14:30 1st February 2017
Chester FC Youth moved into the semi-finals of the NWYA Open Cup with a 1-0 victory away at Altrincham. Alex Downes gave the Blues the victory with the last kick of the game after a tight encounter at Cheshire neighbours Altrincham.
Altrincham had the first real chance of the contest, a back post header flying wide of the far post before Nathan Brown fired over for the visitors. Ilan Ap-Gareth drew a smart save from the goalkeeper before Tom Crawford couldn't direct his header goalwards.
The second half continued to be a tight affair but Chester were beginning to wonder if their wastefulness in front of goal would cost them. Nathan Brown's chip found the goalkeeper's gloves before Alex Downes' header was saved smartly by the home goalkeeper.
Altrincham had a chance of their own late in the game, a quick break from a Chester corner saw a lob beat the advancing Hodges but also clear the crossbar.
With the game looking destined for extra-time, Alex Downes was chopped down on the left hand side to give Chester a chance to put the ball in the box with another yellow card issued to Altrincham. Nathan Brown's delivery was headed back across the goal for Downes to fire home from inside the six yard box with just seconds remaining. The referee blew the final whistle from the restart as the Blues secured another late winner against the Robins.
Academy Head Coach Calum McIntyre said: "We seem to enjoy leaving it late against Altrincham, that's injury time winners in our last three games here. We were really solid again and teams have to work really hard to score against us now, we were a little bit wasteful in front of goal.
"It's really exciting to now be in three semi-finals. We have what is probably the youngest squad in the league and have used the fewest players of any team. Our players have been fantastic and continue to exceed expectations. I am delighted with them".