United kept their chances of staying in the National League alive thanks to a 2-0 win at the Swansway Chester Stadium.
Rhys Healey’s first goal for United and Elliott Romain’s fourth earned United a precious three points that gets United back in the race.
Head coach Gary Owers brought defender Michee Efete into the match day squad with him finding a place on the bench. Cardiff City loanee Rhys Healey earned his first start for United joining Brett Williams and Elliott Romain up front. Luke Young was partnered by Connor Lemonheigh-Evans in midfield. Tommy O’Sullivan and George Dowling missed out on places with United restricted to five loan players in the match day squad.
It didn’t take United long to take the lead. Conrad Balatoni’s long ball wasn’t read by Chester’s defence and Rhys Healey peeled off his man into space. He was well-wide of goal but chose to try and beat Andy Firth at his near post. He chose wisely. Healey opened his account for United with a powerful drive.
Chester came straight back at United with a series of corners and free-kicks but without truly threatening Vincent Dorel’s goal. It was a case of offering the Blues a little too much space in midfield, and some decision making that could have been better.
Conrad Balatoni was contributing to United’s attack more and more. He had an opportunity in the 14th minute to double United’s lead. United worked the ball well from a corner, and when the ball did come into the box Balatoni had space but couldn’t get his header on target.
It was then that goalkeeper Vincent Dorel had some matters to attend to. He had corners and crosses to deal with as Chester were threatening. Everything was completed with ease, but it culminated in a terrific save from Chester striker, Harry White. White’s shot from just inside the box took a touch off Sean McGinty on its way to finding the net. Dorel’s acrobatic save tipped the ball over the bar. One for the cameras, that one.
United had some things to work on in the half-time break. Some loose play was putting them under some unnecessary pressure.
Chester didn’t sit back after the break. They took the game straight to United but lacked the ability in and around the box to test Dorel.
It was United that forged the first opportunity of the second half. With Chester committing men forward, Brett Williams got free on the right and was able to turn and play a low ball to the near post. Lucas Dawson put the ball out with a terrific challenge.
Chester had Firth to thank for saving them in the 65th minute. First he saved from a ball that had taken a touch off Lathaniel Rowe-Turner. Then Barnes got free to shoot on goal inside the box, but Firth again, kept the ball out.
Elliott Romain doubled United’s lead in the 66th minute. He met a corner by Luke Young with a terrific header that found the top corner. The team celebrated with Yellow Army as United moved further away from their opponents.
Two minutes later United were playing ten men. Lucas Dawson received his second yellow of the game when he pulled down Aaron Barnes who was breaking on Chester’s back line.
Chester’s best chance of the game fell in the 73rd minute. Jordan Archer had only just come onto the field when he touched the ball towards goal from a corner. A combination of the post and Luke Young kept the ball out.
The extra space and time led to United having a guilt-edged chance to score a third in the 75th minute. United overwhelmed Chester’s defence and Healey was able to get a left-footed shot away. Firth saved and Davis shot wide as the ball came out.
United went close a few more times but after the red card Chester struggled to impact the game.
The team now looks ahead to Monday’s crucial match against Woking at Plainmoor. The Club will be open from 9am-midday on Saturday morning for ticket sales. If you can make it, please get behind the lads!
Chester FC: Firth, Hobson, Jones, Astles, Rowe-Turner, Dawson, Halls, Roberts [Cunningham 77′], Mahon [Vose 54′], White [Archer 73′, Akintunde. Subs: Jaaskelainen, Vose, Archer, Crawford, Cunningham
Booked: Astles, Dawson x2 (Red Card)
TUFC (3-4-3): 30 Vincent Dorel (GK), 3 Liam Davis, 5 Sean McGinty (c), 6 Josh Gowling, 8 Luke Young, 21 Aaron Barnes, 22 Eliott Romain, 26 Conrad Balatoni, 28 Rhys Healey [10 Ruairi Keating 80′] , 29 Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, 39 Brett Williams [19 Jamie Reid 69′] Subs Not Used: 1 Ryan Clarke, 2 Michee Efete, 18 Yan Klukowski,
Booked: Young 58′