finished their disappointing season with a victory at
Barrow thanks to goals from Jordan Archer and Tom Crawford.
Manager Calum McIntyre,
in his last math in temporary charge, made two changes
from last weeks side bringing back Myles Anderson and
Archer to replace Cain Noble and Nathan Brown. Both
Gary Roberts and Dominic Vose missed the match through
There was a scare for the Blues in the opening five
minutes as James Jones almost headed into his own net
as Barrow, looking for a win to secure the Conference
status started strongly.
Both Crawford and Jordan Gough saw efforts go wide from
long distance before Chester opened the scoring on 20
minutes. A long punt downfield from Andy Firth was gathered
by Archer who dribbled his way into the box before before
shooting home from 12 yards to the delight of the away
fans behind the goal.
Chester continued to press after the goal as Andy Halls
saw a shot deflected over and Crawford shot wide from
long range with Craig Mahon better placed.
Ryan Astles saw a header hit James Akintunde with the
loose ball being gathered in the home goal by by Steve
Barrow drew level as former Wrexham striker JOrdan White
pounced on a mistake by Matthew Thomson to score in
the bottom corner.
Calum MacDonald almost grabbed
an equaliser for the Bluebirds before Chester restored
their lead on 76 minutes. Halls found Akintunde in the
box with a through ball and he and Archer caused all
sorts of problems before Crawford poked the loose ball
home from ten yards.
Chester saw out the remaining minutes to record victory
while barrow survived the drop thanks to Dover’s
victory at Woking that sent the Cards down.
warm weather continued and Maidstone brought plenty of
supporters – many of them dressed for the beach
in Hawaiian shirts and one of them in a grass skirt. But
their team could not afford to relax just yet –
three points today would guarantee them safety and another
season in the National League. Safety was now a forlorn
hope for Chester of course. All that remained was to reach
the end of the season and begin to plan for life in the
National League North and under a new manager. Who, we
wondered, was the candidate amongst the applicants for
the job who had Champions League experience in the group
stage? As Arsene Wenger had announced he would be leaving
Arsenal at the end of the season after twenty-two years
– he would certainly fit the bill. He might find
the budget a bit tight though.
Today’s temporary incumbent of the hot seat Calum
McIntyre had to field more recruits from his excellent
academy graduates today as Chester found themselves in
something of an injury crisis. Especially so in midfield,
Dawson and Roberts were both out through injury. Vose
also was unavailable. Into the side came three debutants:
Matthew Thomson at right back, Cain Noble and the hero
of the Bromley game Nathan Brown, started for the first
With the Stones desperate for the points and such a youthful
City side home fans might have feared a humiliating experience
but it was actually Chester who started the game much
the brighter. Twice in as many minutes James Akintunde
was put clear but shot tamely under pressure from a defender
in the first instance and then his lobbed shot failed
to find the target on the second occasion. Noble then
finished superbly from Hall’s cross to sweep the
ball past Worgan and into the net but the linesman’s
raised flag spoiled the celebrations.
Maidstone eventually began to apply some pressure and
City had problems clearing the ball – especially
from goal kicks. Firth seemed reluctant to kick the ball
long but found nearby defenders closed down quickly by
the Stones. Chester were guilty sometimes of trying to
play their way out of trouble at the back and from one
such instance Jones found himself penalised for bringing
Loza down in the box. It looked a soft award but referee
Dicicco adjudged it to be worthy of a penalty which Turgott
Buoyed with confidence Maidstone looked to increase the
lead. Firth parried a corner and grabbed the rebound.
Wynter, Maidstone’s skipper, was booked for following
through too forcefully on the City keeper who needed medical
attention as a result. Shortly after this Firth picked
a poor pass to Halls who was already under pressure when
the ball was passed to him. Phillips dispossessed him
and took it round Firth to score the second.
Chester were given a glimmer of hope before the break
when Wynter scythed down Crawford in free flow and received
a second yellow card. After half time the Blues built
momentum as they sought to capitalise on their man advantage.
