sport

Tranmere Rovers 2 Chester FC 2: 90 minutes in 90 seconds

Ryan Astles earns a point at the death for the Blues in a pulsating encounter

Kane Richards in action at Prenton Park(Image: Terry Marland)

THE MATCH

A game that had everything saw Chester salvage a point at high-flying Tranmere at the death.

Defender Ryan Astles blasted home a volley deep into injury time to earn a richly deserved 2-2 draw for the Blues against 10-man Rovers, who had led 2-0 at the break through Andy Cook and Ben Tollitt, with the latter shown a second yellow midway through the second half.

Jon McCarthy made one change from the side that was beaten 5-2 at home by Lincoln City a fortnight previous with Kane Richards coming in to partner James Alabi in attack at the expense of Jordan Chapell.

It was a fairly even encounter for much of the first half with neither side really finding a clear path to goal but Rovers made the breakthrough on 30 minutes when the Chester defence was pulled out of shape, Tollitt lifted the ball in anmd Cook had time to slam home from 15 yards.

Tranmere had their tails up and it was 2-0 on 36 minutes, albeit with some help from the referee.

Thomas Bramall ignored what looked a blatant handball in the build up as Rovers forced a melee in the Chester box before the ball was worked out to on-loan Portsmouth winger Tollitt who fired low across goal past Alex Lynch.

Some of the refereeing was questionable in the least. Ryan Astles was shown a yellow card for effectively winning a header against Jay Harris, who was left in a crumpled heap after running into Astles' sturdy frame.

Kane Richards came close to reducing the arrears at the end of the first half when he latched on to a Craig Mahon pass but his effort cannoned off the underside of bar and out to safety.

Chester started the second half brightly and pulled one back on 50 minutes with a superbly worked goal from Shaw.

Tranmere Rovers 2 Chester FC 2 RECAP: Astles saves a point in a pulsating clash

Lloyd picked up a throw-in on the right before whipping and excellent ball into an unmarked Shaw who headed expertly past Scott Davies and send the throngs of travelling Blues fans into raptures.

Shaw almost levelled just moments later when a high ball caused panic for the Rovers defence and Shaw advanced past the last man but he couldn't beat Davies one on one.

Rovers were reduced to 10 men on 65 minutes when Tollitt was shown a second yellow after being deemed to have taken a dive in the Blues box, much to the anger of the home fans.

Chester pressed but Tranmere sank deeper and deeper and looked like they would hold on until Johnny Hunt clipped a ball in to big Astles who turned and slammed home a stunning volley from 15 yards to send the 1,129 away fans delirious.

It was no less than they deserved.

ANALYSIS

Memories are made of this.

McCarthy said in his post match interview that it was Roy of the Rovers stuff and indeed it was as Astles fired home the leveller at the death to spark joyous scenes in the away end.

It was no less than Chester deserved. They never shirked and didn't crumble after going 2-0 down, a testament to the work ethic and team spirit that McCarthy has brought to this side.

It may have been only a point but this felt like three. A huge result achieved in the most remarkable of circumstance in front of a simply stunning away following.

STAR MAN

Tom Shaw: A superb header to bring Chester back into the game he was industrious and always looking to effect the game. Set the tempo for the Blues in the second half.

MATCH FILE

Tranmere Rovers: Davies, Vaughan, Ridehalgh, McNulty, Sutton, Kirby (Mekki 79), Harris, Tollitt, Hughes, Mangan (Ihiekwe 68), Cook. Subs: Dawson, Stephenson, Turner.

Bookings: Harris, Tollitt, Davies, Vaughan

Red card: Tollitt

Goals: Cook 30, Tollitt 36

Chester FC: Lynch, Hughes, Astles, Hudson, Hunt, Shaw, Lloyd, Durrell, Mahon, Richards, Alabi. Subs: Evans, Marsh, Joyce, Chapell, Horwood.

Bookings: Astles, Mahon, Richards

Goals: Shaw 50, Astles 90+3.

Referee: Thomas Bramall (Sheffield)

Attendance: 7,790 (1,129 from Chester)

View full mobile page