ever there was a sense of ‘deja vu’ about
a match, then the closing spell of Dagenham v Chester
epitomised the very definition of the phrase. Last February
the Blues were 2-1 up with four minutes to go, only to
fall victim to a 3-2 defeat. So it was gutting to see
the end of this game prove to be a near replica of last
On a freezing day, the game started
well enough for Chester with Dominic Vose immediately
looking like a class above most of the rest of the players
on the pitch. Despite that, it was the home side who
went ahead on the 11th minute when Fejiri Okenabirhie
found himself in enough space on the edge of the area
to score a great goal.
let their heads drop though and a good chance saw a
Matty Waters’ shot
just go over the crossbar. Soon after, they did find
the net when a well-placed cross from Gary Roberts was
struck sublimely by Jordan Archer to put the Blues back
on level terms at half-time.
Not long after the re-start, Ryan
Astles saw a powerful header from a Roberts’
corner go past the post. Ross Hannah also had a couple
of chances, but couldn't seem to find the target.
positive approach finally succeeded on the 62nd minute
when Daggers’ goalkeeper
Mark Cousins could only parry a Vose strike. The re-bound
fell well for young midfielder Waters, and when he scored
his delighted face was an absolute picture for the 137
As there was still half an hour of
play left, the Chester fans were getting very edgy remembering
the events of 2017. So it was almost no surprise when
Okenabirhie scored again with a good shot on the 85th
minute. But the day’s
disappointment was completed by Andy Halls' headed own
goal just three minutes later. Despite four minutes
of injury-time, there was no way back for Chester and
it was yet another pointless visit to Victoria Road.
are unable to build on Saturday’s win as they lost
by a single goal to Leyton Orient. Unsurprisingly Blues
manager Marcus Bignot elected to keep the same starting
X1 that played on Saturday against Eastleigh.
Chester started well with Dean Brill in action early saving
from a Ryan Astles header in the opening stages which
youngster Tom CRawford made a great sliding challenge
to deny Jake Caprice as Orient looked to strike on the
break. Gary Roberts was well placed to block a Josh Koroma
effort when the O's striker really should have done better.
Macauley Bonne was denied at
the near post by a saving clearance from Shaun Hobson
following a dangerous Caprice cross.
Jordan Archer, Ross Hannah and Andy Halls were all seeing
plenty of possession but the Blues couldn't break through
the Orient back line. The visitors took the lead against
the run of play on 70 minutes. Not for the first time
Caprice exposed Myles Anderson down the flank, his low
cross was met by a stooping James Brophy who headed
home past Hornby.
Bonne should have put the game
beyond Chester with ten minutes remaining totally missing
Koroma’s cross from two yards out.
gave a debut to midfielder Dominic Vose as the Blues
looked to end a losing streak of six matches against
The Blues started well with
Gary Roberts and youngster Tom Crawford dictating things
in the middle of the pitch, and it wasn’t long
before the Blues took the lead as Craig Mahon slid a
through ball for Ross Hannah to chase, the striker chipping
the ball over Graham Stack in the Eastleigh goal.
The lead was short lived as just sixty seconds later
the visitors drew level as Chris Zebroski saw an effort
blocked by Ryan Astles but the loose ball fell to Mark
Yeates who gave Sam Hornby in the Chester goal no chance.
Another clinical through ball, this time from Vose,
set Hannah away through on goal again but he was unable
to get a shot away on target. Hornby produces a fine
save to deny Yeates before Chester regained the lead.
Andy Halls’ right wing cross was dropped by Stack
under pressure from Roberts and Hannah was on hand to
score from close range at the far post.
Minutes into the second half
Hannah almost grabbed his hat-trick seeing an effort
crash back from the underside of the bar. At the other
end Hornby produced another two fine saves to deny Sam
Matthews and Yeates.
Chester wrapped up the points
in the final minute as Vose produced a great bit of
skill to set up substitute James Akintunde who shot
high into the roof to the net giving Stack no chance
to seal a priceless victory.
time I visit Woking for a Chester match, it’s definitely
a case of “more in hope, than expectation”.
So it was with a doubting mind that I trudged through
the freezing drizzle and into Kingfield via the aptly-named
started better than I’d
seen them in 2018, with James Akintunde having an early
shot after he ran through with the ball from midfield.
It was fairly clear that Woking were nothing special,
and the Blues initially seemed to be more 'up' for the
But the home side started making more
of an impression as the first half went on, and striker
Reece Grego-Cox, on loan from QPR, had the ball in the
net inside the first 15 minutes. His strike was ruled
out for offside, but it seemed to give Woking more confidence.
Their efforts were rewarded on the
23rd minute when they won a corner, which seemed to
take an unlucky bounce for Chester before the ball hit
Woking’s Josh Staunton
and somehow found its way into the net.
One of Chester’s
best chances of the game fell to Ryan Astles who headed
for home from a Gary Roberts’
free kick. But his header was easily held by Woking
goalkeeper Nathan Baxter, who is on loan from Chelsea.
The Cards had a couple more chances
before half-time, but it was the turn of Chester goalkeeper
to be more than a match for the attackers. When referee
blew for half-time there’d
only been one card showed during the game. But there
were another seven cards in the second half, including
a 58th minute red card for Woking's Matt Young for a
late tackle on Akintunde.
The sending-off seemed to spur Chester
into more determined action, but they always seemed
to come off second best when they got close to the Woking
box. Their best chance fell to substitute Ross Hannah
who did manage to beat Baxter, only to see his shot
hit the crossbar. Jordan Archer also won the ball right
in front of goal, but an attempted overhead kick was
perhaps not the best way for him to find the net.
It was all hands on deck in the Chester
attack during the five minutes of added time, but they
still couldn’t threaten the Woking goal. Grego-Cox
actually had another good chance for the hosts in the
final stages, but his shot also hit the woodwork to
keep the score at 1-0 when full-time came.