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United draw six goal thriller at Chester - full report

FC United threw away a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with fellow supporter-owned club Chester FC in an entertaining pre-season clash at the Deva Stadium on Wednesday night.

In a classic game of two halves, Michael Norton opened the scoring inside five minutes and when Ben Deegan added two more with barely half an hour gone it looked like the Reds were going to cruise to victory.

However, despite being out played for the vast majority of the first half, Chester found themselves back in the match by nicking a vital goal against the run of play through Michael Wilde from a set-piece just before the break.

The striker got his and the hosts’ second five minutes after the restart and the Blues, backed by the majority of the 1,762 crowd, grabbed an equaliser with 10 minutes to go when Mark Connolly claimed a goal scored straight from a corner.

In the penultimate friendly before the new season begins, the Reds would have been hoping to continue with recent strong form, and this looked to be the case as United went ahead in the opening minutes of the game.

Jerome Wright latched onto a ball from Martin Parker and was able to run down the left wing to the dead ball line before picking out Deegan inside the Chester area. Deegan’s flick on fell into the path of Norton and the striker was able to slot the ball home.

Less than five minutes later, the game appeared to be going a similar way to Saturday’s victory over Bala as Deegan doubled United’s lead. Norton’s chip rattled off the cross bar and fell kindly for Deegan who coolly put the ball past goalkeeper Richard Whiteside from inside the area.

Chester’s best chance of the game arguably came when the home side could have profited from a loose header back to United keeper Zach Hibbert. Wilde picked up the ball and as Hibbert came off his line to close down the striker, Wilde’s lob went into the side netting.

With just over half an hour gone, Deegan added to United’s lead, picking up a ball in from Cottrell and putting his shot across Whiteside and into the back of the net.

The Reds were largely in control as the game progressed, having further chances and continuing to go forward. However, a Chester set piece resulted in the hosts pulling a goal back on the stroke of half-time. A free-kick on the left met Wilde who headed the ball beyond Hibbert.

Less than ten minutes into the second half, Chester dinted United’s lead further as Iain Howard’s effort was parried by Sam Ashton into the path of Wilde who made it two for himself and Chester.

Ashton, having replaced Hibbert at half-time, was tested once more as Antony Sheehan’s storming effort from 20 yards forced the United keeper into a fantastic save to deny Chester as the home side looked to press the Reds in search of an equaliser at every opportunity.

The United back line continued to be put to the test as Chester controlled the majority of the attack and with around ten minutes remaining Ashton once again produced a good save, tipping the ball over the bar from a free-kick on the edge of the area.

However, seconds later a corner came in and despite appearing to have dealt with the shot, Ashton inadvertently tipped the ball into his own net and Chester’s equalising goal was claimed by Connolly.

The dying moments were tense as Chester continued to press and the Reds were forced into some last-ditch defending to prevent the home side snatching a late victory.

Report by Victoria Fullen.

Team Information:
FC United:
1. Z. Hibbert
2. K. Jacobs
3. L. Neville
4. J. Cottrell
5. M. Parker
6. S. McManus
7. C. Ovington
8. N. Platt ©
9. M. Norton
10. J. Wright
11. B. Deegan

12. D. Chadwick
13. S. Ashton
14. K. Munroe
15. J. Holden
16. M. Ayres
17. C. Roca
18. D. Browne

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First Posted ~ 14:47 Thu 12 Aug 2010
News ID ~ 3014
Last Updated ~ 15:09 Mon 21 May 2018