Marcus Bignot insists Chester’s disappointment at failing to beat Leyton Orient shows how far his side are progressing.
The Blues led 2-1 at the break at Brisbane Road after a dramatic opening 45 minutes, which saw goals from James Akintunde and Ross Hannah’s stunning free-kick find the net, although 31-year-old striker Hannah missed a guilt-edged chance to extend the lead as he missed a penalty, with O’s defender James Sendles-White sent off for hauling down Nyal Bell.
Bignot, whose side remain 21st in the National League table, three points behind fellow strugglers Orient, was ‘delighted’ with the application of his players, who were down to the ‘bare bones’ with a host of injuries ravaging the squad.
“Obviously we’re disappointed as it’s an opportunity missed first and foremost to get three points,” he said.
“But I’m delighted with this group and where it’s going. To come away to Leyton Orient after the week we’ve had be disappointed we haven’t won a game shows we’re in the right direction.
“We were down to bare bones again and yet again the players have done Chester and the supporters proud.
“We’ve had to change systems quite a few times to get a foothold back in the game but we were just limited in terms of how we were able to affect the game off the bench but I am delighted with the players efforts.
“We’re evolving, getting mentally stronger. We’re improving in all areas and I think everyone can see it, the supporters can see it, there’s a belief in that dressing room.
“We’ve had two testing away trips and we’ve gone two games unbeaten so now it goes on to Saturday, the televised game against Dagenham and if we can get a home win, then it’ll have been a really good, productive week.”
Asked about the controversial equaliser which didn’t appear to cross the line, Bignot replied with a smirk: “It’s a goal isn’t it? The referee gave it so it’s a goal.”
Despite the setback of surrendering a winning position in north-east London, Bignot is confident his improving team will haul themselves out of trouble, starting with Saturday’s visit of Dagenham and Redbridge, set to be screened live on BT Sport (12.30pm).
“Our season isn’t going to be determined on this one moment, our season will be determined on how we're getting better,” he continued.
“That’s my 10th (league) game now and if you look at the form in those games, in terms of a points return, if that averaged out we wouldn’t be in the bottom four.
“That suggests we’re going in the right direction and there’s still lots more to come as we’ve still got a lot missing.
“This group has gone in disappointed to draw a match. When we first came in they were used to being disappointed for losing games, another game lost. Now it’s disappointment about an opportunity to beat a former Football League club that’s lost.
“We’ve played some really good football lately but we were disappointed at the way we failed to keep the ball in the second-half. We still got into goalscoring opportunities but we failed to convert those chances. We’ll learn from it and only be better.”
With a groin injury sidelining Jordan Archer and Harry White also on the treatment table, Bignot signed forward Jorome Slew ahead of Tuesday’s draw at Orient, and explained how the youngster who has impressed at Goole now has a real opportunity to impress.
“I’ll have to stop joking about driving and picking someone up on the way if they fancy a game, but it’s getting to that point,” he explained.
“We’ve lost Jordan Archer, Harry White, so we felt with only Nyal, Ross and Aki in the building, if we lose one of them we really are struggling so we needed a body to come.
“Jorome has come in and now has an opportunity. Who’d have thought he’d come in from Goole and he’s come on with the chance to win us a game at a Football League club.”
See full story in the Chester Leader