Blues were applauded off the pitch at half time but booed
off by the final whistle as they crumbled before a second
half offensive from the Daggers. In a hard fought first
half of few chances Chester more than held their own.
As the game drew on they had extended periods of possession
and pressure without severely testing Cousins in the visitors’
goal. Akintunde had the best of City’s efforts as
his shot from distance was parried by the keeper. Earlier
he had roused the crowd with a great run that beat two
but not quite the third defender on the edge of the penalty
area. The Blues were egged on by a shrill chorus of several
junior football teams who chanted from their seats in
the South Stand and then paraded around the pitch at the
interval in front of the TV cameras, here to relay the
match live on BT Sport.
As the second half began Dagenham seemed to raise their
game. Chester began coming forward twice but on both occasions
the Daggers counter-attacked dangerously. The game appeared
to have become more open. Morgan Ferrier then began to
torment the Blues’ defence. First he latched on
to a quickly taken free kick and weaved his way into the
box and coaxed a rash challenge from Dawson. A cast iron
penalty. Corey Whitely lined up the spot kick, sent Lynch
the wrong way and the ball well wide of the post. It was
a huge miss and a huge let-off, greeted by howls of relief
from the Blues’ supporters.
But the miss seemed to galvanise Dagenham all the more.
Within a minute they had the ball in the net. Ferrier
bamboozled Halls and crossed to the far post where Ling
stole in on the blind side of Gough to notch the opening
City tried to respond with sporadic attacking play from
Hannah, working hard, then Akintunde but could make little
impression. In a desperate move, Astles was thrown in
to the fray, replacing an out-of-sorts Bell up front.
Jordan Slew then replaced fellow home debutant Rainey
on the right wing. Despite winning a few headers Astles
could not make the desired impact on goal and a couple
of moves broke down when Slew misread intended passes.
It was becoming an increasingly disjointed performance
from the Blues and with a quarter of an hour to go the
Daggers added to their woes by scoring a second.
Once again Ferrier won possession and cut in to shoot
from the right this time. Lynch’s parried clearance
was picked up on the left by Sparkes who sent in a low
cross which was swiftly dispatched by Howell as we waltzed
past statuesque defenders. The tin hat was put on the
debacle by Michael Cheek who took advantage of a mix up
between Lynch and Halls to stroke the ball into an empty
net and then added the coup de grace with a half volley
from a lofted through ball.
Marcus Bignot observed that City were mentally and physically
tired by the end. An exhausting journey back from Leyton
Orient in midweek – they did not get back until
8.30am – had sapped their resilience. He was true
to his previous promise and got the players to mingle
in the Blues Bar after the game but by then most of the
supporters had drifted home to salvage what they could
from the weekend. A free Saturday next week will at least
afford time for wounds to heal and belief to be re-kindled.
were back in the capital just three days after their last
visit and with a threadbare squad that saw them start
with a bench of youth players and loanees. Although it
seemed too early in the season to be talking about “six
pointers” it was the definite theme of the pre-match
banter in the nearby Leyton Technical.
started strongly and, after a series of corners, went
ahead on the sixth minute thanks to a header from leading
scorer Macauley Bonne which looped over Alex Lynch and
into the net.
But the noisy contingent of 173 Chester
fans soon had something to cheer when a James Akintunde
shot was flagged for a goal by the linesman. After a
brief pause, the referee agreed the ball had crossed
the line and it was back to ‘honours even’.
This rankled the home crowd who barracked
the officials for much of the game from that point.
The Os almost went ahead again, but Lynch made a good
save from a James Dayton strike and a header from another
corner whistled just over the bar.
But it was Chester who found the target
again after a perfect Ross Hannah freekick on the 40th
minute went round the wall and found the net from 25
It was almost 3-1 to Chester soon
after when Nyal Bell was bought down when he was clear
in the box with an open net in front of him. Orient
defender Jamie Sendless-White was sent off for the tackle,
but Os goalkeeper Sam Sergeant guessed the direction
of Hannah’s spot-kick to keep the score at 2-1.
The first-half drama wasn’t
over as Orient’s caretaker manager Ross Embleton
was sent to the stands for expressing his frustration
to the officials. Meanwhile, the Os fans continued to
vent their spleen on Chester manager Marcus Bignot.
Their tempers were even more frayed when Orient found
the back of the net, only for it to be disallowed for
an earlier foul.
The second half at blustery Brisbane
Road was by nowhere as near eventful, with Chester fans
just hoping their side could hold on. It was fair to
say that you couldn’t tell they were playing against
team of only 10 opponents. So it was no surprise when
Jobi McAnuff found enough space 30 yards out to rifle
the ball home past Lynch.
Lively Jordan Gough had a couple of
chances towards the end of the game, but it eventually
became a matter of Chester hanging on for another away
There were mixed feelings from the
Blues fans as they left the ground at full-time, but
it was hard to deny that they’d seen a passionate
performance from their side and there were more positive
than negative signs.
cold and drizzly day in South East London was brightened
up for the 125 travelling Chester fans by a fantastic
14th minute goal from striker Ross Hannah.
was a great move, made by a Lucas Dawson pass, and followed
by Hannah jinking in the box and hitting an upstoppable
shot underneath goalkeeper David Gregory.
