Colwyn Bay 2-0 Chester FC

Reporter:

Dennis Wall

THE biggest day in Chester FC’s history was soured by violence towards the end of Saturday’s pre-season friendly.

What should have been a celebration of the reformed club’s first competitive fixture culminated in a miserable experience for the Blues fans in the 1,692 crowd.

Many Chester fans booed and vented their anger and frustration at the small section of unruly spectators behind the clubhouse end of the ground who sparked fear and concern towards the end of the match.

A police helicopter patrolled the surrounds of the ground as Colwyn Bay club stewards attempted to keep order inside the ground.

Police with dogs then appeared on the scene as fighting fans on the terracing forced match referee Mark Press, to call a temporary halt to the game nine minutes before the end.

The police made a total of three arrests, two in the town of Colwyn Bay, and one inside the ground.

Concerned Colwyn Bay club officials issued a public address announcement during the closing stages of the game advising travelling Chester fans with children to delay their exit from the ground until the exit had been cleared.

Meanwhile, on the pitch after a 15 minute delayed kick-off, two goals in three second half minutes condemned Chester to a 2-0 defeat against a lively Colwyn Bay outfit player-managed by ex-Tranmere Rovers defender Dave Challinor.

Former Chester midfielder Ryan Williams engineered the first goal in the 62nd minute when his inch-perfect centre was headed into the top right corner of the net by Lee Davy.

And substitute Joe O’Sullivan doubled Bay’s advantage in the 64th minute when he slammed home a close range shot into the bottom right corner after Dario Allen had crafted the move on the edge of the box.

Chester seemed to run out of steam during the second half having looked bright and creative in the opening period.

New striker Michael Wilde saw his eighth minute header from Mark Connolly’s free kick crash off the post after his effort had beaten home keeper Andy Leach. And attacking midfielder Adriano Rigoglioso provided support in the Blues front line 10 minutes later when his goalbound effort was blocked on the edge of the box following a neat cushioned header from Wilde.

Right winger Connolly and left midfielder Ian Howard were proving a real handful for the Bay defence as the half progressed, and Greg Stones showed his agility for a 6ft 4in tall player when he shimmied his way into a scoring position in the 23rd minute, but his shot was brilliantly blocked by Challinor.

Blues keeper Richard Whiteside was well positioned to gather Micky McGraa’s 25 yard free kick as Bay punctuated Chester’s pressure.

Stones resumed normal service with an angled shot which bobbled fractionally wide, before Allen forced Whiteside into a good save on a counter-attack.

Chester believed they had a good penalty appeal turned down on the half hour when Mahoney fed Graves who was floored under pressure by Danny Grannon.

And Mahoney kept Leach on his toes a minute later with a cross into the danger area which the Bay keeper fisted clear.

McGraa hit back for the home club four minutes before the break when he latched onto a loose pass and charged forward before unleashing a 20-yard shot which Whiteside smothered.

Bay made five changes before the second half, while Chester boss, Neil Young kept faith with the same line-up.

The Blues won three successive corners immediately after the resumption, and Mahoney’s free kick was gratefully accepted by Leach after a deflection off the Bay wall.

But Bay were visibly growing in confidence as the half progressed, forcing Chester deep into their own half.

Davy should have scored in the 57th minute, but his first touch let him down after a defence-splitting pass from Allen.

But it seemed only a matter of time before an under-pressure Blues defence would buckle, and two goals in three minutes proved the point as Bay created further chances towards the end of the contest.

Wilde headed wide from 10 yards in the 71st minute with probably Chester’s best scoring chance of the half.

But sadly, Chester’s historic day will be remembered for all the wrong reasons as the club attempt to focus their sights on the start of the league season.

COLWYN BAY: Leach; Denson, Beattie, Brandreth, Grannon, Challinor, Fields, McGraa, McGill, Newby, Allen. Subs: O’'Sullivan, Williams, Jones, Davy.

CHESTER: Whiteside; Stones, Meadowcroft, Horan, Graves, Connolly, Foulkes, Mahoney, Howard, Rigoglioso, Wilde. Subs: Hopley, Sheehan, Jones, Bailey, Taylor.

REFEREE: Mark Press.

ATTENDANCE: 1,692.

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