A LATE goal from Cody Bishop ensured goal-shy Chester fell to a second defeat in three games as Leamington FC made the Blues pay for a catalogue of missed chances following a disappointing display in leafy Warwickshire.

Coming just days after a goalless draw at York this was a chastening result for joint managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley who now have to deal with an untimely blow to Chester’s title chances following their 11 game unbeaten run.

On a heavy pitch Chester struggled for much of the half and were lucky not to fall behind as Leamington, who lay in 13th place in the National League North before kick off, created a host of decent chances in the opening stages.

Perhaps the best came as early as the fourth minute as the Blues defence failed to deal with a long clearance allowing Callum Gittings to run clear only to see his shot saved well by Grant Shenton.

Four minutes later Jack Edwards had a chance blocked before Chester’s luck continued when Kieran Dunbar dribbled his way to the byline before Shenton parried at the near post.

Chester were under the cosh and their frustration spilled over in the 23rd minute when skipper Gary Roberts launched into a late challenge on Junior English and earned himself a booking and a suspension for the league visit of Darlington.

Just before the half hour Chester had their first glimpse of the Leamington goal as Steve Howson rose well to head over a Dan Mooney corner but it was only brief respite from the pressure before Shenton was called into action again with a save from a Jamie Hood header and an easier block from a Connor Taylor effort.

With ten minutes of the half remaining Chester finally began to enjoy some sustained possession and were rewarded with the best chance of the half as defender Simon Grand planted a header smack against the bar with the host’s keeper Tony Breeden reacting brilliantly to save Grand’s second volleyed effort.

The second half saw the pattern of the game continue with each side trading chances and Taylor unlucky not to give Leamington the lead with a fine volleyed shot from the edge of the area which was tipped away by a diving Shenton.

Chester responded with Breeden coping well with a Adam Dawson shot before Howson wasted a golden opportunity from the resulting corner, somehow scooping an effort over the bar from close range with the keeper stranded.

When a Grand header was cleared off the line it felt like Chester were finally gaining the upper hand as the game entered its last quarter but the frustration continued as Craig Mahon became the latest to be denied by Breeden.

With so many chances going begging there was always the chance that Chester would be made to pay and in the 82nd minute the opener finally went Leamington’s way as a strong effort from Taylor was pushed out by a diving Shenton only for Bishop to pounce on the rebound and slide an effort into the net.

The goal felt terminal for Chester despite Mani Dieseruvwe and Deane Smalley being thrown on for the final stages and when a Mooney effort in the closing seconds was saved again by the outstanding Breeden it was game over for the Blues.