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Sealed with a heat-seeking motherfucker CHESTER FC 1 MAIDSTONE UNITED 3 Match Report by GARTH PAXMAN ﷯ It all seemed a bit too easy. The M20? No AIDS. The M26? No AIDS. M25? No AIDS, not even at the bit around Woking and Heathrow. The M40? Still no AIDS. Birmingham? No AIDS. Seriously. None at all. How often do you get round Birmingham without any AIDS? And then it happened. Audi + Audi + National Express coach = AIDS. Right on the junction for the M54, at the point when you assume that you’re over the worst. Look no further for that metaphor ladies and gentlemen: it was a worrying interlude, but the moment passed. We’ll be relegated one day, but not this season. This was a great day, or at least it was a great day for everyone who hadn't emotionally invested in it not being a great day and who subsequently had to work out whether it was better to let go of the rising balloon of cockwombliscous online commentary, or to cling on and look ever more shitgibbonistic. Was it ever in any doubt? Well yes was the honest answer, with most people admitting they’d started to worry after Solihull, one of the least defensible performances this season. Even last week’s karma-stabilising win over Fylde hadn’t completely soothed the nerves. Stats? When Iniesta 2 scored in the 32nd minute it was the first time we’d led a league match by more than one goal since Boxing Day at Dover. That doesn’t sound great, but when the final whistle went it was the first time we’d either won or lost a game by more than a goal since Fylde away, back in January. There have only been half a dozen games this season when our opponents have really been comfortable going into stoppage time and as grim as the winless run was, how many times have we really been bad this season? Bromley, Boreham Wood, Orient and Barrow at home, arguably, Solihull, Fylde and Tranmere away … otherwise the games were decided by fine margins and for a while we kept a running accumulator of the number of points we’d lost due to rank decisions by the officials until it started getting ridiculous. There’s no way they even themselves out over the course of this season, although Chester certainly felt we got a measure of compensation yesterday. Their Main Standers may not be in the Stonebridge Road class when it comes to manufactured outrage, but they were irate for most of the 90 minutes yesterday, giving a lie to the idea that as they were already relegated they’d take this easy. They fielded a combination of clever young players, wiser old heads and Ryan Astles. This mixture of technique, pride and lumbering shitcuntage made for an entertaining game for “the neutral”, whoever the fuck (s)he is. They made the better start, thrice opening us up and seeing a goal disallowed for a posthumous offside flag, but collectively they always looked like dropping a bollock or ten. The keeeeeepaaaaaah is on loan from Liverpool, where he surely has a bright future. As a player hounded by tens of thousands of fans on social media for a series of match-altering fuck-ups. You thought Mignolet was gash? This boy can take the Klopp revolution (trophies to date: zero) to another level. County League-era supporters may remember Jason Reeves, who was once described by Ernie Munn thus: “He’s got a cracking pair of thighs, but he can’t kick a ball.” Firth was like Reeves, minus the cracking pair of thighs. Or the ability to catch. In fairness he wasn’t helped by his defence, whose clearances were equally inept. So frequently did the ball loop up into the air before landing just outside the area we had to check their wasn’t a howling gale blowing across the Dee Estuary. On 18 minutes The Turginator surged into the box, where he was needlessly nudged in the back. He stuck the penalty into the bottom corner, just beyond the keeeepaaaaah’s dive. Not long after that he flapped at a cross and in the ensuing melee Ted tried to get a foot on the loose ball. He was entitled to go for it but the crowd and the home players whinged for long enough to convince the ref he deserved a booking. The next fuck up saw the ball cleared barely beyond the edge of the 2. Iniesta 2 beat one man, advanced on goal, rounded the keeeeepaaaaahhhh and picked his spot. 2-0 up against opponents dropping more bollocks than a juggler with Parkinson’s disease and we may not have been “chez nous et sec” but at least we’d got past Birmingham without any AIDS. A couple of minutes after that, however, we ran into trouble like a National Express bus ramming an Audi, when Ted went in for a tackle. Cue howls of derision and a referee incapable of realising that not every foul is worthy of a booking. Chester had successfully McMahoned us down to 10 men and seconds after the restart his replacement, The Governor, was booked for a foul that looked innocuous from the main stand but admittedly looked less clever on the highlights. (And for the record Turgo and Iniesta 2 both committed fouls that probably should have drawn yellow cards and didn’t). Just as it looked like we might survive a period of sustained Chester pressure, Gillian shanked a clearance and one of Chester’s talented foetuses headed in, cueing an almighty bollocking for Gillian from his manager, who looked angrier than a Wenger Outist who’d just been deprived of his reason for living. Needing to stabilise we brought Wraighty on for Coker, and it worked. After 20 minutes with almost no possession at all we finally started to hold it up. And 16 minutes from time we took a two-goal lead for the first time since ... the 57th minute. Astles might be one of Chester’s more experienced players, but he assumed the referee would blow for what he felt was a foul by Iniesta 2. Or maybe, given that he was breathing out of his arse at that point, he just stopped playing and hoped the ref would bail him out. The ball fell to Krishna who unleashed a heat-seaking motherfucker of a 25-yarder that the keeeeeeepaaaaaaaah could only touch against the post before it rebounded into the net. Cueing absolute fucking scenes. The away end lost its shit. The bench lost its shit. The commentators lost their shit, before realising that as they were in the middle of a Main Stand filled with Chester fans they’d need to relocate their shit quickly. A fan lost his wig and the Turginator put in on for a laugh. Didn't he realise you can get booked for that sort of thing? In theory Chester could still have mounted a comeback, but the air had gone out of the stadium and Turgo in particular was cleverly running out the clock, running into areas where he could while away 20 seconds at a time. Not long after we scored we heard Woking had conceded an equaliser, which chilled everyone out even more. By the time they hit a late winner most of us were pleased, given that it increases the chances of us making an hour’s trip to Surrey next year instead of the slog to Barrow. They might both survive if Dagenham are as fucked as they seem to be, but this is no longer our problem. According to a Chester official we were the loudest fans to have visited Chester all season, other than Wrexham and Tranmere, who are both (1) fucking massive and (2) only 20 minutes away. The size of the visiting contingent clearly took them by surprise and no one had the imagination to open up the entirely vacant section behind the goal, which was occupied by two stewards and a flag. Outside the ground Bill Williams waded into a crowd of drinkers and started singing “We are staying up!” Les Apps by contrast was having a quiet one, limiting himself to just the 14 pints of Bishop's Ringpiece.