team than of yore.
Rhodes-Denton, the Northwich Victoria captain, having won the toss, chose to play with a slight wind behind him.
From the kick-off the home forwards at once assumed the aggressive, but not for long, as the visitors backs quickly repulsed them, and the play became very even for about ten minutes, when from a good turn the visitors earned a corner, which was taken by Turnbull, and placed right of the mouth of the goal, and Malam rushing up headed in good style the first goal for the Victorians.
The game now became very interesting, as both teams put in some good play with Southworth, the Chester back, playing in fine form, and being found plenty of work.
The visitors vigorously attacked their citadel, and gaining another corner, which was entrusted to Malam and well played, they secured a second goal by a splendid fast shot from the foot of Lever.
After the interval the play because fast, rough and furious, each goal being visited in turn, but both were held intact by their respective custodians, until the Victorians, from a combined run, shot the ball through the Chester goal, Turnbull being the executant, but on appeal by the home umpire, the referee disallowed for off-side.
From now until the call of time the game was stubbornly contested, although the visitors had slightly the better of it, and from a good run Turnbull added another goal by a grand header. Leaving Northwich Victoria the winners by three goals to none.
Chester: James, Southworth, Walley, Hack, Turner, Roberts, McMillan, Lockwood, Tomkinson, Maddock, Clare
Northwich Victoria: Harper, Anderson, Molyneux, Rose, Hughes, Butterworth, Turnbull, Lever, Rhodes-Denton, Hanky, Malam.