A stunning Harry White volley was cancelled out by a 26th-minute penalty as Chester FC were held to a 1-1 draw at Hyde United.
White’s third-minute volley gave Chester the advantage at Ewen Fields before Pete Boyle converted a spot kick midway through the first half after a mistake by Alex Lynch.
It wasn’t a classic encounter but the Blues players got more minutes in the bank as they bid to get ready for the big kick off on August 5 at Solihull Moors.
Chester were playing their third friendly in four days and had to do without striker Ross Hannah, still nursing a slight knock from the Runcorn Town win on Monday, and also Evan Horwood who had left the club by mutual consent earlier in the day in order to pen a longer term deal elsewhere.
As was the case in the Runcorn and Flint Town United victories, Chester boss Jon McCarthy opted to field tow separate teams in each half at the Evo Stik First Division North side, with a number of trialists featuring.
It was the perfect start for Chester when White lashed home a stunning volley after a looping Kingsley James header to hand the Blues a third minute lead.
There was to be precious little in the way of goalmouth action at either end, though, until Alex Lynch gave a penalty away on 26 minutes, getting caught in possession before hauling down Tom Pratt. Pete Boyle stepped up to fire beyond the Chester keeper.
Hyde raised their game and asked some questions of the Blues with Boyle going close but neither side looked like adding to the scoreline as the first 45 minutes petered out.
McCarthy rang the changes at the break but it was the home side who started the brighter of the two when David Brown forced two good stops from Chester’s trialist keeper in the space of two minutes.
The hour mark saw a welcome return to action for Craig Mahon who made his long awaited return from injury with a 30-minute cameo off the bench, replacing the diminutive Nathan Brown.
Mahon almost had an instant impact when he twisted and turned before playing off Trialist E whose low cross couldn’t be turned home by a lurking James Akintunde.
Hyde almost took a 70th minute lead when a dubious free kick on the edge of the Chester area ended up with Tigers midfielder Big Khamsuk saw his 20 yard effort crash off the post and out to safety.
Nyal Bell saw a 25-yarder saved by former Chester FC under-18s keeper James Hodges after holding the ball up well and spinning his marker, but an overlapping Lucas Dawson was the better option and it was a chance wasted for the Blues.
Minutes later James Akintunde broke well on the right and beat his marker, cutting the ball back to Rhain Hellawell whose first-time effort from 20 yards was pushed away by Hodges.
But there was to be no winner from either side but it was the minutes under the belt that was the most important thing.
First half: Lynch, Halls, Astles, McCombe, Rowe-Turner, Joyce, James, Turnbull, Davies,Brown, White.
Second half: Trialist A, Trialist B, Jones, Trialist C, Trialist E, Chapell, Dawson, Hellawell, Brown (Brown), Bell, Akintunde.
Goals: White 3.