TEN-man Chester City turned in another battling performance at the Sixfields Stadium last night, when they earned a creditable draw against Northampton Town.
This was City's first ever point at Sixfields following three previous fruitless visits. The draw was all the more impressive as Chester had to play for over an hour without striker Cortez Belle, who was dismissed for violent conduct after 29 minutes.
The youngster was adjudged to have elbowed Bojic as the players battled for the ball. There also appeared to be contact between the pair following the incident.
Worse was to come for Chester, when two minutes after the Belle incident assistant manager Mark Aizlewood was ordered from the dugout following a verbal inter-change with an official.
However, neither incident should detract from a spirited and battling showing from Ian Rush's side. The point means that Chester have only been defeated once in their last 15 outings.
But with Daryl Clare completing his transfer to Boston United yesterday and leading scorer Michael Branch out for a further four weeks with an ankle injury, Belle's three-match ban - which will commence next Saturday - means that Chester have only one recognised striker available, the under-achieving Kevin Rapley.
The home side got off to a dream start when Martin Smith opened the scoring after seven minutes. Williamson crossed from the left, poor marking allowed Smith time to turn and he shot low into the corner of the net. But after 27 minutes Chester equalised. Rapley was fouled by Rowson and Kevin Ellison drilled his 30-yard free-kick around the defensive wall and into the corner of the net.
Just after the equaliser came Belle's dismissal and from then on it was basically a rearguard action from Chester.
Despite their numerical advantage Northampton were being kept mainly to long-range efforts because of sterling work in mid-field, particularly from Drummond and Carden.
The home side had chances. Mackenzie brought out saves from Alsop and McGleish while Alsop also had a free header that he conspired to head wide.
Towards the end of the game Willmott had a great chance for the home side but he headed wide following a corner.
NORTHAMPTON TOWN: Harper, Jagzczun (Galbraith 57), Will-mott, Murray, McGleish, Rowson, Sabin (Richards 83) (Youngs 90), Smith, Bojic, Williamson, Alsop. Subs: Chambers, Cozic.
CHESTER CITY: Mackenzie, Edmondson, Hessey (Hope 46), Bolland, McIntyre, Drummond, Carden, Harris (Davies 77), Ellison, Belle, Rapley. Subs: Doyle, Vaughan, Booth. REFEREE: Mr Mike Thorpe (Suffolk). ATT: 5,625.