CHESTER’S joint manager Bernard Morley praised his side’s never say die attitude after Dan Mooney’s incredible injury time strike salvaged a 2-2 draw for the off-colour Blues against an impressive Brackley Town.

In the days proceeding this match, Morley’s fellow joint manager Anthony Johnson had talked up this game as a yardstick with which to measure his side’s title ambitions but for much of the game Chester were a poor second to the hosts who took the lead twice in the second half before Mooney’s 20 yard volley flew past home keeper Danny Lewis in the 92nd minute to complete a memorable brace for the Welsh winger and extend the Blues’ unbeaten run in the league to ten games.

Morley said: "I think we’ve been rewarded again for that belief that we can get back in the game.

“But what a finish from the kid…he’s got it in his locker and when he tries things people might think ‘what’s he doing?’ But he’s capable of it and he’s shown again twice today that he’s a match-winner. I know we’ve not won the game but it’s as good as a win."

Before kick off the crowd at St James Park were entertained by the Brackley and District Brass Band but in all honesty it was a first half in which both sides failed to hit the high notes as two well organised teams cancelled each other out.

The hosts had the best of the opening encounters with Lee Ndlovu causing an early scare for the Blues with a mazy run and curling shot which was beaten away by a diving Grant Shenton.

From then on it became something of a war of attrition with a flooded midfield ensuring there was little space for any creativity and Chester’s back four snuffing out the sporadic Buckley attacks.

Salford City loanee Manny Dieseruvwe, making his first start for the Blues, was a willing focal point up front and on 20 minutes he carved out the first chance for the visitors with a sharp turn and shot in the area, which was saved by Danny Lewis.

A renewed sense of purpose after the interval saw Brackley take the game to Chester and the breakthrough came nine minutes later thanks to some slack defending from the Blues who lost Ndlovu in the box allowing the striker to place a free header that superbly saved by Shenton only for Shane Byrne to drill home the loose ball past the prone keeper.

The Chester response was immediate and effective with their first foray forward seeing Dieseruvwe lay the ball off to Mooney on the edge of the area before the midfielder’s sweet shot took a slight deflection and curled beyond Lewis into the top right corner of the net.

As the saying goes 'you’re never more vulnerable than after you’ve scored' and less than a minute later the Blues obliged with some poor defending allowing Lowe to cut in from the right before passing to Byrne, who tiptoed his way through the heart of the defence and toe poked the ball beyond Shenton.

Three goals in nine minutes and the game was transformed with both sides taking advantage of the newly appeared space in both halves and Lowe was the next to try his luck with a low drive from 20 yards which flew narrowly wide.

With ten minutes left on the clock the ineffective Anthony Dudley was taken off for John Pritchard as Chester began the push to get level against a Brackley side prepared to hold on to their lead.

Dieseruvwe went close with a long distance effort before Deane Smalley came on for Steve Howson leaving the Blues with three at the back.

With gaps appearing all over the place, Byrne missed a good opportunity to complete his hat-trick, dragging his shot wide with the goal at his mercy before James Armson repeated the trick just moments later.

As injury time beckoned, joint managers Morley and Johnson threw on Luke Jordan for Dieseruvwe, but it was Mooney who grabbed the headlines when he swivelled on the edge of the area before unleashing an unstoppable volley with virtually the last kick of the game to claim the most unlikely of points.

Morley added: "We were poor, we were really poor and it’s as poor as we’ve been all season, but we found a way to get back in the game.

“I think we were brave with our substitutions in terms of the formation because we went three at the back and three up top and we’ve been rewarded for that, but the lads know that they weren’t at the races today and no matter how we prepare for games, it just shows you that it’s on the day.

“That’s as good as I’ve ever seen Brackley play and we’ve got a 2-2 draw here despite not getting out of first gear against a team we believe played one of their better games – that’s a massive plus for us.”