For Matty Waters, his 19th birthday couldn't really have gone much better.

Having made a handful of late substitute appearances for Chester FC this season and earned one start in the FA Trophy, Waters emerged from the bench on Saturday after 26 minutes as a replacement for the injured Jordan Chapell at Braintree Town.

He operated on the left in the first half as Chester struggled against the Iron, who led 1-0 at the break. But he switched into a more central midfield role in the second period and produced an assured performance as Jon McCarthy's side rallied and claimed a deserved 2-1 success in Essex.

His performance drew praise from his manager and Blues fans alike and made his birthday one to remember.

"To be able to come and make a mark in a win for us was a pretty special way to spend my birthday and it was one to remember," said Waters, who was handed a senior deal in the summer after impressing with the youth team under Calum McIntyre.

"I knew before the game that with injuries and things that I might get the chance to play a little bit, but I didn't expect it to come so soon and it was unfortunate for Jordan to have to come off the way he did.

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"It was tough in the first half but the gaffer changed some things around at half time and we came out fighting and it was great to be able to be part of it and help turn it around.

"Having Tom Shaw to talk me through things on Saturday and playing alongside me was great. It made me feel much more comfortable being able to play with such an experienced player next to me.

"It's a real confidence boost and given me the belief that I can come in and hold my own in this league now and make a contribution."

Waters, a set-piece specialist, was handed his senior debut this season by McCarthy after his superb displays in the youth team last season marked him out as someone who could make the transition.

And Southend-born Waters was full of praise for both his manager at senior level and his former youth team boss, McIntyre.

"I had some great seasons under Calum and there were a lot of great memories from my time with the youth team, it really helped my game come on," said Waters, from Farndon, a former pupil at Bishop Heber High School.

"The gaffer now has given me my chance and has been great with me and the lads and you can see how much everyone works for him and wants to do well for him and the fans.

"He's a great manager and has given me a great opportunity. It's up to me now to kick on and continue to develop and try to make an impact every chance I get. It's a great club with a great bunch of lads and I'm loving it."

Waters is likely to get some game time this evening when Chester host Hyde United in the Cheshire Senior Cup (7.45pm).