Chester earned a hard-fought but deserved point on the South coast, as they drew 2-2 with fellow strugglers Eastleigh.
Goals from the Spitfires’ Ben Williamson and Gary McSheffrey were cancelled out in the second half by James Akintunde and centre-half Ryan Astles.
Saturday’s match was the rearranged tie from September’s postponement, just hours before kickoff, leaving the visitors wanting revenge ahead of Wednesday night’s Cross-Border Derby.
The Blues lined up, once again, with 3 in defence, whilst Lathaniel Rowe-Turner and Reece Hall-Johnson did the dirty work on the wings.
Injuries to John McCombe and Alex Lynch saw Jordan Gough line-up in the centre of defence, whilst Conor Mitchell started between the sticks. Further injuries to Paul Turnbull and Tom Shaw left the Blues with a lack of midfield options, thus opting for two in the centre of midfield, with three forwards completing the lineup.
However, it was the hosts that took the lead early on. A slow start from the Blues allowed Ben Williamson the ball on the edge of the box, firing home to give Eastleigh the lead.
Chester almost responded immediately, a long ball played down the left-hand side found Akintunde, who was on the wing for the day. He managed to round the keeper from 20 yards out and find Ross Hannah, but his effort was superbly stopped on the line by the Spitfires’ Howe.
Chester were once again creating chances, a Lucas Dawson free-kick was flicked on by Ryan Astles, but Jordan Archer couldn’t get his shot away from 6-yards.
Chester then had their third huge miss of the first half, Rowe-Turner’s excellent cross found Kingsley James at the back post, but his effort was sliced wide. Three efforts that perhaps should all have been converted.
The Blues went into the break the better side, but a goal behind and this only got worse at the start of the second half. A sumptuous cross from Yeates found the head of Gary McSheffrey, who beat Conor Mitchell at his near post.
However the hosts’ two-goal lead was not to last, Kingsley James made a superb run down a left-hand side and cut the ball back for James Akintunde, who was never missing from 10-yards. 2-1 on the hour mark.
The Blues missed two more great chances in the final ten minutes. Firstly, Lucas Dawson struck a powerful shot which narrowly flew over, before a Ryan Astles header was superbly kept out by Ross Flitney.
Fligney was again called into action, but was instead rounded by James Akintunde who’s cutback didn’t find the feet of a Chester player.
However, the visitors did eventually find the equaliser, and deservedly so. Lucas Dawson’s corner was met by Ryan Astles, whose header was too far into the corner for Flitney to reach.
Eastleigh began to press in the closing stages of stoppage time, but it was too late as both sides shared the spoils on the South Coast.
Attendance: 1868 (138 Chester)