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Chester FC 1 Harriers 0

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Date: 24-01-15gif Venue: Swansway Chester Stadiumgif att: 2111gif away fans: 204
Awful first half Harriers sink to defeat

gif Report by Phil Lench
The Harriers turned in an excruciating first half performance at Chester today that, ultimately, saw their recent good away form turned on its head in defeat.  A rare mistake from Jared Hodgkiss allowed in Craig Mahon to score with a well taken side foot shot that Danny Lewis had no chance of saving.

The rest of the first half was littered with mistakes and a surprising lack of effort considering that we had already had a good away result away from home this week, at Aldershot, and that we were playing on an almost perfect pitch that was only soft in a few areas.  Luckily we improved in the second half after what was obviously a heated dressing room 'discussion' but for all our effort we could not get past the in form Chester keeper, Jon Worsnop.

The only change to our line-up from the Aldershot win was Danny Lewis returning to the side in place of Jas Singh.  Again there was no Kyle Storer anywhere to be seen, not even on the pitch in the pre match warm up even though Josh O'Keefe was there on his way back from injury.  There was no sign anywhere of Callum Gittings either.

With the sun coldly beaming down the game kicked off and for the first ten minutes we looked pretty decent without really getting going.  The ball was zipping about and it was only going to be a matter of time before we would start to put something together but when it came to the crunch the ball control just wasn't there.  Marvin Johnsons mind seemed to be elsewhere with him pulling out of challenges and not prepared to make any kind of run to the byeline.  As for the back passing? that's worrying too with the ball getting returned too softly and then Danny Lewis being put under pressure to clear the ball over the stand when it would make more sense to be able to play it back to an Harriers player.

As early as the third minute Chester suffered a set back when the centre half Matt Brown went down with an injury to his knee and was replaced by Ben Heneghan.  It didn't seem to affect their game too much though and slowly they began to take over control.  We'd had an early header from Keyon Reffell that went over the bar but since then very little.  A soft backpass from Jordan Tunnicliffe let in Sean McConville but his shot was knocked down by Lewis and then later into the game Lewis stopped Craig Mahon from scoring with a shot from the edge of the area.

The games only goal arrived on the thirty minute mark when a poor clearance from the normally reliable Jared Hodgkiss landed at the feet of Mahon who wasted no time lifting the ball over the top of the scrabbling Lewis to give Chester the points.

The home side could have increased their lead near the end when both McConville and Dan Abbot went close but as for the Harriers they shrugged off the pitch looking as if the game was already over for them.
  HT: 1 - 0
The second half was a big improvement - it had to be! - and once they had quelled a couple of early forays forward from the hosts the Harriers started to turn the game on.  We went close from a corner that Jamie Grimes got a head to but couldn't convert and then Jordan Tunnicliffe did likewise from another corner.  Gary Whild change things round a bit ten minutes in by taking off Keyon Reffell and bringing on Jamie Spencer to go two up front with Danny Wright.

Marvin Johnson - clearly the main target of and half time hairdryer treatment was now getting stuck in more and taking players on.  He hada shot blocked form one good run into the area and then played Spencer in but he was robbed of his first goal for the Harriers when his shot was deflected wide for another corner.

The Harriers were now firing on three cylinders and Aaron Wildig was next up looking for a chance to score when he sent a strong shot just over the bar after, yet again, another great run from Johnson.  Danny Wright had a couple of chances to open his account too but the Chester keeper, Worsnop, was in top form and with help from his defence was keeping out everything that the Harriers attack could throw at him including one stunning shot from Aman Verma that knocked the keeper back off his feet, such was the force that Verma hit it with.

We then had something of a setback when we lost Hodgkiss to injury when he went down heavily in a similar situation as the Chester man in the first half and, ironically, in the same place on the pitch.  Jake Green came on for him and one of his first moves was to get a sight in on goal but his shot was blocked by a defender once again.

With the game drawing to a close we had one final chance to grab a deserved equaliser.  Another ball deep into the area was met by Wright who turned and fired the ball goalwards only for Worsnop to push the sweetly struck ball away to safety just as the whistle blew for full time.

Again the Harriers had been let down by an inconsistent performance where a poor showing in one half is contrasted with a rip roaring one in the other.  Our lack of accurate passing ability is still worrying and also the closing down of the opposition at all times, all over the park.  We showed in the second half today that once we get going teams find it hard to live with us.  We just don't show it over a full ninety minutes though.
  FT: 1 - 0

 Goal for Chester: Mahon 30


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Chester FC  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Worsnop     Lewis  
Higgins     Hodgkiss gif  
Roberts     Nicholson  
Kay   Verma  
Brown gif     Grimes  
McConville     Tunnicliffe  
Mahon gif     Byrne  
Abbott gif     Johnson  
McBurnie     Wright  
Rooney gif     Wildig  
Hughes     Reffell gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Viscosi     Singh  
Thompson gif - 84     Jake Green gif - 80  
Richards     Kelly  
Heneghan gif - 3     Spencer gif - 55  
Josh Green gif - 55     Asante  

REFEREE:
Mr A Holmes
W Yorkshire




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