Chester were out-classed by big-spending Forest Green
Rovers in a match which saw both teams battling against
the weather almost as much as each other.
The final scoreline did not exactly
reflect the performance of Chester, who were unlucky
not to score at least one goal during their first visit
to the utilitarian New Lawn.
The closest they came in the first
half came was when a looping header from Ross Killock
struck the bar and Craig Lindfield couldn’t take
advantage of the re-bound. He had an excellent opening,
but his shot went straight to FGR goalkeeper Sam Russell.
Just when the weather was at its worst,
as the driving rain lashed down into the Cotswold Valleys,
controversial striker Lee Hughes seized the moment.
It was only moments after he’d laughed at chants
made by some of the 316 travelling Chester fans that
he had chance to show them his footballing class. He
found himself in plenty of space to take his time with
a good pass from FGR’s top scorer James Norwood,
and took his shot well to give John Danby no chance.
Chester midfielder Jason Jarrett was
well-placed for an attempt on target soon after, but
his header went well wide as the wind swirled around.
The weather slightly improved in the
second half, and so did Forest Green’s performance.
Norwood put himself on the scoresheet on the 64th minute
when he found himself free on the left-hand side and
notched up another upstoppable strike for the home side.
Chester manager Steve Burr had replaced
Lindfield with Andy Bond, his new signed from Colchester
on the 55th minute. He followed this by bringing on
Craig Mahon to replace Jarrett.
But Hughes continued to be hard for
anyone to handle, and he scored his second goal on the
72nd minute. It was difficult for the Chester fans to
look at him dancing for joy, and it was no wonder Danby
thwacked the ball back into the net in frustration.
Tom Peers came on for Jamie Menagh
on the 80th minute, and not long after John Rooney came
close to a goal when a strike from distance hit the
post. But there were no further opportunities for Chester
and it was a good win for the ambitious home side.
Still, at least two Chester fans attending
the match could reflect on their last visit to Forest
Green. They were among a handful who arrived at the
New Lawn for the infamous fixture the old Chester City
failed to fulfil. At that stage they probably thought
they'd never return to the New Lawn to watch a Chester
side play. No doubt they would have accepted any result
– so they’d have taken this defeat in their
Chester finally moved out of the relegation zone after
an impressive win at Woking, earning new manager Steve
Burr his second win in his first two games.
The only Chester line-up changes from
Saturday’s home win against Barnet saw Craig Lindfield
in the starting XI and Tom Peers on the bench. Woking
had replaced their goalkeeper Sam Beasant with 19-year-old
Mason Springthorpe, who was on-loan from Everton.
Their young goalkeeper was under pressure
throughout the game as Chester looked the most likely
to score. It was great to see the team playing confidently,
and making some neat passing interchanges. But it was
actually a long ball out of defence that led to the
Blues going 1-0 up on the 29th minute. The ball came
to Jamie Menagh, who ran into the box from the wing
and took a brilliant shot, which went straight into
the bottom corner of the net.
Menagh made the most of his celebration
– and who can blame him?! The 150 travelling Chester
fans also enjoyed the moment when he came over for hugs
and high-fives over the touchline barrier.
Chester had at least two other chances
to score in the first half, with Jamie Reed seeing a
shot saved by Springthorpe and then missing another
chance when he fell over in the area with the net gaping
in front of him.
Half-time saw the Chester fans move
en-masse to Woking’s impressive main stand, and
they almost witnessed another goal right from the off
when a Woking back pass caught the goalkeeper out. It
just trickled past the post for a corner, and with it
another opportunity for Chester to seal their win. There
was a goalmouth scramble after the corner, but Woking
managed to thwack the ball away.
The Cards bought on three substitutes,
but still didn’t go near scoring. Ironically,
their Man-of-the-Match was goalkeeper Springthorpe –
which says it all about their game. From a Chester perspective,
it looked like the entire team were making a real effort
to impress their new manager. In fact, their determination
saw five of them handed yellow cards.
