NYAL BELL says it’s hard to put a finger on just why Chester performed so poorly in their FA Cup humbling at Kidderminster Harriers.
The Blues were dumped out of the world famous cup competition at the fourth qualifying stage by their lower division opponents, who ran out 2-0 winners through goals in either half from Emmanul Sonupe and Joe Ironside.
Chester produced a woeful display at Aggborough – arguably the club’s worst since reforming – and on-loan striker Bell, introduced as a second-half substitute, conceded there were no excuses for such a disappointing performance from the team.
“The dressing room is disappointed, as we felt we could go out there and have a decent run in the competition,” he said.
“Unfortunately that’s not been the case but we need to keep our heads up and go again in our next game on Saturday.
“I don’t know what went wrong, I can’t answer that.
“At Tranmere the boys were hugely up for it. It’s a big derby, big crowd, maybe that’s a factor and why we didn’t perform here at Kidderminster.
“But that shouldn’t be a factor, it should be the same motivation for each game, so I can’t really answer that.”
The Blues came under-fire from large sections of their 522 travelling supporters during the second-half and at full-time at Kidderminster, with boss Marcus Bignot taking his players over to the fans and sitting them down to take the criticism for around 15 minutes after the final whistle.
“I 100 per cent understand the frustration of the supporters,” Bell, 20, continued. “They’ve had a few cancellations too, so the supporters may be a bit frustrated.
“My regards go out to them, we know it’s not been good enough and that’s not a good enough performance.
“We care, 100 per cent we know what it means. We do try to give the best possible performance every time we go out on the pitch.
“Sometimes it doesn’t happen for us but we will always give our all each game.”
The Manchester-born striker – on-loan from Gateshead until January – is now one of five forwards vying for selection under Bignot, with 20-year-old Offrande Zanzala signed on-loan from Derby County prior to the weekend cup tie.
The Congolese attacker joins Harry White, James Akintunde and Ross Hannah in challenging Bell for a starting berth ahead of Saturday’s National League encounter with Boreham Wood, although Hannah is expected to be ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Bell believes there will surely be changes to the starting line-up following the defeat at Kidderminster.
“There’s lot of competition for places, everyone’s back and getting back to fitness now,” he added. “I’ve just got to keep trying, try and get back in the team and to how I was at the start of the season, performing well and force the manager’s hand.
“All the other strikers will want to do the same too I imagine because I expect the manager will be wanting to make some changes after that performance so I’ve got to keep my head up and keep going.”
Bell, who previously joined the Blues on-loan during Steve Burr’s time at the club, was going great guns at the start of the campaign and scored a stunning goal in a
2-1 pre-season defeat against Walsall, and admits the facial injury he suffered in an aerial duel against AFC Fylde in the opening league game of the season did ‘knock his momentum’.
“It’s frustrating as it kind of knocks your momentum,” he concluded.
“You’ve got to find your feet again in training, in the squad and then hopefully in the team. I need to get back to those same levels as pre-season, that might take a bit of time but I’ll always do my best.”
See full story in the Chester Leader