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MATCH REPORTS 2022/23

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MAY
Brackley Town (H) |
Sunday 7 May
Chester 0 Brackley Town 1
National League North Play-Off Semi Final
Attendance: 4,479 (242 Brackley Town) Half Time: 0-0
Booked: Caton, Whitehouse, Weeks.

Chester: Tyrer, Brown, Weeks, Willoughby, Dudley (Hall 72), Williams, Coates, Earl (Burke 61), Caton, Whitehouse, Edwards. Subs not used: Kenyon, Nmai, Murray.
Brackley Town: Lewis, Carline, Calder, Murombedzi, Walker, Cullinane-Liburd, Matwasa (Amantchi 76), Bates, Robinson, Stead, Richards. Subs not used: Rooney, York, Woods, Smart.
Referee: Dale Baines.

Chester’s fantastic season sadly ended in the most dismal way possible, with a 1-0 defeat against Brackley Town in the National League North play-off semi-final.

A sold-out Deva Stadium crowd of nearly 4,500, a terrific pre-match atmosphere and glorious weather seemed to set the scene for the Blues to continue their form and secure their spot in the play-off final.

But the players didn’t seem to have read the script and it was a disappointing start to the match, despite ‘King’ Kurt Willoughby making his return to the starting X1 from injury.

Brackley’s height made them a strong presence throughout and Chester didn’t seem to play to their own strengths, with the ball being in the air for much of the game.

The game didn’t really get going until the last 25 minutes of the first half, with Chester’s first serious attempt on goal coming with a free-kick from captain Declan Weeks, which was cleared by Brackley for a corner.

Brackley’s first real opportunity in the opening 45 minutes then came to their well-travelled striker Theo Robinson, who signed from Hartlepool in April. But while he registered a shot on target, it was easily held by Harry Tyrer.

Then just a few minutes before half-time whistle was blown, much of the Deva Stadium thought Willoughby had put the ball in the net with a terrific header which went just wide of the post.

The Chester fans, though still nervy, thought it would be ‘business as usual’ in the second half. The loud home crowd were creating a fever pitch atmosphere, and the Blues did seem to respond to their support.

Willoughby was soon into action, getting into the box to pass to Anthony Dudley. But his strike was parried by Brackley goalkeeper Danny Lewis, with Charlie Caton failing to capitalise on the rebound.

Soon after, Brackley’s Robinson gave Tyrer a stronger test, with the Everton loanee diving to keep his strike away. Tyrer, who went on to be named Chester’s man-of-the-match, was called on again to make another good save from Cosmos Matwasa. Later he dived to the top corner to make a top drawer stop from Jordan Richards.

But there was action at the other end too, with Caton bringing on a save from Lewis and Elliott Whitehouse having a shot which blazed over the crossbar. Chester also won a corner from a Willoughby strike, but the Blues still couldn’t get near the net.

And it was Brackley who broke the deadlock on the 79th minute with an excellent pass to George Carline, who found himself in plenty of space on the right. His shot came from 20 yards out, and Tyrer couldn’t do anything about it as the ball went into the bottom corner.

Chester piled forward for the closing spell, but they couldn’t find a way through the rock-solid Brackley defence and even with five minutes of added time, there was nothing they could do.

To double the disappointment for Chester fans, a tiny minority of supporters in the home end went onto the pitch at full-time to confront the celebrating 242 Brackley supporters. But no-one could deny that their team deserved their home final tie against Kidderminster Harriers.

Sue Choularton




Pictures © Rick Matthews

Match photographs | Match highlights [YouTube]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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