When Chester FC hosts Boston in the National League North on Saturday, Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson will want to bounce back from Southport’s 3-2 loss.
After a thrilling 3-2 victory over Gloucester four days earlier, the Blues’ hopes of building on that success were dashed by their poor performance in the first half, leaving them trailing 3-1 at halftime.
Johnson did not hold back in his evaluation, reporting: “It was the worst half of the season so far.
“This season, we played 3-5-2 games three or four times. Overall, it has been a good fit for us, but Saturday, there were a lot of gaps and open spaces, which was ridiculous.
“The shape of the team worked in our favour against Kettering, and we stayed narrow and compact. Our opponents had no space to exploit. On Saturday, the team was permitted to run at us as soon as they received the ball.
“The one thing we emphasize is the impact on the man with the ball by keeping their heads down so they cannot get on the half-turn. I think that on Saturday we broke our rules for the game.
“To our credit, we handled the issue at halftime and looked much better organized after that. We scored soon after, but we were already down 3-1 at that point.
“I’m talking about things we’ve spoken about before. The hope of scoring two or three late goals cannot be our strategy. We cannot do so.
“In previous games, we have been able to limit opposition opportunities. On Saturday, we didn’t do that. As a result, the first half was disappointing. In the first 45 minutes, the shape of the team was poor and individual performances were inadequate. That’s all there is to it.
“The truth is we have said numerous times that we are more than satisfied with it. We have to hold our hands up when we pick our teams, whether a 5-3-2, a 4-4-2, or a 4-3-3.
Anthony Dudley’s penalty cancelled Jack Bainbridge’s ninth-minute opener after a handball in the 34th minute. Although the Blues had gotten back into the game, they made it difficult when they conceded to Jordan Archer and Marcus Carver at 37 and 40, respectively.
Paddy Lacey scored 3-2 in the second half after George Glendon’s excellent ball was delivered into the area. But that wasn’t enough to prevent Chester from losing in a game that leaves them in 14th place ahead of their visit to fourth-place Boston.