Feb 18 2012 by Paul Wheelock, Chester Chronicle
POOR finishing and a highly contentious refereeing decision cost the Blues the chance of strengthening their position at the top of the table.
Neil Young’s men were made to pay for failing to build on Antoni Sarcevic’s 49th-minute opener when Dean Perrow equalised seven minutes from time with Chasetown’s first meaningful shot on target.
Chester, for whom Matty McGinn missed a 79th-minute penalty, hit back strongly and had seemingly settled the match when Jerome Wright rifled home.
But the strike was ruled out for offside much to the fury of Blues boss Young, who will complete the signing of former Wrexham and Wales Under 21s striker Marc Williams on Monday following his release from Kidderminster Harriers.
The result means Chester’s lead at the summit has been cut to five points by Chorley.
Low on confidence after a four-game league run without a win or a goal, Chasetown set out to frustrate their visitors.
And their plan worked to perfection in a forgettable first half devoid of quality in the final third of the field.
Adam Judge, in his first league start of the season, did not have a save to make. But to the frustration of the large travelling support, neither did Judge’s opposite number Ryan Price.
The closest the Blues came was when Sarcevic and Christian Smith headed McGinn corners wide of the post when well placed.
Price’s most notable contribution of the opening period came when he brought an early end to birthday boy George Horan’s afternoon. The Chester captain and centre-back, who was turning 30, was forced off with a broken nose after colliding with the Chasetown goalkeeper.
Price escaped unscathed and went on to produce a superb second-half performance.
He made a flying 47th-minute stop to prevent Alex Brown’s acrobatic volley from hitting the net and then averted what would have been a Richard Teesdale own goal from the resulting corner.
But there was little Price could do to stop Sarcevic from breaking the deadlock.
The attacking midfielder raced on to a Michael Taylor pass and sent a clinical right-footed 18-yard finish into the bottom corner.
The Blues were now well on top and Price was again called into action after Horan’s replacement Michael Powell got on the end of a McGinn cross.
Wright was the next player to be denied by Price after he played a clever one-two with Sarcevic.
Price should have been given no chance after substitute Chris Simm was tripped in the box by Chris Slater. But instead the usually reliable McGinn side-footed his 12th penalty of the season straight at the keeper.
Four minutes later and the hosts were level. A Mark Branch free kick whipped into the near post was not dealt with and Perrow headed the ball beyond the stranded Judge.
Chester’s response was impressive and they thought they had gone back in front in the 87th minute when Wright raced clear and smashed the ball past Price. A linesman’s flag, however, curtailed the winger’s celebrations.
The debate over whether it was a goal or not should have been rendered irrelevant in injury-time. But Simm could only fire wastefully wide when clean through on goal.
Worse could have followed when Taylor headed into his own goal with virtually the last touch of the match. But the Blues defender was adjudged to have been tripped.
Chasetown: Price, Lycett (Birch 77), Slater, Turner, Teesdale, Branch, Hands (Cresswell 65), Stride, Downes (Wright 81), Quinn, Perrow. Subs: Farmer, Birt.
Goal: Perrow 83.
Chester: Judge, Brownhill, Horan (Powell 37), Taylor, McGinn, Wright, Brown, Smith, Cox (Booth 70), Sarcevic (Simm 74), McNeil. Subs: Howard, Baynes.
Booked: Cox, Brownhill.
Goal: Sarcevic 49.
Referee: Rob Ellis (Coventry).