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Kidderminster Harriers (A) | Nantwich Town (CSCQF A) | Boston United (H) | Bradford (Park Avenue) (A) | Blyth Spartans (H)
Tuesday 26 February
Chester 2 Blyth Spartans 0
Conference National North
Attendance: 1,382 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Burton, Waters.

Chester: Shenton, Jackson, Howson, Livesey, Waters, Burton, Roberts, Mooney (McAllister 78), Mahon (Murray 86), Waring (Marsh-Hughes 78), Dudley. Subs not used: King, Thomson.
Blyth Spartans: Jameson, Nicholson, Watson, Green, Buddle, Laing, Rivers (Reid 54), Mullen (Fewster 78), Maguire, Holmes (Wrightson 65), Dale. Subs not used: Oliver, Horner.
Referee: Elliott Swallow.

Chester started brightly against a Blyth side that arrived late at the stadium following traffic problems on the A1. Dan Mooney had the first effort of goal seeing a shot from a Criag Mahon cross saved by Peter Jameson.

Despite plenty of possession, chances for the Blues were few and far between with a deflected Bradley Jackson cross being the nearest Chester got to goal.

Anthony Dedley saw an effort saves by Jameson’s legs early into the second period
, Chester were finding it hard to break through but on 67 minutes a fine Jackson through ball found Mahon who complsed himself before cooloy slotting the ball past Jameson.

Chester pressed for a second goal and seven minutes later it arrived as Scott Burton’s free kick was met by George Waring who notched his second goal for the club and secure all three points.

Picture © Rick Matthews

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Saturday 23 February
Bradford (Park Avenue) 2 Chester 0
Conference National North
Attendance: 705 Half Time: 2-0
Booked: Waring, Burton.

Bradford (Park Avenue): Andrew, Ross, Clee (Crichlow-Noble 69), Hurst, Killock, Havern, Knight (Toulson 90), Nowakowski, Beesley, Langstaff (East 67), Spencer. Subs not used: Dickinson, Lowe.
Chester: Shenton, Waters, Jackson, Howson, Livesey, Roberts, Burton, Mooney (Marsh-Hughes 73), Mahon (Murray 73), Waring, Dudley. Subs not used: King, Thomson, McAllister.
Referee: Lewis Smith.

Chester got off to the worst possible start as they looked for the double over promotion chasing Bradford (Park Avenue). The Blues found themselves a goal down after just 30 second as Matty Waters was dispossessed by Lewis Knight, his deep cross tot he far post looked to have gone out of play before Jake Beesley headed home as most of the players around him had stopped play as referee Lewis Smith confirmed the goal.

Despite the early setback Chester responded well. George Waring had appeals for a penalty following a challenge by home 'keeper Charlie Andrew turned down and Anthony Dudley should have done better than shoot straight at Andrew with time on his hands.

Dan Mooney forced a fine save low down from Andrew and Waring sent a header just wide as Chester pressed.

Ten minutes before the break, and somewhat against the run of play Bradford doubled their lead. Bradley Jackson lost the ball to Beesley on the half way line, the striker ran through on goal and although Gary Shenton saved his first effort the striker scored the rebound with ease.

Chester offered little in the second half. Waring and Danny Livesey both headed over from corners. Iwan Murray and Lloyd Marsh-Hughes were brought on and Chester showed a little more urgency up front. MUrray saw a long ranger effort hit the bar and Livesey saw a header from a corner cleared off the line but the home side held firm as Chester suffered their eighth lead defeat
on the road this season.

Picture © Rick Matthews

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Saturday 16 February
Chester 4 Boston United 1
Conference National North
Attendance: 1,648 Half Time: 2-0
Booked: Mooney.

Chester: Shenton, Waters, Jackson, Livesey, Howson, Mahon, Mooney (Marsh-Hughes 84), Roberts (Green 82), Burton, Asante (Waring 46), Dudley. Subs not used: Thomson, Murray.
Boston United: Willis, Davies, Jackson, Thanoj, Harris, Qualter, Wright (Wafula 77), Wroe, Allott (Johnson 84), Rollins, Walker (Walker 67). Subs not used: Parkin, Slew.
Referee: Matt Corlett.

Chester returned to winning ways with an emphatic victory to complete the double over fellow play-off chasing Boston United.

The Pilgrims made the better start and had shouts for a penalty in the fifth minute waived away following a challenge on Ray Rollins. Minutes later Gavin Allott saw an effort cannon back off the post with Grant Shenton well beaten – a let off for Chester.

The Blues sparked into life, Matty Waters saw an effort saved before Akwasi Asante gave the Blues the lead midway through the half as Steve Howson headed on Gary Roberts’ cross for the striker to force the ball home from close range.

