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Chester City 1 Tamworth 2

HAPHAZARD defending and wayward finishing cost City the chance of recording back-to-back victories for the first time in nearly two years.

HAPHAZARD defending and wayward finishing cost City the chance of recording back-to-back victories for the first time in nearly two years.

The Blues gifted goals to Richard Tait and Chris Smith and could hit back only once through Nick Chadwick despite creating a whole host of opportunities.

The defeat leaves the Deva Stadium outfit 26 points from safety and the result was all the more disappointing given it followed Saturday’s victory over a tough Histon team.

Manager Mick Wadsworth made three changes to the side that overcame the Stutes as Gregg Blundell replaced the injured Lewis Alessandra and Shaun Kelly and Anthony Barry came in for James Vaughan and Stephen Vaughan Jnr.

The brothers – son of owner Stephen – were given a rough ride by sections of the crowd on Saturday and midfielder Stephen Jnr has signed on loan for Blue Square North neighbours Northwich Victoria.

James Vaughan aside, it was the same team that had finished strongly against Histon, yet Wadsworth’s men showed no signs of carrying on from where they left off.

Tamworth – so impressive since their return to the non-league top flight – were the livelier side in a subdued opening 20 minutes, with Alex Rodman firing an ambitious volley just past the post before Nick Wright had a close-range finish effort ruled out for handball.

Chester countered with a neat passing move that culminated in Kevin Roberts shooting wide from distance, but they were unable to build a sustained period of pressure and they fell behind in the 38th minute when Tait all too easily latched on to Tom Shaw’s through ball and slotted underneath John Danby.

The setback at last kick-started City into life and after Chadwick saw a fierce 18-yard drive turned aside by Alcock, Roberts sparked a full-on melee with a feisty but fair challenge on Tait.

When the dust settled, Roberts was shown an undeserved yellow card from whistle-happy referee Lee Metcalfe, who infuriated both sets of fans. But the incident did have a positive effect on the Blues and Barry fired wildly over when well placed before Ben Wilkinson shot into the side-netting.

The rally would not have spared the hosts from a half-time dressing down, though, and they were all the better for it as they started the second half in the same vein as they finished the first.

A deflected Wilkinson strike forced Alcock into a finger-tip save and from the resulting corner the Lambs goalkeeper touched Blundell’s header on to the bar.

Barry, again with the goal in his sights, then screwed well wide before Chadwick brought another full-length stop out of Alcock.

Chester were now in the ascendency so the nature of Tamworth’s second goal, which came completely against the run of play a minute shy of the hour mark, would have enraged Wadsworth.

There seemed little danger from Shaw’s deep free kick into the box, but Michael Briscoe managed to keep the ball in play and his volleyed cross could only be parried by Danby into the path of the unmarked Smith, who had the simple task of tapping into an empty net.

That hit City for six but, just as they were beginning to lose their shape, they got themselves back into the game with 14 minutes to play when Chadwick turned-in Roberts’ shot to register his third goal of the campaign.

The visitors were now more than happy to sit back and waste as much time as possible, but they should have been punished a minute from time when Adam Kay negotiated space for himself in the box. But, having done the hard work, the substitute blazed over to the aghast of the home faithful.

There was still time for right-back Michael Lea to cut inside and skim the bar with a long-range beauty, but the equaliser would just not arrive.

CHESTER: Danby, Lea, Kelly, Lynch, Ryan, Wilkinson (Ellams 64), Roberts, Barry (Kay 64), Ashton, Chadwick, Blundell. Subs: Murphy, Meynell, Rule.

BOOKED: Roberts, Blundell, Ellams, Lynch, Ryan, Ashton.

GOAL: Chadwick 76.

TAMWORTH: Alcock, Tait, Blackwood, Smith, Wright, Rodman (Benjamin 26) Sheridan, Shaw, Lyttle, Briscoe, Lake-Gaskin. Subs: Mills, Bruce, Hurren, Nicholson.

BOOKED: Sheridan, Benjamin, Briscoe.

GOALS: Tait 38, Smith 59.

REFEREE: Lee Metcalfe (Lancashire).

ATTENDANCE: 1,199.

 

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