Tragic events in Chester’s Harry MacNally Terrace overshadowed what was one of the Vanarama National League’s best matches of the season.
A Chester fan was taken ill after suffering a suspected heart attack in the terrace behind the goal. The game went on without delay, despite a huge influx of paramedics entering the Harry Mac to attend to the stricken fan. Whilst writing this, I have heard the tragic news that the fan has passed away. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. A devastating time to be a Blue.
The match went on, however, but every set of eyes in the stadium was on the Harry Mac. The scoring opened in the opening five minutes from the spot. Evan Horwood was brought down, outside of the box, but the referee made the wrong decision and awarded the penalty. James Alabi did what he does best and stuck it in the top left corner, advantage Blues.
As the whole stadium stood and applauded the work of the ambulance service, Tranmere hammered on the door and could have got what they deserved, Harris blasting a shot over and Mekki dragging a shot wide of Alex Lynch’s goal.
3 minutes of first half stoppage time followed, in which Durrell smacked his free-kick off of the upright. The Half-Time whistle blew and Chester had a lead to defend.
HALF TIME: Chester 1-0 Tranmere Rovers.
It took under 10 minutes of the second half for Tranmere to get what they deserved, an equaliser. Jay Harris hitting the ball first time from the edge of the box, finding the far corner of the Chester goal. Chester had to respond quickly….and they did.
As little as 10 minutes later, Chester regained the lead. Ryan Astles had done brilliantly to head home from Ryan Lloyd’s superb corner. Ryan Astles, the same man who volleyed home an equaliser at Prenton Park earlier in the season to level the match, in stoppage time, for the Blues. Once again, advantage Chester. Were they on their way to a famous derby victory?
Apparently not, Tranmere managed to level up an already scintillating derby. James Norwood heading home at the back post, a header that the Chester back line did terribly in dealing with. The game could have gone either way, and it did.
Andy Cook lashed the ball past Lynch from the edge of the 18-yard box. A crushing blow for the Blues, a goal that could make Tranmere’s season.
Seven minutes of stoppage time was not enough for the Blues to get back into the game, and it finished 3-2 to Rovers at the Deva. Horrible.
FULL TIME: Chester 2-3 Tranmere Rovers