A game that started so full of optimism for the travelling
Chester fans after the fantastic 4-0 home win against
Sutton saw their expectations dashed when Woking secured
their first win of the season.
Chester, starting without Craig Mahon,
who featured so well on Saturday, began brightly enough.
Tom Shaw had a half-chance in the opening spell, but
However, as Woking pressed forward,
a poor clearance from the Chester box fell to Kieran
Murtagh. He was well outside the box, but in plenty
of space, and scored a great goal on the 17th minute.
Still, the Blues fans expected Chester
to make a comeback and a melee in the box soon after
led to a James Alabi header hitting the crossbar. Not
long after Chester did find their equaliser when Ryan
Lloyd headed home from a Johnny Hunt cross.
But they’d barely recovered
from their celebrations when Woking’s Joey Jones
scored with a great header from a Max Kretzschmar cross.
There was a change of formation for
Chester in the second half, with Elliott Durrell and
Sam Hughes coming on to replace Johnny Hunt and Blaine
The Blues didn’t seem to settle
into the new pattern of play and their chances were
few and far between. Hughes put on a reasonable display,
winning a couple of headers in the box, but failing
to make any realistic chances.
It was Woking who settled the match
on the 75th minute when a good shot was only parried
by Chester goalkeeper Jon Worsnop. Gozi Ugwu was in
a threatening spot and had no trouble scoring the third
Chester made little threat on the
goal during the rest of the match and Woking knew they'd
done enough to earn their first victory of the campaign,
so the game petered to an end after one minute of injury
City entertained Sutton for the first time in their history.
The new boys had made a flying start to the season but
which version of Chester would turn up? Would it be the
team that convincingly beat the otherwise invincible Dagenham
or the one which meekly submitted to the South’s
other promoted team Maidstone a few days later?
Thankfully for Blues fans it was the former as Chester
swept in to the attack from the word go. Durrell won a
corner on the right and the ball landed at Shaw’s
feet. He seemed to have an age to take aim but his shot
rebounded off the post and the follow up was deflected
clear. It was not much later that the Blues forged ahead
as Blaine Hudson crisply glanced a header in from Durrell’s
left wing cross from a free kick. The two players showed
an understanding that began twelve miles down the road
when they played for that other team whose name escapes
Sutton moved the ball about swiftly and pulled Chester’s
defence this way and that as they switched the play from
one wing to the other. They were clearly well drilled
and playing with confidence despite the early set back.
The U’s came unstuck though when Mahon robbed possession
back for City and made a telling pass to set Richards
off on the break. He carried the ball into the left side
of the penalty area, shrugged off a defender’s challenge
and curled a shot towards the far post. Worner parried
it at full stretch but only into the path of Ryan Lloyd
who followed up and gleefully smashed the ball into the
net for City’s second goal inside eight minutes.
It seemed a long time for Chester to have to hold on to
a lead but against a very competent opponent they did
that and more. Worsnop did well to keep out a fierce shot
when Dickson got through for a clear sight at goal but
other than that the Blues restricted their chances of
conceding. The Chester keeper pulled off another magnificent
save in the second half from Burge’s free kick to
preserve City’s advantage.
Richards proved a nuisance to the visitors defence and
received close attention from several challenges. The
referee called Luke George over as he warned Richards
about reacting too strongly and then had little choice
but to book him a few minutes later when he tangled with
He continued to tread a fine line in the second half but
McCarthy kept faith in him. His trust was rewarded towards
the end of the contest as Richards latched on to the lively
Chappell’s subtle pass and jinked in to the area.
He went down as a defender’s flailing challenge
failed to find the ball and referee Rushton pointed to
the spot. The U’s were incensed by the award but
had to accept that after all they had dished out to Richards
he had out-guiled them in the end.
Shaw thumped home the penalty, just managing to squeeze
it under Worner’s body.
Theo Vassell had been stretchered off with concussion
following what initially seemed an innocuous challenge
as he forayed forward. There was plenty of added time
for City to add icing to the cake. Shaw was brought down
just outside the area. Horwood lined up the shot but instead
cleverly rolled the ball to Richards in the box and the
Blues forward hooked it into the top corner – a
pleasing reward for his efforts.
