Chester 6-0 North Ferriby United
North Ferriby United's four-match unbeaten run came to an end in emphatic fashion as title favourites Chester justified their status by notching up a six-goal victory over the Villagers in front of a crowd of over 2,000 at the Exacta Stadium.
Ferriby began the match in the ascendancy and the opening minutes saw a Gary Bradshaw free kick saved by home keeper John Danby, before his opposite number Steve Wilson made the first of numerous impressive stops when he blocked a shot from Chris Simm and saved the follow-up effort from Matty McNeil. Simm wasn't to be denied for long though, and with a quarter of an hour gone the Chester striker half-volleyed home a Matthew McGinn corner to give his side the lead. McGinn would have a hand in the second on 26 minutes, his cross setting up Iain Howard for a stylish bicycle kick into the bottom corner. An acrobatic dive from Wilson then prevented Howard from grabbing his second before half time.
In the opening exchanges of the second period Ferriby were desperately unlucky not to find their way back into the game when a strong run by Wayne Brooksby saw the winger pick out Bradshaw at the far post, only for Bradshaw's close range shot to cannon back off the crossbar. Instead, Simm grabbed his second on 52 minutes, running onto Howard's pass and carrying the ball almost half the length of the field before slotting beyond the onrushing Wilson. Wilson would pull of the save of the match soon afterwards when he pushed Howard's drive from the edge of the area around the post, and Ferriby were again close to gaining a foothold on the tie when Mark Greaves slid onto Paul Foot's flick-on only to have his effort swatted away by Danby. Russell Fry then sent Bradshaw through on goal but the striker placed his effort just wide of the near post. The home side killed the contest with three in the last fifteen minutes. First Simm crossed for substitute Bradley Barnes to convert from close range; then Robbie Booth launched a spectacular 20-yarder into the top corner, and finally McGinn sent Wilson the wrong way from the penalty spot having been brought down in the box. Ferriby have chance to put the defeat behind them when they welcome Frickley Athletic to the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Tuesday night.
Man of the Match: Chris Simm (Chester)
Ferriby: Steve Wilson, James Williams, Nathan Peat, Mark Greaves, Paul Foot (c), Paul Harsley, Russell Fry, Ben Morley (Phil Jackman, 69), Kevin Larvin, Gary Bradshaw, Wayne Brooksby Subs not used: Mathew Stirland, John Leonard
Chester: John Danby, Liam Brownhill, Matthew McGinn, George Horan (c) (Bradley Barnes, 72), Michael Taylor, Christian Smith, Robbie Booth, Michael Powell, Chris Simm (Mark Reed, 77), Matty McNeil (Jamie Rainford, 59), Iain Howard Subs not used: Wesley Baynes, Adam Judge