REPORT | Curzon Ashton 4-3 Chester
Chester lost a crazy game this afternoon at the Tameside Stadium as a freak late goal saw Curzon victorious in stoppage time.
An Alex Curran double had the Nash in command at the break, only for debutant Okera Simmonds to restore second half hope. Tom Peers replenished the two-goal advantage, before the Seals fought back to level courtesy of headers from George Waring and Kevin Robers.
Nevertheless, Peers’ fortunate deflection won it in stoppage time for Adam Lakeland’s men.
Steve Watson made four changes to his side from the Bradford (PA) defeat – three of which were enforced.
Simon Grand was out due to suspension, with Anthony Dudley and David Fitzpatrick also missing because of injury. James Horsfield dropped to the bench.
Josh Askew and Danny Livesey were recalled to the eleven, and joined by Simmonds and Marcus Dackers who made their debuts.
Former Chester man, and record appearance holder, Craig Mahon had the first shot of the game in the opening seconds – as his speculative effort flew just over.
The Yellows then started to grow into the game and a slip from Mahon presented the new man Simmonds with a chance. His effort was saved by the legs of Chris Renshaw, before the ‘keeper got back up to save Rob Apter’s header on the rebound.
Simmonds then had another go at the end of some patient build up play, as he was supplied by Declan Weeks, but dragged the effort wide.
It was the hosts though who took the lead then midway through the first 45. Jamie Cooke’s driving run saw the ball ricochet kindly into the box for Curran, who made no mistake with the finish.
Curran was at the double before the interval, finding the same corner, this time a shot from 25 yards hitting the back of the net on 38 minutes.
Chester were desperate to get a goal back before the break and Darren Stephenson went close twice in quick succession. First he headed Apter’s free kick towards goal which was tipped over by Renshaw. From the corner he met Glendon’s corner but the ball was hooked off the line.
Steve Watson’s side produced their response though moments after the break. Stephenson spun his man and drove forward before shooting at goal, his effort was parried by Renshaw into the path of Simmonds to convert left footed.
But after the Yellows pressure, Curzon hit back to restore their two-goal advantage. Curran, on a hat-trick, was played through and squared beyond Gray for Peers to tap in.
Peers almost made it a brace for himself just after the hour mark as he met a free kick with an unmarked header, but Gray produced a fantastic reaction save.
And it proved an important moment as the Seals got themselves within one yet again moments later. Apter sent over an inch perfect cross from the right and the sub Waring powered a header into the net.
Apter almost then bagged the leveller with a fantastic run up the pitch, skipping past a challenge before driving forward, however his effort flew inches wide of the far post.
But he was back to playing provider as Chester got level on 73 minutes. The Blackpool loanee twisted and turned before lifting in another superb cross, this time Roberts headed into the back of the net.
Simmonds, who already had one, almost made it a brace – missing a golden opportunity late on. It was incisive play by the Blues as Waring found Apter who supplied the debutant frontman, but his shot flew just over the bar.
And it was to be the home side who won it two minutes into stoppage time. Gray’s kick striking the pressing Peers and looping into the net.
CHESTER: Gray, Roberts, Livesey (Burke 50), Williams, Askew, Apter, Weeks (Lacey 68), Glendon, Stephenson, Simmonds, Dackers (Waring 52).
SUBS NOT USED: Smith, Horsfield.
SCORERS: Curran 24 & 38, Peers 55 & 90+2; Simmonds 47, Waring 63, Roberts 73.