Oct 27 2010 by David Triggs, Chester Chronicle
A STRONG second-half display saw the Blues march into round two of the President’s Cup at the Exacta Stadium this evening.
Goals from George Horan and Antoni Sarcevic put Chester in the driving seat before Dave McPherson’s late strike for Witton set up a slightly nervy finish. But substitute Iain Howard netted with a deflected effort in the last minute to give the scoreline the convincing gloss it deserved.
Blues boss Neil Young made six changes to the side which beat Lancaster City on Saturday, resting a number of senior players – including star striker Michael Wilde – with Saturday’s important league meeting with Cammell Laird in mind.
Chester made all the early running, with Alex Titchener denied by Witton keeper Matt Cooper after just 40 seconds. Cooper saved low to his right from Robbie Booth on 15 minutes and home skipper George Horan headed wide from a good position soon after.
Some quality interplay down the left flank on 31 minutes presented Chester with their best chance of the half. Booth got to the line and pulled the ball back for Richard Foulkes, but the tall midfielder’s close-range shot was somehow kept out by Cooper.
That was as good as it got for the Blues in the first period, as Witton went into the break on level terms.
It did not take Chester long to forge into the lead after the restart, however.
Skipper Horan was the man who broke the deadlock, rising highest from a posse of players to power home Tom Field’s right-wing free-kick. Witton must be sick of the sight of Horan, who headed an injury-time winner when the sides met in the league earlier this season.
With Chester visibly growing in confidence, Titchener brought the best out of Cooper with a rasping shot before seeing a lobbed shot fall just wide soon after.
Blues keeper Richard Whiteside was little more than a spectator at the other end, although he was given a brief scare when Ben Harrison headed over Danny Maguire’s 66th-minute corner.
Chester went 2-0 up in the 69th minute thanks to a spectacular strike from on-loan Crewe Alex midfielder Sarcevic. The teenager collected a neat pass from Field and beat his man with ease before unleashing a shot of unstoppable power and accuracy beyond Cooper from 18 yards.
Whiteside made his first meaningful save of the evening with seven minutes remaining, clawing out Brian Pritchard’s looping shot.
MacPherson then side-footed home in the 86th minute to halve the deficit before Howard restored Chester’s two-goal lead, cutting inside from the right and hitting a shot from the edge of the box which took a major deflection before rolling into the net.
Chester: Whiteside, Aspin, Graves, Horan, Jones, Sarcevic (Williams 83), Field, Foulkes (Beck 72), Wilson, Titchener (Howard 78), Booth. Subs: Ruffer, Barnes. Goal: Horan 55, Sarcevic 69, Howard 90.
Witton: Cooper, Moffatt, Woods, Pritchard, Kearney (Smith 78), Maguire, Bryan, MacPherson, Harrison, Taylor (Kinsey 59), Pugh (Holt 66). Subs: Hamlett, Ennion. Goal: McPherson 86.
Referee: RM Pollock (Liverpool).