Vauxhall Motors 1 Chester City 2
WHILE their preparations may not have been ideal to date, Motors still put in a valiant display against League Two neighbours Chester on Saturday.
It took a 19th-minute penalty for the Blues to break down Vauxhall’s resistance in the Motormen’s first pre-season friendly, journeyman trialist Trevor Benjamin adjudged to have been pulled down in the box by Lee Owens.
Wirral-based Premiership referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot and Tony Dinning gave Chester the lead, calmly placing the ball past Lloyd Rigby.
Just five minutes later, Chester doubled their advantage, Kevin Ellison nodding the ball back into the danger area and Stephen Vaughan striking it first-time past Rigby.
But a young Motors side refused to roll over and set about clawing their way back into the match.
Their first real chance fell to Richard Gresty following a 32nd-minute corner, but his effort at the far post was well saved by John Danby.
Benjamin then squandered a chance to put the game beyond Motors when he hit a shot on the turn which went narrowly wide.
Just before half-time, Tom Rooney was brought down in the area by Shaun Kelly – a former Motors loanee – and Dean again gave a penalty.
Rooney, cousin of England star Wayne and now in his second spell at Rivacre Park, dusted himself down and coolly slotted the ball home to make it 2-1 at the interval.
In the second half, the first decent chance fell to Chester’s David Mannix, his long-range effort in the 48th minute tipped over by Rigby’s understudy Aiden Dickinson.
Although the Motormen had some good spells of possession, it was Chester who created the best chances and, on 64 minutes, the lively Ryan Lowe dribbled into the Vauxhall penalty area before shooting over.
On 68 minutes, Lowe should have done better from six yards out and on 70 minutes, Laurence Wilson put a good ball in from the left wing but target-man John Murphy couldn’t take advantage from close range.
Lowe then turned and shot in the box but his effort was easily saved by Dickinson.
The match allowed Macauley to run the rule over a number of trialists as he tries to make up for lost time and build a squad to take advantage of Motors’ relegation reprieve and survive for another season in the Blue Square North.
Motors’ next pre-season friendlies are on Saturday when the first team and reserves are fielding mixed teams and taking on Formby at home and Bangor City away, both kicking off at 3pm.
Next Wednesday (July 30), Motors take on football’s latest fan-owned club, AFC Liverpool, at Rivacre Park (7.30pm).