Chester City 0 Rochdale 0

Nine-man Chester held out to doggedly earn a point in a full-blooded encounter.

The second-half dismissals of Paul Carden and Cortez Belle, both receiving straight red cards, left Chester hanging on in a game which had always looked destined to be a goal-less affair.

Rochdale's Taiwo Atieno hit a shot into the side netting inside the first minute, and at the other end Stewart Drummond unleashed a shot that was gathered by Matthew Gilks.

On the half-hour mark Atieno looked odds on to score until a last-ditch block from Ben Davies denied his goalbound effort.

Three minutes before the interval, Chester 'keeper Chris MacKenzie produced an excellent save at his near post to deny a stinging left-foot drive from Leo Bertos.

Chester manager Ian Rush opted to replace Kevin Rapley with the more physical presence of Belle at the start of the second-half.

Dale then threatened the Chester goal with a thunderous effort by Paul Tait, forcing a reflex save from MacKenzie.

Chester then lost two men from the field with two quick dismissals. First, Carden received a red card after 70 minutes, seemingly given when he continued to dispute a decision with the linesman.

Soon following him to the dressing room was Belle, who saw red after elbowing Gareth Griffiths in the 83rd minute.

Despite their numerical advantage, the visitors were unable to break down the stubborn Chester defence. Gary Jones went closest with his low shot appearing destined for the bottom corner until MacKenzie superbly palmed it wide to ensure that the honours remained even.