Bamber Bridge 0-5 Chester FC

Reporter:

Dennis Wall

CHESTER celebrated a memorable victory last night extend their fabulous unbeaten run.

The Blues demonstrated a superb display of passing football and clinical finishing to wreck home club Bamber Bridge's unbeaten start to the campaign.

Two superb taken headers by Stuart Jones were supplemented by further goals by Iain Howard, Michael Wilde, and an own goal from home skipper Michael White.

The Preston hosts struggled to cope with a polished performance from their visitors who stamped their authority on the contest with a stylish second half display.

Chester's impressive start to the season provided further evidence that the club would be challenging for honours at the end of the campaign.

Blues boss Neil Young made five changes to the Chester side that had secured a 2-0 home victory against Garforth Town at the weekend.

Mark Peers, Stuart Graves, Carl Ruffer, Roger Sharrock, and Nick Rogan, who all started against Garforth, were replaced by Rob Hopley, Iain Howard, Robbie Booth, Danny Meadowcroft, and Stuart Jones.

Chester started brightly and caused concern in the Bridge box during the opening minute when Blues keeper, Richard Whiteside launched the ball long towards leading marksman, Michael Wilde, but his header was steered well wide of the target.

The home club hit back in the seventh minute when Neil Black's cross from the left edge of the area deflected wide of the mark.

The Blues countered a minute later when Hopley's superbly judged pass found Howard on the edge of the area, but the midfielder's first touch was blocked by home keeper Ben Hinchliffe before being cleared.

Chester started to turn the screw in the 13th minute when home captain, Michael White's poor clearance found Howard who burst forward before forcing Hinchliffe into a save from 25 yards.

The Blues came close to breaking the deadlock two minutes later when Booth's deep right wing cross dropped for Meadowcroft, but the defender's close range effort was cleared off the line by White.

Wilde looked a constant threat with his movement and pace in the final third and he tested Hinchliffe with a powerful 25 yard drive which the keeper acrobatically palmed onto his bar.

Chester continued to press for a breakthrough and came close again in the 17th minute when Greg Stones' left wing ball was flicked on by Wilde before bouncing fractionally wide of the right post.

The tempo of the game was being dictated by the Blues whose hard work and endeavour was eventually rewarded in the 33rd minute when Booth's left-sided corner was powered into the net from point blank range by Stuart Jones' head.

Booth, who looked full of running and enthusiasm, charged forward in the 37th minute in a bid to double the Blues advantage, but the midfielder blasted his 25 yard attempt well wide of the mark.

Martin Crowder punctuated Chester's pressing with a left-footed free kick which fizzed inches over the bar from 25 yards.

But Chester looked the better side on the attack and they capitalised on their fluent and accurate passing in the 44th minute to earn a 2-0 lead.

Hopley twisted and turned his way into space on the right edge of the box before punching a low cross towards Wilde who touched home the easiest of chances from inside the six yard box.

Bridge striker Neil Black looked determined to reduce his side's arrears seconds later, but he was left frustrated by a perfectly timed block from Chris Williams on the edge of the Blues' penalty area.

Chester picked up from where they left off immediately after the break, with Jones steering a header over the bar from Booth's right-sided corner kick in the 49th minute.

Howard burst forward in midfield in search of a third Chester goal and was just inches wide with his low 25-yard drive in the 52nd minute.

Chester then extended their advantage when Jones hoisted himself above the Bridge rearguard to crash home a close range header from Chris Williams' left-sided 54th minute corner kick.

Williams was causing a multitude of problems on the left flank for his marker and was also finding accuracy with his crosses as Chester continued to command possession and creativity going forward.

The Blues extended their advantage in the 62nd minute when Meadowcroft's long punt forward hit the head of White on the edge of the area and flew into the top left corner of his own net.

It was all one-way traffic as Chester sparked wave after wave of attack, and scored a fifth goal in the 68th minute when Howard headed home a back post attempt after Hopley had done well to measure his cross from the right edge of the box to perfection.

Substitute Nick Rogan, who replaced Wilde, forced Hinchliffe to push the ball behind and concede a corner as Chester continued their stranglehold of the contest.

Towey forced Whiteside into a fine save as Bridge tried to close the gap towards the end, but substitute Tom Field then forced Hinchliffe into a brilliant tip-over save as time began to run out.

See full story in the Leader

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