sport

Match report: Chester FC 0 Wrexham 0

Jim Green watched as the Blues battled hard but had to settle for a point

Blues boss Steve Burr(Image: Ian Cooper)

This was a game Steve Burr's men couldn't afford to lose and one the Blues probably needed to win.

Chester had more possession, more chances and were the better team, although were up against a pretty ordinary Wrexham side.

A point doesn't make too much difference to the situation at the bottom and the Blues realistically need four points from their final two games as it stands.

Once again, no one can question the effort, commitment or desire from the players but the lack of genuine quality and pace was all too evident.

Six years had passed since the last meeting between the clubs in Chester and the wait had been a long one for the Blues faithful.

Wrexham were out for revenge after a 2-0 win for the Blues at the Racecourse back in August.

Another win would have a double significance for the hosts, giving them even greater bragging rights and moving them closer to survival.

Chester knew three points was a must, particularly after defeats for Dartford and Hereford United on Good Friday. Burr made four changes from the 2-1 loss to Grimsby Town and took a bold decision to switch to 3-5-2.

Club captain George Horan returned after 12 games out and Paul Linwood, who scored the opening goal in the famous win back in August, returned to the side along with Gareth Seddon and Danny Carlton.

Wrexham boss Kevin Wilkin made one change from the 3-0 win over his former club Nuneaton Town, recalling Joe Anyinsah and included former Blues defenders Neil Ashton and David Artell in his side.

Anyone unsure of how much the fixture means to the fans would have been left in no doubt before kick off: smoke bombs, flares and a wall of noise from all sides of the Swansway Chester Stadium illustrated the importance of the game.

Chester created the first opening on six minutes when Lewis Turner beat Ashton and surged into the area but couldn't keep his shot down.

Robust challenges on both sides showed the players understood the occasion but Anyinsah crossed the mark on 10 minutes when he clattered into Kevin McIntyre and left the defender in a heap.

Referee Darren Handley consulted his assistant before producing a yellow card, with most inside the stadium believing it should have been red.

Wrexham came back into the contest and forced Aaron Chapman into two saves. Dean Keates hit a half volley from the edge of the area before Neil Ashton's fizzing drive from 25 yards but neither posed too much of a problem for the keeper.

Chester shaded possession in the opening 20 minutes and went close when a well worked corner found Seddon but his snapshot was blocked before John Rooney got free and unleashed a shot which deflected behind off Artell.

After an entertaining start, the game dipped as a spectacle with both sides struggling to put passes together and create opportunities.

Wrexham looked to move the ball forward early and make use of the pace of Anyinsah and Theo Bailey-Jones, with the Blues preferring to come down the right through Turner and play off Seddon but there were no real chances.

As the game moved towards half time there was not much improvement from either side and the score was goalless going into the break.

Chester started the second period well and almost found the breakthrough when keeper Joslain Mayebi spilled Rooney's dipping free kick from 30 yards but Turner was unable to control the rebound.

Rooney was becoming a growing influence on the game as the Blues took the upper hand although the next chance fell to the Welsh club.

Horan produced a good tackle to stop Andy Bishop getting free but the referee gave a free kick, which Ashton fired over the bar.

Horan had been struggling with his ankle throughout and the tough centre back had to come off on 63 minutes, with Luke Ashworth replacing him and the visitors brought on Bradley Reid for Anyinsah.

Wrexham created a half chance on 70 minutes when Jonny Hunt clipped a cross into the area but Bailey-Jones could only head the ball over the bar.

Mahon made an immediate impression, bringing down Seddon's raking pass and feeding Rooney, whose low shot was shovelled away by Mayebi and Carlton was flagged offside on the follow up.

Burr's side continued to dominate proceedings as the game moved into the closing stages but were unable to turn that dominance into a goal.

Wrexham could have taken the lead with seven minutes left when Ashworth messed up his header but Joe Clarke's shot deflected straight into Chapman's arms.

Chester were looking more and more nervous as the clock wound down and only a fine block from Linwood prevent Bishop's shot from finding the target.

Wrexham ended the game the stronger and in truth the Blues found themselves hanging on for a point, which means there is still much work for them to do to remain in the Skrill Premier.

Chester FC: Chapman, Griffin, Horan (Ashworth 63), Linwood, Turner (Menagh 88), Jarrett, Bond (Mahon 71), Rooney, McIntyre, Seddon, Carlton.

Subs: Danby, Hobson.

Booked: Turner, Griffin, Carlton.

Wrexham: Mayebi, Carrington, Artell, Livesey, Ashton, Bailey-Jones, Clarke, Keates, Hunt, Bishop, Anyinshah (Reid 63).

Subs: Wright, Williams, Tomassen, Evans.

Booked: Anyinsah, Reid.

Referee: Darren Handley (Bolton)

Attendance: 4,326.

View full mobile page