CHESTER FC welcome Barnet to the Swansway Chester Stadium on Saturday, in what will be the first league game for the Blues in over three weeks (Kick-Off 15:00). Having had fixtures with Macclesfield Town and Tamworth postponed, Chester have only played one game, which came at Runcorn Town on Monday night, with the Blues winning 4-0.
A John Rooney hat-trick and a Jamie Reed tap-in secured the win for the visitors, who will now face Macclesfield in the second round of the Cheshire Senior Cup, with the tie set be played at the Swansway, week commencing February 10th.
With the Blues still under Gary Jones’ authority going into this game, speculation has grown over the announcement of the club’s new manager.
The board, who released a statement on the club’s official website, stated they ‘understand how keen all supporters are to see a speedy resolution to the managerial vacancy’, ending with the news that a new head coach could be in place by tomorrow.
Barnet, who are managed by former AC Milan and Barcelona midfielder, Edgar Davids, have also had a barren run of games.
Their last league game at home to Alfreton Town ended in a win for the Bees, which sees them rooted in eighth place in the Skrill Premier table.
A win for The Hive outfit could see them rise into the play-off spots up to fifth position. Similarly, a win for Chester would put them back amongst the mix of teams fighting relegation, after finding themselves four points adrift from safety.
Quays News Match Prediction: Chester FC 1-1 Barnet
Regardless of Chester’s league position, the Blues have performed very well against tougher opposition so far this season. With the acquisition of Rooney last week, the team will be confident going into this game. Barnet however have proved to be a strong team and with this in mind, it should make for a good game at the Swansway.
Gareth Seddon remains sidelined for the Blues after picking up an injury during a friendly game against Rhyl FC.
Ashley Williams has left the club and returned to Airbus UK Broughton FC.
George Miller will be in the Blues squad after re-signing on loan for a further month from Accrington Stanley.
Barnet’s Graham Stack remains doubtful for the game with Nick Jupp continuing in net for the Bees.
Marciano Mengerink is also unavailable whilst Keanu Marsh-Brown is expected to return.
Chester FC: Danby, Kay, Heath, Horan, Linwood, Harrison, Reed, Jarrett, Lindfield, L Turner, Fearon, McIntyre, N Turner, Seddon, Mahon, S Miller, Peers, Menagh, Atkinson, Killock, Rooney, G Miller.
Barnet: Jupp, Stephens, Saville, Johnson, Weston, Byrne, Villa, Vilhete, Cadogan, Abdulla, Yiadom, Hyde, Lopez, Crawford,Barnes, Acheampong.
Bees get stung by lively Chester
CHESTER FC’s new manager, Steve Burr, guided his side to victory as the Blues beat Barnet 2-1 in a thrilling game at the Swansway Chester Stadium.
Burr was announced as the club’s head coach hours before the match was due to kick-off and took his place in the dugout for the game.
Goals from Lewis Turner and Jamie Reed earned the Blues their second home victory of the season and puts them just one point away from safety.
Chester took the lead on 33 minutes after a spell of dominance finally broke the Bees’ defence. Turner picked up the ball on the right hand flank and sent the ball into the box, deflecting off a Bees defender to trickle into the Barnet goal.
Jake Hyde later equalised to put the visitor’s level on 83 minutes with a header across goal, before Reed latched onto a Turner cross at Nicky Jupp’s back post on 85 minutes to send the stadium in uproar.
The Blues started the game spritely and instantly put Barnet on the back foot.
John Rooney came close to helping the Blues open the scoring 10 minutes into the game after cutting in from the wing to send his left footed cross into the box. Jamie Menagh made an attempt to pick up the ball but it could only go out for a goal kick.
Reed then came close for the Blues after he collected the ball just outside the box and turned well, only to fire his shot over the bar.
Moments later, Barnet broke away and put the ball in the back of Chester’s net, only for the linesman to raise his flag for offside.
City broke again and instantly won a free-kick down the other end of the pitch following a foul on Tom Peers.
Rooney stepped up and sent a delightful free-kick past the three man wall which left Jupp helpless in the Barnet goal, only for it to go inches wide of the post into the side netting.
Chester then found themselves on the attack again just before half time, as Peers broke away with Chester three on three with the Bees defence. Luisma Villa then made a cynical foul, pulling Peers’ shirt back which saw the ref put his hand in his pocket for the yellow card.
Rooney started the second half as he finished the first, and straight away sent an audacious shot from 35-yards out goalwards, however it didn’t trouble Jupp who watched it fly just wide.
George Horan then came close to adding his name on the score sheet after Rooney again collected the ball and sent a swooping ball into the box but the Blues captain failed to connect with the cross.
After relentless attacking from Barnet, Chester dug deep and defended well thanks to efforts from Horan and Ross Killock.
The Blues continued to push on to find another goal, and came exceptionally close thanks to Bees substitute Luke Gambin who failed to clear a corner from Rooney and nearly put the ball into his own net.
Moments before full time, Craig Lindfield intercepted the ball on the left wing and cut inside to fire a ferocious shot just inches over Barnet’s crossbar.
Speaking after the game, the jubilant Steve Burr said: “I couldn’t have asked for anything better, I thought the effort and the commitment which the players showed was fantastic and the players thoroughly deserved the win.
“The atmosphere was fantastic, the roof came off and I think that showed a lot of character and to get the win in the way we did was a great worked goal.”
*Following the defeat to the Blues, Barnet boss, Edgar Davids, resigned as manager.
Quays News Man of the Match: John Rooney
The attacker put in a very good performance today for the Blues and helped out both up front and in defence. He created many chances and came close on many occasions to score a goal of his own.
Chester FC: Danby 7, L Turner 7, Horan (c) 7, Killock 7, McIntyre 6, Rooney 8, Jarrett 6, G Miller 6, Menagh 6 (Lindfield 6), Reed 7 (Heath 5), Peers 6 (Mahon 5)
Subs not used: Fearon, Kay.
Barnet: Yiadom 5 (Acheampong 5), Johnson 6, Weston 6, Saville 5, Marsh-Brown 6, Byrne 6, Hyde 7, Jupp 7, Cadogan 6 (Gambin 5), Villa 5 (Crawford 5), Stephens (c) 6.
Subs not used: Abdulla, Barnes
Booked: Villa Referee: Wayne Barrett
Assistants: Barry Lamb and Matt Donohue
Fourth Official: Matt Jones
By Steven Peach at the Swansway Chester Stadium