Chester secured a third home win of the season against struggling Solihull Moors, on a Deva Stadium pitch covered by snow just a few hours before kickoff.
Despite a drab opening 75 minutes, striker Ross Hannah secured his sixth Chester goal of the season, following up from defender Ryan Astles’ headed cutback.
Moors’ skipper Darren Carter was then dismissed for a second yellow card, which helped add to the misery that the Solihull faithful were already enduring.
The club had hunted for volunteers to help clear the snow from the turf from eleven o’clock in the morning, before requesting wheelbarrows in order to help gather it together!
But once the winter surface transformed into one fit for football, the game was ready to get underway at the Swansway. Here’s my player ratings following a much needed win for the Blues.
Sam Hornby – 7/10
Sam came in on loan from Port Vale on Thursday and, for his first game, had nothing too significant to do. Couple of mistakes with his kicking initially but dealt with Moors’ through balls superbly.
Lathaniel Rowe-Turner – 5/10
Played in a more offensive role but remained deep whereas his counterpart, Reece Hall-Johnson, ventured forward as expected. Made the occasional decent run but I maintain he’s a brilliant left-back and doesn’t suit the wing-back role he’s given.
Myles Anderson – 7/10
Convincing performance. Entire defence was solid, Myles included. Put in the right tackles but some through passes were allowed in behind, although these were safely collected by Hornby in net.
Ryan Astles – 8/10
Phenomenal. Won most aerial battles, nullified Solihull’s attacking prowess, provided experience for James Jones and the assist for Ross Hannah.
James Jones – 9/10
My Man of the Match, for sure. Youth graduate, starting at home for the first time and he put in an absolute shift. Emptied his wallet, keys and Afolayan from his pockets when he got home. Superb.
Reece Hall-Johnson – 8/10
For a first game back from injury, Reece put in a good shift. Up and down the pitch as expected, providing the Blues’ main attacking threat, only for his chances to break down in the midfield. Will progressively improve as he gets more minutes.
Andy Halls – 6/10
Solid performance, had some impact but most of the work had to be done by the back-line. Missed a few decent chances in the opening 45, also. Still, a good showing.
Kingsley James – 5/10
Not his finest hour, but he’s definitely better than this. Tried in the aerial challenges but was unsuccessful at times.
Lucas Dawson – 6/10
Again, a good player who was very quiet today. Ideas flowing but it was tough to provide the best service possible for the frontmen. Despite this, his corner taking caused large amounts of danger for Moors, leading to the only goal of the game.
James Akintunde – 8/10
Albeit relatively quiet in the first half, James rose to life in the second and played an absolute worldie. Held up the ball well, made life difficult for the Solihull defence. Worked well with both Udoh and, eventually, Hannah.
Daniel Udoh – 7/10
A decent debut for the frontman, held up the ball well but received minimal amounts of service or support from the midfield, despite their best efforts, especially for large parts of the first half. Couldn’t get going at points but made a good account of himself overall. Positive signs.
Tom Shaw – 6/10
Played for the majority of the second half but the minimal amount of time meant he couldn’t truly express himself. Displayed urgency and fought hard, even if it didn’t come off for him.
Ross Hannah – 9/10
Although I prefer to see Ross starting, today showed he can have an impact off the bench as well. Stretched a tired Solihull team and got his goal as a result. Brilliant.