10 Aug 2019 in Match Reports
CHESTER LE STREET TOWN 0 RACA 6
Albion and Chester-le-Street were locked together on identical form at the top of Division 2 going into this keenly awaited game on an impressive Moor Park surface considering the deluges of rain over the last 36 hours. Tony Fawcett chose the same 16 players as on Wednesday night but started with Gavin Dick & James Thompson with Sam Norris & Tyler Davis making way.
RACA were to straight on to their hosts Jack Cooper's first minute free kick testing Nathan Armin in the Chester goal who had to dive low to smother the shot. There was little respite for Armin as Wednesday's hero, Phil Hodges brought a fine save from the Town keeper in the third minute from his header. A minute later Hodges got the better of Armin with a bullet of a header that rippled the back of the net taking Hodges' tally to four goals in little over 90 minutes. The visitors were dominating play & Thompson forced Armin into another good save on 9 minutes on what was to be a busy shift for the former Durham City stopper who was left badly exposed on the quarter hour mark when a long ball into the box caused confusion & hesitation in the Cestrians' defence & this allowed Scott Jasper to nick the ball across to the unmarked Jamie Dunn who had the simple task of tapping home from close range. The barrage finally subsided and finally the hosts got a foothold in the game. They were awarded a corner on 27 minutes & Craig Marron's dangerous inswinging ball had Ryton keeper David Hansen scrambling across his line to gratefully push the ball over his bar. After that scare RACA were back on the front foot & should have gone three up on 32 minutes when Jasper & Thompson broke smartly & with the Chester defence frantically back-pedalling, Jasper laid the ball off to his teammate but it was a fraction too far ahead of Thompson who couldn't get enough contact & the ball went harmlessly out of play to the relief of the home side. Six minutes later & it was 3-0 when Albion were awarded a free kick just outside the Chester box, in perfect Jack Cooper territory. The man himself curled the kick over the wall & into the top left hand corner of Armin's net to almost put the game to bed before half time. A minute later there was a right old scramble in the Albion box, but the defence were finally able to get the ball to safety to the dismay of the home side. From the resultant breakaway, Cooper unleashed a power drive across the goal that Armin tipped away for a corner, keeping the deficit to three.
HT CHESTER LE STREET TOWN 0 RACA 3
The hosts started the second period brightly but a combination of wayward final balls & strong rearguard action from RACA meant the home supporters were to remain frustrated. Their mood was dampened further on 53 minutes when Cooper took advantage of some home defensive dilly dallying by dispossessing the offending defender, getting goal side of him & slotting home past the keeper to put the result beyond doubt. Town substitute Lee Blades created a couple of chances for himself but shot wide on both occasions, though in the 62nd minute he beat a couple of defenders to get into a great position to shoot, only for Hansen to dart from out of nowhere and whisk the ball away from his feet. And although the second half didn't have quite the intensity of the first, Ryton hadn't finished scoring as Cooper's cross found Jasper's head & the RACA captain nodded home to make it five. The final goal came with a quarter of an hour left to play as Cooper's free kick was blocked by the Cestrian defence, but the ball fell to Callum Turnbull who nabbed his third goal of the season to complete the rout.
A fantastic day for the Albion who top a table for the first time for over a decade, and take the unbeaten run to eleven games, while Town have to shake off their collective off-day in time for playing Heaton Stannington on Wednesday.
FT CHESTER LE STREET TOWN 0 RACA 6
REFEREE- KEVIN McKITTERICK