IAN Craney’s injury-time goal saw the Blues snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at the Deva Stadium this afternoon.
Craney’s 92nd-minute strike handed Accrington their first win of 2008 – and left Chester still waiting for theirs.
The visitors went ahead in the 14th minute through Aswad Thomas, who collected a chipped pass from James Harris and rifled the ball past City keeper John Danby.
Chester hit back with a goal from a set piece six minutes later, Paul Butler nodding home after John Murphy had headed Kevin Sandwith’s free-kick back across goal.
The hosts then went into the lead when a determined run and cross from the right by Mark Hughes allowed Murphy to score from inside the six-yard box.
Accrington levelled the scores on 68 minutes following a mistake by Danby, who failed to hold onto Craney’s shot. The loose ball spilled to Thomas and the Stanley striker made no mistake from close range.
In the 90th minute, Chester looked to have won the game when Murphy met a Sandwith corner with a firm header – but Accrington keeper Ian Dunbavin showed brilliant reflexes to turn the ball over the crossbar.
The Blues had so nearly banked three points, and their disappointment was compounded by Craney’s winner two minutes into stoppage time. The Accrington forward latched onto a Shaun Whalley pass and blasted the ball past Danby – who had been struggling with a hip injury for some time – to seal a last-gasp away victory.
Blues boss Bobby Williamson confirmed after the match that Jason McAteer had joined the club as a coach. The former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland player watched the game from the City bench.
For more on this story, see this week’s Midweek Chronicle.
Chester: Danby, J Vaughan, Butler, Roberts, Wilson, Hughes, Dinning, Grant (Partridge 76), Sandwith, Murphy, Lindfield (Holroyd 76). Subs: Palethorpe, Rutherford, Kelly.
Goals: Butler 20, Murphy 34.
Accrington Stanley: Dunbavin, Branch, Thomas, Roberts (Whalley 46), Richardson, Mannix (Todd 53), Proctor, Harris (King 79), Edwards, Craney, Mullin. Subs: Arthur, Doughty.
Booked: Richardson, Proctor, Thomas.
Goals: Thomas 14, 68, Craney 90+2.
Referee: Uriah Rennie (S Yorkshire).