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Solihull Moors (H) | Braintree Town (A) | Hyde United (CSC1 H) | Forest Green Rovers (FAT2 H) | Wrexham (H) | Dover Athletic (A)
Saturday 14 January
Chester 0 Forest Green Rovers 2
FA Trophy Round 2
Attendance: 1,250 Half Time 0-1
Booked: -.

Chester: Lynch, George, Hudson, Astles, Horwood, Shaw, Lloyd, Durrell, Richards, Waters (Mahon 82), Alabi. Subs not used: Roberts, Joyce, Marsh, Evans.
Forest Green Rovers:
Russell, Monthe, Clough, Bennett, Kelly, Carter (Noble 80), Wishart (Pinnock 60), Doidge, Sinclair, Cooper (Wedgbury 89), Robert. Subs not used: Marsh-Brown, Traore.
Referee: Matthew Smith.

Chester are knocked out of the FA Trophy as two well taken goals either side of the break by Marcus Kelly are enought to beat Jon McCarthy’s team.

Picture © Rick Matthews (Chester Leader)

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Tuesday 10 January
Chester 3 Hyde United 3 (After Extra Time)
Hyde win 5-4 on penalties
Cheshire Senior Cup Round 1
Attendance: 338 Half Time 1-0 Full Time 2-2

Chester: Roberts, Downes, Evans, Hunt, Joyce (Rowbottom), J.Jones, Edwards, Waters, Ap-Gareth, Marsh (Thomson), Brown. Subs not used: Hodges, E.Jones, Crayston.

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.

Picture © Rick Matthews (Chester Leader)

Saturday 7 January
Braintree Town 1 Chester 2
Confererce Premier
Attendance: 707 Half Time 1-0
Booked: Alabi.

Braintree Town: Beasant, Clohessy, Okimo, Twardek, Parry, Gayle, Isaac (Maybanks 87), Midson, Corne (Lee 76), Barnard, Cheek (Henshall 70), Subs not used: Goodman, McNamara.
Lynch, George, Hudson, Shaw, Horwood, Astles, Durrell (Joyce 86), Lloyd, Chapell (Waters 26), Richards, Alabi. Subs not used: Roberts, Evans, Marsh.
Referee: Adam Bromley.

Chester 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.

Picture © Rick Matthews (Chester Leader)

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Sunday 1 January
Chester 0 Solihull Moors 3
Confererce Premier
Attendance: 2,244 Half Time 0-1
Booked: Horwood, Shaw.

Chester: Lynch, Astles, Hughes, George, Horwood (Vassell 46), Chapell, Lloyd, Durrell, Shaw, Richards, Alabi. Subs not used: Roberts, Waters, Joyce, Hudson.
Solihull Moors:
Lewis, Murombedzi, Daly, Kettle, Flanagan, Byrne (Obeng 68), White (Asante 82), Osborne, Sterling-James (Mwanyongo 86), Carline, Nortey. Subs not used: Fagbola, Vaughan.
Referee: Peter Wright (Lancashire).

Chester 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.

Colin Mansley

Picture © Rick Matthews (Chester Leader)

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Theo Vassell is to remain at Chester until the end of the season after Walsall agreed to extend his loan spell.
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Chester are knocked out of the FA Trophy as two well taken goals either side of the break by Marcus Kelly are enought to beat Jon McCarthy’s team.
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