Chester FC and Wrexham fans praised by police following derby match

Reporter:

David Triggs

Police have thanked football supporters for their cooperation after the derby match between Chester FC and Wrexham passed off without any serious crowd trouble.  

A major police operation was put in place for Wednesday’s televised National League match at the Swansway Chester Stadium, which the Dragons won 1-0. 

It was the first time in four years that 'safe transport' restrictions had been lifted, meaning away supporters were able to make their own way to the ground rather than travel in coaches under police escort. 

There were a number of small disturbances between rival supporters in the afternoon before the match kicked off, including one at The Cross. But in total, just four arrests were made and eight dispersal notices issued. 

Superintendent Richard Rees of Cheshire Police said officers "acted swiftly" to diffuse any signs of trouble around the fixture, which has been marred in the past by crowd trouble. 

Supt Rees added: “This was the first match to take place between the two sides since the safe transport arrangements were lifted last season, and it was pleasing to see the vast majority of fans enjoying the match in a friendly, but competitive, spirit. 

“Overall we were pleased to see that both sets of supporters enjoyed the match in the right spirit and we thank them, as well as both clubs and our other partners, for their co-operation and support.” 

Kick-off had to be delayed 15 minutes from 7.45pm to 8pm as some Wrexham fans travelling by coach were late. Chester FC officials confirmed that this was purely a "logistical" issue and was not caused by trouble on the coaches' approach to Chester. 

A crowd of 4,079 attended the fixture, which was switched to a Wednesday evening at the request of broadcasters BT Sport who screened the game live. Shaun Pearson's goal won it for the North Wales visitors. 

Following the four arrests, Gavin Garrigan, 39, of Maes-Y-Ficerdy in Wrexham, was charged with threatening and abuse language and will appear at West Cheshire Magistrates Court on January 10. Gareth Hughes, 47, of Shones Lane, Llay, Wrexham, was been charged with drunk and disorderly and will appear at West Cheshire Magistrates Court on November 24. A 57-year-old man was earlier released with no further action to be taken, while a 28-year-old man from the Chester area remains in custody.

Email:

david.triggs@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Chester Leader

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