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Chester still in search of tonic

THE NEW Chester City manager Mark Wright kept a low profile following City's latest error-strewn performance against Stourport Swifts in the FA Trophy.

Chester City 1 Stourport Swifts 1

THE NEW Chester City manager Mark Wright kept a low profile following City's latest error-strewn performance.

Presumably the ex-Liverpool and England defender was discussing with his backroom staff ways in which the club can extricate themselves from the mess that they have descended into.

Chester are next to bottom in the Nationwide Conference and on Saturday they came perilously close to being knocked out of the FA Umbro Trophy by a club who are two divisions lower than them in the pyramid system.

Not for the first time, Chester pressed the self-destruct button when it appeared that they might, albeit undeservedly, have gleaned a victory against a rather pedestrian opposition.

For the second match in succession, goalkeeper Wayne Brown was the culprit when he flapped at a high ball which gifted the Midlanders an equaliser after 75 minutes.

Stourport started the better.  Charlton shot just over from 20 yards, then Simon Marsh brought out a good save from Brown with a snap shot from just inside the City area.

City's best spell came midway through the first half. Leading scorer Mark Beesley turned well in the area, but his goal-bound shot from 15 yards took a deflection off Nicholls and went for a corner.

In the second half Stourport did well, particularly in midfield and they began to push forward, Brown being called upon to make saves from Langford and Nicholls.

Chester took the lead after 72 minutes when substitute Jimmy Haarhoff scored from close range after Clarke had parried a low Beesley effort. Mike O'Brien started the move, setting Beesley free. The striker tried an effort from 15 yards but Clarke could only push the ball into Haarhoff's path, leaving the striker with a simple job to score.

The equaliser came three minutes later. A high and seemingly innocuous ball into the area should have been collected by Brown, but he chose to weakly punch the ball and Simon Marsh did the rest, firing home from 15 yards.

The replay will take place at Stourport tomorrow evening, but Wright will surely be concentrating on bringing in much needed additions to his under-achieving squad prior to next weekend's important Conference match against Barnet.

It is now the task of Wright and his hard-working chairman Stephen Vaughan to put Chester back on the right road.

CHESTER CITY: W Brown, Woodyatt, Jenkins, Porter, Lancaster, Spink, Blackburn (Wright 82), M Rose, D Brown (Haarhoff 60), Beesley, M O'Brien. Subs: Halford, Ruscoe, Jones.

Referee: G Simpson

Attendance: 1,006


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
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