Chester FC 4 Marine 0: Double century achieved as champions sign off in style

CHESTER waved goodbye to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League in style as they brought up 100 points and 100 goals for the season.

The Premier Division champions finish the campaign 17 points clear of second-placed Northwich Victoria after they stretched their unbeaten run to 16 matches with an emphatic final day victory.

Chris Simm hit a stunning hat-trick after Marc Williams opened the scoring as the Blues swept aside a Marine team undefeated in their previous 12 away outings.  

The afternoon ended with captain George Horan lifting the league trophy amid a carnival atmosphere. It began, however, on a sombre note as players, officials and supporters joined together in a minute’s applause for Ciaran Geddes, the seven-year-old Chester supporter who tragically died this week.

Ciaran would have been proud of the performance the Blues produced in front of another bumper Exacta Stadium crowd.

Alex Brown saw a goalbound header cleared off the line in the 11th minute after Simm somehow failed to convert a Williams cutback.

Simm made amends by setting up his strike partner for the 24th-minute opener.

Robbie Booth played a delightful pass through to the man of the match, who beat the offside trap and slid the ball past Ryan McMahon for Williams to tap in his second goal in as many matches.

Williams returend the favour in the 39th minute, the former Wrexham man doing brilliantly on the right wing before crossing for Simm to powerfully head home from close range.

That was Chester’s 100th league goal of the season. Number 101 followed just over six minutes later – and what a wonderful goal it was too.

Simm turned his marker before sending a 25-yard strike past McMahon and into the top corner.

McMahon remained the busier goalkeeper after the break, saving well from Booth before seeing the same player drag an 18-yard effort wide.

In contrast returning Blues number one John Danby, making his first start since February 11, did not have a meaningful save to make until the 87th minute when he turned away a Darren Byers long-range attempt.

The visitors also went close through John Shaw, who smashed a left-footed effort against the post, but by then the hosts had already made it four thanks to Simm’s clinical 79th-minute finish.

Substitute Antoni Sarcevic's split the Marine defence in two and Simm raced clear to rifle in his 15th goal of the campaign.

That meant he became the first Chester player to score a hat-trick this season and moved him level at the top of the scoring charts with Matty McGinn.

McGinn went close to edging ahead in injury-time but his 30-yard thunderbolt came back off the bar.

Chester: Danby, Baynes, Horan, Smith, McGinn, Booth, A Williams (Brownhill 75), Brown (Mackin 66), Howard (Sarcevic 58), Simm, M Williams. Subs: Powell, Glennon.

Goals: M Williams 24, Simm 39, 45, 79.

Marine:  McMahon, Lundon, Barnes, Brown, Shaw, Rogan (Byers 75), Lawton, Barnes, Dawson (Harvey 55), Moore, Leal Pezan (Rey 55). Subs: Latham, Williams.

Referee: Philip Dermot (Wigan).

Attendance: 3,686.