Chester 2 Imps 5With Lee Beevers ruled out with a serious knee injury sustained in the midweek 2-0 win over Boreham Wood, Alan Power was handed a starting place for this Vanarama National League with Bradley Wood slotting in at right-back.
Chester kicked off but it was the Imps who were the first to press with a second minute corner being cleared by the home defence. Eight minutes later a ball over the top saw Harry Anderson nip in and beat keeper Alex Lynch to the ball but saw his prodded effort go wide.
In the 14th minute Nathan Arnold fired goalwards with Lynch punching the ball away and shortly afterwards the bright start continued with a counter-attack seeing Arnold feed Anderson but a covering defender blocked his effort for a corner
Two more City corners quickly followed before Chester forced a couple of their own as they pressed for the first time and on the half-hour mark Paul Farman pulled off a good save to deny Chapell following swift Chester attack.
This brought the hosts to life with an Elliott Durrell free-kick hittin the City wall and going out for a corner. This led to another one and when this was taken short the ball was whipped in and when the bll ran loose there to sweep it home was Ryan Astles to give the Chester the lead.
City looked for a quick response with Rhead flicking a long Farman clearance to Robinson who fired wide with only Lynch to beat but the pressure eventually paid off in the 41st minute when a deep Sam Habergham corner was met at the far post by Rhead who saw his header rattle the post before hitting THEO ROBINSON and going over the line for a deserved leveller.
Power picked up a 43rd minute for persistent infringement and as the hosts kept the ball in the attacking third Habergham was harshly adjudged to have pushed his man in the box. Referee Anthony Backhouse, although slightly unsighted, pointed to the spot. Skipper Tom Shaw duly sent Farman the wrong way to put his side back in front.
The heads didn't drop though and with almost the last touch of the half, an Arnold corner was headed across the box by Rhead and there to nod home was SEAN RAGGETT to level matters for a second time.
HT: CHESTER 2 IMPS 2
There were no changes as the Imps restarted things and the men in green were quickly on the offensive and less than three minutes into the second period a clever free-kick saw Arnold curl the ball in and when the ball fell loose there was MATT RHEAD to net with a neat finish from just inside the box.
With the 413 travelling fans on their feet, a City counter-attack shortly afterwards comes to an end just as Anderson prepared to free Arnold on the right whilst at the other end James Alabi went down very easily under a Raggett challenge with the officials siding with the home striker. The resultant free-kick forced Power to block as Chapell fired goalwards.
In the 57th minute Rhead nodded down a Wood cross to Robinson who unfortunately fired over the bar and on the hour mark the hosts made a switch with Kane Richards coming on for Craig Mahon.
Woodyard picked out Rhead with a cross a couple of minutes later but the big man saw his stooping header go wide. Jack Muldoon then replaced Theo Robinson up front for the Imps before a second Chester substitution saw James Akintunde come on for James Alabi.
With a quarter of an hour on the clock City had a great chance to increase the lead but Muldoon fired across goal when a square pass to Arnold seemed to be the better option. Before the resultant goal-kick was taken Elliott Whitehouse replaced Alan Power.
In the 79th minute Muldoon went down under a Lynch challenge following a Rhead knock-down but referee Backhouse was happy to let play continue, much to the annoyance of the Imps fans.
The travelling faithful quickly put that to the back of their minds though as within a couple of minutes an excellent one-two between JACK MULDOON and Rhead saw the former fire home superbly.
Muldoon was booked for over celebrating his goal and when play restarted he was set free down the middle only to fire straight at Lynch. Shortly afterwards Rhead was involved again as a sublime touch saw him release HARRY ANDERSON who slotted past the advancing Lynch to make it 5-2.
Terry Hawkridge replaced Rhead a couple of minutes later; the City number nine receiving a standing ovation from the Imps fans and even some locals applauded him off the pitch following his superb effort.
A rare Chester attack ended with Richards firing against the crossbar but the hosts were clearly shell-shocked, as were their supporters, who were drifting out of the ground in numbers as the Fourth Official indicate that a minimum of five minutes were to be added on.
These passed without further incident so once referee Backhouse brought things to a close the travelling fans rose as one to salute another tremendous performance on the road.
FT: CHESTER 2 IMPS 5
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Bradley WOOD
3 Sam HABERGHAM
5 Luke WATERFALL
8 Alan POWER
9 Matt RHEAD
12 Harry ANDERSON
25 Sean RAGGETT
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD
31 Theo ROBINSON
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE (for POWER 76)
7 Jack MULDOON (for ROBINSON 64)
11 Terry HAWKRIDGE (for RHEAD 85)
14 Taylor MILES
27 Jamie McCOMBE
GOALS: ROBINSON (41), RHEAD (47), RAGGETT (45+3), MULDOON (81), ANDERSON (83)
BOOKING: POWER (43), MULDOON (82)
1 Alex LYNCH
5 Blaine HUDSON
12 Sam HUGHES
6 Ryan ASTLES
16 Johnny HUNT
8 Tom SHAW
21 Ryan LLOYD
7 Craig MAHON
10 Elliott DURRELL
11 Jordan CHAPELL
9 James ALABI
3 Evan HORWOOD
14 Wade JOYCE
15 Kane RICHARDS (for MAHON 60)
20 James AKINTUNDE (for ALABI 67)
19 Matty WATERS
GOALS: ASTLES (33), SHAW (44 pen)
REFEREE: Anthony Backhouse
ASSISTANTS: Richard Watson & Mark Billingham
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Richard Woodward
ATTENDANCE: 2,586 (413 City supporters)