The pressure culminated in an inviting cross from the
right by Mahon which was met superbly by Noble who nodded
it home and celebrated ecstatically. A brilliant debut
goal for the seventeen year old and City were now back
in the game.
The wind was taken out of their sails, though, when Astles
nutmegged an opponent who then appeared to obstruct him.
The ref played on however and the Stones found Hare in
space on the edge of the box and his shot found the net
beyond Firth’s despairing dive. Blues rallied and
went mightily close to adding to their tally but Maidstone
held on to ensure their survival. The Stones went to celebrate
with their noisy following in the corner whilst the young
Blues received deserved applause from the remaining home
There had been much to encourage City supporters despite
the result. It would seem that the progress of the Chester
Academy is at least one bright spot in what has been a
hugely disappointing season.
14 April Boreham
Wood 4 Chester 2 Football Conference National
Attendance: 551 (94 Chester) Half Time: 2-0
Booked: Jones, Anderson.
Boreham Wood: G.Smith, K.Smith, Woodards,
Ricketts, Stephens, Shakes, Champion, Murtagh, Andrade
(Davey 86), Folivi (Sach 72), Ferrier. Subs not used:
Harfield, Quigley, Doe. Chester: Firth, Hobson, Anderson, Jones
(Downes 87), Astles, Vose, Mahon, Roberts (Cunningham
78), Crawford, White (Brown 68), Akintunde. Subs not used:
Archer, Gough. Referee: Richard Hulme.
manager Marcus Bignot sacked on Wednesday, Academy coach
Calum McIntyre took charge of team affairs at promotion
chasing Boreham Wood, at 24 becoming the youngest manager
in the clubs history.
Injury to Andy Halls meant a recall for James Jones in
the Blues defence. It took Wood just seven minutes to
open the scoring as Bruno Andrade’s volley fizzed
past Andy Firth taking a slight deflection on the way.
Moments later Firth produced a great save to deny Keiran
Murtagh whose close range header looked a goal all the
The traffic wasn’t all one way as James Akintunde
slipped in Harry White but the Blues striker saw his effort
pushed away for a corner by Grant Smith in the home goal.
Just before the break right back Kane Smith was pushed
in the box by Akintunde to concede a needless penalty,
Andrade stepped up and gave Firth no chance from the spot-kick.
Chester started the second period well with White seeing
another long range effort pushed wide but on 60 minutes
the home side wrapped the three points up by adding a
third goal as Morgan Ferrier walked through the Blues
back line to bury the ball past Firth.
To their credit Chester continued to press and pulled
a goal back on 74 minutes through Akintunde who finished
smartly from a narrow angle following a pass from Crawford.
As the game entered stoppage time Ricky Shakes added a
fourth for Wood shooting home off the crossbar and in
a frantic finish Akintunde added a second goal, similar
to his first effort having been set-up by Karl Cunningham.
10 April Chester
3 Bromley 2 Football Conference National
Attendance: 754 Half Time: 1-0
Booked: Roberts, Vose.
Chester: Firth, Halls, Astles, Hobson,
Anderson (Gough 57), Vose, Crawford, Mahon (Brown 79),
Roberts, Akintunde, White (Archer 72). Subs not used:
Dawson, Cunningham. Bromley: Gregory, Rees, Holland, Reymond,
Hanlan, Dennis (Wanadio 54), Johnson, Sterling, Porter,
Sutherland, Woolfenden. Subs not used: Dunne, Allen, Higgs. Referee: Karl Evans.
Chester supporters in the meagre crowd of 754 for this
re-arranged fixture went home with a smile on their faces
thanks to a last minute winner by young substitute Nathan
Brown. He picked up a reverse pass from Vose on the halfway
line and began a dazzling run which took him past three
or four defenders before firing a shot towards the goal.
Gregory got a hand to it but could not prevent it hitting
the back of the net – much to the jubilation of
the long-suffering Blues fans.
