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17:21 18th August 2012

Iain Howard scores an early winner

Match Report sponsored by Daulby Read

Chester claimed the full three points in  their first game in the Blue Square North at Court Place Farm. An Iain Howard strike after two minutes giving the visitors all three points. 

Neil Young handed debut starts to three of his summer signings for the clubs first game in the Blue Square North, Paul Linwood, Dave Hankin and Nathan Jarman started with Dominic Collins, Adam Proudlock, Sean Clancy and Ben Mills all on the bench. 

Chester made the perfect start to life in the Blue Square North and found themselves ahead from their first attack. Marc Williams' shot was blocked but an Oxford City defender, it rebounded to Dave Hankin, his shot from the edge of the area was flicked by Iain Howard into the Oxford defence. Howard capitalised on the rebound and drilled home low from close range.

Chester were controlling the midfield battle and Oxford struggled to create a clear cut chance in the first half. Wes Baynes went close to doubling Chester's advantage with a shot from the edge of the penalty area but Warren Carter was able to turn the ball round the post.

Paul Linwood went closest to doubling Chester's advantage as Wes Baynes' corner found the defender, who headed the ball into the ground, only for it to bounce up and rebound on the crossbar but Chester had the lead at the break. 

Oxford started the second half brightly and the introduction of Albi Skendi nearly made an instant impact, Skendi's free kick found Chris Wilmott at the far post, he headed it back across goal but Antoni Sarcevic was on hand to head the ball off the line.

After surviving a spell of heavy Oxford pressure at the start of the second half Chester came back into the game and Nathan Jarman went close. Iain Howards corner was headed back across goal, Dave Hankin laid the ball to Jarman beautifully and he struck the ball sweetly but just wide.

Chester continued to threaten from set pieces and a Wes Baynes corner was hit straight up into the air by an Oxford defender, Horan rose above Carter but his header was over the bar. 

With a couple of minutes left Ben Mills made his debut for Chester, on loan, he let a ball come over his left shoulder, bounced once and struck a ferocious shot that was just over the Oxford bar. 

Ben Mills' hard work won the ball back for Chester before Sarcevic's pass found Iain Howard, he unleashed a fierce strike that rebounded off the inside of the post and Chester were able to see out the game for a 1-0 victory!

Oxford City: Carter, Ballard, Learoyd, Malone, Wilmott, Martin (Skendi 45), Isaac (Shariff 68), Benjamin, Basham, Cook (Barcelos 62), Stonehouse
Subs not used: Lyon, Gunn

Booked: Basham, Isaac

Chester FC: Danby, Baynes, Mackin, Horan (Collins 90+1), Linwood, Hankin, A Williams, Sarcevic, M Williams (Mills 87), Jarman, Howard
Subs not used: Powell, Proudlock, Clancy

Booked: Jarman

Goal Scorers: Iain Howard 2mins

Man of the match: Paul Linwood
Attendance: 1,025
Referee: Mr M Bounassisi
Assistant Referee: Mr S Lewis, Mr T Donellan

Match Report by Chris Graham
    Data provided by Press Association


    Did you know that Chester FC celebrate 130 years of history in 2015?