REPORT | Stalybridge Celtic 2-3 Chester
Chester were victorious in game four of pre-season with a comeback win over Northern Premier side Stalybridge Celtic.
Manager Calum McIntyre named a young side for the first 45 minutes, which included starts for two 17-year-olds in Sol Forde and Reece Daly, as well as a second half sub appearance for another in Harry Griffiths.
19-year-old Harrison Burke was given the Captain’s armband in a squad that named nine players that either currently play for the Academy or are graduates of the system.
Zack Clarke had an early chance from Burke’s header but fired over, before the hosts took the lead on 11 minutes courtesy of a stunning first time volley from Raul Correia.
Burke then missed a decent opportunity from Ollie Heywood’s free kick, before Joe Lynch volleyed over the bar in the scorching heat.
Stalybridge doubled their lead on 37 minutes, a fantastic solo goal from Ethan Padden who drove into the box and slotted under Wyll Stanway.
Nevertheless, Chester had one back before the interval courtesy of a first senior goal for teenager Daly. He took his goal well, sidefooting home after good work from Lloyd Marsh-Hughes.
Blues boss McIntyre made seven changes at the break, and two of the subs combined to level on 56 minutes. Iwan Murray’s low ball across the face of goal was inch perfect for Matty Williams to tap in.
Murray was involved again moments later, as he really should have had a penalty after being bundled over inside the area, but the foul was waved away by the Referee.
Chester continued to press as the half progressed. Lewis Earl blasted over before Anthony Dudley was denied by an excellent double save from Connor Leach.
The front three in the second 45 of Dudley, Kurt Willoughby and Kole Hall showed exciting moments of link up play – and the latter almost scored following an excellent move involving all the forwards – but Leach was again there to save.
But Willoughby got Chester’s winner with a minute to spare. Heywood’s excellent corner was headed on by Williams and then turned home by the lurking striker to secure victory.
CHESTER: Stanway, Forde (Morgan 46), Trialist, Burke (Williams 46), Daly (Earl 46 (Griffiths 74)), Lynch (Murray 46), Horsfield, Clarke (Dudley 46), Turner (Willoughby 46), Heywood, Marsh-Hughes (Hall 46).
SUBS NOT USED: Smith.
SCORERS: Correia 11, Padden 37; Daly 44, Williams 56, Willoughby 89.