Magno Vieira gets a couple more as Fleet take maximum points…
Three goals, three points, Fleet’s third league win in a row and their third in succession away from home, plus Magno Vieira’s third brace on the bounce, meant that a certain digit most definitely was the magic number for Liam Daish’s ever-improving squad.
An unchanged Fleet side lined up against a team in crisis, Chester without a goal in 650 minutes and with talk of unpaid players and worries about them completing fixtures. But Daish didn’t allow the Fleet to exhibit over-confidence and though they had a wobble, it was a professional performance that saw the three points returning to Kent.
The opening was fairly unremarkable, with Vieira having the Fleet’s two best chances, the first on 5 minutes saw him attempting to chip the goalkeeper but the effort was just wide. SIx minutes later it was the Brazilian again, meeting Will Salmon’s cross but just clearing the bar. But the slow pace of the game lulled the Fleet into a false sense of security and it was with a sense of foreboding that the visiting fans greeted Chester’s first league goal in 687 minutes. It arrived on the half hour when Lloyd Ellams got the better of Salmon and played in Jack Rea and the City man slotted confidently into the bottom corner.
But the Fleet aren’t the comeback kings of recent weeks for nothing and, almost like clockwork, Vieira repeated his feat of seven days earlier, netting twice in the four minutes before half-time. His equaliser saw him well-placed to convert Stefan Bailey’s cross from the left and the second, on 44 minutes, was a firm strike from the edge of the box, from a Moses Ashikodi touch, to send Fleet in at the break with a lead. It could even have been more in stoppage time when Vieira, still looking for that elusive first Fleet hat-trick in seven years, broke clear and unselfishly slipped the ball left to Alex Stavrinou but he tried to loft the ball over John Danby without luck.
It was enough to secure the points in a second half where the home side probed but couldn’t find a way through. Ashikodi came close on 69 minutes and two minutes later, Peter Holmes and Stavrinou combined, the Charlton loanee’s deft chip cleared off the line by Glenn Rule. Chester’s best efforts were a Ryan Davidson flashed shot that failed to bother Lance Cronin and on 79 minutes a deflection off Leon Crooks that almost looped over a worried Fleet keeper.
The third goal that might have eased the Fleet’s jitters should have come on 85 minutes when Ashikodi burst through the middle and was upended by Shaun Kelly. The referee seemed to point to the spot and then abruptly change his mind 30 seconds later, indicating the challenge was outside the box. Right on full time, Bailey rampaged past two Chester defenders and goalkeeper Danby had to be at his best to knock the shot wide for a corner.
All of which was enough to see the Fleet climb to 18th in the table and, though they have played more than any other team in the division, there are points starting to collect in the bag.
TEAM: Cronin, Salmon, Easton, Crooks, Charles, Stavrinou (Welsh 80), Holmes, Bailey, Shakes, Vieira (Ginty 72), Ashikodi. Subs not used: Heeroo, Pooley, West