Chester FC boss Marcus Bignot hailed defensive ‘colossus’ Ryan Astles for fighting through the pain barrier for the cause against Wrexham.
The 23-year-old defender suffered a nasty gash to his foot in the 10th minute - an injury that needed eight stitches - but with defensive options already exhausted Astles soldiered on in the 1-0 defeat to the Blues’ cross-border foes.
And Bignot was full of praised for his centre back.
“We nearly lost Ryan Astles,” explained Bignot post match.
“I have got to give credit to him - colossus. I’m telling you, any other player would have come off, he shouldn’t have been on the pitch. He has seen the game through, and that’s why I’m absolutely gutted for him because he didn’t deserve that.
“He has been immense for us and he is an example for all our players and our supporters - you can rely on a Ryan Astles.”
Shaun Pearson’s 44th-minute header from a Marcus Kelly free kick settled a game where Chester were on top for large periods but were unable to break through a steely Wrexham defence.
And Bignot said he was ‘gutted’ that it was Astles’ man Pearson who broke free to land the knockout blow, but backed the defender to bounce back, tipping him for a bright future.
“I’m gutted for Ryan Astles that it was his man that scored,” said Bignot.
“He has been superb and he is distraught in there. He has a huge future here and he can certainly play in the Football League. It is a lesson learnt for him and a lesson learnt for everyone. A game is won and lost in the two 18-yard boxes.”