Chester vs Curzon Ashton: 2022/23

Chester 2 - 2 Curzon Ashton
Saturday 14 January 2023 - 15:00Deva Stadium

Chester came from two goals down with a late surge to rescue a point and extend their unbeaten run to fifteen matches.

For a long time it looked like ex-Blues may come back to haunt the club as Tom Peers fired Curzon ahead before Chester record appearance holder Craig Mahon doubled their advantage.

But the comeback began in the 78th minute as Iwan Murray’s corner was flicked on and Matty Williams turned home to reduce the deficit –  then into the first of five added minutes up popped Kurt Willoughby to score his 20th of the campaign.

The Blues made four changes from the side that drew away at Brackley a week ago as Declan Weeks was ruled out due to suspension whilst Murray, Kole Hall and Kevin Roberts also made way.

In came Harrison Burke, Anthony Dudley, Joe Lynch and Charlie Caton as the Blues resorted to a diamond in midfield.

Chester started the game brightly as Dudley played Caton into space down the left, his teasing ball broke to Willoughby who saw a first-time effort blocked by a Curzon defender.

It was Curzon who struck the opening blow though as two former Blues came back to haunt the hosts as Mahon found Peers, who beat the offside trap and fired beyond Harry Tyrer for the contests opening goal.

The Blues looked to restore parity, with their main threat coming down the left side once again as Willoughby’s cross picked out Dudley, but the Chester striker saw Chris Renshaw equal to his header.

The pressure kept coming down the wings for the Blues as they worked it out to the right which saw Morgan cross for Caton, but the loanee couldn’t generate enough power behind his volley and it was comfortable for Renshaw.

Chester were pressing hard for an equaliser before the break and almost had a great chance as Joe Lynch whipped a cross in that Caton couldn’t direct goalwards and Curzon were able to hold onto their lead into the half time interval.

McIntyre’s men came out of the blocks brightly in the second half, pinning Curzon deep in their own half, though clear-cut chances were difficult to come by as Caton saw an effort deflected over the crossbar following a Murray cross.

The Blues couldn’t make that pressure pay and were punished, again by a former player, this time it was the club’s record appearance holder in Mahon. The Irishman cut in off the wing and was afforded too much space on the edge, enabling him to finish into the far corner.

Again, Chester looked for a quick response as Caton’s effort struck the crossbar with Morgan following up with a header wide.

Curzon thought they had a third as a free kick was turned in at the back post but the linesman was quick to flag for offside, leaving the hosts to breathe a sigh of relief.

That moment looked to be a turning point as Chester pulled one back with twelve minutes to go.

Murray’s corner was flicked on at the near post by Alex Kenyon and converted at the back post by Matty Williams, setting up a grandstand finale.

With just over five minutes to play Chester thought they had a penalty as Morgan went down inside the penalty area but the referee waved away appeals.

As five minutes of stoppage time was shown on the fourth officials board, Chester battled back to score their equaliser as Morgan got in behind and picked out Willoughby for his twentieth goal of the season.

The Blues almost managed to grab a winner in a frantic finale but Willoughby couldn’t get a shot away in a crowded penalty area from Burke’s cutback and in the end the points were shared.

CHESTER: Tyrer, Morgan, Williams, Kenyon, Brown, Burke, Devine, Lynch (Murray 46), Caton, Dudley (Stephenson 66), Willoughby.

SUBS NOT USED: Stephenson, Thomas, Heywood, Daly.

SCORERS: Williams 78, Willoughby 90+1; Peers 18, Mahon 66.

ATTENDANCE: 2,241.