Chester and Telford will meet for a fourth time this season after this FA Trophy first rounder ended in a 1-1 draw.

A replay was not the outcome either manager would have wanted with the hectic festive period coming up but the draw was probably the right result.

Kingsley James gave the Blues the lead with a penalty in the 12th minutes but the Bucks got going after a slow start and levelled through Jordan Deacey on 26 minutes.

After a decent enough first half, both teams struggled in the second period although Chester had the clearer opportunities but Rhys Oates and substitute Tom Peers were unable to take advantage.

 

This was the third time the clubs had faced each other in a little over 10 weeks, Chester winning the two previous meetings in the league.

With the FA Cup rematch with Barnsley on the horizon, Steve Burr could have been forgiven for rotating his side but the manager had stressed in the build up the FA Trophy remained a target, both personal and for the club.

He made only one change to the team that drew with Barnsley, bringing back Rhys Oates, who had been unable to feature against his parent club, and dropping Craig Hobson back to the bench.

Jon Worsnop kept his place in goal thanks to a custom mask protecting two fractured bones in his cheek and right back Ben Heneghan continued in midfield, suggested he would be used there again on Tuesday.

For the Bucks, the FA Trophy provided some welcome relief from their struggles in the Vanarama Conference.

Telford were bottom on just 14 points and the 2-1 midweek home loss to Welling United was their 16th defeat of the campaign.

Liam Watson's cause was not being helped with an injury crisis the he described as the worst he has experienced and he made five changes with central defenders Andy Parry and Steve Akrigg the latest to be ruled out.

Karl Ledsham was unavailable and Sean Cooke and Tony Gray dropped to the bench, with Rod McDonald, Kristian Platt, Jordan Deacey, Andy Todd and Josh Hancock coming in and midfielder Mike Grogan filling in at centre half.

Chester made an excellent start, passing the ball with confidence on a sticky surface with Oates opening up the Bucks defence but his pull back was cleared.

Sean McConville should have scored on seven minutes when he broke down the left wing and had a free run on goal but his curling shot rebounded off the crossbar with Freddy Hall beaten.

Grogan far from comfortable and when he clipped Craig Mahon's heels in the box, referee Jason Whiteley had no option but to award a penalty.

Kingsley James succeeded where his team-mates have failed, sending Hall the wrong way to give the Blues the lead on 12 minutes.

Things got worse for Telford two minutes later when Platt went off injured, although Hanock and Todd both did force Worsnop into saves.

McConville had another great chance on 20 minutes when he got in behind the defence but his toe poke rolled the wrong side of the post.

Telford had worked themselves back into the game and equalised six minutes later after a neat exchange of passes created space for Jordan Deacey, who slotted past Worsnop from close range.

Chester remained the more dangerous going forward with Oates rasping a shot inches over after skinning Grogan and Rooney testing Hall from 20 yards.

Telford had a couple of opportunities too with the lively Deacey firing wide from the edge of the area but the teams went into half time level.

Chester were on the back foot early in the second period as the home side pressed, although the Bucks didn't create any genuine openings.

Telford went close on 55 minutes when Charlie Barnett, who had replaced Platt, stabbed goalwards from a corner but Gareth Roberts was well placed on the line to clear.

Burr introduced Tom Peers on 57 minutes for Michael Kay with Heneghan reverting to right back and Telford suffered another blow a couple of minutes later when McDonald limped off.

Chester took off captain Matty Brown for Ibou Touray perhaps with Tuesday in mind and started to see more of the ball as the half wore on.

Hall saved a scuffed Oates shot after good work from Rooney but the game was far more fragmented with chances few and far between.

Telford began to show signs of tiredness moving into the last 15 minutes and the Blues wasted too good opportunities with Rooney curling wide and Peers blasting into the stand from a promising position.

Jamie Menagh came on for the final eight minutes as Chester went searching for another goal but both sides were struggling to find the quality needed in possession.

Barnett headed straight at Worsnop from point blank range after a long throw and then Peers forced Hall into a save low down at the other end.

Telford almost snatched a winner in time added on but Worsnop got down well to his right to push his shot behind, ensuring the sides will meet again on December 22.

Chester FC: Worsnop, Kay (Peers 57) , Brown (Touray 65), Charnock, G Roberts, Heneghan, James, Rooney, Mahon, McConville (Menagh 82), Oates.

Subs: C Roberts, Hobson.

Goal: James 12 (pen).

Booked: Kay, Charnock.

AFC Telford United: Hall, Higgins, Grogan, McDonald (Smith 59), Brownill, Hancock, Poku, Platt (Barnett 14), Todd, Deacey, Farrell.

Subs: Hedge, Gray, Cooke.

Goal: Deacey 26.

Booked: Poku.

Referee: Jason Whiteley (Leeds)

Attendance: 776.