move 19 points of Guiseley following this fightback against
play-off Gainsborough Trinity. Trinity came to Chester
on the back of a six math unbeaten run and had the better
of the opening exchanges against a Blues side that showed
several changes from the line-up that beat Vauxhall Motors
at the weekend.
forward, and former Chester hero, Darryn Stamp gave
the Blues a scare in the eighth minute with he rose
to meet a free-kick and send in a header that came back
from the crossbar with John Danby beaten. Scott Brown
played Nathan Jarman through with a great pass
Matty McGinn forced a fine save from
Jan Budtz but the visitors broke the deadlock following
another spell of pressure on 20 minutes as Stamp held
the ball up for Craig Nelthorpe to drive a shot past
Danby from the edge of the box.
Chester leveled though five minutes
later. Matty McGinn's long range swerving shot was spilled
by Budtz and Tony Gray was quickest to the loose ball
to notch his sixth goal of the season.
The goal seemed to spark more urgency
from Chester. Antoni Sarcevic and Dave Hankin, playing
at right-back, both saw efforts go wide before Chester
took the lead with a great counter attack six minutes
before the break.
Sarcevic and Nathan Jarman played
a one-two before Sarcevic delivered a right wing cross
that was met by McGinn whose first time shot flew past
Budtz giving the ‘keeper no chance
Gray saw an effort fly over the bar,
after good work from Wes Baynes, before Chester extended
their lead ten minutes into the second period. McGinn's
long throw was flicked on by George Horan to Jarman
who stabbed the ball home to notch his 16th goal of
Danny Williams maintained Chester’s
two-goal lead when he cleared off the line to deny Bradley
Barraclough. Gainsborough pressed for the next period
but the chester defence held firm. Barraclough just
failed to meet a Stamp cross.
The last meaningful action saw Gray
and Jarman combine well to set up McGinn but the defender
sent his close range shot over the bar with just Budtz
Neil Young made no less than five changes from the side
that started midweek’s draw at Workington. As well
as on-loan Crewe winger Brendon Daniels, there was also
a first start for Lee Trundle who had made his debut from
the bench at Borough Park on Tuesday.
Daniels stamped his mark on the game with the opening
goal after just 12 minutes. Iain Howard’s cross
from the left was met by Antoni Sarcevic, his effort was
saved by Zac Jones but the ball fell to Daniels who scored
from close range. Howard had a great chance to double
the lead ten minutes later, he expertly controlled a Wes
baynes pass but after doing the hard work dragged his
shot wide of Jones and the post.
were guilty of many misplace passes in midfield and
the Motormen came more into the game as the half progressed.
Obi Anoruo sent a head straight at John Danby and the
Blues ‘keeper was well placed to gather a long-range
effort from Craig Mahon.
Trundle showed some neat skill to
control a Danby clearance before turning to shoot just
over the bar from 25 yards out.
The Motormen had a great chance to equalise five minutes
before the break. Anoruo rushed through onto a Chris
Noone ball that had split the Blues defence but with
John Danby narrowing the angle the striker shot wide
and the chance was gone.
Danby produced another fine
save to deny Tom Rutter after the break and Paul Linwood
cleared from his line
after Ashley Stott had sent in a goalbound shot.
At the other end, Tony Gray saw a
shot blocked and Nathan Turner forced Jones into a good
save before Young introduced three changes in an effort
to grab control of a game that the visitors, who had
defeated second placed Guiseley last week, were beginning
Matty McGinn saw a free-kick
turned away before substitute Nathan Jarman sealed victory
two minutes from time after good approach play on the
left by Gray whose cross was controlled by Jarman before
he sent an unstoppable volley past Jones to the relief
of the Blues fans behind the goal.
Chester were made to fight all the way for this hard warned
point against a Workington side who played 85 minutes
with just ten men. The point extends Chester’s unbeaten
run to a record breaking 22 matches and they remain 16
points clear of Guiseley who were held 2-2 at home by
Chester started with
an unchanged side after Antoni Sarcevic recovered from
a thigh strain picked up at Corby and there was a place
on the bench for new signing Lee Trundle.
The home side were quickest from the
start with John Danby being called into action to save
from Gereth Arnison after just three minutes but the
game to a dramatic twist two minutes later as Lee Andrews
was shown a straight red card for a foul just outside
of the box on Nathan Jarman. The resulting Matty McGinn
free-kick was gathered by Joel Dixon in the Reds goal.
The game moved from end to end with
Danby saving low down from a Joe McGee effort before
Dixon did well to palm a Marc Williams shot over the
bar as both sides pressed for the opening goal at a
freezing Borough Park.
their numerical disadvantage Workington continued to
press. McGinn deflected an Arnison effort wide and Danby
gathered a McGee long range effort.
