A goal in each half was enough for promotion chasing Chester to take all three points on Saturday afternoon at Broadhurst Park, keeping FC United third from bottom in the Vanarama National League North.
Anthony Dudley scored Chester’s opener on 16 minutes with captain Gary Roberts sealing the win in the 91st minute in front of 2,260 supporters.
The game had only been going a matter of minutes when home keeper Lloyd Allinson fluffed a clearance that went straight a Chester forward but luckily for United he missed the gilt edged opportunity.
The Reds tried to settle into the match and played some neat tidy football, a shot from outside the area by Elliott Simoes gathered by Grant Shenton, was scant reward for their efforts.
Allinson may be running low on confidence after a couple of errors in recent weeks and it was about to get worse. Dudley’s header from a left wing cross should have been a routine save but the ball somehow ended up in the net, to the obvious disappointment of the home crowd.
FC United tried in vain for an equaliser but often their good build up play was lacking a killer final ball, or when the the ball found it’s way into the box, no-one was on the end of it. Simoes and new signing, fullback Danny Morton were linking up well in particular.
A sharp intake of breath by the FC United faithful was needed when a long range Chester shot took a nasty bounce just in front of Allinson. The ball hit him in the chest and was recovered gratefully by the home custodian. United went into the halftime break 1-0 down despite having 63% possession.
The men in yellow continued to soak up any pressure from the Reds, much as they had in the first half. A strong organised defence being the bedrock of their performance.
Former FC United goalkeeper Grant Shenton was called into action on 49 minutes when Chris Sharp let rip from outside the area, the shot being tipped round the post for a corner.
A succession of corners for FC followed. The second of these saw centre-back Chris Lynch turn and shoot but the upright saved Chester from conceding an equaliser.
The game took an interesting twist as it entered the final half hour, George Green received a second yellow and with it his marching orders.
The home side pressed and probed for an equaliser. A Simoes overhead kick went just wide, Mike Donahue shot over and finally a Kurt Willoughby rocket looked to be going in but Shenton again saved the day.
A goal mouth scramble ensued moments later but again the ball found the waiting arms of Shenton.
As the board went up to indicate five added minutes of stoppage time, Chester launched a counter attack. The ball was moved quickly towards the Lightbowne Road End and found captain Roberts, who slotted neatly into the corner much to the delight of the travelling support encamped at that end of the ground.
The result leaves FC United still languishing in the bottom three. However, there were encouraging signs for the weeks to come. Morton didn’t put a foot wrong on his debut, Simoes was a constant threat going forward, the defence as a whole didn’t give up many chances to a well drilled Chester outfit.
FC United’s next match is away to second placed Bradford Park Avenue, so on paper it’s almost as tough as it cold possibly be. However, with a bit of luck, at the right time, who knows what the Reds can achieve?
Website man of the match: Chris Lynch was a warrior at the back putting his body on the line time and time again and was nearly rewarded with a goal.
Report by Neil Lees