REPORT | Radcliffe 1-2 Chester

    Chester made it three away pre-season wins in the space of five days with a narrow victory at Northern Premier side Radcliffe.

    Simon Grand and Darren Stephenson each scored in the opening 45 for the Blues, who were victorious despite Bobby Grant’s second half strike.

    It follows successes at Northwich Victoria and Macclesfield in recent days, with a trip to Trafford on Tuesday completing a period of four away matches in the space of a week.

    The Blues were in full flow and completely dominant in the first 45, and more than deserving of their two-goal advantage.

    Nine minutes in, the deadlock was broken. A short James Hardy corner was worked to Declan Weeks, who sent a fantastic cross into a crowded penalty area for Grand to glance home.

    It kickstarted a busy spell of action in the game. Moments later, Stephenson did brilliantly to dance into the box from the left and saw his shot beat Belford but not the defender on the line.

    However the Boro ‘keeper did have to work to stop Weeks’ shot from the edge on the quarter of an hour mark. Following this, Louis Gray was called into action to deny Rod Orlando-Young.

    Nevertheless, it was two on 21 minutes at the end of a classy move. Kev Roberts clipped the ball wide for John Johnston, and the winger showed a fantastic turn of pace to burst into the area, before cutting back for Stephenson to turn in his first Chester goal.

    The one-way traffic would continue. Another flowing move provided Anthony Dudley with some space 20 yards from goal, his shot whistling inches wide of the post. Then Grand was denied a brace by Belford’s reactions following a Hardy corner.

    Radcliffe responded in the second half and Jean Louis Akpa-Akpro twice went close, once denied by Gray and once failing to hit the target.

    But Boro did cut the deficit in half on 63 minutes. Gray had initially caught a free kick into the box under pressure, and was eager to get a counter attack moving. He appeared to have his throw blocked by a home player which caused the ball to drop kindly for Grant to lob the ball into the unguarded net.

    Gray made amends with a superb reaction stop to deny Olly Thornley from a corner, inbetween Weeks hitting a snapshot just wide of the post and skipper George Glendon rattling the crossbar with a free kick late on.

    CHESTER: Gray, Roberts, Cowan, Livesey, Grand (Morgan 36), Glendon, Weeks, Hardy (Clark 65), Johnston (Oyibo 65), Stephenson (Clarke 82), Dudley (Marsh-Hughes 82).

    SUBS NOT USED: Worsnop, Burke, Williams.

    SCORERS: Grant 63; Grand 9, Stephenson 21.