The Lions started 2021 with a narrow defeat at Chester after Kevin Roberts’ header for the hosts, read more in our match report sponsored by BuildADrive.com.
It was the first time Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill’s side had played since the loss at York City on 28th December but they could not return to winning ways following the only goal of the game early on despite playing against 10 men for the majority of the second half.
On a bitterly cold night on the England Wales border the game got off to a frantic start with chances at either end, Connor Taylor could have scored in the opening minute for the hosts but failed to connect with a cross and the chance was gone.
Up the other end John Lufudu went on a pacy run beating two Chester defenders to get into the box but his shot took a deflection that beat goalkeeper Louis Gray but it cannoned off of the post and away.
George Cantrill did really well to clear John Johnston’s cross from underneath his own bar as Brad Bauress looked set to tap the ball in.
Just a few seconds later though Roberts made The Lions pay for slack marking as his header beat Brad Wade and bounced into the far corner of the goal from a corner.
The hosts weren’t settling for their one goal margin and nearly added to it ten minutes after through Declan Weeks but he missed a header then George Glendon fired straight at Wade.
The Lions were next to have a chance as Milan Butterfield shot from 30 yards out but Gray spotted the danger and saved his powerful shot well with Chester dealing well with the resulting corner.
Former Lion Anthony Dudley almost doubled their tally with a good header from Bauress’ cross but Wade saved well.
The final chance of note in the opening 45 minutes fell to Kaine Felix, after good work from the Lions attackers he shot on the half volley from just outside the six yard box but Taylor cleared the ball off the line to deny an equaliser.
The second half took a little while to get going and was not at the fast pace of the first but Lufudu was once again causing the hosts problems on the right hand side as his cross found Lebrun Mbeka but his poked shot was saved by Gray.
Jonathan Wafula had a good opening after great work from Felix on the right hand side, his looped cross found the number 10 at the back post but his header dropped just wide of the mark.
Chester were down to 10 men with 67 minutes on the clock after Simon Grand pulled back an advancing Felix, referee Liam Marshall spoke to his assistant before sending the Chester captain off with a straight red card.
The Lions didn’t capitalise on this though and struggled to break down a solid backline with chances at a real premium after the dismissal.
The closest the visitors came was from Nathan Newall’s deep cross which hit the roof of the net with Gray watching it sail over the crossbar.
Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill will need to pick their side up for the West Yorkshire derby with Farsley Celtic at The Citadel on Saturday.
- Brad Wade, 2. John Lufudu, 3. George Cantrill, 4. Andrai Jones, 5. Hamza Bencherif (C), 6. Josh Parsons (86′ Hey), 7. Kaine Felix (86′ Haw), 8. Milan Butterfield, 9. Lebrun Mbeka, 10. Jonathan Wafula (78′ Gillam) and 11. Nathan Newall.
12. Matty Gillam (78′ Wafula), 14. Lewis Hey (86′ Parsons), 15. Chukwudalu Molokwu, 16. Miracle Okafor and 17. Adam Haw (86′ Felix).