IN-FORM Chester are feeling the effects of a congested fixture schedule, according to joint-manager Anthony Johnson.

The Blues stretched their unbeaten run to 11 games and moved to within a point of National League North leaders Chorley with a nervy 3-2 home victory over Nuneaton on Tuesday night.

A convincing home win looked imminent after strikes from Danny Livesey, Anthony Dudley and teenager Dan Mooney (left) put Chester 3-0 ahead against the league’s basement side.

But Nuneaton hit back with two goals in the final half hour to set up a tense finale, with Johnson admitting that fatigue had taken a toll on his players in recent weeks.

Reflecting on the result in his post-match interview, he said: “When the final whistle goes and Gary Stopforth is lying on the pitch and can’t walk get up to walk off then you know it’s been tough.

“We’ve gone Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday in the space of two weeks and it looked like it really caught up with us tonight.

“They were bottom of the league and we all know about their problems off the pitch but they played like they didn’t have a care in the world. They are a tough team and it’s difficult when you are playing against ten attackers who are picking up space.

“On the counter and in transition we should have killed them, but we didn’t have the legs and didn’t do it tonight. Nobody can question our fitness levels, stamina or our work rate because we’re a fit and organised side.

“I just think tonight it caught up with us and their gung-ho approach to ‘we’ll leave four or five men in your half’ caused us one or two issues.

“On another day Gary Stopforth of Gary Roberts would have come off, they couldn’t move. We’ve got wingers on the bench, a centre forward on the bench and we had to play through it.”

The title-chasing Blues return to action at home to Altrincham on Saturday.