Michael Wilde heads home a later winner for Chester against Chasetown. Pic: Dave Birt
Michael Wilde heads home a later winner for Chester against Chasetown. Pic: Dave Birt

Chasetown FC’s frustrating season continued as Chester FC snatched an 88th-minute winner at the Deva Stadium.

The Scholars looked much improved from recent form with a tight and hard-fought display, all members of the side playing their part including new signing Linden Dovey, but substitute Michael Wilde’s late header meant that the Scholars sadly went home empty-handed.

Before a near-3000 crowd the strong wind was against Chasetown in the first half and the home side had the ball in the net early through Chris Simm but the goal was ruled offside, while Ryan Price began a good performance by clearing the ball from Simm’s feet as he was about to shoot.

Danny Smith had the first chance for the Scholars on 14 minutes after firing the ball through a Blues defender’s legs but his shot went wide of the far post, while Price pulled off a cracking save four minutes later to push away Matthew McNeil’s effort at full stretch after he had ghosted behind the Chase defence.

George Horan and Liam Brownhill also enjoyed chances for the hosts but couldn’t find the target, and nor could Robbie Booth as he found only the side netting on 34 minutes. Chasetown were kept to mainly rearguard action throughout the half by the windy conditions, but the defence and Price were equal to Chester’s efforts and the half ended goalless.

Chester’s chances continued in the second half with Darren Stride blocking Simm’s shot on 53 minutes and Booth shooting wide, while Dean Perrow produced a good turn and shot for the Scholars but his effort was deflected away for a corner.

Chasetown's Linden Dovey tries to beat his man. Pic: Dave Birt

Alex Melbourne returned to the Chasetown fold when he replaced Jack Farmer and his cross on 71 minutes had home keeper John Danby at full stretch, but it was the Blues who had the ball in the net again on 75 minutes but yet again the offside flag denied them the lead.

Another good chance saw McNeil hit the bar as the hosts put more and more pressure on the Scholars defence, while Gary Birch tried a 35-yard lob but keeper Danby managed to get back to push the ball out for a corner.

Just when it looked as if the Scholars would hold out, with two minutes to go Wilde popped up to head home a cross past the helpless Price and although the visitors attacked into stoppage time their effort was to no avail. Chasetown could take pride however in a battling performance with plenty of progress shown.

Next up for the Scholars is the visit of Evo-Stik Premier bottom club Stocksbridge Park Steels tomorrow (October 11), kick-off 7.45pm, before taking on Stafford Rangers on Saturday (3pm).

Chester: Danby, Brownhill, Baynes, Horan, Taylor, Brown, Booth, Powell, Simm, McNeil, Howard. Subs: Rainford (Simm 60), Wilde (Howard 68), McGinn, Ormrod (McNeil 90), Judge.
Chasetown: Price, Farmer, Peel, Turner, Stride, Teesdale (c), Smith, Hands, Dovey, Perrow, Jevons. Subs: M Branch, Cohen, Stephens, Birch (Dovey 58), Melbourne (Farmer 67).

Click to see more of Dave Birt’s pictures from the game.