Chester FC head into the 2015-16 campaign brimming with confidence following five straight victories, completing pre-season with a deserved 3-2 win over Crewe Alexandra.

Goals from the in-form John Rooney, Ross Hannah and Tom Peers cancelled out replies from Oliver Turton and George Cooper for the League One visitors.

Chester excelled in the first-half and would have been out of sight but for Crewe keeper Ben Garratt and some wasteful finishing.

Hannah tested Ben Garratt inside 60 seconds before the Blues took the lead on four minutes when Rooney curled a delightful shot past the diving keeper from 20 yards.

There were chances for Craig Hobson, Luke George and Hannah, but the Alex rode the storm and equalised on 21 minutes with Oliver Turton finishing well following an excellent passage involving half the team and more than a dozen passes.

Crewe looked vulnerable each time the Blues went forward and Garratt twice denied Jordan Chapell to ensure the visitors somehow went into the break level.

The second-half was tighter than the first, but the Blues continued to force the game and a deserved second goal arrived on 57 minutes when Craig Mahon released Chapell, whose cross found Hannah at the back post and his smart header floated over Garratt.

Chester then found themselves under moderate pressure as the Alex chased the game and substitute George Cooper levelled the scores with his first touch on 75 minutes, firing home from close range after Lauri Dalla-Valle's header struck the post.

But the Blues regained the lead two minutes later when Mahon and George Thomson exposed Crewe's defensive frailties and Tom Peers slammed home from close range to complete the scoring.

Talking points

Next week's team: It would be safe to assume the side that started this game will be the one that lines up against Braintree Town, perhaps with one exception. Ian Sharps sat this one out but has had an excellent pre-season and seemed to be in pole position to start alongside Ben Heneghan on August 8. Michael Kay impressed in his absence and central defence appears to be the one dilemma facing the manager.

Luke George: It's taken a few weeks for the midfielder to settle into his role but this was his best performance to date. He was a solid presence behind the front four, breaking up attacks and winning the ball back before offloading to his team-mates. He's not the flashiest but that no-nonsense approach is what the team missed last season and he can make a big difference.

Match facts

Chester FC: Worsnop (Forth 45), Higgins (Tonge 45), Heneghan, Kay, Hunt, George (Hughes 60), Rooney (Mahon 45), Shaw, Chapell (Peers 60), Hannah (Thomson 60), Hobson (Richards 60).

Subs: All used.

Goal: Rooney 4, Hannah 57, Peers 78.

Crewe Alex: Garratt, Baillie, Mullarkey, Guthrie , Turton, Bingham, King (Atkinson 67), Fox (Wintle 86), Dalla-Valle, Haber (Cooper 75), Inman (Saunders 75).

Subs: Ng, Richards.

Goal: Turton 21, Cooper 76.

Referee: Rob Jones (Wirral).

Attendance: 1,085.


Pre-season is done and dusted, and the Blues look a different team to this time 12 months ago.

This might not have been Crewe's strongest team, but it wasn't far off and the 3-2 scoreline does not reflect Chester's dominance.

There's been a lot to like over the past few matches and the amount of chances being created will delight Steve Burr and Jon McCarthy.

Ross Hannah will be relieved to have netted his first goal, Luke George stepped up in midfield and in Ben Heneghan, the club has a gem on its hands.

Now it's time to get down to business and no doubt the manager will be as excited as the fans.