YOUTH REPORT | Chester 2-0 Irlam
Chester booked their place in the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup courtesy of two second half strikes against Irlam.
It was a pretty even affair in the opening 45 minutes and a quiet opening quarter of an hour.
The first half chance came courtesy of the Blues’ lively left-back, Joe Nelson, who neatly exchanged passes with Dan Collins before seeing his shot deflected behind.
Moments later it was Nelson involved again as his dangerous cross found the head of Reece Daly – but the number ten nodded wide.
Irlam had their fair share of moments and went close to a stunning opener as Alfie Walker tried his luck from 30 yards, seeing his attempt dip just over Joe Smith’s crossbar.
Two more chances, one for each side, came and went at the end of the first half. For the visitors Jack Mitchell burst into the box and fired straight at Smith, before Sol Ashworth’s tempting cross was headed towards goal by Max Buckley-Benbow, but Harry Roper gathered.
Chester started the second 45 brightly and moments after Collins had headed over from an Ollie Heywood corner – Harry Griffiths dispossessed an Irlam defender before curling just wide.
The opportunities kept coming, as Heywood connected powerfully with a short free kick but Roper was equal to it.
Eventually the second 45 dominance paid off as the Blues took the lead. Heywood’s corner from the left was spot on, and Jay Lee timed his run to perfection to nod home the opener.
Irlam looked to reply and sub Declan Scalian tried his luck, being foiled by Smith who was down well to make the save.
And the tie was put beyond doubt with five to go courtesy of forward Max Giani. His pace caused problems all night and he got the better of the defence to run on to a ball over the top, before confidently slotting through the legs of the keeper to make it two.
CHESTER U-18: Smith, Regan Daly, Nelson, Heywood, Lee, Buckley-Benbow, Griffiths (Bradley 90), Ashworth, Giani, Reece Daly, Collins (Bavington 64).
SUBS NOT USED: Beswick, Challinor, Stark, Maris, Peake.
SCORERS: Lee 67, Giani 85.