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17:00 2nd January 2016

Chester FC 1 Altrincham 1

Chester began 2016 by sharing the spoils in a close encounter with Altrincham.

Ross Hannah opened the scoring in the first half – but Michael Rankine bit back on the hour mark for the Robins; ensuring a January draw.

The Blues, coming off the back of a home defeat to Macc, almost went behind early on – when Rankine smashed a shot against the post just three minutes in.

But Chester responded, Mahon’s hooked cross into the box was met by Tom Shaw – but he poked over the bar on the half volley.

Danny Hattersley then nodded over from another Mahon cross – the tricky Irishman causing problems on the left.

Steve Burr’s side were growing in confidence, and Hattersley saw a header cleared off the line by Scott Leather – following sterling interplay between the Blues attackers.

It was superb, flowing football – and it was rewarded with a goal on 20 minutes.

Shaw’s shot took a wicked ricochet into the path of Hannah – who kept his feet, skipped past a defender and slotted home from close range – 12 in 11 games for the forward.

Chester were responding brilliantly to December’s loss to Macclesfield, Luke George blasting just wide from long range.

The Blues were desperate to double the advantage before the interval – Ryan Higgins with a superb dummy set him up for a left footed shot – and Tim Deasy got down well to save.

Business was resumed in the second half – Shaw putting Hattersley’s cross over the bar from ten yards.

Johnny Hunt was then denied inside the box by Deasy – the Blues were in full flow.

James Lawrie then skied a free effort from the edge of the box – as Alty were looking to respond following a slow start to the second half.

Shaw blazed over the bar for Chester – before a lapse in concentration saw the visitors claw their way back level.

A cross from the right was misjudged by Jon Worsnop, allowing Michael Rankine to sneak in and head home.

The visitors then almost went in front – Moult’s fake shot bamboozled two defenders, but Heneghan blocked Reeves from close range.

Slowly but surely, the Blues started the press further for the winner – Hunt’s free kick whipped across the face of goal but failed to find a Chester touch.

Sub Craig Hobson had the chance to make himself the hero – but his effort was blocked when he looked through on goal.

Hannah then appeared to hit the post from a Mahon corner – when a loose ball fell to his feet in the last minute of normal time.

Jon Worsnop was called into action in stoppage time again, making a superb double save with hand and leg to deny Rankine and Bowerman in quick succession.

Chester: Worsnop, Higgins, Hunt, Sharps, Heneghan, Shaw, George (Hewitt 72), Mahon, Lloyd, Hattersley (Hobson 72), Hannah.
Subs Not Used: Forth, Chapell, Rooney.
Altrincham: Deasy, Sinnott, Griffin, Moult, Havern, Leather, Lawrie, O’Keefe (Clee 46 (Heathcote 72)), Reeves (Bowerman 66), Rankine, Richman.
Subs Not Used: Williams, Swift.
Scorers: Hannah 20; Rankine 60.
Attendance: 2,155.
Referee: Rob Jones.


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