REPORT | Chester 2-3 Hereford
Chester fell to a first home defeat under Steve Watson, as Hereford won an exciting National League North game.
The Blues lead twice, first through Harrison Burke’s second goal in three games, before Bulls captain Jared Hodgkiss equalised on the stroke of half time.
Chester retook the lead just after the hour mark through a Matty Williams header but that lasted only two minutes as Maziar Kouhyar’s effort from the edge of the area found the bottom corner – before the visitors took all three points through a Tom Owen-Evans penalty with just under ten minutes to go.
The Blues made two changes from the side that lost 2-1 at Darlington last weekend, with Simon Grand and Darren Stephenson coming out of the starting eleven and being replaced by David Okagbue and Anthony Dudley.
Chester had the first chance of the game as Rob Apter curled a free kick just wide of the goal. Hereford went straight down the other end of the pitch and got in behind before goalkeeper Wyll Stanway brought down Miles Storey, earning himself a yellow card. From the resulting free kick Aston Villa loanee Seb Revan curled a free kick just wide of the Chester goal.
The Blues almost took the lead after fifteen minutes as a ball forward to Declan Weeks was headed away as far as Dudley, who unleashed a powerful drive that forced a good save out of Andreas Sondegaard in the goal.
More positive play from Weeks saw him collect the ball on the edge of the Hereford penalty area before beating two men and forcing a corner.
Weeks took the corner and picked out Burke, and the teenager powerfully leapt to head the ball over Sondegaard and into the goal.
Chester again looked dangerous in and around the Hereford penalty area, Kevin Roberts’ pass was controlled beautifully by Rowan Roache before his cross broke to Marcus Dackers, but he couldn’t get his shot off cleanly and the visitors were able to clear.
Hereford almost found themselves level as Storey again broke through the Blues defence from a flick-on but Stanway stayed big to make the save one-on-one.
In first half stoppage time though, the Bulls found their equaliser as a cross in broke to Captain Hodgkiss to tap-in at the back post.
The second half started as a wide open affair, with both sides pushing for the advantage and Chester almost found the opening through some superb play.
Apter got to the byline and his cut back was flicked goalwards by sub James Hardy, only to be cleared off the line by a Hereford defender before the follow-up deflected wide.
The visitors kept managing to break through the Blues’ back line and when Ryan McLean broke was played through it took a strong, smothering save from Stanway to ensure the scores stayed level.
It was the Blues who then went back ahead though as Apter’s corner was met by Williams, whose header was adjudged by the Assistant Referee to have crossed the line.
The joy was short lived though as the away side struck back almost immediately. A ball over the top fell to Kouhyar who controlled well and fired into the far corner, beyond the dive of Stanway.
With ten minutes to go Hereford had a golden chance to win it as substitute Okera Simmonds brought down Hodgkiss. Owen-Evans stepped up to take the penalty and sent Stanway the wrong way to win the game.
CHESTER: Stanway, Roberts (c), Weeks, Fitzpatrick, Dudley (Hardy 41), Burke, Apter (Simmonds 71), Williams, Dackers (Waring 84), Okagbue, Roache.
SUBS NOT USED: Gray, Grand.
SCORERS: Chester: Burke 24, Williams 63; Hodgkiss 45+2, Kouhyar 65, Owen-Evans (pen) 82.