A young Chester side were knocked out of the Cheshire
Senior Cup 5-4 on penalties by Hyde United in front of
a crowd of 338. The Blues led 2-0 late in the game with
goals from Matty Waters and James Jones, only to concede
two quick goals to force 30 minutes extra-time. Chester
went 3-2 ahead early in extra-time through Nathan Brown
before being pegged back again to force the penalty shoot-out.
put their Solihull disappointment’s behind them
with this fine victory at Braintree Town thanks to two
second half goals from James Alabi. Manager Jon McCarthy
was forced into a change with defender Sam Hughes picking
up an ankle knock in training Blaine Hudson deputised.
The early stages were dominated by the home side who twice
went close through Michael Cheek, curling a free-kick
just wide in the third minute then heading just over from
a corner minutes later.
From a rare Chester breakaway Alabi was adjudged to have
fouled Manny Parry while racing through onto a long punt
forward from Elliott Durrell. The dangerous Cheek was
in the action again heading just wide from another corner
and seeing an effort hit the side netting from 12 yards.
Durrell headed a Parry effort off the line as the home
side looked certain to take the lead midway through the
half. McCarthy was forced to make a change soon after
with Matty Waters, on his 19th birthday, replacing the
injured Jordan Chapell.
Waters almost made a dream start having been sent through
on goal by Alabi the youngster saw his shot well blocked
by Ian Gayle.
The home pressure finally paid off with the opening goal
on 30 minutes. Kris Twardek, on loan from Millwall, robbed
Luke George for the ball surged down the left wing and
crossed for Jack Midson and his glancing header found
the top corner of the net.
A quickly taken free kick from Durrell almost caught out
the home defence as Sam Beasant in The Iron’s goal
palmed the ball away for a corner. At the other end the
woodwork came to Chester’s rescue on the stroke
of half time as Durrell’s clearance fro a corner
hit Tom Shaw and bounced clear off the post.
The Blues (playing in all white) started the second half
well with Durrell seeing a teasing cross evade everyone
in the box and the same player saw another effort blocked
as Chester finally began to get forward.
Waters saw an effort fly over the bar but Chester drew
level on 61 minutes as Kane Richard’s right wing
cross was met by Alabi who nipped in front of Beasant
at the near post to head home.
Durrell had a great chance to grab the lead on 74 minutes
after being set-up by Richards he poked his shot wide
from 15 yards out. Although Chester had the better of
the second period Alex Lynch was called into twice to
deny the Iron, first he pushed away an Alex Henshaw piledriver
then denied Twardek moments later.
Those saves proved pivotal as Chester grabbed the winner
six minutes from time as Shaw raced through to cross for
Alabi who gave Beasant no chance from ten yards to bag
the three points.
began the New Year with a thumping hangover thanks to
this miserable result against Solihull Moors. They began
the match brightly, however, with Chapell robbing Murombedzi
of the ball in the first minute and his run ended with
a shot at goal which Lewis held. Durrell quickly followed
with another attempt but off target this time. He was
more accurate minutes later as his cross to the far post
was met by Hughes but the youngster’s header crashed
against the bar and somehow away to safety.
That was as good as it got though for City as the Moors
took the lead on seventeen minutes. It followed from a
free kick on the right incurred by Horwood as he clumsily
body checked the lively Sterling-James. Daly met the ball
in to the box but saw his header crash back off the post.
It fell kindly to Osborne who side footed into the net
through a thicket of legs.
Blues could find no rhythm after that and seemed disjointed
in every department as the visitors out muscled and dominated
them. Lynch did very well to turn a curler from Sterling-James
round the post as he drifted over to the left wing and
cut in. Chester just could not hold on to the ball for
any length of time.
As the half drew to a close City came near to equalising
when Horwood scooped a free kick over the wall but Lewis
managed to scramble it away. Then Alabi’s stooping
header was blocked on the line.
Those signs of hope failed to come to anything in the
second half however. Vassell replaced the ailing Horwood
at left back and his forward run produced a rare chance
for the home side which ended with Richards blazing narrowly
wide. By then, though, City were further behind after
Daley thumped home a shot as the ball was crossed into
the box from another set piece.
City continued to stumble as Solihull smothered the life
out of them and managed the game completely. The coup
de gras was applied when referee Wright awarded a ludicrous
penalty to the visitors – judging Luke George to
have handled deliberately as a shot flew at his face.
Harry White – who scored for three different clubs
against Chester last calendar year – opened his
account against City for 2017.
Many of the larger than usual crowd started leaving in
droves by then – to be honest it was difficult to
watch this labouring performance. Jon McCarthy described
the display as an absolute disaster. The Blues have achieved
much under him this season but were worn down by a stronger
side on this New Year’s Day.