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22:21 3rd July 2012

Stalybridge Celtic 2 - 6 Chester FC

Chester FC put in their performance of the season so far as they made the short trip to Stalybridge Celtic. After a good start the visitors scored four goals in the first half as Antoni Sarcevic, Nathan Jarman and an Iain Howard brace put the game beyond the hosts. The second half started the same way with Sarcevic adding a fifth before the hosts got one back, Iain Howard completed his hat-trick before Jordan Barrow added a second for Stalybridge.

The visitors started very brightly, looking threatening and Nathan Jarman tried an early lob from the edge of the area but it went over Alex Cairns crossbar. Marc Williams going close from the edge of the area but Cairns saving well. 

The pressure continued and Scott Brown went close, after brilliantly controlling a Matty McGinn cross, he cut inside and shot just over Cairns crossbar, after doing all the hard work. 

Chester didn't have to too long to break the deadlock as Dave Hankin found Nathan Jarman on the edge of the area, he was tackled and the ball deflected off his shin into the path of Antoni Sarcevic who slotted home with his left foot passed the en-coming Cairns.

Stalybridge had a chance to get straight back into the game as Dom Collins failed to clear with a header that could only find Greg Wilkinson on the edge of the Chester area, his effort was just wide of John Danby's right hand post though.

The Blues continued to press and Wes Baynes' free kick into the penalty area was headed down by Paul Linwood to Iain Howard, his shot was parried by Alex Cairns straight into the path of Nathan Jarman who rifled an effort home.

Two very quickly became three as Marc Williams won possession on the edge of the Stalybridge penalty area before rolling the ball to Iain Howard who shot low and hard across Cairns and into the bottom corner.

Just before half time Chester made it four as Marc Williams' cross found Iain Howard at the far post and the winger unleashed an unstoppable acrobatic volley, a goal that Chester fans will remember for years. 

Two minutes into the second half and Chester had their fifth, a ball aimed towards Marc Williams saw him tugged back, everybody stopped except Antoni Sarcevic who slotted the ball home from the edge of the area.

Antoni Sarcevic nearly completed his hat-trick five minutes later with a wonderful curling effort that rebounded off the bar after a great ball by Marc Williams and some excellent control from Sarcevic.

Stalybridge were able to get on the scoresheet as Jack Laird fired home after the ball was cut back to him inside the Chester penalty area. The home side pushed on after this, having a series of efforts from the edge of the area but were unable to trouble Danby.

Chester were able to survive the pressure from Stalybridge and new signing Tony Gray, who came on as a substitute for Marc Williams, went close a couple of times, cutting in from the wing and striking low.

With just over fifteen minutes remaining Chester had their sixth. Antoni Sarcevic racing clear of the Stalybridge defence before being brought down by Alex Cairns, the referee allowed play to continue and Iain Howard nipped in to tap home into an open goal and complete his hat-trick as Sarcevic sat on his knee's smiling in disbelief.

The scoring wasn't over and with three minutes left Stalybridge got their second, John Danby made a brilliant double save but it wasn't enough as Jordan Barrow slotted home at the hosts third attempt. 

Chester: Danby, Baynes, McGinn, Collins, Linwood (c), Brown, Hankin (Mackin), Sarcevic, Jarman, M Williams (Gray), Howard
Subs: A Williams, Clancy, Horan

Stalybridge: Cairns, Bleau (Haywood), Lees (c), Platt, Bembo-Leta, Warburton (Barrow), Pepper (Mullan), Wilkinson, Laird, Gregory, Austin
Subs: Sherriff, Woodhouse

Goal scorers: Chester - Sarcevic (2), Jarman, Howard (3). Stalybridge - Laird, Barrow
Man of the match: Iain Howard
Attendance: 1,193
Referee: Mr A Greenwood
Assistant Referee: Mr A Murdoch, Mr B Ballantyne

Match report by Chris Graham
    Data provided by Press Association


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