TOM SHAW hailed Chester’s ‘phenomenal’ support after taking time to ‘drink in’ the derby day atmosphere at Prenton Park.

The Blues were roared on by 1,198 fans in their goalless draw at Tranmere Rovers in front of a huge crowd of 7,172, the biggest non-league crowd of the day and bigger than all-but-two games in League Two.

Central midfielder Shaw, making his third start in as many matches since Marcus Bignot took charge, relished playing in front of such passionate fans and vowed to savour such occasions as he approaches the latter stage of his playing career.

“It’s unbelievable, it shows you how big this club is,” said the 30-year-old, who has already held the roles of assistant manager, caretaker manager and now first-team player/coach this season.

“As I’ve got a little bit older I like to drink that in a bit,  as you never know when it might be your last one at a ground like this.

“It was phenomenal to see that and they tried to suck that ball in during the second-half and it was a really good atmosphere to play in, so it’s been a great day really.

“The lads put an unbelievable shift in, our goalkeeper has put in a nine out of 10 performance for me.

“Everyone has taken a lot of information on board over the last two weeks and it helped us get a really positive result.

“It ebbed and flowed a fair bit, but when they were on top we made sure we were organised because we had the bodies in the right places and that’s stopped us from conceding and full credit to the management team for getting us organised as quickly as they have.

“That organisation doesn’t work if we don’t graft and because of the attitude and the application it’s got us a good result.”

Chester remain in the National League relegation zone ahead of the FA Cup break, but Shaw believes they can begin to haul themselves out of danger with back-to-back home matches against Boreham Wood and Barrow to follow.

“We’ve got to kick on, we’ve got to get out of the situation we’re in down the bottom,” he added.

“We’ve got good enough players, we’ve now got a really solid set-up, the lads have bought into it straight away and you can see that.

“To get a pat on the back or a round of applause off the fans is what we do it for so it was great to get that at the end of the game.”

Shaw praised Blues goalkeeper Alex Lynch who kept his side in the game at Tranmere with a string of superb saves, and also explained how a recent upturn in performances from deep-lying midfielder Lucas Dawson is aiding his own ability to push further forward.

“Alex has played a blinder,” he added. “He does hours of technical work and then they just all hit him in his face! But as long as he keeps them out of the net we’re all happy.

“I’m really pleased for him because he’s such a good lad and a good character so I’m chuffed for him. When we get into more controlled possession it enables me to get further forward and closer to Ross (Hannah) and we did have one or two chances out there.

“As the legs get stronger and I get fitter, I’ll hopefully start chipping in with more goals like previous seasons.

“Lucas has real quality doesn’t he, he’s technically very good and he helps you get on top of the game.

“He’s still learning and he’ll get better all the time as he learns what men’s football is about and playing at this level.”

n Chester have been handed an away tie at Altrincham in the FA Youth Cup third qualifying round in the week commencing October 16.

The Blues defeated AFC Fylde 3-1 in the second qualifying round, with two goals from Iwan Murray and Lloyd Marsh-Hughes’ finish sealing victory.

Back in North West Youth Alliance Premier Division, Chester Youth saw off Southport 4-0 on Sunday, while the under 16s recorded a 3-2 victory over Curzon Ashton u17s in the Second Division.