held on to win a vital three points but they certainly
made it hard for themselves.
It had all seemed so comfortable when
Hobson nodded in Rooney’s corner to make it 3-0
after fifty minutes. When Blakeman reduced the arrears
for the visitors with a well-placed free kick from the
right hand edge of the penalty area, his goal was greeted
with polite applause by many home fans – so sure
of the points did they feel.
Shortly after this, however, it all
began to go pear-shaped. First Kay was pulled up for
a free kick on the half way line and referee Toner prepared
to show him the yellow card (harshly in my opinion).
Before he could get it out of his pocket Matt Brown
got involved in an altercation and threw the ball in
an opponent’s face. Toner reached for his other
pocket and produced the red card for the Spireite loanee.
Who knows why he did it – there seemed little
animosity in the match up to this point.
Moments later Blakeman was lining
up another direct free kick on the edge of the box and
proceeded to bend it into the opposite corner of the
net to his first effort. So twenty-six minutes plus
added time of agony were assured as City’s ten
men tried to hold on to the lead.
Play became even more error-strewn
as nerves jangled both on and off the pitch.New signing
Adam Griffin was introduced to the defence and Seddon
withdrawn as the Blues had to readjust. Jarrett had
a golden chance to ease the pressure but couldn’t
control the ball with the goal at his mercy. At the
other end the long-haired Walker glanced a header wide
when it looked easier to score. In injury time Chapman
caught and then dropped the ball on the edge of the
area and in the scramble that ensued, Hyde somehow failed
to score. City survived – just.
In the calmer times of the first half
both teams passed up good opportunities to open the
scoring. Seddon’s tame shot when clean through
might have been thee earliest goal ever recorded had
it gone in. Hyde’s Hughes ghosted in on the right
a few minutes later but skied his shot well over the
bar from point blank range. Blues forged ahead when
Seddon latched on to Brown’s long forward pass
and lobbed the keeper from the right side of the penalty
area – almost but not quite as spectacular as
Amalfitano’s goal for West Brom against Cardiff
last weekend. The Tigers then gifted Chester a second
when another Brown long ball towards the box was headed
into his own net by Brizell – keeper Kettings
having gone AWOL.
Results around the rest of the
Conference favoured Chester but with challenging away
trips to Grimsby and Cambridge to come they needed a
bit of leeway. Blues fans joined the long queues for
tickets to the Wrexham game drained of all feeling and
wondering how their shredded nerves will cope. Later,
in the Blues Bar, referee Toner sipped his drink and
gamely justified some of his decision-making to shell-shocked