Chester entertain Justin Edinburgh’s Leyton Orient tonight with the opportunity to make it two wins on the bounce as the race for National League survival heats up.
Preview by Jaquob Crooke.
The O’s currently sit in 16th place but have collected seven points in their last three outings; their 1-0 victory on Saturday condemned AFC Fylde to their first home defeat in five months.
After 112 years within the Football League pyramid, Orient’s first return to the fifth tier has proved to be a difficult one. Despite initial intentions of an immediate return to the Football League, Orient have struggled to make an impact, although the appointment of former Northampton boss Edinburgh has appeared to have steadied the ship.
Orient have been boosted with the announcement that both Jobi McAnuff and Dean Brill have signed contract extensions, as the club begins to focus their attentions towards a second year in the National League.
Marcus Bignot could name an unchanged side following Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Eastleigh and will be looking for his side to replicate that impressive performance as they attempt to reduce the five-point deficit to Halifax Town.
Ross Hannah’s brace ensured he was named in The Non-League Paper’s Team of the Week, and the 31-year-old will be hoping to score in back-to-back games for the first time since mid-November.
The reverse fixture saw Chester collect a point in an enthralling 2-2 draw at the Matchroom Stadium. The Blues fell behind early on to a Macauley Bonne header but found themselves level four minutes later through James Akintunde. Ross Hannah executed a delightful free-kick to put the Seals ahead on the 40th minute mark, however he was unable to dispatch a penalty moments before half-time as Orient’s Jamie Sendles-White was sent off. But the Blues were pegged back in the second-half as a ferocious strike from McAnuff ensured a share of the spoils.
Leyton Orient’s last trip to CH1 was a mammoth 4,382 days ago, when they recorded a 2-0 victory to mark the end of Keith Curle’s tenure at the Blues.
Club Historian Chas Sumner picks out some stats ahead of the game…
- This will be Leyton Orient’s first visit to the city to play the reformed Blues
- Earlier in the campaign the points were shared in a 2-2 draw with James Akintunde and Ross Hannah scoring for Chester
- The O’s last visit to the city, in February 2006, ended in a 2-0 win for the visitors
- Leyton Orient’s first visit to Chester in October 1960 was also the first League Cup tie for the club and the first game under floodlights at Sealand Road
- The O’s are unbeaten on their last 7 visits to the city. Chester’s last home victory was a 1-0 win in 1995. Eddie Bishop scored for City
One to Watch
Macauley Bonne – Striker
Bonne netted his 16th goal of the season on Saturday – a reminder as to why the 22-year-old is so highly sought after by Football League clubs.
Born in England to Zimbabwean parents, Bonne joined The O’s last summer from Colchester United and has so far proved to be an immediate success for Justin Edinburgh’s side.
Averaging 174 minutes per goal in the league, only Fylde’s Danny Rowe has scored more than the former Colchester academy graduate.
If the Seals are to record another win tonight, then it’s essential that they keep Bonne quiet.
Kick off at the Swansway Chester Stadium tonight is 7.45pm. Ticket prices can be found here