Chester’s third match of the season saw Chester’s third defeat of the season as the Blues struggled to breakdown a 10 man Woking side. A very even first half saw a number of hard challenges come in from both sides, with tempers rising as a result. Nathan Turner was on the end of a needless foul and an even more needless vague headbutt, which saw the Woking man sent off. Chester failed to capitalise on the numerical advantage however, as strikerless Woking out-struck a poor Chester attack. Here are a few thoughts I had once I’d stopped screaming “WE’RE DOOMED” to the people in the Aldi car park.
1. What are we trying to do?
Obviously, we want to win matches, but I really can’t work out how we’re trying to go about doing it. The last three teams had styles of play which were reasonably easy to pick out: Barnet’s controlled passing game, Hereford’s solid team making the most of set pieces and finally, Woking’s stick men behind the ball and nick a goal when possible. All styles have their up sides and down sides, but the team will know what to do with the ball when they get it, because they are used to playing in a certain way.
Now, consider Chester. We’re not a controlled passing team, though we do try to do this (noticeably against Hereford), we’re not a solid team, though we try to do this (noticeably against Barnet) and we’re not a stick men behind the ball team because we seem incapable of nicking a goal. So, what are we trying to do? The players don’t seem to know, as shown by our disjointed performances so far, and it certainly isn’t obvious to me. Chester need to choose a way of playing and stick to it. It’s the only way we’ll improve.
2. Set pieces
I think Woking’s second goal makes it four set piece goals conceded so far this season. This obviously needs to change! It isn’t quite a simple as marking their tallest players with our tallest players – we need to stop giving away silly free kicks in dangerous areas and the players need to take responsibility for clearing the ball.
At 0-0 Seddon hit the post with a cracking header, Linwood stretched for the rebound but could only smash it over. If we’d have scored we’d have won the game. Simple. Whilst you can’t really fault Seddon for hitting the post, we need to take these chances when they arrive – we’re punished when we don’t.
4. Backing off
Why do our defenders keep backing off from the forwards? Linwood was especially bad for this and it allowed players to have a touch or two, turn, look around, finish the crossword and pick out a teammate or the top corner of the net from 25 yards. Yes, we can’t let players get in behind (though Danby was excellent when that did happen early in the match), but surely letting them do what they want while you stand nearby is not helping? Defending isn’t always about putting the tackle in, it’s about pressuring the attack, not letting them go where they want. That needs to be learnt, very quickly.
Amazingly, there are some positives to be taken from the game, despite missing out on what was our best chance of three points this month. The Turners continue to look good. Danby is solid as ever. Horan still put in cracking tackles and Jarrett had his best game in a Chester shirt. There is the makings of a team in there, somewhere. Their number 5 also had a brilliant beard.
Well, that’s all I can deal with for today. As ever, keep the faith – we’ll be alright come the end of the season. Thanks to everyone who bought a copy of the latest fanzine. If you missed us you can buy it from Hawarden Post Office, Bluecoat Books (1 City Walls), the club shop, and this very website.