REPORT | Darlington 2-1 Chester
Chester were defeated on the road this afternoon at Blackwell Meadows against Darlington in the National League North.
Salford loanee Marcus Dackers got the Blues in front early on, before strikes from Junior Mondal and George Smith turned the game around.
Manager Steve Watson named an unchanged side from the 5-0 victory over Southport seven days prior.
It was a quiet start in blustery North East conditions, with a half chance apiece early on. Kev Roberts did well to block Jack Lambert’s effort at one end, before Declan Weeks fired over at the other.
It was the Blues who hit the front on 17 minutes through the forward Dackers. He was quickest to react to the rebound after Tommy Taylor parried Weeks’ initial effort, composing himself and sidefooting home.
But the lead lasted less than five minutes as good work on the right by the ever-lively Jake Cassidy saw the frontman cut the ball back for Mondal to neatly dink the ball over the onrushing Wyll Stanway.
An even first half yielded minimal chances, but the Blues did go close twice before the break. Weeks saw another shot from distance tipped over, before Dackers headed inches off target from a superb Rowan Roache cross.
Mondal almost made it a brace a couple of minutes after the interval, connecting with Lambert’s low cross but firing over. There was another chance for Alun Armstrong’s men moments later as Jarrett Rivers found himself in space, he drilled his effort wide of the mark.
Darlo’s pressure paid off on 58 minutes though as they took the lead. Lambert’s superb reverse pass found the overlapping run of Smith who burst into the box and fired home.
Chester looked to muster a response and nearly got level midway through the second half as sub Okera Simmonds did well to get beyond Ben Hedley inside the box, before seeing his attempt saved by the legs of Taylor.
Taylor was called into action again on 76 minutes, grabbing a goalbound header from Matty Williams following Weeks’ corner.
The Blues pushed late on for an equaliser but struggled to muster up an opportunity, as it proved to be defeat on the road.
CHESTER: Stanway, Roberts, Williams, Grand, Fitzpatrick, Apter (Horsfield 51), Weeks, Roache (Waring 63), Burke, Stephenson (Simmonds 46), Dackers.
SUBS NOT USED: Gray, Okagbue.
SCORERS: Mondal 22, Smith 58; Dackers 17.