November 17, 2014
CHESTER LAST TIME OUT
CHESTER FC 1. v. 0. GATESHEAD
Saturday 15th November 2014.
John Rooney ensured he wasn’t the only member of his family in the limelight with a fantastic strike to settle an excellent game of football.
His career might not have hit the same heights as his older brother but he has some of the qualities Wayne possesses and showed that with the winner on 68 minutes.
Gateshead had the better of the first period but a tactical reshuffle restricted them in the second half and the Blues grew into the contest.
Chester had to dig deep after taking the lead and had the post, keeper Jon Worsnop and outstanding skipper Matty Brown to thank for keeping the Heed out.
It had been four weeks between home games the Blues, and the same period since a win in the league.
Steve Burr has been able to strengthen his squad using some of the revenue from the cup run and started two new loan signings.
Gateshead lost in the play-off final last term but had put that disappointment behind them to put together another promotion challenge, coming into the game in third place.
Gary Mills side had lost once in 14 games in all competitions, had an excellent record on the road and score goals for fun although can ship them too.
Mills selected the same side that drew 3-3 with Lincoln City in the week with Danny Wright, Alex Rodman and Rob Ramshaw making up a dangerous front three.
Gateshead began with greater enthusiasm and almost took the lead inside 60 seconds but Phil Turnbull’s shot flew inches wide.
Chester were slow to get going but went close on eight minutes John Rooney released Oates and his low cross evaded Craig Hobson, who flung himself towards the ball in the six yard box.
It was an open start and that continued with a golden chance for the Head a few minutes later when Matty Pattison went clear but Jon Worsnop saved his weak shot.
Chester could have had a penalty on 15 minutes when James Curtis ankled tapped Hobson but referee Stephen Ross turned strong appeals down. There looked to have been contact but Hobson might not have helped his case in throwing himself to the ground.
Gateshead responded with Rodman, who always catches the eye, putting Ben Heneghan on his backside and curling a left footed shot against the post with Worsnop beaten.
Ex-Wales international John Oster and Pattison had the upper hand in midfield, leading to a couple of half chances for Ramshaw.
Chester were under pressure for most of the first half but had a couple of opportunities themselves with the pace of Oates troubling Curtis.
Rooney had a shot blocked from the edge of the area and Oates forced Adam Bartlett into a save on 34 minutes
Gateshead came back again with Worsnop saving from Rodman and Curtis but an entertaining first half ended goalless.
Burr made a change for the second half with Ibou Touray coming on Hobson to reinforce the midfield and the switch worked with space harder to find.
O’Keefe headed a half chance over from close range but the game had become far tighter, although Rodman remained the Heed’s biggest threat Worsnop had to help his shot behind.
Chester looked more comfortable and Rooney whipped a free kick around the wall after Craig Baxter had been penalised for handball but Bartlett held on well.
Rooney has copped some flak in the past few weeks but he provided a perfect reminder of the ability he possesses with the opening goal on 68 minuites.
Oates pressured Ben Clark and the ball fell for Craig Mahon and he touched into the path of Rooney, whose powerful shot flew past Bartlett to give the Blues the lead.
Gateshead threw on forwards Carl Finnigan and Jon Shaw for the last 20 minutes and started to force the game in search of an equaliser.
Heneghan and the excellent Matty Brown made important blocks when the defence creaked and Worsnop saved from Pattison.
Chester were pinned back in the closing stages and the Heed twice went close to getting level but Finnigan headed against the post and Worsnop made a top class save to keep out Shaw’s header.
Gateshead had Curtis sent off in time added on when he flew into O’Keefe and was shown a second yellow for what could have been a straight red card.
Chester had come through the onslaught and showed huge character to beat a team that will be up there come the end of the season.
Chester FC: Worsnop, Heneghan, Brown, Charnock (Kay 90), G Roberts, James, O’Keefe, Oates, Rooney, Mahon, Hobson (Touray 46).
Subs: C Roberts, Menagh, Peers.
Goal: Rooney 68.
Gateshead: Bartlett, Baxter, Curtis, Clark, Anderton, Turnbull, Oster (Finnigan 71), Pattison, Rodman, Wright (Shaw 75), Ramshaw (Heardman 66) .
Subs: Jones, Rankine.
Sent off: Curtis.
Booked: Curtis, Pattison.
Referee: Stephen Ross (Barnet)
(Adapted from The Chester Chronicle with thanks.)