The Cestrians were looking to continue their good start in the league as they welcomed Bradford City WFC to the Moor Park. Despite threats of downpours and thunder storms, Moor Park was resplendent and basked in sunshine (which lasted the whole day). Chester were boosted by a couple of returning players (having had 9 first team players away the week before). Steph Jones, Katie Ellison, Abi Thompson, Shannon Etherington and Brogan Prudhoe all available for this weeks game, but Anna Collin, Nic Havery, Lizzy Clarke, Lynsey Longhurst and Rachel Mellor were all unavailable, so Ellie Ford, Elle May Taylor and Beth Allison were all called up again. Although a much changed team and different formation, Chester would be looking to follow up on their 2-0 away victory against Stockport, in their first home game of the season.
Chester set up with a packed and compact midfield, with Hutchinson, Etherington and Jackman working a 3 with Hockaday and Taylor in front and Elson leading the line. The plan very much being to defend centrally and with a, “you can play round us, but not through us “ mentality. Chester le street dominated from the first whistle. Despite the compact midfield, the Cestrians very quickly started getting joy down the wings, with both Hockaday and Taylor running into the channels and trying to get balls into the box. Despite breaking free on a number of occasions Kacie Elson and Laura Hockaday were unable to work a decisive shot. So it continued for the remainder of the half, with the Cestrians having the majority of possession and play inside Bradford’s half. Kacie Elson continued to torment the back four with some great runs and a couple of 1 on 1’s, (just needed the ball releasing to her a little bit earlier), Laura Hockaday had a couple of half chances, but her shots were straight at the keeper or wide of the target, another chance from a header coming back off the bar. On 30 minutes Shannon Etherington had the first real go at goal for Chester, having a great shot at goal from a cleared corner, but the ball flew just wide of the goal.
HT 0-0 Cestrians looked very comfortable, having dominated the first half and should have put the game out of sight.
Chester started the second half on the front foot and within the first couple of minutes of the restart, Elle Taylor whipped in a great cross behind the defenders, the keeper managed to keep it out but could only palm the ball down and away, Elson was onto it in a moment, surely the opener, but somehow it was scrambled away off a Chester player and out for a goal kick ! The Cestrians looked like they’d taken their foot off the gas, possibly down to tiredness, and started to sit back, which invited Bradford to have a go. The number 2, Zoe Roberts; drove forward on a couple of occasions and after some clever play got 3 or 4 shots away from distance, although never troubling Steph Jones or the goal, the warning signs were there. The game continued for the first 30 minutes of the second half with the same pattern, Cestrians dominating in the main part, clever passing, but not really making the decisive pass in behind and Bradford looking to hoof the ball up to the striker or taking a shot from anywhere. On 75 minutes and the breakthrough. After a couple of cleared attempts the ball went out wide to Tiegan Hutchinson, who put a first time cross into the box from the right hand side, Jess Ellison was at the back post, stretching and turning it in with the outside of her right foot. 1-0 Chester. So two in two for Chester full backs, last week Katie Ellison with the winner and this week Jess Ellison.
Final score 1-0 to Chester. A lot of the hard work put into the first half really paid off and to be fair the game should have been finished by half time with the chances they created. Great resilience and patience from the girls to grind out the goal and then maintain the lead. Tiredness and not wanting to give away an equaliser meant the game got a bit nervy towards the end, but no mistake, Chester le street were worthy winners. That’s 2 out of 2 wins in the league and the Cestrians are just behind Brighouse and Barnsley by 1 goal. On another positive; out of 71 teams in the FAWNL who have played 2 games so far, only 5 (which includes the Cestrians) have yet to concede a goal. Some exceptional individual performances, Abigail Thompson, Elle May Taylor, Tiegan Hutchinson and POM Shannon Etherington.
Next up for the Cestrians is a mid-week home fixture against Norton & Stockton Ancients on 12th September kick off 7.45pm.