Chester were plunged further into the National League relegation mire following a 3-2 defeat to cash-strapped Dagenham & Redbridge at Victoria Road, despite holding a 2-1 lead just five minutes from time.
A sense of ‘de ja vu’ could be felt amongst the travelling support, a year on from an exact replica of Saturday’s defeat, having conceded two late goals and slumping to another 3-2 Victoria Road loss in February of 2017.
And just as they did a year ago, the hosts opened the scoring. Poor closing down from Blues defender Myles Anderson allowed winger Fejiri Okenabirhie to curl past ‘keeper Sam Hornby, connecting with the post on the way through.
The travelling Seals responded on 31 minutes though, a sumptuous cross from Blacon-born Gary Roberts allowed Jordan Archer to volley home for just his second goal of the season.
The Blues then took the lead after the break, Dominic Vose’s long-range effort parried by Cousins into the path of Youth Academy product Matty Waters, also converting his second of the season.
However the mirror image of last year’s late horror show had to be completed, and Dagenham did just that. First Okenabirhie completed his brace before a looping cross was headed by Blues full-back Andy Halls into Hornby’s net.
Here are my player ratings following yet another late collapse…
Sam Hornby – 5/10
With Chester attacking for the large majority of the contest, mostly in the second half, Hornby wasn’t tested apart from when Dagenham converted. A performance certainly nowhere near as spectacular as we’re used to seeing from Sam.
Andy Halls – 3/10
Having done the club two favours in recent weeks, firstly revoking an extension clause in his contract following several excellent performances on the pitch, Halls wasn’t at the races today. Okenabirhie’s pace on the flanks was too much to handle before the Blues defender conceded the match-winning own-goal for Dagenham.
Shaun Hobson – 6/10
Having had a shaky opening 10 minutes, Hobson grew into the game after Chester fell a goal behind. Despite this, none of the Blues defence could handle Dagenham’s attacking prowess in the final ten minutes of the tie, and that’s what marks Hobson down.
Ryan Astles – 5/10
Not Ryan’s best performance by any stretch of the imagination, but one that showed elements of quality the centre-half possesses. Although despite his obvious aerial threat on display, Astles struggled to keep up with the pace of Dagenham’s attacking line and this unfortunately contributed to the eventual defeat.
Myles Anderson – 4/10
A recurring theme from the defenders, Anderson struggled to adapt and grow into the contest, allowing Dagenham’s tricky wingers to punish the Blues’ lack of pace. Allowing Okenabirhie to shoot on eleven minutes resulted in the first of three goals created as the product of poor defending.
Matty Waters – 8/10
One Chester defender who can hold his head high is academy product Matty Waters. The young wing-back troubled the Dagenham back-line and was a huge source of Chester’s creativity, even pouncing on Cousins’ error to get a goal for himself.
Gary Roberts – 8/10
One of Chester’s consistent sources of creativity and quality, Roberts didn’t disappoint on Saturday afternoon. One of two Blacon-born midfielders on the field, Gary’s deliveries were consistent in troubling the hosts, one of which a beautiful assist for Jordan Archer’s first-half strike.
Tom Crawford – 7/10
Another Youth Academy product who showed real promise on Saturday was Tom Crawford. Contributing both defensively and offensively, Crawford’s deliveries up-field pierced open Dagenham’s defence and were key to Chester’s chance creation.
Dominic Vose – 8/10
Following a successful start in the blue and white, Vose’s individual performance was a good one. Consistently beating defenders, whether it be using nutmegs or swift turns, Vose’s confidence on the ball was quite phonomenal and initially resulted in some of the best football the Blues have played this season. It is this, however, that marked him down at times – he often didn’t release the ball. There were a few times in the second half in which Vose presented himself with the chance to slot the ball through to Hannah or Archer, instead opting to go alone. Saying that, one of his low efforts presented an open-goal to Matty Waters, marking Dom up slightly. Positive signs.
Ross Hannah – 5/10
Following a brace last Saturday, Hannah struggled to deliver in front of goal against Dagenham. Receiving excellent balls from the likes of Roberts, Crawford and Archer, Hannah’s quality didn’t shine through when one-on-one with Cousins.
Jordan Archer – 7/10
Similarly to Hannah, Jordan Archer had a difficult day in one-on-one scenarios. Despite this, a well-taken equaliser on 32 minutes increases his mark, as well as the elements of pace the forward was able to display to the travelling support, all of which were troubling for the hosts.
ATTENDANCE: 1,254 (137)
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