Steve Watson marked his first game as Chester Manager with a fantastic victory over AFC Telford this afternoon.
It brought to an end a winless away run that has lasted the season so far, and in front of a fantastic Seals following. James Hardy’s first half strike was the difference at the break, before an Anthony Dudley penalty as Darren Stephenson scorcher extended the score.
Carl Baker scored a fantastic late goal for the Bucks, but it proved to be just a consolation.
The new Manager’s first task was to make four changes from our last game in the league two weeks ago at Spennymoor. Hardy returned from injury to start, and was joined by Simon Grand and Josh Askew.
The game started with an electric atmosphere in the stands but little to report on the field in terms of goalmouth action.
But when an opportunity came, the Blues were quick to take it, and it was that man Hardy marking his return in style.
A fantastic delivery from the left by Stephenson caused havoc as the number seven looked to control the ball initially, it ricocheted around the box before coming back to him to convert.
The new Blues boss would have been pleased to see little in the way of chances for Telford as the half progressed, and at the other end it was almost two when ‘keeper Ted Cann punched George Glendon’s dangerous corner back towards his own goal, but gathered at the second attempt.
Ewan Bange against Grand was developing into a physical battle in the Telford final third, and on two occasions the veteran defender did brilliantly to turn separate dangerous crosses away from goal.
Josh Askew’s free kick just before the break was on target but comfortable for Cann to save, before Glendon made a heroic block with his head to deny Adam Walker a certain equaliser from his well-struck volley.
After the break the Blues were forced to weather an early storm. Carl Baker’s initial shot from the edge was blocked but fell kindly to Walker with the goal at his mercy, however Matty Williams got over to use his body to stop a certain goal.
From the corner, there was a goalmouth scramble before Baker was denied by Gray – his first save of the game.
At the other end Hardy had a chance to make it a brace after good work by Stephenson on the left, but he turned the low cross wide of the post.
And the dangerous Stephenson would then play a big part once again, as he won the Blues a penalty on 72 minutes. Dudley composed himself to slot home the spot kick in front of the jubilant Seals behind the goal.
Their delight would turn up another notch just five minutes later and it was that man Stephenson. Weeks supplied the frontman who steadied himself and lashed a rocket into the corner of the net.
The game was out of Telford’s reach by that point, but they did get on the board in stoppage time as Baker whipped a beautiful strike into the top corner from distance. But it wouldn’t stop the Yellows picking up all three points on the road.
CHESTER: Gray, Horsfield, Williams (Livesey 59), Grand, Askew, Roberts, Weeks, Glendon, Hardy (Cowan 79), Dudley, Stephenson.
SUBS NOT USED: Smith, Morgan, Burke.
SCORERS: Baker 90+2; Hardy 13; Dudley (pen) 73, Stephenson 78.