Twice previously a promising looking City had found themselves
pegged back by Bromley who were still in with a chance
of reaching the play-offs now that they extend to seventh
spot for the first time this season. Chester took the
lead initially in first half stoppage time with Vose driving
home from the edge of the box. It was his first goal for
City and against the team the released him earlier this
After the interval Bromley upped their game as they realised
that they needed to get something from the game. Anderson
was injured for City and had to depart. Gough replaced
him and found himself up against it at left back. Sutherland
fired over the bar for the visitors but shortly afterwards
Rees swept in the equaliser after Roberts was dispossessed
in the penalty area.
Chester responded well however. Crawford linked well with
White and Akintunde but saw his effort turned round the
post by keeper Gregory. And the Blues restored their advantage
after good work by Mahon, Vose and Akintunde on the left
led to substitute Jordan Archer tapping home the latter’s
cross after he had slipped it past Gregory in the Bromley
goal. It seemed that victory for City was to be denied
once again as the Ravens own substitute Bugiel (He came
on in the same minute as Archer) nodded a second equaliser
from Sutherland’s free kick on the left.
The disappointment of this second set back contributed
to the euphoria that greeted Brown’s winner. Bignot
had thrown him on for Mahon just after Chester’s
second goal. His second inspired substitution of the night.
A bashful Brown emerged later in the Blues Bar to high
five his Dad on a proud night for their family. Those
City supporters who were there to witness the game will
surely see it as a badge of honour in years to come. Chester
might be already relegated but this victory and that winning
goal was far from meaningless to faithful fans.
relegation to the Conference North was confirmed following
this home defeat to Tranmere Rovers and Solihull’s
late win at Hartlepool United.
Defender James Jones was ruled out with an ankle injury
so manager Marcus Bignot was forced to replace his with
Dominic Rose while Andy Halls reverted to full-back. Tranmere,
with more supporters in the ground that the Blues, had
the first opportunity as James Norwood met a Connor Jennings
cross to shoot against the bar from 12 yards.
Good work from Vose set up Harry White but the striker
couldn’t get on the end of the teasing cross.
Ben Tollitt twice tested Andy Firth in the chester goal
who produced two smart blocks to deny the Tanmere winger.
Ryan Astles also produced a last ditch tackle to deny
Jennings who looked certain to score from ten yards out.
Ten minutes before the break Tranmere hit the woodwork
again as Jeff Hughes met a corner but as the game entered
stoppage time the visitors took the lead as Andy Cook
met a far post corner and sent a looping header over Firth
into the net.
into the second period White shot high over the bar
with Tom Crawford unmarked and in space to his right.
Moments later Tranmere doubled their lead as Norwood
raced through the Blues defence, who were appealing
for offside, rounded Firth to slot the ball home into
the empty net and complete a miserable afternoon for
by the performance of both sides at Moss Rose on this
wintery Easter Monday, you'd never have believed that
both sides looked destined to be playing their football
two leagues apart in the 2018-19 season.
was never going to be a game of silky football, with
the pitch looking close to either a mudbath or a sandpit
in various patches, and an icy wind whistling down from
the snow-topped hills.
Following Chester's dismal bank holiday
defeat at home against Torquay it seemed like a different
side ran out in front of 262 travelling fans. In fact
the only changes were Tom Crawford and Myles Anderson
replacing Lucas Dawson and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner.
But players like Craig Mahon and Harry
White put on a better display than they had done for
most of the season and ex-Macclesfield player Andy Halls
was definitely playing like he had a point to prove.
The constant boo-ing he got at each touch only seemed
to inspire him!
That said, Chester couldn't find the
net, despite at least three good first half opportunities
for White, as well as James Akintunde shooting over
following a Gary Roberts' corner.
Once Macclesfield went ahead on the
53rd minute, through a Danny Whitehead strike, you did
feel the floodgates might open as usual. But Chester
continued to fight back and were unlucky not to equalise
when a White free kick hit the Macclesfield wall and
fell well for James Jones. His shot was well saved by
Silkmen goalkeeper Shwan Jalal.
The drama wasn't over then as White
had more chances and Chester thought they were in for
a penalty when Crawford appeared to be fouled in the
box. But referee Thomas Bramall ignored the appeals
and Chester's chance of a rare away point slipped away.