REPORT | Chester 5-1 Blyth Spartans
Chester FC put Blyth Spartans to the sword with an emphatic display to earn three points at the Deva Stadium.
The visitors took the lead after just five minutes through JJ O’Donnell but Chester created enough chances to find themselves unfortunate to be behind at the break.
In the second half the hosts managed to take those chances and blew Blyth away with goals from Declan Weeks, George Waring, Anthony Dudley, Matty Williams and Jack Redshaw.
The Blues made two changes from the side that beat Darlington thanks to a late James Hardy goal with James Horsfield making his Chester debut and Paddy Lacey coming in for Jamie Morgan and Luke Clark.
The visitors made the perfect start to the game and found themselves ahead with just five minutes on the clock. Blyth played the ball into the penalty area, where O’Donnell brought the ball under control and fired into the far corner, beyond the dive of Louis Gray.
Chester had an opportunity to equalise right away as George Glendon found Dudley as he broke into the Blyth penalty area, but the Blues’ striker fired too close to Alex Mitchell.
It was the hosts who were controlling the play and moved the ball nicely, link-up play involving Hardy, Glendon and Waring lead to the latter setting up Dudley but Mitchell was down well to make a diving save.
Weeks was the next Chester player to see a chance come and go as he was played in by the debutant Horsfield but Mitchell was out quickly and made himself big to deny the Blues’ midfielder.
Fifteen minutes in and Paddy Lacey lined up an effort from range but again Mitchell was there to deny Chester an equaliser.
Blyth were still dangerous on the counter attack and when they dispossessed Lacey and broke forward it was Gray’s chance to make himself look big and deny Connor Thomson’s effort.
O’Donnell then had the ball in the back of the net for a second time just after the half hour mark, but fortunately for Chester his superb header was chalked off due to being offside.
The visitors started the second half brightly and Gray had to be alert again as O’Donnell played in Corey McKeown and his low effort was saved by the keepers outstretched leg.
From the resulting corner McKeown turned provider for Toby Lees, but his close range header was over the crossbar.
Chester responded well though and forced the equaliser five minutes into the half. Hardy twisted and turned trying to find an opening but when his shot was blocked it fell for Weeks to fire home from the edge of the penalty area.
The hosts kept the momentum and turned the game on its head seven minutes later as Weeks’ ball split the Blyth defence and Anthony Dudley through on goal, his effort beat the goalkeeper and George Waring was on hand to tap into an open goal.
The Blues’ golden spell continued as Duds then got on the scoresheet himself after Glendon’s ball beat the offside trap to put the frontman through on goal and he made no mistake curling an effort in off the post.
Chester were rampant, adding a fourth with seventeen minutes remaining, Weeks was again at the heart of it as his corner was met by a thumping header from Matty Williams in front of the Harry Mac.
Jack Redshaw, making his debut from the bench, showed promising signs as he picked up the ball just inside the Blyth half and ran at their defence before cutting back to John Johnston, only for the wingers goalbound shot to be blocked by a defender.
The chances kept coming as Declan Weeks won the ball in the middle of the park before playing it forward to Glendon, he slid in Johnston who fired across goal, inches wide of the post and just ahead of Redshaw.
The opportunities that Blyth were finding on the counter attack in the first half were far fewer in the second, though on one occassion Dan Maguire managed to create some space for himself before firing low but Gray made another good save.
It got even better for the Blues as they continued to take advantage of the spaces at the back of the Blyth defence, Johnston again got space and picked out a pass for Redshaw, who finished emphatically at the near post to crown a fantastic afternoon for the Blues.
Chester: Gray, Grand, Weeks, Hardy (Johnston 59), Glendon, Waring (Redshaw 59), Dudley, Horsfield (Cowan 70), Lacey, Williams, Askew.
Subs Not Used: Livesey, Cowan, Marsh-Hughes.
Goals: Chester: Weeks (50), Waring (57), Dudley (60), Williams (73), Redshaw (86). Blyth: O’Donnell (5).