Wednesday April 18th, 7.45pm
CHESTER arrived at Victory Park and showed why they a worthy league champions with a powerful display and closed in on their target of 100 points and 100 league goals in a season.
Ex-Magpie Chris Simm created the opening goal on seven minutes, rounding keeper Russell Saunders and shooting from an angle. Though Mark Ross deflected the shot away from goal midfielder Ian Howard was on hand to tap in from close range.
The visitors loudly roared on by one third of the 2,213 crowd at Victory Park were clearly on top of the opening quarter of an hour and could have been two up when speculative deep cross into the box was over hit, but cannoned back off the post and across the face of Saunders goal.
The Magpies finally recovered after a slow start and Steve Foster was unlucky to be judged offside when clean through on 21 minutes. Two minutes later Matt Walwyn let fire from 20 yards, but his shot on the spin failed to test ex-Bolton keeper Matt Glennon in the visitor’s goal.
Chorley had two clear shouts for a penalty in the first half as both Andy Teague and Andy Russell were manhandled in the area in clear view of the officials, but neither appear was awarded.
Walwyn was the first Magpie to test Glennon with another 20 yarder, but the dipping shot was blocked and the defence cleared the loose ball as Foster approached.
Chester almost doubled their lead on the stroke of half time, but a bullet header from a corner went narrowly over the bar.
Soon after the restart Russell headed wide as Chorley chased an equaliser.
Tom Ince became the first playing into the referees’ book for his first attempted tackle of the game, a surprise as Chester players has received warnings in the first half, left back Matt McGinn getting two himself!
John Cunliffe and Tom Williams replaced Walwyn and Ashley Parillon respectively, then Mark Ross received the second card of the game, again his first infringement of the match.
On 67 minutes the game was won as Marc Williams capitalised on some slack defending to touch home a flicked on corner at the far post while unmarked.
Steve Flitcroft picked up a yellow in similar circumstances to the previous two cards in the game, but immediately after committed a similar fouls, though this time the referee declined to show a red,
Chris Denham had two chances to claw a goal back as the game progressed toward the final whistle, the first a volley that went wide and the second forcing the save of the match from the previously underworked Glennon. From the resulting corner Adam Roscoe headed narrowly wide.
As the final whistle Chester were worthy winners and edged closed to their double-tonne target, while the Magpies now have a massive game this Saturday against play-off rivals Bradford Park Avenue. With both sides guaranteed home advantage in the semi-final, against either FC United or Hednesford Town, whoever finished higher in the table will also gain home advantage in the final should they win their semi-final tie.
More importantly than the result on this occasion, the game was played out infront of a well behaved yet partisan crowd, with no trouble inside the stadium. In fact it was a pleasure to meet many Chester supporters and directors while selling programmes in the away end.
Starting XI: Russell Saunders, Mark Ross, Matt Walwyn, Andy Teague, Andy Russell, Adam Roscoe, Chris Denham, Steve Flitcroft, Ashley Parillon, Steve Foster, Tom Ince
Subs: John Cunliffe (Walwyn, 56), Ally Brown, Tom Williams (Parillon, 62), Jamie Vermiglio, Jordan Bowen
Goals: Ian Howard (7), Marc Williams (67)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Steve Foster, ran his socks off all night