CHESTER FC welcome Braintree Town to the Swansway Chester Stadium on Saturday as the Blues look to pick up a much needed three points (Kick-Off 15:00 GMT).
Having been knocked out of the FA Trophy last weekend to Conference North side, Barrow AFC, Chester’s main focus is now on the league after the Blues were also knocked out of the FA Cup in October.
Taking only six points from a possible 15, a win for Chester could see them move out of the relegation zone and rise up to 18th position if results go their way.
As tensions rise around the Swansway, under pressure boss Neil Young has been given assurances from the directors, following a statement released by the club this week, which stated he has, ‘the unequivocal support of the Board to address the current challenges’.
The Blues have also seen a couple of players leave the club and will be without Alex Titchiner, who has returned to parent side Fleetwood Town, and Lee Pugh who has had his contract terminated early by four weeks after suffering a hernia injury.
Braintree Town have had a good run of late, having progressed in both the FA Cup and Trophy, as well as securing a ninth placed spot in the Skrill Premier.
The last time the two sides met in October, the Brains won the game after a double from Charlie Strutton saw the hosts record a 3-0 victory.
Quays News Match Prediction: Chester FC 1-2 Braintree Town
Following a good run of form from the Cressing Road outfit, Chester will find this game tough after being on a poor run of late themselves. Having signed John Rooney as well as having in-form striker, Gareth Seddon available, the Blues look dangerous up front, however the Brains look the stronger team going into this game.
Chester FC: Danby, Kay, Heath, Horan, Linwood, Harrison, Reed, Jarrett, Lindfield, L Turner, Fearon, McIntyre, N Turner, A Williams, Higginbotham, Seddon, Mahon, Peers, Miller, Menagh, Atkinson, Killock, Rooney.
Braintree Town: Hamann, Wells, Habergham, Massey, Isaac, Davis, Mulley, Daley, Enver-Marum, Holman, Marks, Cox, Peters, Quinton, Geohaghon, Enver-Marum, Cox, McDonald.
Brains beat Chester’s brawn to claim win
CHESTER FC recorded their 11th loss of the season on Saturday as they were beat 2-0 by Braintree Town at the Swansway Chester Stadium.
Following the sending off of Blues defender Paul Linwood, Braintree capitalised with the use of their extra man and won the game following a brace from Dan Holman.
Chester included two youth development players in their side, with both Sean Miller and Tom Peers featuring for the Blues.
Braintree looked lively from the kick-off as Holman struck a strong shot which stung the gloves of Blues keeper John Danby.
Moments later the Brains were on the attack again, this time Chez Isaac, who picked the ball up on the edge of Chester’s area to hit his 20-yard effort just past the post.
The turning point of the game came in the 29th minute, when Linwood was sent off for the Blues for an adjudged professional foul.
This was the second time that Linwood had been sent off against Braintree, the first being when the teams last met in October at Cressing Road.
Holman stepped up to take the free-kick, whose shot hit the Chester wall only for the ref to blow for a foul against Ashley Williams.
It was Holman again who took the resulting free-kick and broke the deadlock for the visitors after rifling his shot past the helpless Danby.
Chester upped their game after going down to 10 men and came close to levelling the scores just before half time.
Lewis Turner charged down the right wing to cut in and shoot on his left foot from 30-yards, but it was a comfortable save for the Brains keeper.
Following the break, Braintree continued to attack and Isaac came close to getting the second after unleashing a shot from 18-yards, however it went sailing over the bar.
Shortly after, Holman made it two for the visitors on 59 minutes after a fantastic piece of skill on the edge of the Blues area. The 23-year-old skipped past a number of Chester defenders to hit his shot into the top right corner of the net.
As the game went on, Chester continued to strive for a goal to get back into the game.
Substitute Tom Peers added much needed pace to the Blues attack, and sent a toe poked ball into the path of Jamie Reed whose header went just wide.
Peers then tried himself and attempted to lob the keeper with a looping shot but it was easily saved.
Speaking after the game, Blues boss Neil Young said: “I thought the lads worked solidly for 90 minutes and in the second half I thought we put in a good performance.”
Quays News Man of the Match: Gareth Seddon
Despite Chester losing the game, Seddon performed well both upfront and in defence. He shown a lot of desire to win the ball when in the possession of Braintree and contributed on many occasions when the Blues were on the attack.
Chester FC: Danby 6, Kay 5, L Turner 6, Seddon 7 (Peers 6), Rooney 7, Higginbotham 6, Linwood 4, Heath 5, G Miller 5, Williams 5 (Jarrett 4), S Miller 5 (Reed 5).
Subs not used: McIntyre, Mahon.
Braintree Town: Hanann 5, Peters 5, Habergham 5, Isaac 6, Paine 5, Davis 5, Marks 5 (Geohaghon 5), Holman 7 (Cox 5), Sparkes 6 (Daley 4), Massey 5, Wells 5
Subs not used: McDonald, Carney, Griffiths
Referee: Jason Whiteley
Assistants: Alan Marshall and David McNamara
Fourth Official: Joe Simpson
By Steven Peach at the Swansway Chester Stadium