Chester have shown against two in-form and fancied sides
that they can match and, at times, out play them. The
secret now is to build a bit of that confidence and consistency
into their play. I brought a couple of visitors with me
and they were well impressed – thoroughly enjoying
the game after I had been warning them not to expect too
much. I could cope with Chester being as unpredictably
few seconds of total brilliance when Elliott Durrell lobbed
the Boreham Wood goalkeeper from the halfway line to even
up the scoreline made up for an otherwise miserable display
from Chester FC.
shot – which followed Durrell winning the ball
close to the Chester box – will always stay in
the minds of the travelling Blues fans, who must have
made up about half the Meadow Park attendance of 335.
Until that moment, there’d only
been one Chester shot on target in the blustery conditions
– a strike from the otherwise anonymous Craig
The game started off badly from a
Chester perspective when a poor Ryan Astles clearance
fell to the powerful Morgan Ferrier on the fifth minute.
He easily passed Blaine Hudson and shot past goalkeeper
Throughout the rest of the first half,
Boreham Wood continued to look threatening from the
left-hand side. Ferrier had at least a couple of other
chances from the same area.
Boreham Wood almost went 2-0 up in
the second half, but Astles cleared the ball off the
line. However, Chester’s
work rate seemed to change when Durrell replaced Ryan
Chapell on the 73rd minute.
Durrell made himself busy across the
park from the off, and deserved his memorable goal.
Ironically, it came almost 20 years to the day that
David Beckham made his name with a similar goal against
Sam Hughes came on to replace Kane
Richards on the 85th minute, and he helped ensure Chester
continued their record of getting a draw against Boreham
Wood. However, thanks to Durrell’s super strike,
this felt like a really special point and one that I
won’t ever forget.
16 August Barrow
3 Chester 2
Attendance:1,351 (103 Chester). Half Time 2-0
Booked: Hudson, Horwood.
Dixon, Beeley (Parry 46), Anderton, Diarra, Murray, Harvey,
Meikle (Haworth 77), L Hughes, Harrison, Hannah (Bennett
81), Williams. Subs not used: Coughlin, Turnbull.
Chester: Roberts, Vassell, Hudson, Astles, Horwood,
Joyce, Shaw, Durrell (Akintunde 60), Chapell, Hunt (Lloyd
60), Richards. Subs not used: Worsnop, Mahon, Hughes. Referee: Ryan Johnson (Manchester).
late second half fightback proved too late for the Blues
who were left to rue early mistakes as Barrow ran out
3-2 wnners. Manager Jon McCarthy made two changes to the
side beaten at home by Maidstone United on Saturday, in
came Wade Joyce for his debut and Jordan Chapell who replaced
the suspended James Alibi and Luke George.
The Bluebirds made a lively start, goalkeeper Liam Roberts
was called on to produce a fine save to deny ex-Blue Ross
Hannah in the opening minutes as he ran onto a defence
splitting through ball.
Chester responded with an effort from Elliott Durrell
that was saved, and a long range shot from Evan Horwood
that flew wide.
Barrow came more into the game as the half wore on with
Roberts doing well to deny both Lindon Meikle and Laim
Hughes. Just after the half hour Barrow took the lead
as Hannah pounced on an underhit back pass from Durrell,
and rounded Roberts to score.
minutes later Jordan Williams doubled the lead heading
home after Roberts had partially saved a Hannah strike.
Williams almost added a third on the strke of half-time
but smart defending from Ryan Astles cleared the danger.
The third goal for Barrow came 12 minutes after the
restart as Williams got the better of Theo Vassell before
striking the ball high into the net past Roberts from
all of 25 yards.
Roberts made a great save to deny Harison notching a
fourth goal before Chester pulled a goal back through
substitute James Akintunde on 66 minutes scoring from
close range following an Astles assist.
