Chester City 2 Manchester City 3
WHAT should have been a pre-season showpiece turned out to be just another friendly and Chester's confidence missed out on a boost by struggling against a youthful and inexperienced Manchester City team.
Originally scheduled for a visit from the First Division club's senior squad, Chester, for reasons little to do with football, had to settle for this down-market alternative and with only 440 spectators at the Deva Stadium the atmosphere gave the impression it was little more than a training session.
With some of Chester's best players, Martyn Lancaster, Steve Whitehall, Andy Porter and Mark Beesley sitting in the stand for one reason or another there was little clue about the team director of football Gordon Hill will line up against Woking in the opening Conference match next week.
One thing's for sure. There will have to be a big improvement if they are to make a flying start to the league season.
They managed to snatch the lead after 21 minutes when a cross from the right went into the net off Sam Hill's shins, but two minutes later one of Manchester City's better players Chris Shuker converted a pass from Joey Barton.
The game's best forward, Chris Killen, headed against the bar and then put one on target to equalise from Shuker's 36th minute corner. Killen, though, was the villain a minute later when he pushed Carl Ruffer and Wes Kilgannon equalised from the penalty spot.
Chris Blackburn, who had an anonymous match at the end of his trial for Manchester City, fired over from a decent position in the second half and after Wayne Brown had saved well from Barton with his legs the goalkeeper was beaten on 75 minutes when Killen again combined with Shuker to hit the winner.
Chester: Brown, S Rose (Woodyatt 80), M Rose, Kilgannon, Ruffer, Webster, Hill (Wright 52), Kerr, Malkin (Spink 71), Rodgers, Ruscoe (Topey 80). Subs: Roberts, Hopwood.
Manchester City: Murphy, Meers, Jordan, Wheelan, Day, McCarthy, Barton, Blackburn, Killen, Dunfield, Shuker.
Referee: S Matteson.