After a ten day break from football, and a delayed kick-off on Think Pink day, as I approached the ground on Saturday, everything felt a bit anti-climactic. On a glorious day at The Exacta Stadium, the Blues went to the top of the league with a gritty 2-1 victory against a Histon side who certainly played above their lowly standing in the Blue Sq Bet North.
In a poor game, Chester took the lead early doors. Nathan Jarman’s shot was blocked by a Histon defenders arm, and our female referee for the day – Sarah Garratt – had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Jarman slotted home and the Blues were on the way. Sloppy defending gifted Remy Clerifa an equaliser for Histon, but it wasn’t to remain a draw, as sub Tony Gray twisted and turned, and his low cross found Antoni Sarcevic, who slotted home to wrap up all three points for Neil Young’s men, and take the Blues top of the table. Here are a few things of note from the day:
Saturday saw Neil Young’s men pick up there first penalty of the season, casting memories back two years when we couldn’t buy a penalty until November! This year it came slightly earlier, but with intrigue. Regular penalty taker Matty McGinn was sat in the stands, and after being so prolific from the spot last season, someone had to step up to the mark.
That man was Nathan Jarman.
If ever a player needed a goal, Jarmo did. A bagful went to waste against Bradford Park Avenue, but having won the penalty, he was confident enough to grab the ball and slot the ball home. As the ball hit the net, you could sense relief for the Chester striker, and the blues faithful, which can hopefully spur him on for the rest of the season.
Mixed bag from the blues on a defensive front this weekend. Untested first half, sloppy goal to concede after the break, and then relying on John Danby to save three points. A performance summed up in a sentence.
Why was it that way? First, when a player of George Horan is missing, you will always find it tougher. Paul Linwood and Dom Collins are both individually very good, but haven’t played too many games together over a prolonged period of time. This season on many occasions, it has been Horan and one other.
The understanding that Horan and Taylor had last season takes work, and you can’t expect Linwood and Collins to have that rapport immediately. I also can’t imagine Sean Clancy has been training much at left back. We weren’t convincing from set plays, and if Dom Collins wasn’t as rapid as he is, then Histon could’ve created worrying breakaways on more than one occasion.
Late on, two fantastic John Danby saves kept the three points in Chester, but on a day where we were unconvincing defensively, we still took three points. That for me is another one of the positives of Saturday.
– October and Scrappy Wins
You may not associate them together, but October and scrappy wins go hand in hand with each other. Don’t believe me? Here are the hard facts. During October in each of our first three seasons, we have scored a winning goal after the 75th minute in two games during October. The last gasp goal that turns a point into three (A draw to a victory in the case of Bradford). Have a look at this:
Oct 6th – Witton (a) – Win 3-2 – Horan 90
Oct 30th – Cammell Laird (a) – Win 2-1 – Wilde 78
Oct 8th – Chasetown (h) – 1-0 Win – Wilde 88
Oct 15th – FC United (a) – 3-2 Win – Horan 90
Oct 13th – Bishops Stortford (a) – 2-1 Win – Sarcevic 81
Oct 27th – Histon (h) – 2-1 Win – Sarcevic 82
October certainly seems to be the month Chester scrape results, and boy do we scrape results. We’ve proven over three seasons that we can turn a point into three in October, even when we are up against it. Some say it’s a sign of Champions…
– Antoni Sarcevic
Sarcevic made his Chester FC debut as an 18 year old on the first ever Think Pink day in 2010 when Chester beat Lancaster City 3-0. His debut ended early, as he was sent off, but the impression he left kept everyone talking about him – desperate for the boy wonder to come back to The Exacta Stadium.
Fast forward two years and Sarcevic – now 20 – is very much the driving force of Neil Young’s side. A regular in the centre of midfield, and a bargain at just £3k from local neighbours Crewe Alexandra, Sarcevic made it 5 goals in 7 games this season on Saturday, which – even by Ben Mills standards – is damn impressive for a young midfielder.
In pre-season, he was challenged to take over the mantle left by Alex Brown, and he’s certainly answering his managers challenge with his recent form…
– Think Pink
You can’t help but love think pink day. I walked into the ground with pink hair, a pink t-shirt, and even a pair of pink boxer shorts on. To a flippin’ football match?!?! Along side fans in pink, the players donned a special pink and blue kit, and even Cleggy got in on the action – sporting a pink cowboy hat! 4999 balloons drifting off into the air before kick off was brilliant, and a real show of support for the Breast Care unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital. After the game, another auction was held, which saw shirts top £100 on more than one occasion. I believe now the club has raised in excess of £10,000. Incredible.
Think Pink Day is something that is very close to my heart. My Mother has been diagnosed with, and beaten Breast Cancer. The last three Think Pink days have been very special to our family for obvious reasons.
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the people at the top who organised the day, and got the pink kit and everything else sorted, but also thank the regular punters who turned up wearing whatever pink item they could, and donating money to the nearest bucket. At half time as I looked into the stands, it really was littered with pink shirts, and looked a real sight.
Finally, congratulations to my girlfriend for bidding (and winning) Levi Mackin’s match worn shirt in the auction. Clever move from her, gave me her card to pay for it with, and it declined. Guess who paid? Moral of the story: never let your girlfriend bid in an auction for a pink football shirt…
Thoughts now head on to ‘el porto classico’, and Rivacre Park for the clash with Vauxhall Motors. After FC United and Witton, we’re due an October thriller, aren’t we…?!