Bradford Park Ave
|Saturday 25 February 2023
|National League North
Chester staged a superb late fightback to continue their faultless away form with a huge victory at Bradford (PA).
Simon Richman’s second minute header looked to be the difference, but Charlie Caton set the stage for a grand finale with an excellent strike on 81 minutes. And on cue, top scorer Kurt Willoughby scored the winner in stoppage time.
Manager Calum McIntyre made three changes from the side that earned a point at Gloucester City in midweek.
Jamie Morgan and Lewis Earl came into the defence in place of Kieran Coates and Liam Edwards – who both dropped to the bench. Anthony Dudley also return to the side in place of loanee Rhys Hughes.
The Blues got off to the worst possible start, conceding inside two minutes. Sam Fielding drifted a free kick into the area and Richman met the ball to nod powerfully home into the corner.
Chester almost levelled after 12 minutes but Willoughby saw his free kick strike the post, before Iwan Murray could only drill across goal on the follow up.
It was a half of few chances as the Blues struggled to conjure up any real openings. They had their first shot on target when Willoughby met Declan Weeks’ well worked corner, but it was comfortable for George Sykes-Kenworthy.
Bradford (PA) had a couple of attempts of their own in the opening 45 following the goal, but Brad Dockerty’s effort was off target and Fielding’s attempt was comfortable for Harry Tyrer.
The Blues continued to struggle to create in the second half, failing to find a way through to goal until late on. Longbottom had the only effort of a developing half for the hosts, but it was off target.
Nevertheless, Cal Mac’s men took their chances when it mattered most. Caton did brilliantly to swivel and volley into the corner from Weeks’ cross with nine to play, and from there only one team seemed set to go on and win it.
And that’s just what the Seals did deep into stoppage time. Sub Adam Thomas found the cross, Caton nodded back across the face, and there was Willoughby to bag his 23rd of the season in dramatic fashion.
CHESTER: Tyrer, Morgan (Coates 46), Williams, Earl, Heywood (Brown 61), Roberts, Weeks, Murray, Caton, Dudley (Thomas 71), Willoughby.
SUBS NOT USED: Hughes, Edwards.
SCORERS: Richman 2; Caton 81, Willoughby 90+3.