went out of the FA Cup at the 4th Qualifying Round stage
for the third season in a row, but this defeat at Kidderminster
had to be the most disappointing of them all.
was hard to find a highlight from a dismal afternoon
at the Aggborough Stadium, even the home side's famous
pies ran out well before kick-off, as most of the travelling
522 fans seemed to want to sample some tasty fayre.
It certainly wasn’t a feast
of football for the Chester fans, who were making themselves
heard right from the off. Their side’s two best
chances were unchallenged headers for Kingsley James
and John McCombe, but they were well off target.
Kidderminster were simply the best
in every area of the park, belying their status as a
mid-table Conference North team. They were a tad lucky
with their opening goal when a shot cannoned off the
post on the 19th minute right to unmarked Emmanuel Sonupe,
who had no trouble finding the net.
Chester failed to respond to the challenge
and it was hard to think of many of their passes finding
the man, let alone giving them a chance to score. There
was one change at half-time when Matty Waters was replaced
by Jordan Chapell, but there was no marked improvement
in team performance in the second half.
It wasn't long before a growing number
of the Chester fans were letting their feelings known
to their lacklustre players with chants of “what
a load of rubbish”, and this only got louder when
Kidderminster when 2-0 up through a Joe Ironside header.
It got so bad before the end of the game that several
Chester fans were joining in with the Kiddie fans chanting
“off, off, off” when the referee showed
Andy Halls a yellow card.
When the inevitable Kidderminster
victory was confirmed, there was more anger shown by
the travelling army. Manager Marcus Bignot took his
team out for a ‘dressing-down’ within earshot
of their chanting. It was at least 15 minutes after
full-time before the last of the furious Chester fans
left the ground, many of them heading straight to the
nearby off-licence or one of the excellent local hostelries
to console themselves after their early awakening from
their Wembley dream.
Woking are very much a surprise
package this season and came to Chester in sparkling form.
They had won five out of the last seven including victories
over Macclesfield and Sutton. As the game unfolded under
a gibbous moon, it was easy to see why as they started
much more rapidly than the Blues. The visitors appeared
quicker to every ball and took just a touch to control
it where City players, sluggish by comparison took two.
The Cards kept up a high energy pressing game and put
Chester under pressure whenever they were in possession.
There were a number of forced errors as a result and it
did not come against the run of play when Woking took
the lead after just ten minutes. Young’s pinpoint
cross from the right was met by Ferdinand’s precise
header just inside the post.
It got worse for City when Mahon was forced off after
a clumsy challenge from behind by Isaac. Liam Davies was
sent on as his replacement. Chester did managed to forge
a couple of opportunities. First Dawson shot straight
at the keeper from outside the area and then Baxter saved
Hannah’s effort from much closer quarters.
In the second half the Blues fought hard to get a toe-hold
in the game. Hannah went close with a header at the far
post and was then given offside as he made a second attempt
to score. More agonising for City was seeing Astles’
glancing header strike the foot of the post and roll tantalisingly
across goal before being cleared.
Within a couple of minutes of this near miss, Woking sealed
the game at the other end. Philpot raced on to Hall’s
under-hit back pass and came off better from Lynch’s
onrushing challenge. The Cards’ forward was able
to roll the ball into the empty net for a second and decisive
Understandably, the stuffing was knocked out of Chester
by this blow but they continued to make a game of it but
the Cards were resolute in defence. Although on another
evening Chester might have forced a draw there was no
denying that the visitors were slicker and quicker on
the ball than City tonight. Woking moved up to third in
the table with this win. Chester will look to raise their
game for the local derby with Tranmere at the weekend.