10:00 14th April 2017
Chester FC Youth moved to just three points of league leaders Curzon Ashton with an impressive 3-2 victory over Ashton Athletic at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium. Goals from Alex Ashby, Kieron Price and Tom Crawford were enough for the hosts as they recorded their eighth consecutive game without defeat.
Alex Ashby fired Chester in front after just 48 seconds. A mix up in the Ashton defence saw the ball run free for Ashby who was able to slot the ball home into an empty net. The hosts remained on the front foot and Matthew Shorrocks produced two excellent saves to twice deny Nathan Brown from doubling the advantage. Ashton had a chance of their own when James Hodges saved well with his feet before Ashby fired wide of the far post just before the interval.
The second half started with the visitors in control. Hodges collecting a series of corners after a spell of Ashton pressure. Tom Craword headed wide from Brown’s corner before the lead was doubled. Kieron Price’s sensational effort from all of 35 yards soared into the net via the post to put the hosts really in the driving seat on the hour mark. The two goal cushion was short lived however, within four minutes of Chester’s second goal, Harry Johnson cutting in from the left to fire the ball underneath James Hodges in the Chester goal. The game was now evenly contested with both sides having chances. Simpson fired wide for Ashton before Crawford looked to have sealed the three points for the hosts. The midfielder latched on to a through ball and calmly rolled the ball beyond Shorrocks in the Ashton goal with ten minutes to go.
There was still one last sting in the tail for Ashton. Hodges failed to deal with a ball beyond the Chester defence and found Harry Johnson on hand to halve the deficit just seconds before full-time to set up a nervy last few moments for the home side. The Youth Team now move on to back to back fixtures against league leaders Curzon Ashton with just three points separating the sides. The Youth host Curzon on Sunday 16th April with a 2.30pm kick off at The Cheshire Sports Club before visiting the Tameside Stadium on Wednesday 19th April.
Academy Head Coach Calum McIntyre said: “It was a really pleasing effort from the boys which puts in a situation where we are just three points from the top of the league. Earlier in the season, Curzon and Fylde had the opportunity to make it a two horse race but our players have just stuck at it and kept themselves in and around the top of the league. The nature of playing the two games against the league leaders within four days is exciting for us but we will need to be at our best to get anything from the games.
"We have loads of respect for Curzon and their staff and they have had a really strong season and at one point threatened to run away with it. They were nine points clear at one stage but couldn’t quite get away, that probably puts a little bit of pressure on them to now finish the job against us but we aren’t a soft touch to see off.
"We haven’t rolled over for anyone for as long as I have been here and we will make it difficult for them to get that win that they need to all but win them the league. For our young side, it’s exciting to still be involved in big games at this end of the season after everything we have been through and I know we’ll be looking to perform in the back to back games next week. Who knows, two good performances from us might put us back in the mix.”