Jon McCarthy: Chester FC will only get better after goalless draw with Halifax Town

Reporter:

Charlie Croasdale

Jon McCarthy promised better displays from his Chester side after drawing a blank in their 0-0 draw with newly-promoted Halifax Town.

Billy Heath’s Shaymen came for a point and got what they ultimately deserved in a game with few clear-cut chances, although James Akintunde almost grabbed victory for the Blues, but his 89th minute close-range effort was met by a stunning save from Sam Johnson.

Ross Hannah saw a first-half volley flash past the post and Josh MacDonald hit the crossbar for the visitors but neither manager could really grumble with a point, with McCarthy still searching for a first win at the Swansway Chester Stadium since December 17.

“It’s another point in the National League, it’s a tough league and a long journey,” said McCarthy, who felt his side ‘edged’ the contest and was left to rue a fine display from Johnson.

“We were very well organised, disciplined, that’s the right place to start. I’m delighted with the clean sheet, a first for Conor and that back four, we just didn’t fire going forward.

“We’ve got good players out there, everyone is delighted with Harry White and Ross Hannah who comes through 90 minutes. It just didn’t quite connect today, it didn’t join up yet we still had an unbelievable chance at the end.

“We edged it, first-half it was even and there a strong wind out there. We should’ve used that much better, it was an opportunity to play some more passes.

“It’s a long, hard season and it’s another game we haven’t lost. I will make us hard to beat and enjoy the moments when it all clicks, those 3-0 and 4-0’s will happen.”

There were shouts of discontent from sections of the Chester faithful during the second-half and McCarthy admitted the fans had a right to be unimpressed by what they saw.

“Frustration can spread around the crowd really quickly, that’s something I have to explain to the players,” he added. “That’s not criticising the crowd, my players want to play at a bigger football club with a bigger crowd and that’s what they have to learn.

“We dominated in that second-half, looking really solid and disciplined, but you can’t hide from it, our fans come here and have seen the game and it looks better for Halifax getting a point.

“We’ve only conceded once in two games of football. We’ve got 90 out of Ross Hannah, he’s sharper, I lost Nyal Bell which was an option off the bench, but in terms of our foundations I think we’re alright.”

Asked if his side lacked width, with attacks often breaking down through central areas, McCarthy replied: “That’s unfair. I want my players to pick the ball up in the midfield, then we have options for our strikers to run the channels, and I saw Ross pick it up there plenty of times.

“I think that’s unfair criticism. I know you’ve seen Rowey, Halls, Mahon out here on the wings all the time, so that’s unfair and you asking that question is unfair.

“Maybe you want Craig Mahon just stood out on that touchline receiving the ball and going at people. No, that’s not the sort of players who will help you get the amount of clean sheets we’ll get and how stable and strong we are.”

Email:

charlie.croasdale@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Chester Leader

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