sides finished the game with ten men as Kingsley James
and Richard Brodie saw red in the final minutes. Manager
Steve Burr brought in three two new and one not so new
face into the side with Ryan Higgins, Brad Abbott and
Matty Hughes making the starting X1.
On-loan Callum Burton in the Sandgrounders goal was the
busier of the two keepers in the opening period making
a couple of saves from Sean McConville and rushing out
smother a through ball and deny Hughes an effort on goal.
Against the run of play Danny Hattersley had the ball
in the net following build-up play from ex-Chester player
Paul Rutherford but referee Wayne Barrett ruled the effort
out for offside.
Chester continued to have the better of the first half
half with Gareth Roberts putting and effort wide and McConville
shooting over from the edge of the box.
David Fitzpatrick almost gave Chester a half time lead
as be back headed a long clearance past his own ‘keeper
and just wide of his own post.
James saw an effort got just over the bar moments after
the break. Burton produced another save to deny Mahon
before the home side began to get back into the game.
Worsnop saved well from Richard Brodie and was on hand
to deny Brodie again the the final minute as the home
side pressed for the winner.
In the final minute Brodie fell to the ground in the box
with Barratt waving play on, however James rushed in and
pushed the striker back over and received a straight red
card for his act of madness. Moments later Brodie followed
him down the tunnel after a rash tackle on Ryan Higgins
brought him a second yellow card.
The final effort of the game went to Danny Hattersley
who turned and shot inches wide of Worsnop’s post.
miserable start to 2015 was compounded with a second successive
home defeat. They lost by the odd goal in five to the
Iron who gained revenge for City’s first win of
the season at their expense back in August.
New signings Higgins and Green were ineligible to start
the game and so the Blues team almost picked itself. Michael
Kay, however, seemed to be given a different role this
afternoon, playing alongside Kingsley James to the left
of midfield. Heneghan resumed at right back.
The game was a stodgy affair with both sides struggling
to dominate possession and string passes together. The
visitors’ physical presence was announced when central
striker Cox gratuitously barged into the back of Charnock
as the ball was heading harmlessly out of play. There
was a brief flurry of chances at either end when first
Worsnop could only parry a shot and a couple of Braintree
forwards only just failed to take advantage of a very
hesitant City defence. Then Heneghan fired wide when the
ball had sat up nicely for him following a fumble by Hamann
the Iron’s keeper.
As half time approached, Kingsley James broke forward
and opted to feed the ball through to McConville. The
Blues’ forward turned to make space and fired first
time, his shot benefiting from a slight deflection off
a defender as it whizzed past Hamann into the net.
A fairly dire first half was redeemed by a lead for City,
but ten minutes into the second half they were behind
after some sloppy defending. First Worsnop punched the
ball weakly to the edge of the area and Davis returned
the ball just under the bar – despite the attempt
of a defender to head it clear. Worse followed when Sparkes
found plenty of space down the left to hang the ball up
at the far post for Cox to nod in with ease.
Blues chased the game with Kingsley James working hard
to win possession and prompt some attacking forays. Mahon
had promising possession on the left and threatened on
a number of occasions but as the game wore on Braintree
were alive to the danger and made sure he was quickly
closed down – often by a couple of defenders. Peers
and Richards came on to lend much needed freshness to
City’s forward play. The latter was often isolated
on the left but Peers began to threaten. His header was
tipped over the bar by Hamann.
From the resulting corner, Rooney picked out Matty Brown
exquisitely and City’s captain powered a headed
equaliser into the back of the net. A quarter of an hour
remained for the Blues to go in search of a winner but
infuriatingly they were behind again within a minute.
Once more Sparkes had far too much space on the left and
his driven cross was met by Cox. The centre-forward’s
first effort was saved by Worsnop but not the follow-up.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of City and their supporters
but gradually the Blues came back to threaten again. Rooney’s
free kick was just tipped over and from the corner Charnock
headed narrowly over. A frustrating evening ended with
a jaded looking Blues’ side trudging from the pitch.
Three points out of the last fifteen is a worrying loss
of form for City who seem in need of a rest. They will
get a prolonged break now until they visit Southport on
completed a comfortable festive double over lackluster
Chester who, with an unchanged side, failed miserably
to follow up their fine win at FC Halifax Town. The home
side made the better start and Matty Brown denied Damian
Reeves with a block on the six yard line in the early
stages before a poor clearance from Jon Worsnop set up
Nicky Clee for the opening goal on just 10 minutes shooting
into an empty net from 30 yards out.
minutes later Alty doubled their advantage as Clee fed
Reeves who chipped over the advancing Worsnop from the
edge of the box. John Rooney responded with a shot that
slipped just wide and the same played flashed another
shot wide of goal before finding the net in the 28th
minute as he curled a free-kick round the wall and past
a motionless Stuart Coburn in the home goal.
Chester came more into the game and
were denied an equaliser on the stroke of half-time
as Jamie Menagh saw a goalbound effort cleared off the
Worsnop made two good saves
after the restart to keep Chester in the game, first
denying Ryan Crowther from ten yards and then pushing
a Clee piledriver round the post to safety.
Chester made life difficult
for themselves in the 56th minute as Ibou Touray was
shown a straight red card for a challenge on goalscorer
Clee. Six minutes later Altrincham took advantage of
their extra man as Reeves pounced on a mistake by Kingsley
James, who’d failed to clear the danger, to score
from ten yards.
Coburn saved from a fine Brown
header before the home side wrapped up the points with
a fourth goal in the 67th minute as Clee beat Worsnop
from 15 yards out. Reeves should have completed a hat-trick
seven minutes from time but he blazed over from close