MATCH REPORT | Bradford (Park Avenue) 2-1 Chester

    Bottom side Bradford (Park Avenue) defeated the Blues on an extremely disappointing afternoon at the Horsfall Stadium.

    Goals from Tom Clare and Oli Johnson condemned the Blues to a third successive away loss – despite Matty Waters equalling the scores early in the second half directly from a corner.

    Chester made five changes from their last National League North game 14 days ago – the home defeat to Brackley Town. Louis Gray came into the goal in place of Russ Griffiths, making his first league start following a loan move from Carlisle United.

    One of those changes, Gary Stopforth, lasted just 14 minutes of what was a scrappy first half. Bravely throwing himself in front of an Alex Hurst shot – he was forced from the field on a stretcher due to injury.

    At the other end, Chester had a big opportunity on 20 minutes. Anthony Dudley’s bobbling through ball found its way to John Johnston, who looked to square it to Danny Elliott in what was a ‘two versus one’ scenario with the keeper – but Tom Nicholson managed to gather the ball.

    A half chance then came to Billy Priestley, who was unmarked and headed Jake Hibbs’ cross towards goal, but it was straight at Gray.

    The Blues had their second big chance of the half when Elliott was set clear by Dudley however his looping shot over Nicholson dropped just the wrong side of the post.

    Nevertheless, it was the hosts who went in one to the good at half time in bizarre fashion.

    Johnston was caught in possession on the left, allowing right-back Ryan Toulson to send in a low near post cross, which saw Tom Clare strike the post. The ball trickled back towards goal and struck Clare on the line before finding the bottom corner. After some confusion, the goal was eventually given with Simon Grand booked for his protests at the Assistant Referee.

    Chester applied themselves much better at the start of the second half though, and they were rewarded with a goal on 51 minutes.

    Matty Waters’ left footed inswinging corner looped over the head of Tom Nicholson and into the back of the net in windy conditions.

    But they couldn’t make the momentum count and didn’t conjure up an opportunity with the scores level. Taking advantage of that, the basement side BPA put themselves on the verge of just their fourth victory all season as Oli Johnson headed home following a long throw from Toulson to make it 2-1.

    Akwasi Asante and George Waring entered the action as the Blues dominated the final 20 minutes in search of a leveller – but it wasn’t to be.

    Asante had a massive opportunity with ten to play, as Brad Jackson set up the Blues top scorer just inside the box, but he blazed over.

    Chester had two more big chances from free kicks, Gary Roberts smashing off target before Waters curled straight at Nicholson with the last kick of the game.

    Waring also headed wide at the back post from Jackson’s deep cross on 88 minutes – as it was away day Blues for Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley’s side.

    CHESTER: Gray, K Roberts, Jones, Grand, Waters, Jackson, G Roberts, Stopforth (Burton 14), Johnston, Dudley (Waring 65), Elliott (Asante 66).

    SUBS NOT USED: Morgan, Ngwatala.

    SCORERS: Clare 41, Johnson 67; Waters 51.

    ATTENDANCE: 525.