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Barnet 3 Chester City 1

CHESTER remain perilously close to the Football League trapdoor after going down to their relegation rivals this afternoon.

CHESTER remain perilously close to the Football League trapdoor after going down to their relegation rivals this afternoon.

Second-half strikes from John O’Flynn and Paul Furlong stretched Mark Wright’s men’s winless League Two run to 14 games.

The Blues, with the suspension-free Jay Harris and the injury-free Damien Mozika replacing David Mannix and Richie Partridge, won the toss and decided to kick-up the infamous Underhill slope.

And they nearly made a dream start in the 10th minute when a superb defence-splitting pass from Anthony Barry put Ryan Lowe in the clear.

Flanked by two defenders, the striker cut on to his right foot and let fly with a delightful curling effort from 20 yards that came back off the bar.

The Bees came close six minutes later when O’Flynn raced on to a long ball over the top and saw his fierce drive well saved by John Danby, who was making a club record 128th successive league start for City.

But that was the only other chance of a first half lacking in goalmouth action.

One feature of the opening period was Chester’s worrying ability to concede needless fouls in and around the area.

And they paid the price six minutes after the restart after Harris hauled down rampaging captain Neal Bishop 20 yards from goal.

O’Flynn, having flashed a free kick from a similar distance wide before the break, had clearly found his range as he brilliantly curled an effort over the wall and past the despairing dive of Danby.

Barnet were now looking like the side that claimed the scalp of high-flying Rochdale in midweek, with Bishop stinging Danby’s hands from distance before Nicky Deverdics had a goal correctly ruled out for offside.

But they were stunned in the 59th minute when Lowe played in Kevin Ellison to cooly slot underneath the onrushing Jake Cole to level the contest.

The Blues, with Richie Partridge on for Mozika, were transformed and Lowe called debutant Cole into action at his near post.

But they fell behind in the 69th minute when O’Flynn scored from the penalty spot after captain Paul Linwood dragged veteran striker Furlong down in the box.

In complete contrast to the first 45 minutes, the game was totally open and Lowe was desperately unlucky to see a dipping 20-yard half-volley bounce inches wide.

But it was the Bees who struck next in the 74th minute when Furlong was adjudged to have got the decisive touch after a scramble.

City piled forward and the closest they came to reducing the deficit was when Laurence Wilson’s long-range beauty was spectacularly tipped on to the bar by Cole.

BARNET: Cole, Hughes, Yakubu, Breen, Lockwood (Gillet 84), Adomah (Birchall 78), Bishop, Deverdics, Bolassie, Furlong (Akurang 78), O’Flynn. Subs: Kadoch, Leary.

GOALS: O’Flynn 51, 69pen, Furlong 74.

CHESTER: Danby, Vaughan, Rule (Mannix 80), Linwood, Roberts, Wilson, Barry (Rutherford 80), Mozika (Partridge 56), Harris, Ellison, Lowe. Subs: Owen, Jones.

BOOKED: Harris, Vaughan.

GOALS: Ellison 59.

REFEREE: Trevor Kettle (Rutland).

ATTENDANCE: 2,085 (186 away).


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