MATCH REPORT | Chorley 2-2 Chester
Chester led twice but had to settle for a point in a frenetic Tuesday evening encounter at Victory Park against Chorley.
Adam Thomas and Darren Stephenson had put the yellows in front on separate occasions, but second half goals from Connor Hall and sub Jack Sampson ensured it ended level.
Manager Calum McIntyre made three changes from Saturday’s draw at Buxton. One was enforced, as Kole Hall missed out due to injury, with Kevin Roberts and Harry McHugh dropping to the bench.
They were replaced in the starting XI by Alex Kenyon, Iwan Murray and Thomas.
And winger Thomas made a strong start on his return, creating the first opportunity on five minutes when his excellent cross from the right found the unmarked Stephenson, but he couldn’t guide his header towards the target.
Moments later, Thomas charged down a Scott Wilson clearance and the ball fell kindly for top scorer Kurt Willoughby, but he drilled it wide of the mark.
Chester continued their strong start, as Jamie Morgan’s excellent lofted pass found Murray – who cut inside and fired just the wrong side of the post.
But they got their deserved opener on 16 minutes, as Lewis Coulton stood up a cross for the late arrival of Thomas to nod in at the far stick.
Chorley had a positive spell of pressure following the goal, as Adam Blakeman from a free kick and then Wilson with his head both found the target, but on each occasion it was comfortable for Harry Tyrer.
A big chance apiece came before the interval, as first Adam Henley cut back to the unmarked Ollie Shenton in the box who blazed over.
Then at the other end Thomas almost made it a brace as his dipping shot from 20 yards struck the underside of the crossbar and rebounded into the arms of Matt Urwin.
Urwin was called into action again five minutes after half time, reacting well to tip Danny Devine’s snapshot over the crossbar.
However then the hosts equalised moments after. A nice sliding through ball from Shenton found Hall who confidently clipped his effort over the onrushing Tyrer and into the bottom corner.
Chorley started to produce a good spell of pressure and Tyrer was called into action to stop Blakeman’s low drive and then Ustabasi’s header from Hall’s clip towards goal.
But Chester rode the storm and then dealt the hosts a sucker punch with a quarter of an hour to go when Stephenson controlled Leather’s loose header and rifled a low drive from 25 yards into the bottom corner of the net.
It was almost safe on 87 minutes as Willoughby battled his way beyond Wilson but was denied by a smothering stop from Urwin from an acute angle.
Unfortunately for the yellows, a matter of seconds later a deep cross was headed home by Sampson.
It meant a breathless game ended all square, but Calum McIntyre’s side take plenty of encouragement into Saturday’s FA Cup tie after extending their unbeaten run to six matches.
CHESTER: Tyrer, Morgan, Burke, Williams, Coulton, Devine, Kenyon (Roberts 61), Murray (Lynch 56), Thomas, Willoughby, Stephenson.
SUBS NOT USED: Dudley, Heywood, McHugh.
SCORERS: Sampson 87, Hall 51; Thomas 16, Stephenson 76.