REPORT | Chester 3-2 Alfreton Town
Chester FC secured the most dramatic of victories in a thriller against Alfreton Town.
The Blues took the lead in the first half through James Hardy, before being reduced to ten men as Danny Livesey was shown a controversial straight red card.
Alfreton equalised through Matt Rhead before Declan Weeks restored the hosts advantage a minute later.
Rhead again equalised for Alfreton with a minute of normal time remaining before Dan Cowan secured three points for the Blues in stoppage time – sending the Deva Stadium into raptures.
The Blues made four changes from the side that lost at Kidderminster on Bank Holiday Monday as Kevin Roberts, Jamie Morgan, George Waring and Lloyd Marsh-Hughes made way for John Johnston, James Hardy, George Glendon and Declan Weeks.
Chester started the game brightly and created the first chance of the game as a corner fell to Matty Williams, but his left footed effort sailed over the crossbar.
Alfreton caught Chester high up the pitch on a couple of occasions but struggled to muster more than a couple of efforts from the edge of the penalty area.
The Blues almost found the breakthrough as Johnston played in Josh Askew, his initial cross was pushed away by George Willis before his looping header on the rebound was cleared off the line.
At the other end the Reds almost took the lead with a slice of good fortune as Josh Clackstone’s cross was deflected goalwards and clipped the top of the crossbar.
It was Chester who struck first though as Anthony Dudley picked out Hardy in the Alfreton penalty area, who spun and tucked the ball into the bottom corner.
Chester almost fashioned a second as Cowan’s cross picked out Dudley, but his first-time effort was blocked by Clackstone to keep it one-nil at half time.
Alfreton nearly equalised at the start of the second half as Adam Lund met a corner, but fortunately for Chester James Hardy was on the line to clear the ball away.
The Reds continued to threaten from set pieces and, after a corner broke to Rhead, he set it up for sub Dwayne Wiley but his effort was just the wrong side of the post.
With just under twenty minutes to go Chester were reduced to ten men as Danny Livesey was shown a straight red card after a late challenge brought down Bailey Hobson.
The visitors made their man advantage count and got an equaliser with ten minutes to go as a cross fell to Rhead who slotted the ball into the corner.
Parity was shortly lived though as the Blues were able to restore their lead a minute later through a special strike from Weeks, firing into the bottom corner from range.
Alfreton again fought back though and again Rhead was the one to level the scores with just two minutes remaining. A cross from the right met Rhead at the back post, who’s superb header looped beyond Gray and into the back of the net.
Chester wouldn’t be denied though as Weeks’ corner was met by the perfect header from Cowan to spark memorable scenes at the Deva.
CHESTER: Gray, Cowan, Livesey, Williams, Askew, Weeks, Glendon, Clark, Hardy (Roberts 73), Johnston, Dudley (Stephenson 64).
SUBS NOT USED: Grand, Lacey, Marsh-Hughes.
SCORERS: Chester: Hardy 30, Weeks 81, Cowan 90+2; Rhead 80 & 88.