Marcus Bignot insists he ‘still believes’ Chester can stay up after their plight worsened with a damaging 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Gateshead.

Bignot had called for Blues supporters to rally behind his players for this crunch clash, yet you can hardly blame those who booed the side off the pitch at the interval and again at full-time after a dismal performance which leaves Chester five points adrift.

A fairly even game between two extremely cautious sides was blown wide open in a calamitous 60-second period for Chester on the stroke of half-time, as sloppy defending enabled Paddy McLaughlin and Jordan Burrows to establish a two-goal lead.

After 52 minutes it was game-over as James Preston made it three and although Harry White pulled a goal back on 69 minutes it was a case of too little too late, with Bignot’s faltering side in desperate need of victory against struggling Hartlepool United on Tuesday night.

“We’ve missed an opportunity,” Bignot said. “But as a manager I’m working on behalf of the club on the minimum resources and we’ll continue to do that.

“I spoke about the first goal and how important it would be for our players. We just didn’t give ourselves a chance, conceding three goals over the space of seven minutes. That’s what I’ve got to focus on on the training pitch, if we do go a goal down we stay in the game.

“You’ve seen in the second-half, the third is a killer blow for us because at 3-1 we had moments to get it back to 3-2 but we didn’t execute those moments.

“Gateshead a good club for this league and they’ll be fine but it’s an opportunity missed to drag somebody in. I don’t Gateshead will be in it for one minute though.

“This is the group we’ve got and we’ll go again Tuesday. I’ll pick them up and the next two games are important as we’re still on track for the points return we need in January to give ourselves a fighting chance. We’ve got two opportunities this week and I will continue to work in a positive manner.”

Asked if both he and his players still retain belief they can pull off the survival mission, Bignot replied: “I do, massively, I still believe we can achieve (survival).

“Are we fighting against all the odds? Of course we are. Is it a fair playing field? Of course it’s not. But it is what it is and these are our group and it’s my responsibility to make sure we stay in games and give ourselves an opportunity.”