CHESTER slumped to a sixth consecutive home defeat after a 2-0 loss against struggling York City.
It was a big three points for Gary Mills' Minstermen, who deservedly sealed victory with goals in each half from Vadaine Oliver and Danny Holmes, with Amari Morgan-Smith their standout performer on the day.
While York boosted their National League survival hopes, Jon McCarthy's Chester were extremely poor and the home supporters were clearly agitated during the second-half of a lacklusture display, with the final score ultimately flattering the Blues, who were second best in every department.
There were three changes to the Blues’ side who won 1-0 at Torquay last weekend, Tom Shaw, Matty Waters and Elliott Durrell all back in the line-up in place of Evan Horwood (knee), Wade Joyce and Kane Richards.
In glorious sunshine at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium, Waters got the game underway and within a minute Durrell’s right-footed drive flashed just wide of Scott Loach’s upright.
James Alabi nearly forced his way through on eight minutes but found Hamza Bencherif too strong, Morgan-Smith then hit a fierce shot wide from 20 yards out for the Minstermen.
Sean Newton swung in a dangerous delivery which Alex Lynch came for but missed and Sam Hughes cleared for a throw-in, which found its way to Simon Heslop whose powerful effort was blocked by Ryan Astles. On 16 minutes, Lynch comfortably held onto Danny Holmes’ 25 yard volley.
Alabi and Shaw played a neat one-two but skipper Shaw’s run was cut out by Newton, before Durrell’s 22nd minute free-kick was nodded wide by Hughes. Astles produced a fine block to deny Heslop from 10 yards before Jon Parkin failed to connect with Newton’s wicked cross.
On 25 minutes, York grabbed a precious lead in their fight for survival. Lynch clearance only reached Morgan-Smith and his run and through ball found Oliver 20 yards out, who rounded the on-rushing Lynch and tucked the ball home.
Lucas Dawson was cautioned for a poor tackle on Heslop, and probably only escaped a red due to the fact he took some of the ball.
Durrell’s appeals for a handball against Danny Parslow were waved away and Waters dragged a shot wide as the Blues struggled to breakdown Mills’ side.
Big striker Parkin nearly doubled the lead on 41 minutes when his thunderous volley from fully 30 yards out beat Lynch and crashed against the upright.
Johnny Hunt misread a long punt downfield on 44 minutes which Morgan-Smith latched onto but couldn’t beat Lynch, who stood tall and spread himself well to parry clear, as York went in at the break ahead.
Morgan-Smith’s snap-shot was comfortable saved by Lynch, before Parkin slid Oliver through but Lynch was quick off his line to gather the loose ball.
Chester’s chances were few and far between, Dawson’s 54th minute drive the closest they’d come to an equaliser. York should have been two-up just 60 seconds later, as Morgan-Smith exchanged a one-two with Parkin and clipped a shot past Lynch which hit the post and was cleared, but it was yet another let-off for McCarthy’s men.
The Blues nearly levelled on the hour mark, Shaw laying a neat pass off to Hunt, who charged into the area but his shot was met by a last-ditch block from the excellent Newton.
McCarthy rolled the dice on 64 minutes with a triple substitution, Blaine Hudson, Hunt and Dawson replaced by Theo Vassell, Luke George and Richards, who finally offered Alabi some support in attack.
Shaw thought he’d won a corner off Newton with 20 minutes remaining but the assistant saw it overwise, the Blues captain cautioned for his protestations. Alabi was set through by Richards but he couldn’t the ball under control.
It was game over on 76 minutes as York stretched their lead. A ball into the box found its way to Holmes 15 yards out who swung his right foot on the half volley which flew into the top corner to the delight of the travelling fans.
Chester: Lynch, Hughes, Astles, Hudson (Vassell 64), Hunt (Vassell 64); Dawson (Richards 64), Shaw, Lloyd, Waters, Durrell; Alabi.
York: Loach, Whittle, Newton, Parslow, Bencherif, Holmes; Hall, Morgan-Smith (Moke 89), Holmes, Oliver; Parkin.
See full story in the Chester Leader