The goal came not long after many
of the Blues fans had moved from the windswept open
terrace to a small covered area behind the goalmouth,
which was opened up after kick-off. The strike was in
their end, and it was great to see Hannah coming across
to celebrate his first goal since September.
But the crowd at Hayes Lane had barely
drawn breath before it was back to 1-1 after Chester
needlessly gave the ball away. Bromley jumped at the
chance and although Alex Lynch parried a Luke Wandio
shot, the rebound came to Louis Dennis who had an easy
job to find the net.
Both sides had chances in the rest
of the half, as the rain continued to make it a miserable
day for football. The second half saw the hosts have
the most of the early play, with shots being stopped
on the line by Paul Turnbull and Hannah.
There was a chance at the other end
for Hannah, who hit the post. Substitute Nyal Bell also
came close, while there were more squandered opportunities
for Bromley in this entertaining encounter.
When full-time came, there was an
element of relief that Chester had held on to earn what
could have been a vital point. But on another day they
could have been boarding the coach for the long trip
home with three points in the bag.
8 November Chester
0 Wrexham 1 Football
Attendance: 4,079 (1,200 Wrexham) Half Time: 0-1
Chester: Lynch, Halls, Rowe-Turner, Astles,
Hall-Johnson (Turnbull 26), Gough, James (Zanzala 88),
Dawson, Akintunde (White 82), Hannah, Archer. Subs not
used: Vaughan, Bell. Wrexham: Dunn, Jennings (Carrington 54),
Smith, Pearson, Wedgbury, Kelly (Mackreth 73), Wright,
Roberts, Massanka (Boden 66), Holroyd, Rutherford. Subs
not used: Dibble, Reid. Referee: Thomas Bramall.
will count themselves unlucky not to come away with at
least a point from the derby match that is settled with
a goal just before half-time. Manager Marcus Bignot made
one change to the side that battled back for a draw at
Eastleigh on Saturday, recalling Alex Lynch in goal following
There was a lively start to the game with Jordan Archer
running onto a fine Andy Halls through pass, he chipped
the ball over the advancing Chris Dunn but Manny Smith
was on hand to clear the ball away from the line in the
opening five minutes.
back Jordan Gough then saw a great chance go begging
as he headed wide from a pinpoint Lucas Dawson cross
as Chester pressed for the opening goal.
At the other end former Chester player Chris Holroyd
shot wide from a narrow angle after getting the better
of Ryan Astles. Wrexham had the ball in the net on 20
minutes as Sam Wedgbury shot past Lynch but referee
Thomas Bramall had already blown his whistle for a foul.
Archer sent a flying header inches
wide from Ross Hannah’s excellent delivery before
the Blues looked to be denied a clear penalty as Holroyd
appeared to handle Lathanial Rose-Turner's flick header
in the penalty area.
As the game entered first-half stoppage
time Wrexham struck the decisive goal. A foul by Hannah
saw the visitors awarded a free-kick 30 yards out. Marcus
Kelly swung over a cross and captain Shaun Pearson rose
above Astles to steer a header into the corner of the
net past Lynch.
Wrexham started the second half strong
with Lynch saving from Akil Wright but Chester began
to get a hold in midfield. On 60 minutes Dawson picked
up a Hannah pass and saw a great effort cannon back
from the foot of the post before being cleared by the
Moments later James Akintunde wriggled free and unleashed
a dipping shot from 25 yards that hit the crossbar and
bounced over. There were further appeals for a penalty
on 70 minutes as Rowe-Turner was bundled to the ground
following a dangerous inswinging Dawson corner.
Lynch saved a Pearson header
on 77 minutes as Wrexham responded before Chester missed
a great chance to equalise as substitute Harry White
headed over from six yards having just come on to replace
Akintunde. The final half-chance of the night fell to
Astles who met Paul Turnbull’s pass but was unable
to steer the ball home from 12 yards out.
the eve of Bonfire Night it was Chester who scored a couple
of second half firecrackers to enable them to share the
spoils of this rearranged fixture.
that finish seemed unlikely from the outset as the visitors
were caught napping inside the first two minutes, when
they failed to clear the ball and gave Ben Williamson
just enough room to put the hosts ahead with a good
The closest Chester came to scoring
in the first half was when Kingsley James had a glorious
opportunity just before the break after a great cross
by Lathaniel Rowe-Turner. But he somehow hit his shot
wide, leaving the 138 travelling fans open-mouthed.
Only eight minutes had gone in the
second half when much-travelled Gary McSheffrey –
once the youngest player in the Premier League –
put Eastleigh two-nil up with a near post header.
Chester didn't let their heads drop
at this stage though, and a great cross back from James
enabled James Akintunde to put an unstoppable strike
into the roof of the net on the 60th minute.
The Blues continued their fightback
and there were chances for Lucas Dawson and substitute
Nyal Bell. But it was Ryan Astles who netted the equaliser
on the 89th minute when his header from a corner went
past goalkeeper Ross Flitney to ensure the Chester fans
left the Silverlake Stadium with more of a smile on
their faces than they did after last month’s original
fixture was postponed.