As you can imagine, the Chester fans
all had one thing on their mind when the assistant referee
signalled five minutes’ of stoppage time. Oh yes,
we’ve seen it all before this season. And it’s
true that Woking did look more likely to score in the
game’s final moments than they did at any other
stage. But John Danby made a good stop at the right
time to keep Chester on top and earn a much-needed three
It was no wonder that one Chester
fan spied the team stocking up on celebratory crisps
and chocolates when they made a pitstop on the way home.
The players clearly needed an energy boost after giving
a flat-out performance for 95 minutes. And I’m
sure all Chester supporters will forgive them for any
night time snack which takes their fancy if it comes
after such a splendid away win.
from Lewis Turner and Jamie Reed see the new management
team of Steve Burr and Gary Jones off to a winning start
with victory over Barnet. This was the first league
outing for three weeks for Chester who made just one
change from the side that drew with Gateshead over Christmas
with Kevin McIntyrre coming in for Joe Heath.
The game got off to a slow cagy start
with both sides failing to create any chances of note,
jamie Reed shooting high over the bar from Lewis Turners
through ball being the first chance of note for the
Blues on 20 minutes.
The Bees had the ball in the back
of the net on 28 minutes but Jake Hyde was adjudged
to be offside as he slotted Keanu Marsh-Brown cross
past John Danby.
John Rooney, who signed a permanent
deal last week, went close twice for Chester as the
Blues got more into the game. Firstly he sent a free-kick
just wide then moments later forced a save from Nicky
Jupp in the Bees goal.
Chester took the lead on 34 minutes
as Turner's cross into the box found its way into the
net with a possible deflection helping it past Jupp.
Barnet bounced back and almost drew
level minutes later as Hyde twice went close, prodding
the ball wide from six yards out and then forcing a
save from Danby.
The visitors started the second period
with more purpose though both George Horan and Ross
Killock were holding the defence well, preventing Barnet
from finding any real goslscoring chances of note.
Luke Gamblin almost added a second
for Chester as the Bees defender almost headed into
his own net attempting to clear a Rooney corner.
As has been seen so many times this
season Chester conceded a late equaliser seven minutes
from time as dangerman Hyde headed home following a
cross from substitute Harry Crawford.
Just when the Chester faithful were
resigning themselves to another draw the Blues responded
with an instant reply. Straight from the kick-off Turner
and Rooney combined and Turner’s right wing cross
was met at the back post by the unmarked Jamie Reed
who swept the ball home to wild scenes of celebration
at the Harry Mc end of the ground and earn three priceless
points in the quest to avoid relegation.
13 January Runcorn
Town 0 Chester 4
Cheshire Senior Cup Round 1
Attendance: 243 Half Time 0-2
Town: Wills, Potter, Lester, Burton, Dalton,
Spearitt, Dolan, Keddie, Breen, James McShane, Haughton.
Subs not used: Jason McShane, Duckworth, Edwards, Salt.
Chester: Danby, Lindfield, Kay, Horan, McIntyre
(Mahon), Rooney, Jarrett, Menagh, A.Williams (Heath),
Peers (S.Miller), Reed. Subs not used: Fearon, Linwood,
Blake. Referee: Robert Jones (Wirral).
was a winning start for caretaker manager Gary Jones
as a hat-trick on his full debut from John Rooney and
a fourth by Jamie Reed saw Chester’s defence of
the Cheshire Senior Cup start with a comfortable win
at Runcorn Town.
Jones made five changes to the side
that last played against Gateshead and saw his team
dominate for much of the opening period against their
North West Counties League opponents. The Blues should
have taken the lead in the 20th minute as Rooney’s
inswinging corner was met by Mark Peers but the striker
headed over from close range.
Karl Wills in the home goal denied
Reed from close range and Jamie Menagh and Craig Lindfield
both saw efforts go just wide.
Chester opened the scoring a couple
of minutes before the break as Rooney slotted the ball
home following good build up play from Menagh. Rooney
ten doubled the advantage in first-half stoppage time
as he converted a penalty after Peers had been brought
down by Wills.
Seven minutes after the restart Reed
added a third following up with a fine effort after
Wills had saved from Rooney. John Danby had little to
do but saved a long range effort from Will Dolan as
the home side looked to respond.
Jones made a series of substitutes
to give the squad a run-out before Rooney completed
his hat-trick in the final minute with a well taken
effort from the edge of the area.