CHESTER had to settle for a point against Southport despite scoring twice in the first-half on Steve Burr’s return to the club.
Headers from Kane Richards and James Alabi sent the Blues’ two goals up at half-time at a rainy Lookers Vauxhall Stadium. However, Southport dominated the second-half and fought back to earn a point through stunning strikes by Andrai Jones and Jamie Allen.
Despite Southport dominating the early possession, it was Chester who went closest first. A corner caused chaos in Southport box but Alabi’s tame shot only found the offside Richards. Southport broke straight from the free-kick after a mistake in the Chester defence but Alex Lynch saved Allen’s one-on-one shot.
The Blues then took the lead in the 15th minute through Richards. Captain Tom Shaw passed it out to Elliott Durrell on the right and his deep cross found the head of the 22-year-old at the back post.
The team of the match from Newton Athletic were providing a good atmosphere and they were rewarded with another Chester goal on the half-hour mark. A deep Ryan Lloyd corner was converted by striker Alabi to double the Blues’ lead.
Although they continued to dominate, Southport were being restricted to long-shots which did not trouble Lynch in the Chester goal. He was called into action in the 36th minute however when a dangerous Southport corner had to be tipped around the near-post.
Lynch saved his team again in added time when Ashley Grimes launched a curling shot after a long ball over the top of the Chester defence.
The Blues continued to be strong at the back after the break with Ryan Astles in particular putting in several good blocks. Lynch was then forced to pull off a stunning point-blank save when Grimes shot from just outside the six-yard box in the 50th minute.
Southport did get a goal back ten minutes later however when Jones latched onto a loose ball and squeezed a shot from 20 yards past the diving Lynch. They nearly equalised in the 63rd minute when another shot from Allen was superbly tipped out for a corner by man of the match Lynch.
Southport did get a well-deserved equaliser in the 79th minute as Chester backed off. A block looped in the air and Allen collected the knock-down to fire the ball into the near-post.
Chester FC: Lynch; Hughes, Hudson, Astles, Hunt; Shaw, Lloyd; Durrell (Joyce 72), Mahon (Chapell 72), Richards; Alabi
Subs not used: Evans, Waters, Marsh
Southport: Norman; R Higgins, Ashton, Thompson, Weeks; Nolan, J Higgins, McKenna, Allen; Jones (Jerome 80), Grimes (Caton 82)
Subs not used: Ferguson, Hynes, Gray
Referee: Wayne Barratt
By Jacob Leeks