Chester 2 FC Halifax 1

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Town lost further ground on their early season rivals Chester after a 2-1 defeat at the Exacta Stadium.

Despite dominating for long periods the Shaymen were undone by goals early in each half, with Jon Worthington’s long range effort giving Town second half hope.

But Neil Aspin’s side were unable to find an equaliser as they fell eight points behind early leaders Chester, Brackley Town and Guiseley, who all boast 100 per cent records with six games done.

Aspin made one change to the side which beat Oxford City 3-1 at the Shay on Saturday with injured frontman Gareth Seddon being replaced by Worthington as Town reverted to a 4-4-2 system.

The game started in ferocious fashion, with Ryan Toulson needing treatment to his ribs after a full on collision and Sean Clancy was slow to pick himself up after a Worthington challenge inside the first 90 seconds.

Jason Jarrett and Liam Hogan were both involved in early scuffles, but after a scruffy opening the game soon settled and saw the first goal with the first effort on goal.

Striker Ben Mills got on the wrong side of Liam Hogan to receive a through ball and calmly slotted past Matt Glennon to give the hosts the lead on ten minutes.

Town could have hit back immediately but Worthington’s placed effort was blocked by defender Paul Lindwood and Jarrett saw his left footed effort fly over shortly afterwards.

On 16 minutes Paul Marshall tried to repeat his goal from Saturday with a long range effort, but Martin Fearon, making his Chester debut, was able to hold on with Dale Johnson closing in.

The referee did well to hold off producing the first yellow card until the 21st minute, but his patience ran out when Michael Powell hacked down Worthington in front of the dug out.

Town should have levelled just afterwards when Worthington blazed over from three yards after a clever knock down from Johnson, and Worthington was involved again a minute later when he saw appeals for a penalty turned away after a risky lunge by a Chester defender.

Marshall tried his luck from range again, this time from a free-kick which curled narrowly over the cross bar from 25 yards, as Town tried to find a leveller before the break.

All of Town’s chances were falling to Worthington, this time his header was saved by Fearnon after a St Juste burst down the left, and his midfield partner Jarrett saw his cross headed behind for a corner after he pinched the ball back high up the pitch, but it came to nothing.

Jarrett had the Town bench off their feet when he unleashed a drive from 20 yards but the ball went inches over and Johnson’s cross was gathered at the near post after the striker showed good footwork on the byline.

Chester looked unable to deal with St Juste’s sheer pace down the left and Dave Hankin was eventually booked for hauling down the full back in mid-flight towards then end of the first half, and Ashley Williams followed him into the book just before the break for a lunge on Jarrett as Town went in behind at the break.

The second half began much ter than the first, but the home fans were insensed when Hogan’s sliding challenge on Millsresulted in a corner rather than a free-kick.

But their frustration turned to joy on 52 minutes when Town failed to deal with a cross from the right the ball broke to Dave Mankin, who fired into the bottom left hand corner from the edge of the box to double the lead.

It took Town just four minutes to hit back - Worthington making up for a string of first half misses to rifle past Fearon from 25 yards to put Town back in it.

After the goal the hosts looked rattled, and Fearon had to be alert to keep out St Juste’s near post blast.

Just after the hour former Chester man Jamie Rainford was introduced to a round of boos from the home fans as he replaced Johnson.

And it was Rainford who wasted Town’s best chance of the second half until then when he chose to shoot rather than play in the unmarked Gregory.

Chester should have wrapped the game up in the 77th minute when Danny Lowe lost the ball on the half way line, allowing sub Marc Williams and Ben Mills a free run at Glennon - but the striker somehow dragged the ball wide to miss a wonderful chance to get his second.

Rainford thought he had bagged an equaliser with ten minutes to go but his shot went agonisingly wide of the far post.

Teams.

Chester: Fearon, Collins, McGinn, Horan, Linwood, Williams (Mackin, 68 mins), Hankin, Powell, Jarman (Williams, 68 mins), Mills, Clancy (Sarcevic 86 mins). Unused subs: Howard, Baynes.

FC Halifax Town: Glennon, Toulson, St Juste, Hogan, Lowe, Worsley (Needham, 78 mins), Marshall, Johnson (Rainford 65 mins), Gregory, Worthington. Unused subs: Senior, Needham, Qualter, Bolland.

Goals: Mills (10) Mankin (52). Worthington (56).

Attendance: 3,112