Sarcevic saw an effort blocked by
Gari Rowntree before shooting high and wide after controlling
a measured McGinn pass. The half finished with Marc
Williams forcing a save from Dixon with a back post
header from Wes Baynes’ cross.
Six minutes after the restart Chester
grabbed the lead. Sarcevic sent in a perfect cross for
Marc Williams to power home a header past Dixon into
the roof of the net from close range. The lead lasted
only two minutes though, Nathan Turner was caught in
possession by Rowntree who ran through and let fly with
a 20-yards that beat Danby and went in via the underside
of the bar.
Manager Neil Young sent on Trundle
for Nathan Jarman and the striker almost won a penalty
with this first touch though referee Peter Wright turned
down the Chester appeals. Twelve minutes from time Trundle
saw a goalbound shot deflected wide and that was be
the nearest Chester came to grabbing a winner from a
display that manager Young describes as “the worst
performance of the season”.
Chester moved 16 points clear of their nearest challengers
Guiseley after completing the double over Corby Town as
their Yorkshire promotion rivals were being beaten 2-0
at Vauxhall Motors.
Town manager Chris Plummer had warned his players pre-match
that they couldn’t afford a slow start against
the Blues if they were to get a result against Neil
Young’s high-flyers, but they did and it was Chester
who began the game on the attack.
Dave Hankin and Antoni Sarcevic were
causing problems for home ‘keeper Paul Walker.
Chester, playing in a third strip of yellow and blue,
took the lead on 13 minutes. Nathan Jarman beat the
offside trap to race onto a through ball down the left,
he took the ball to the goalline before checking back
and sending in a cross to the far post where Hankin
had ghosted in totally unmarked to send an unstoppable
header past the exposed Walker from six yards out.
Four minutes later Nathan Jarman doubled
the lead after some fine quick approach play. Hankin
lobbed a through ball for Marc Williams to chase, he
hooked the ball back for Matty McGinn to cushion a header
down to Jarman. The striker saw his first effort blocked
by Jason Crowe but Jarman reacted quickly to poke home
the rebound past the defender.
Marc Williams should have added a
third as he raced through onto a perfect Danny Williams
pass but the striker seemed to get the ball stuck under
his feet on the sticky playing surface. Walker was in
action again saving another Jarman effort as Chester
The hosts came more into the game
in the closing ten minutes of the half. Ryan Semple
saw a free kick deflected wide and John Danby, who had
little to do in the opening half, was called into action
just before the break as he pulled off a great save
to deny Josh Moreman’s header and preserve the
The second half saw the Steelmen come more into the
game. George Horan headed over from a corner before
Danby was forced into saving again from Moreman.
Corby pressed and Semple, who had
a loan spell with Chester City six years ago, blasted
high and wide from close range as the Chester defence
came under pressure. Horan turned a Moreman cross onto
Jarman saw a free-kick pass just wide on Walker’s
post before Corby pulled a goal back deep into stoppage
time. as the lively Malone headed home Sam Ives’
Chester’s stunning victory at Brackley in December,
Jon Brady vowed that they would learn lessons from the
experience. The main thing they seemed to have learnt
is that the very best they could hope for was a point
when they came to the Exacta. Brackley came grimly determined
to leave with a point and parked the proverbial Leyland
Atlantean in front of their goal.
It made for quite tedious entertainment but it was up
to City as hosts to break their stubborn visitors down.
Not enough of the Blues were on top of their game, however,
to enforce a breakthrough and the game ended in stalemate.
Dominican international and Lower League journeyman Jefferson
Louis shouldered the burden of Brackley’s very limited
attacking ambitions and made a good fist of occupying
Linwood and Horan. Even so Danby had not one shot on target
to deal with all afternoon. At the other end Turley was
rarely troubled either, so effective was the smothering
blanket in front of him.
The best City could muster in the first half was a header
from Ben Mills narrowly wide, having been set up by Horan’s
nod back across goal. A goal then would have forced the
visitors to come out of their shell more.
The game seemed to cry out for the guile of Marc Williams
playing just behind the front line and coming back in
search of the ball. The aerial threat from City was easily
dealt with by the Saints’ defence. When Williams
was introduced ten minutes into the second half, City’s
game picked up but not enough to force the issue. Wing
backs Hankin and Danny Williams were closely policed and
Sarcevic effectively shackled to show that Brackley had
indeed learned from their earlier defeat.
One person who might have made a difference was the magnificent
Craig Curran, now returned to Rochdale after his loan
spell. But City fans were all too well aware that we could
not afford to keep him and the club must live within in
its means especially after the news of a projected operating
loss announced this week.
City were forced to concede a little ground in the title
race then but are still handsomely placed. A blank weekend
beckons before the trip to Corby in a fortnight.