MATCH REPORT | Darlington 1-2 Chester
Chester kept up their excellent away record with another hugely impressive North East win, this time at Darlington.
A goal in each half from Declan Weeks and Elliott Whitehouse secured the victory – despite Jake Lawlor’s late consolation – a success which tightened the Seals’ grip on third place.
Calum McIntyre named an unchanged side from the win at Blyth last weekend, however he was handed a double boost, being able to name Kevin Roberts and Kole Hall on the bench following recent injuries.
Darlington started the brighter and forced a foul and a yellow card out of Ollie Heywood early on, catching Andrew Nelson late. Moments later, Harry Tyrer gathered a curling effort from Jacob Hazel from the edge.
Chester’s first attempt came 18 minutes after some neat passing play, but Weeks’ low shot was comfortable for Tommy Taylor to gather.
Coates invertedly went close just after the half hour mark as his swirling cross caused problems for a backpedalling Taylor, but he was able to claw it behind.
Nevertheless, the Seals nicked the only goal of a quiet half, an identical combination to the opener at Blyth seven days prior.
Charlie Caton showed superb speed and skill to breeze away from sub Niall Brookwell, before crossing for Weeks to smash in from close range.
Hazel was central to Darlington’s opportunities as the second half progressed. His free kick on 49 minutes was well off target, before he was played through by Jacob Blyth, only to be denied by Tyrer.
But the yellows delivered a sucker punch at the other end on 64 minutes to double the lead. A cross from the left was controlled and laid off by Iwan Murray, enabling Whitehouse to shift on to his right and score in front of a jubilant away end.
Chester continued to press for a third and nearly had it when Willoughby’s shot deflected kindly for sub Hall, but he headed the wrong side of the post.
Darlington had a late spell but struggled to create, with Hazel denied by a super Heywood block, before the Quakers did make it a nervous ending when Lawlor stabbed home from close range.
In the end though, the Seals deservedly hung on. 19 away league games unbeaten.
CHESTER: Tyrer, Coates, Williams, Kenyon, Heywood, Earl, Weeks, Whitehouse, Murray (Roberts 81), Caton (Hall 72), Willoughby (Thomas 89).
SUBS NOT USED: Dudley, Edwards.
SCORERS: Lawlor 90+2; Weeks 40; Whitehouse 64.