And three minutes later Chester had the ball in the
net again as Akintunde’s cross was slid home by
Chester had a chance to complete an unlikely comeback
in the dying minutes but Kane Richards saw a header
go wide when well placed.
Chester were unable to build on the convincing midweek
victory over Dagenham as they slumped to defeat against
Maidstone United, and to make things worse saw striker
James Alibi given a straight red card for a second half
The visitors started
well putting Chester under pressure though goalkeeper
Liam Roberts dealt with everything the Stones threw
at him. Bobby-Jo Taylor saw a cross-shot flash wide
and later Theo Vassell cleared a Tom Murphy effort off
the line as Maidstone pressed.
The Blues responded with Johnny Hunt
forcing a save from Worgan before the Stones took the
lead with Anthony Acheampong heading home Murphy’s
right wing cross.
Durrell saw an effort from the right
saved and Evan Horwood tried from long distance on two
occasions with Worgan saving both.
Chester drew level on 31 minutes with
a well taken effort from Alibi. The big striker picked
up a Kane Richards pass, beat a defender and curved
his effort past Worgan’s dive.
The Blues enjoyed a spell of pressure
with both Durrell, Luke George and Alibi going close
to giving Chester the lead.
Ten minutes into the second period
Roberts made a fine save to deny Ben Greenhalgh's goalbound
effort, but he could do nothing two minutes later as
Greenhalgh made amends scoring from close range meeting
a right-wing cross.
Six minutes later Maidstone
added a third as Alex Fisher fired home from 20 yards
into the bottom corner.
Ten minutes from time Chester were
reduced to ten men as Alibi was shown a straight red
card following a challenge involving ‘keeper Worgan
in the area.
The final chance of the game
fell to Dumebi Dumaka who saw his effort crash back
from the post with Roberts beaten.
Chester responded to Saturday’s defeat at Gateshead
in fine style with a comprehensive home victory over newly
relegated Dagenham & Redbridge.
Following a Luke Guttridge effort that flashed just wide
in the opening minute the Blues took the game to their
opponents and went ahead on 12 minutes as Elliott Durrell
hit a spectcular half-volley from 25 yards past Elliot
Justham in the Daggers goal after the visitors had failed
to clear a high ball into the box.
minutes later Chester doubled their lead with another
stunning strike as Tom Shaw picked up a Theo Vassell
through ball, turned and struck a shot into the top
Jordan Maguire-Drew saw a free-kick
slip wide of the Chester goal before Liam Roberts preserved
the 2-0 lead with a great save to deny Oliver Hawkins’
close range header in the final minute of the opening
Just before the hour mark Chester
added a third as James Alibi rose at the near post to
glance home Johnny Hunt’s right wing corner.
Jordan Chapell and Kane Richards
both went close to extending the lead in the dying stages
of the game as the Blues held out for their first victory
of the season.
second half goals from Gateshead brought defeat in the
opening game of the new season.
The Heed started well with Liam Roberts in the Blues goal
being called on to cut out several crosses and save a
one-on-one with Reece Styche.
were creating what chances there were in the opening
period. Wes York forced a save from Roberts then shot
into the side-netting, while Gus Mafuta saw a long range
effort just clear the Chester bar. James Bolton saw
an effort blocked by the stoic Chester defence.
Just before the break an Elliott Durrell
effort from all of 40 yards almost caught Johnson out
in the home goal with the ball flying just over with
the ‘keeper off his line.
The Blues went close again soon after
the restart with James Alibi heading powerfully over
following Theo Vassell’s cross.
Soon after Gateshead took the lead
as McLaughlin and Mafuta combine a the edge of the box,
their on-two set up Bolton whose effort was deflected
in off the leg of Vassell.
A foul on Kane Richards presented
Chester with a 20-yard free-kick but Durrell couldn't
keep the effort on target. A minute later Heed doubled
York beat Durrell to the ball,
played a one-two with Ryan Bowman before racing through
and beating Roberts. Two minutes form time Manny Smith
added a third goal heading home unchallenged after Chester
had failed to clear a McLaughlin corner.