MATCH REPORT | Chester 0-1 Brackley Town
Chester’s season came to an end in the Playoff Semi-Final as Brackley Town ran out winners at the Deva Stadium.
The Saints right-back George Carline was the hero for the visitors as his long-range effort ten minutes from time secured victory and the right to host Kidderminster Harriers in the National League North Playoff Final.
Blues boss Calum McIntyre made two changes for the game as Kelly Nmai and Alex Kenyon dropped to the bench, replaced by Liam Edwards and Kurt Willoughby.
It was a quiet opening to the game, both sides looking to break down solid defences, Brackley trying for balls in behind and long throw-ins while Chester were trying to be more patient and work an opening but neither ‘keeper had a save to make in the opening twenty minutes.
The opening chance of the game broke to Blues left-back Alex Brown as the ball broke to him thirty-five yards out but he couldn’t test Danny Lewis in the Brackley goal.
Chester quickly followed that up with a dangerous Weeks free kick that was turned over his own crossbar by Brackley captain Glenn Walker.
Next up it was the visitors turn to create a half-chance as Alfie Bates got beyond Earl before dragging his shot well wide.
With five minutes to go until half time the visitors had their first effort on target as Theo Robinson latched on to a long ball over the top but his effort was straight into the hands of Harry Tyrer.
The best chance of the half fell to the Blues with the last kick of the half as a delightful cross from Alex Brown found Kurt Willoughby, but his header broke the wrong side of the post, with half the ground thinking it had gone in and the scores remained level at half time.
The second half started brightly for the Blues as Willoughby got in behind and set up Dudley for a curling effort but Lewis pushed it away, with Caton inches away from capitalising on the rebound.
Brackley responded immediately as Theo Robinson forced a fine save from Tyrer, adjusting his body as he came out and clawing the ball away.
Tyrer was called on again soon after as Cosmos Matwasa burst through the Blues defence and drove a powerful effort goalwards but the Everton-loanee made a fine save, pushing the ball away.
Chester responded strongly as Matty Williams laid the ball off for Elliott Whitehouse to run on to and his effort was inches over the crossbar.
It was end to end in the second half and Tyrer had to have his wits about him again as Glenn Walker’s low free kick came through a number of bodies and the Blues’ ‘keeper pushed it away.
Charlie Caton was next up as he broke free of a challenge and fired from the edge of the area, with Danny Lewis down well to make the save.
With fifteen minutes to go the ‘keeper was called on again as Jordan Richards’ cross almost went into the top corner, but Tyrer was on hand to tip it over the crossbar.
Substitute Kole Hall did well to earn the Blues a free kick on the edge of the Brackley penalty area, Weeks rolled the ball to Willoughby and the effort was deflected behind for a corner.
With ten minutes to go Brackley took the lead. Carline’s strike from the right back position flew into the bottom corner, beyond the despairing dive of Tyrer.
As time was winding down the Blues got themselves into a really good position after a great run from Kole Hall, Weeks found Caton but he couldn’t pick out Willoughby with his cross.
With the five added minutes elapsing it wasn’t enough and Brackley would go on to contest the Playoff Final against Kidderminster Harriers.
CHESTER: Tyrer, Coates, Williams, Edwards, Brown, Earl (Burke 61), Weeks (c), Whitehouse, Caton, Dudley (Hall 72), Willoughby.
SUBS NOT USED: Kenyon, Nmai, Murray.
SCORER: Carline 79.
ATTENDANCE: 4,479 (242 away).