Chester FC were held to a goalless draw by a stubborn Hednesford Town side in the Buildbase FA Trophy First Round.
The Blues created some good chances and had a goal for Akwasi Asante ruled out for offside, but in the end had to be content with a replay back at the 1885 Arena on Tuesday night.
Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley made three changes from the side that lost 2-0 at Darlington in the National League North last weekend, with Danny Elliott, Matty Hughes and Gary Roberts all coming in for Elton Ngwatala, Anthony Dudley and Gary Stopforth.
The Blues started promisingly, looking to get Matty Hughes in behind and he created space after a wayward defensive header but the ball wouldn’t drop for him to fire at goal before Samuel Griffiths could clear the ball away.
With chances limited in the opening twenty minutes, it fell to Hughes again to almost break the deadlock, as he beat Andrew Wycherley to the ball and rounded the goalkeeper but his shot was blocked by a Hednesford defender.
Hednesford were gifted a golden opportunity to take the lead just after the half hour mark as Danny Livesey’s clearance was headed down to the unmarked Danny Glover, but the hosts’ striker could only drag his shot wide of the target.
Moments later and Chester had a good chance of their own, and it fell to Hughes. Brad Jackson’s cross from the right wing was inch perfect but Hughes’ glancing header spun just wide of the far post.
Chester started the second half brightly, working the ball well to Asante on the edge of the Hednesford area, but his powerful effort was just wide of Andy Wycherley’s left hand post.
The Blues’ possession started to see them taking more efforts at the Hednesford goal, with Brad Jackson cutting inside onto his left foot and firing goalwards, but Wycherley was able to save at the second attempt.
With Hednesford’s defence dropping deep to deal with Jackson’s crosses, the Blues started to push midfielders forward and Gary Roberts tried an ambitious diving header from the edge of the area, that had plenty of power but Wycherley was able to gather.
The chances were starting to come for the Blues and with twenty five minutes remaining Jackson showed some delightful skill to turn his man, before his cross fell kindly for the busy Hughes, who shot across Wycherley, but the Hednesford ‘keeper was able to push it away and a defender cleared up before Danny Elliott could reach the rebound.
More good play from Jackson lead to another chance, as he beat his man before laying it off to Gary Roberts, but his placed shot was too close to Wycherley.
Hednesford’s first chance of the second half fell to Kieran Morris as the ball broke to the centre half unmarked on the left side of the penalty area, but he rushed his shot and skied it over the bar.
Chester responded positively, and again Jackson was heavily involved, cutting inside before firing a deflected effort that Wycherley could only push into the direction of Asante, but as he turned the ball home the offside flag was raised.
Hednesford came back into the game though and looked a threat as the game neared its end. Nevertheless it was Chester who had the final chance of the game though as Gary Roberts was brought down on the edge of the area, Joel Taylor took the free kick but curled it just wide of the post.
Chester: Griffiths, K Roberts, Taylor, G Roberts (c), Livesey, Grand, Jackson, Glendon, Asante (Waring 87), Hughes (Dudley 77), Elliott (Ngwatala 83).
Substitutes: Morgan, Waters, Jones, Stopforth.
Hednesford: Wycherley, Curley, Griffiths, Bailey (c), Morris, Gatter (Hurst 65), O’Hanlon (Reid 73), King, Glover, Fry, Abadaki (Hodge 87).
Substitutes: Chambers, Veiga, Waddison, Lycet.
Yellow Cards: Hednesford: O’Hanlon, Griffiths. Chester: Elliott.