Source: Chester Chronicle
CHESTER produced their best performance of the season to win the battle of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League big boys at an electric Exacta Stadium.
Debutant Matty McGinn and top-scorer Matty McNeil fired the Blues into a thoroughly deserved two-goal lead before FC United reduced the deficit to set up a tense finale.
Mike Norton’s 81st-minute header shredded the nerves of the home supporters in the bumper 3,219 crowd, but Neil Young’s team kept their composure to bounce back from their defeat to Hednesford Town on Saturday.
Showing four changes to the side that were beaten late on at Keys Park, Chester were at it from the off and the visitors could have no complaints with the final outcome.
But it was Karl Marginson’s men who started the brighter as Matthew Wolfenden hit the outside of the post from the edge of the area with five minutes on the clock.
Former Wrexham striker Wolfenden was causing plenty of problems at the tip of a midfield diamond. But the hosts – and the excellent Michael Powell in particular – soon got to grips with him, so much so that FC United boss Marginson totally changed his formation eight minutes before the break by making a double substitution.
By that time the Blues were well on top and leading through McGinn’s 17th-minute penalty.
The left-back, who was named man of the match in his first appearance since signing on loan from Southport, sent James Spencer the wrong way after Lee Neville brought the livewire Chris Simm down in the box.
After McNeil headed on to the bar, the advantage was doubled one minute into first half added time.
Goalkeeper John Danby’s long kick was headed into the danger area by captain George Horan and McNeil was on hand to turn in his third goal in four matches from close range.
Chester were rampant and Simm would have added a third moments later had the ball not got stuck under in his foot with the goal at his mercy.
FC United came into the game the restart, but their goal continued to live a charmed life.
Spencer saved from McNeil after a lovely move involving Alex Brown and the impressive Liam Brownhill before Horan cracked the post with an 18-yard drive.
It came against the run of play, then, when Norton nodded in Carlos Roca’s corner nine minutes from time.
The Blues were now under the cosh, but they stood firm and Danby did well to turn Jake Cottrell’s long-range effort around the post in what was the last meaningful shot of an enthralling match.
Chester: Danby, Brownhill, Horan, Smith, McGinn, Booth (Baynes 87), Powell, Brown, Wright (Howard 64), Simm (Reed 83), McNeil. Subs: Rainford, Taylor.
Booked: Brownhill, Simm, McGinn.
Goals: McGinn 17, McNeil 45.
FC United: Spencer, Battersby, Jones, Stott, Neville, Carr (Roca 38), Cottrell, Platt (Grimshaw 73), Wolfenden, Deegan (Torpey 38), Norton. Subs: Metcalfe, Chadwick.
Booked: Neville, Battersby.
Referee: Jonathan Hunt (Liverpool).