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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 24 Jan 15 at 16:45 PM

REPORT: CHESTER 1 HARRIERS 0

Danny Wright was denied at the death as a second-half onslaught by Harriers was not enough to overcome an early disadvantage as Chester took all three points.

Craig Mahon found the net in style for the Blues after half an hour and after a rather lax first-half showing, Harriers fought valiantly back but just couldn’t find the net.

Gary Whild’s men remain in fifth place but are now four points behind fourth-placed Grimsby Town after the Mariners' victory at Nuneaton Town this afternoon.

Boss Whild made one alteration to the side which beat Aldershot Town 1-0 on Tuesday, as Danny Lewis was recalled between the sticks in place of Jaz Singh. 

Meanwhile, on-loan Birmingham City defender Nat Kelly returned to the squad to take a seat on the bench in place of Callum Gittings.

Chester made two changes to the team which drew 0-0 with Southport, as Tom Peers and the suspended Kingsley James made way for John Rooney and new addition Oliver McBurnie.

Wright and fellow new signing Aaron Wildig spearheaded Harriers’ second-half attacking display and it was the former Gateshead man who almost snatched an injury-time equaliser.

Chester ‘keeper Jon Worsnop was well-worth his side’s clean sheet as he leapt to his left to powerfully stop a close-range effort by Wright which looked certain to hit the back of the net.

So good was his save that it prompted a brief standing ovation from the home supporters, as Harriers were left puzzling over what more they had to do to get the ball over the line.

The hosts had taken the lead on the half-hour mark through a brilliant strike by Mahon, who picked up a loose ball from the Harriers defence in the midst of a Blues attack and positioned himself well to send a 20-yard curving effort past Lewis.

Despite being dealt an early injury blow as skipper Matty Brown was forced to withdraw after three minutes, Chester enjoyed the better of the forward play in the first-half, particularly through Mahon and Bradford City loanee Oliver McBurnie.

Sean McConville’s close-range eighth-minute shot was blocked by a retreating Wildig, before Matty Hughes aimed for the top-right corner five minutes later with a 25-yard shot which was well-stopped by Lewis.

Thirteen minutes before he gave his side the lead, Mahon had prompted a near-post save by Lewis with an angled shot, while eight minutes before the interval, McConville looked certain to double the Blues’ advantage but he nodded a right-sided cross just inches over the crossbar.

Harriers were restricted to few goalscoring opportunities in the first half and it was Chester who were left to control the game.

The Reds did threaten straight from kick-off as Marvin Johnson delivered a cross to Keyon Reffell, positioned in the box, but the Welshman could only head over the bar.

They stepped up the pace after the break, however, and subjected Chester to pressure throughout the second half.

Aman Verma unleashed a fierce shot wide during the opening moments before Wright and Wildig combined well to feed Johnson on the left but Worsnop rose to claim his cross.

Defensive duo Jamie Grimes and Jordan Tunnicliffe saw attacking action six minutes into the second half as the former couldn’t quite guide his header from a corner goalward before the latter found himself well-placed but didn’t get enough force on his close-range effort which was quickly scrambled clear.

Jamie Spencer entered the fray before the hour mark and soon made an impact as he burst forward between the Blues defence, aiming to latch onto a well-hit overhead pass, but Chester’s Gareth Roberts reacted quickest to just about scoop the ball behind for a corner.

Wright and Wildig were working well together and it was the on-loan Shrewsbury Town midfielder who almost found the net for Harriers after a pinpoint knock-on header from Wright, but Worsnop again came to Chester’s rescue with a save at his feet.

Johnson then set up Wildig as Harriers turned up the heat, the winger beating his man at the byline to put in a low cross which the midfielder hooked over the bar from inside the area.

Harriers’ best opportunity - besides Worsnop’s last-gasp save - came again through Wright, who guided a header mere inches past the wrong side of the post from Wildig’s knock-on after 71 minutes.

Mahon tried his luck for Chester but it was Harriers with all the forward play and they continued to try and make their hard work count as Worsnop was called into action with four minutes remaining by Verma, who sent a low strike goalward after Kevin Nicholson had kept the ball in the danger zone from a corner, before Johnson saw a frantic strike deflected behind having cut in delightfully from the right.

The stage was set for Wright to steal the glory but it was Worsnop who earned the plaudits for his fine save at the death, as Harriers were left to wonder what might have been.

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