By Ryan Fisher – Reporter
A last-gasp goal cost the football 3rd team a point as they lost 3-2 against University of Chester 1sts at the Sports Arena
The game was level at 2-2 heading into the final moments when the away side slotted home the winner.
UCLan started the game on the front foot, creating a number of chances early on.
George Bradshaw struck the post with a stunning effort from a free-kick on the edge of the box.
Striker Evans Ofori should’ve scored on two separate occasions from close range, but was denied after a top-quality tackle from a Chester centre-half.
Ofori did open the scoring soon afterwards, converting a tidy finish after a wonderfully-timed through ball from Connor Grant.
Less than five minutes after UCLan took the lead, Chester should have levelled, but keeper Matty Duckworth made a terrific save from a one-on-one opportunity.
Chester were dominant after the opening goal, which resulted in a spectacular strike from the edge of the box that put Chester on terms after 25 minutes.
Chester were still in control after the leveller; the game was becoming increasingly physical, with the referee coming under pressure for a few questionable decisions, displaying leniency that allowed the game to spiral out of control.
With the game reaching fever pitch, the Chester captain flew into a two-footed challenge on UCLan’s Luke Rathbone, leaving the referee no choice but to dismiss the Chester number four.
The horror challenge left Rathbone with a gash in his leg that forced him off, replaced by Kuda Mutambirwa.
The change forced Aidan McDonnell back into defence, after he had looked confident and assured on the ball in midfield.
The red card changed the complexion of the game, with UCLan taking control of possession before the break, without creating too much in the way of chances on goal.
UCLan 3rd were in the ascendancy after the short half-time break.
After a quiet first half, Darragh Boyle was a constant threat to Chester, and proved his worth with a spectacular glancing finish from the left by-line to put UCLan back into the lead.
Going behind for the second time spurred on the Chester side, who were on top of an end-to-end second half.
Chester forced a triple save from UCLan keeper Duckworth, and a clearance off the line from Aidan McDonnell.
The referee came under increasing amounts of pressure as he shrugged away penalty appeals from the UCLan management, with Evans Ofori constantly a threat up front.
The creativity of Connor Grant and Marcus Barlow was causing the Chester defence serious issues as the second half progressed.
However, before UCLan could turn their dominance into a substantial lead, Chester levelled the match at 2-2, capitalising upon poor defending from the home side, slotting away a tidy finish.
The UCLan coach was dismissed by the referee after an angry reaction to a decision from the official.
The closing stages of the match were cagey to say the least, as neither side wanted to give the game away.
More poor defending from UCLan cost them dear as they allowed the Chester centre forward to seal the winning goal, with just a few minutes to spare.
The home side’s frustrations were all too apparent in the closing stages as, shockingly, Marcus Barlow received two yellow cards within a minute for dissent, and became the second player to be dismissed.