Hello and welcome to the Chester Chronicle’s live blog on an afternoon where Chester FC ’s relegation to the National League North could be confirmed as early as this evening.
Should the Blues lose to Tranmere Rovers in a derby clash at the Swansway Chester Stadium and other results go against them, a five-season stay in the National League will be over. It’s been a truly dismal season both on and off the pitch.
The match referee Simon Barrow has had a look at the pitch here and the ground staff have worked had to get the game on and the surface clear of water.
A Chester defeat coupled with wins for Solihull and Barrow will confirm relegation to the sixth tier of English football for the Blues.
We’ll be providing updates throughout the afternoon from the Swansway Chester Stadium through this live blog, with team news, action and reaction from today’s clash.
WATCH: Marcus Bignot's reaction
Marcus Bignot gives his reaction after Chester’s relegation to the National League North is sealed.
Bignot says: “They (the fans) want to see winning football. That 90 minutes is the final piece of the jigsaw. There’s so much work that goes in terms of getting a product out onto the pitch and that’s where it lacks in terms of that foresight. How have we got to this and how are we going to get back to getting winning football back onto a football pitch and it’s a long journey and it’s a long process. There’s got to be reality, honesty and transparent in terms of how we’re going to move forward because I think then the supporters can accept that if they’re told the truth and told here are the facts and this is the reality.”
Bignot's view on the club overall
Bignot says: “There’s a load of good people and there’s a lot of good work going on, the academy, the community. It’s unbelievable, the volunteers every day are absolutely superb, but when it comes to first team, there is absolutely a lack, and I mean lack, of experience at first team level.”
'I don't know how we bounce back'
When asked how the club bounces back, Bignot says: “In all honesty, I really don’t know. We’ve had a lot of bad news this week. I think what’s got brushed under the carpet for me which is the most worrying is we’ve lost Neil Young who’s offered his services for nothing and we’ve lost him.”
The Blues boss speaking to the press after the Blues relegation is confirmed. Full quotes and story to follow.
Manager's reaction coming up
Blues boss Marcus Bignot will be coming out to speak to us shortly.
'A sad day'
Our Chester FC reporter Dave Powell’s views on the afternoon’s action. Five years after the club made it out of the National League North, the club is heading back down there.
Reaction from the club’s social media as Blues stay in the top flight of non-league is confirmed.
Dave Powell's match report as relegation confirmed.
A five-season stay in the National League is now over and the Blues will be playing in English football’s sixth tier next season.
HERE is Dave Powell’s match report from this afternoon.
With Solihull’s 1-0 win over Hartlepool United this afternoon, the Blues will be playing in the National League North next season with four games to spare.
FULL TIME - Chester 0-2 Tranmere (Cook, Norwood)
That’s all. Chester succumb to defeat against Tranmere with goals from Cook and Norwood doing the damage.
Akintunde curls a free kick over the Tranmere wall and into the Harry Mac.
Firth called upon
Firth once again called into action in the Blues goal, denying Jay Harris.
Jennings is down and receiving treatment for cramp. Play to restart shortly.
There will be at least four minutes added on.
Good spell of pressure from the Blues and shots from both Crawford and Roberts blocked by determined Tranmere defending.
Blues free kick
Roberts takes a free kick and Archer’s header loops in the arms of Davies.
Final Tranmere change
Tollitt comes off to be replaced by Harris.
Tranmere free kick, Ridehalgh takes, easy save for Firth.
Brown comes on to replace Vose.
Wallace on for Norburn.
Decent build up
Good play from Chester as Vose threads in Halls on the right whose low cross is collected by Davies.
Mahon’s cross from the right goes high and wide. Tranmere goal kick.
Goalscorer Norwood coming off for Rovers, Mangan replaces him.
A Hughes corner is then tipped over by Firth.
What a hit
Absolute rocket from Buxton stings Firth’s palms from distance. Tranmere corner.
There are 3,103 inside the Swansway Chester Stadium today.
Anderson’s cross finds Akintunde, whose shot is blocked by Ridehalgh and cleared.
Blues change, White off, Archer on.
Tollitt goes down in the box, no penalty.