Chester le Street welcomed Chorley FC Women to Moor Park, which was to be 2nd versus 8th in FA Women’s National League Northern Division 1 league game. After a heavy down pour of rain overnight the pitch was quite dry which was a pleasant surprise for the Chester le Street manager Barry McCrea.
Chester went into the game on the back of 2 away wins in previous weeks against Crewe Alexandra and Morecambe, both games were 2-1 victories.
The Chester starting 11 included one of the development team players, Abigail Thompson, and 2 others on the substitute bench, Tiegan Hutchinson and Bethany Allison. Great to see the newly formed development team can produce players that will go onto play in the 1st team.
Chorley had the better of the opening 10 minutes, with Chester struggling at times to get out of their own half. When they did manage to go on the offensive, Chorley were able to stop the attacks before the ball could go into the 18-yard box.
On 20 minutes the first real chance for the Cestrians, a great through ball finally breached the Chorley defence and Kacie Elson raced onto it. A great effort to play the ball first time over the outrushing Chorley keeper, it looked a certain goal, but the keeper managed to jump and block it. Unfortunately for her, it was a good way outside of the box. After a conversation between referee and linesman, the Chorley goalkeeper Rachel Darbyshire was given a red card and sent from the field of play. Rachel Mellor took the free-kick which ended up going over the cross bar.
Despite being a player down, Chorley continued to work hard and asked questions of the Cestrians. A decent chance on 30 minutes from close range was dealt with by the Chester keeper Stephanie Jones.
The teams went in at half time with the score at 0-0. Chester made a substitution at half time as Abigail Thompson was replaced by Amy Lawson, Laura Hockaday moved out wide and Kacie Elson moved more central behind Nichole Havery. Hockaday was quickly able to start applying pressure on Chorley’s left back as Chester started to up their game.
Both Nichole Havery and Jessica Ellison were able to get some early shots on goal, but both were blocked by the Chorley defence. The Chorley defenders were making sure they stopped any attacking play so their stand in goalkeeper was protected as much as possible.
70 minutes Chester made their 2nd substitution, Bethany Allison replacing Jessica Ellison on the left wing. On 72 minutes the 3rd substitution was made as Tiegan Hutchinson replaced Lucy Jackman in the centre of midfield.
Goal! On 78 minutes Chorley’s right back was being put under pressure and passed the ball back to the keeper Ellie Mills, Mills tried to clear the ball with her left foot but instead it went straight up in the air. Kacie Elson was quick to react and shielding the ball from the keeper she managed to put the ball in the back of the net with a half volley on the turn.
Chester-le-street started to enjoy a bit more possession as they looked to put the game out of reach. Despite some half decent chances, they didn’t really make the extra player count. To be fair to Chorley they worked tirelessly to get something out of the game, but it finished 1-0 to Chester-le-street.
Not the best team performance from the Cestrians, one of those days, however great to see some of the younger players getting some game time and all the players work hard for the full 90 minutes, keep a clean sheet and put 3 more points on the board. The win keeps Chester firmly in 2nd place in the league, 6 points behind the leaders Burnley and 4 points ahead of 3rd place Brighouse Town. Just 3 games left in the season and the next one sees the Cestrians travel 166 miles to Liverpool Feds Women on 14th April.