Chester FC co-coach Bernard Morley was encouraged by yet another clean sheet as his side drew a goalless home draw against the Bolton Wanderers.
Morley was unhappy with his team’s defense in a 4-3 loss to Trafford last week – but saw them react with Saturday’s 3-0 home win over Fleetwood and now that resolute performance against a Wanderers team that started with six senior players. mixed with their under 23s.
Morley said: “We started where we left off on Saturday in terms of a clean sheet. We looked solid, we limited them to maybe two shots in the whole game. They had a lot of possession and posed a different challenge for Fleetwood.
“They moved the ball a lot faster and you could see the quality of the first team players. But in terms of shape and recognition of our identity, I think we’ve looked at a side that is going in the right direction.
Chester had to be patient as the visitors dominated possession in the early stages. However, the Wanderers didn’t have much to show, Jay Fitzmartin’s shot from the edge of the box blocked by Jamie Morgan was typical of their frustrations.
The home side have kept their form well, always looking to break through, especially thanks to John Johnston, who started with James Hardy and Anthony Dudley supporting forward George Waring in the 4-2-3-1 lineup. from Chester.
Louis Gray quickly left his line to just beat George Thomason on the ball after the midfielder was played behind defense. But Chester was largely successful in keeping the League One side at bay before the break.
In fact, Chester had chances to lead before the break, with Waring glancing at Hardy’s free kick wide before the striker created the best half-time chance with a nice heist game. before slipping the ball to free Dudley on goal. He slid the ball past goalkeeper Matt Gilks but against the base of the post.
Declan Weeks saw an effort float away from the center line in the opening rally of the second half. But Chester was grateful to right-back Dan Cowan for an impeccable sliding challenge to get the ball out of Fitzmartin 12 yards just as the forward passed.
The dangerous Johnston sprinted to the left, beat his man and tried to find Hardy before the ball was blocked to prevent the new one from signing a tap at the far post.
Johnston played in Weeks from the left of the box but the angle was tight and the shot in the side net, but the home side were enjoying the ball a lot more than before the break.
The home side signed Darren Stephenson and Jude Oyibo for James Hardy and George Waring in the 63rd minute.
Fitzmartin’s looping shot landed on the roof of the net 16 yards after being found by Ronan Darcy, but Chester was back on the attack when Stephenson’s low cross was cleared at the near post after he had been played by Weeks’ smart pass.
They came closer when Stephenson was pushed back by Gilks 12 yards after a half-cleared corner was returned to the area by Johnston.
Lloyd Marsh-Hughes replaced Johnston in the 76th minute, and Kevin Roberts replaced Danny Livesey in the 77th, moments after Livesey signed an excellent block, pouncing on Matthew Tweedley’s 18-yard strike.
Morley added: “I came in at halftime and it looked like we were pretty disappointed to keep a clean sheet against a full time outfit. But Bolton XI or not, they are still coached by great coaches and are full time so their fitness level should be higher than ours.
“But I felt like we were doing well, we should have led 1-0 at halftime and we limited them to no shots on target. So it might sound a bit pessimistic because they have the ball for long periods of time, but that’s just good habits for us and that’s managing the game, knowing when to go and when not to, stay nice and narrow and sturdy, force them wide and stop crosses. I think we executed this.
CHESTER FC: Gray, Morgan, Livesey (Roberts, 77), Williams, Cowan, Glendon, Weeks, Hardy (Oyibo, 63), Johnston (Marsh-Hughes, 76), Dudley (Trialist, 81), Waring (Stephenson, 63 years old)).
Subtitles: Worsnop, Roberts, Burke.
BOLTON: Gilks (Hutchinson, 77), Comley, Senior, Colvin (Pettifer, 88), Conway, Tutte, Thomason (Tweedley, 68), Crawford (Toure, 88), Darcy (Wilcox, 81 ), Politics (Henry, 68)), Fitzmartin.