Chester FC Youth began 2017 with a 3-2 victory away at Altrincham FC Youth on Sunday. A last gasp winner from Nathan Brown was the difference between the two sides, coupled with goals from Kieron Price and Ilan-Ap Gareth.
The first chance of the game fell to Altrincham, Darius Palmer advancing on the Blues’ goal only to be denied by a smart save from James Hodges.
Within the opening ten minutes Chester were in front, a well worked corner saw Brown deliver the ball to the feet of Ilan Ap-Gareth who’s first time effort found it’s way into the net after a small deflection. The visitors were now on the front foot and Nathan Brown could’ve doubled the lead, firing the ball into the side netting with only the goalkeeper to beat.
A second goal did come however, Brown again the provider. His curled free-kick evaded Alex Downes, but fell kindly to debutant Kieron Price who fired the ball beyond the goalkeeper from close range.
It was very nearly a third just before half-time, James Jones’ header was ruled offside as the Blues went into the interval two goals to the good.
In contrast to the first half, the second period saw a much improved Altrincham, and the lead was halved just three minutes from the restart. Chester never cleared a loose ball and soon found themselves picking the ball out of the net with Darius Palmer the scorer after his dribble evaded the visiting defenders.
Chester were forced to remove central defender Ryan Dobson through illness before his central defensive partner James Jones had to be substituted just ten minutes later.
A defensive reshuffle saw Alex Downes join Elliott Jones at the centre of defence with Danny Hardman on the left side of defence. It felt like a matter of time before Altrincham scored despite James Cottrell coming close for the Blues.
The equaliser finally did come from the penalty spot, Angus Crayston fouling Kieran Furse in the area with the penalty duly converted.
The young Blues’ weren’t to throw the towel in however, Nathan Brown’s 92nd minute free-kick was curled into the top corner of the net to edge the Blues back in front and seal the three points for the visiting side.
Academy Head Coach Calum McIntyre said: “A little bit of quality right at the end of the game has won it for us. We were excellent in the first half and deserved to be more than two goals in front.
“Nathan Brown has gone and scored another incredible free-kick. In his two years here he has scored so many match winning goals and more often than not they are something special. I’ve lost count of how many times he has pulled something out of the bag and it was no surprise that he did it on Sunday. As soon as he puts the ball down his team-mates know he’s going to score.
“Altrincham is a really tough place to go, especially at this time of year and I was delighted with how the boys played in the first half.
“It was a strong first half performance that bodes well for the rest of the season.”
The Youth Team are next in action on Sunday 22nd January, when they visit Prescot Cables. Kick off is 2pm at Prescot Lesiure Centre.