The woodwork came to Chester’s rescue again as Nicky Walker’s low shot struck the upright and rebounded to safety.

On the stroke of half-time Chester doubled their lead through the industrious Anthony Dudley who latched on to Craig Mahon’s cross to shoot past George Willis into the top corner.

Chester were forced to replace the injured Asante with George Waring at the break. Chester continued to dominate and on the hour mark made the game safe with a third goal as Mahon collected a long Shenton clearance to advance and shoot past Willis.

Boston reduced the arrears soon after through a well struck free-kick from Ben Davies, but there was to be no comeback as Chester replied immediately with a fourth goal through Waring who headed in Dan Mooney’s inviting cross to seal the three points and round off an entertaining afternoon.

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Tuesday 12 February
Nantwich Town 1 Chester 0
Cheshire Senior Cup Quarter Final
Attendance: 272 Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Waters, Burton.
Sent-off: Green.

Nantwich Town: Jaaskelainen, Morgan, Cotterell (Walsh 76), Stail, Mullarkey, Bourne, Lawrie, Fuller (Glover 61), Cooke, Saunders (Jones 82). Subs not used: Bell, Malkin.
Chester: King, Jackson (Marsh-Hughe 77), Waters, Burton, Livesey, Howson, Mooney (Thomson 65), Roberts, Green, Dudley, Mahon (Asante 65). Subs not used: Shenton, Murray.
Referee: Sam Mulhall.

Despite fielding a strong side Chester were beaten 1-0 at Nantwich Town in the quarter final of the Cheshire Senior Cup last night in front of a crowd of 272. The only goal of the game came for the Dabbers in the last minute as Danny Glover bundled the ball home from close range after Blues ‘keeper Connor King had saved a Steve Jones effort.

Saturday 9 February
Kidderminster Harriers 4 Chester 1
Conference National North
Attendance: 1,769 (323 Chester) Half Time: 2-1
Booked: Waring, Thomsom.

Kidderminster Harriers: Hall, Austin, Taylor, Weeks, Horsfall, Johnson, Clayton-Phillips (Williams 71), Butterfield, Ironside, Chambers (Truslove 85), McAlinden. Subs not used: Higginson, White, Weaver.
Chester: Shenton, Thomson, Waters, Howson, Livesey, Roberts, Burton, Mahon, Dudley, Waring (Marsh-Hughes 68), Asante (Mooney 79). Subs not used: Deane Smalley, Murray, Brown.
Referee: Ryan Atkin.

Many of Chester’s away games this season have followed a familiar pattern, where the 90 minutes of football have spoilt what was otherwise a great day out. This visit to Kidderminster, which started with the Exiles meeting in the excellent King and Castle pub at the Severn Valley Railway station, was typical of that experience.

Once my day out started with a £5.50 meal deal of a cheese cob, pint of Bathams real ale and a packet of ‘real’ crisps, it was only going to be downhill from there. As I tucked into my cob, I told my fellow Exiles this would probably be the highlight of my day – and indeed it was!

The team news on arrival at Aggborough was promising, with Akwasi Assante making a welcome return to the starting XI. Anthony Dudley, Craig Mahon and Matty Waters were also featuring – to make four changes from the defeat at Spennymoor. Most of the 323 travelling fans were relishing the attacking formation, but it proved hard for the yellows to make any impact in the game's opening spell.

Chester won a couple of corners in the first half hour but – despite the threatening presence of George Waring – they came to nothing. Kidderminster, who had the bulk of the opening possession, had a couple of chances themselves. But neither side came close to scoring until a moment of magic from Asante lit the game up.

A defence-splitting pass from Dudley was well taken by Asante, and Kidderminster goalkeeper Brandon Hall had no chance to stop his strike finding the net. But just five minutes later there was a flash of brilliance at the other end when a Declan Weeks shot proved unstoppable, and the hosts were back on level terms.

However, the 1-1 scoreline didnt last long, as Kidderminster went into the break 2-1 ahead following a Joe Ironside header from a well-taken corner. Sadly, it had all looked so different just a few minutes earlier.

The second half didnt start particularly promising for Chester, with barely any threat made in the opening 20 minutes. Lloyd Marsh-Hughes came on for Waring on the 68th minute, but it was the hosts who were soon on target again.

Liam McAlinden, who had been a midfield handful throughout the game, put a number of threatening balls into the box and one of these led to the Harriers going 3-1 ahead. The man who put the game beyond Chester’s reach was Ryan Johnson.

There was no way of coming back from 3-1 down, and insult was added to injury when Ed Williams fired home past Grant Shenton just before the end of the 90 minutes to seal another disappointing away performance for Chester.

Sue Choularton

Picture © Rick Matthews

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