Chester FC 2 Oxford City 0: Blues stroll to easy win to restore 13-point lead at top

Chester FC boss Neil Young

CHESTER returned to winning ways with a comfortable victory which restored their 13-point lead at the top of the Blue Square Bet North.

Ever so slightly under pressure after second-placed rivals Guiseley won the night before, the Blues swept aside play-off hopefuls Oxford without ever having to get out of second gear.

Paul Linwood’s first goal of the season gave Neil Young’s side a deserved first-half lead.

Nathan Jarman’s 11th of the campaign, eight minutes after the restart, sealed the points.

The match got under way 45 minutes after the scheduled 7.45pm kick-off time after the visitors got stuck in traffic on the M6.

It was the third time this season – after Histon and Harrogate Town – that Chester have been made to wait for their opponents to show up.

The Blues, showing three changes to the side that started Saturday’s goalless draw at Bradford Park Avenue, were quick to take out their frustrations.

There were less than nine minutes on the clock when a marauding Danny Williams run was cynically ended by Andrew Gunn 10 yards outside the penalty box.

Gunn picked up a deserved caution, Williams an injury that later forced him off the pitch.

The resulting Wes Baynes free kick, driven hard and true, was met by centre-back Linwood, whose flicked header looped over Matt Ingram and into the net.

Ingram was called into action four minutes later by Antoni Sarcevic, who played a lovely one-two with Marc Williams before side-footing a shot that was heading for the far corner until the goalkeeper’s intervention.

Jarman – in for the rested Ben Mills – had an even better opportunity to double the advantage in the 27th minute.

Marc Williams, finding space in between midfield and attack, played a clever pass into the path of his namesake Danny Williams.

The left-winger fired over a cross that was just behind Jarman.

The striker readjusted his body but just as he was about to shoot, he lost his footing.

Jarman made amends eight minutes after the restart – and how.

Nathan Turner’s pass over the top was a good one but the former Grimsby Town man still had plenty to do.

Jarman brought the ball down superbly, took an extra touch and sent an angled strike across Ingram and into the bottom corner.

With Oxford offering absolutely no threat up front, Ingram became an increasingly busy figure.

He turned away a long-range Sarcevic effort before producing an even better stop to prevent the same player from providing an emphatic finish to a Turner run and cross.

The win extended Chester’s unbeaten home run to 24 games and left their manager delighted.

Young said: “I thought we played well from the first minute until last.

“We defended superbly and probably should have scored more goals in the first half.

“I thought Nathan Jarman’s goal capped an excellent all-round performance from him.”

Chester: Danby, Baynes, Horan, Linwood, McGinn, Hankin (Brown 87), Sarcevic, Turner, D Williams (Howard 38), M Williams (Mills 77) Jarman. Subs: Gray, Collins.

Goals: Linwood 9, Jarman 53.

Oxford: Ingram, Gunn, Stonehouse, Ballard (Mulvany 64), Learoyd, Wilmott, Bell, Pond, Holgate (Stanley 36), Benjamin (McEachran 77), Barcelos. Sub: Janes.

Booked:  Gunn, Stonehouse.

Referee: Paul Graham (Manchester).

Attendance: 1,905.