Chester 2-1 FC Halifax Town

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Josh Wilson saw red as FC Halifax Town were defeated at Chester in an injury-time climax that almost defied belief.

The curse of the cameras struck again as Town were on the receiving end of a highly-controversial red card before substitute Jamie Menagh cancelled out James Bolton’s equaliser - both in stoppage time.

Wilson’s dismissal left them at a numerical disadvantage in front of the BT Sport audience as they were on the opening weekend of the season at Cambridge.

But while Matt Glennon and Danny Lowe’s red cards that day were understandable, there seemed little logic behind Wilson’s sending-off, although Town looked to have grabbed a dramatic late equaliser when Bolton thrashed in Marc Roberts’ long-throw.

But less than a minute later, Menagh was left in too much space to seal an incredible victory and leave Town fans wondering just how much pain they can suffer on their travels.

If Forest Green was difficult to take, then this arguably took it to even greater lengths of heartache.

It’s still one away league win and counting for the Shaymen, whose play-off hopes look a little more forlorn now after an 11th return journey back to the Shay empty-handed.

Simon Lenighan came straight into the side for his debut, with James Bolton also making his first start since re-joining Town.

Gareth Seddon captained Chester against his former side, who also included former Town midfielder Jason Jarrett.

Given Town’s away record this season, hearts were understandably in mouths when John Rooney’s looping header was heading in early on, but Matt Glennon clawed it away for a corner.

Town avoided a repeat of their nightmare start last time on their travels at Lincoln, but there was a similar absence of noteworthy action from BT Sport’s previous offering at the Emirates 24 hours earlier.

Chester looked more comfortable in possession and enjoyed more of it as Town were forced to hussle and harry their hosts in a bitingly cold wind.

Midfielders Craig Mahon and John Rooney showed some deft touches in the middle third as Chester tried in vain to carve a path through a resolute Town defence.

Lee Gregory was mostly consigned to a watching brief as The Shaymen were pressed back, but they created a chance out of the blue when Wilson’s cross just evaded Ryan Crowther at the far post.

A half that appeared to be creeping towards the interval incident-free was then suddenly sparked into life when referee Peter Bankes, who had sent Reece Gray off against Woking earlier in the season, made himself centre of attention in front of the national audience by dismissing Wilson.

The Town man’s foul on Seddon looked to be deserving of a booking at worst, so to say the away bench were left fuming by Wilson’s red card is something of an understatement.

Halifax have seen more than their fare share of dismissals so far this season, but Wilson’s sending-off seemed the harshest of the lot, and gave both sets of supporters good reason to feel aggrieved at the officia’s display having riled the home fans with a series of 50-50 calls given in Town’s favour.

The decision also had the immediate impact of galvanizing Chester as the hosts quickly whipped a couple of dangerous crosses into the Town box, putting the visitors on the ropes and forcing some desperate defending as Aspin’s side escaped to the break unscathed.

The sending-off helped rally the home crowd too, which only added to the sense of Town facing a stern examination of character if they were to at least take a share of the spoils.

The impressive Rooney arguably caught the eye more than his brother had on the same channel the night before, and was unfortunate to see his shot whistle wide after chesting down a cross.

Mahon capped an equally productive evening 10 minutes into the second-half when he was perfectly placed to convert a fantastic right-wing cross.

Town nearly struck back straight away when Crowther’s curling free-kick was only prevented from sneaking in by a fine reaction save by Aaron Chapman.

Crowther looked like Town’s best route to goal as the visitors dug in for another battle against the odds, with the winger cutting in onto his right foot before sending the ball harmlessly over.

For their part, Chester weren’t creating much either as befitting the game in general, with their final delivery too often letting them down, although Matthew Taylor should have done better than skew his shot off target inside the area from Seddon’s pass.

Town switched to three at the back in an attempt to salvage something, but were effectively trying to land a punch with one hand tied behind their back.

Then came that barely-believable spell of stoppage-time as justice appeared to be done thanks to Bolton’s equaliser before one final twist there hardly seemed enough time left for.

Chester: Chapman (Danby 72), Turner, Killock, Brown, Heath, Rooney, Bond, Jarrett, Mahon (Menagh 87), Seddon, Taylor (Reed 90). Subs not used: Linwood, Mainwaring.

Scorers: Mahon (55), Menagh (90+4)

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 5

Halifax: Glennon, Maynard, Ainge, Roberts, McManus, Lenighan (Jackson 46), Marshall, Bolton, Crowther (Smith 74), Wilson, Gregory. Subs not used: Senior, Challinor, Worthington.

Scorer: Bolton (90+3)

Shots on target: 2

Shots off target: 3

Corners: 5

Attendance: 2,127

Town man of the match: Marc Roberts