CHESTER FC drew a blank for the third successive game as their Buildbase FA Trophy third qualifying round tie with near neighbours Southport finished goalless in a dreadfully dull encounter.

With the Sandgrounders fielding former Blues Ryan Astles and Jordan Archer and ex-Blues manager Jon McCarthy now assistant to Liam Watson at Haig Avenue perhaps familiarity bred contempt but this was a game when both sides looked like they had bigger fish to fry in the coming weeks.

Two successive corners for Chester in the first minute of the game promised a half of thrills and spills but sadly what followed was a total non-event of a half as both sides cancelled each other out.

Adam Dawson had the first sight of goal when he placed a free kick straight into keeper Daniel Hanford's arms on 17 minutes with Anthony Dudley fashioning the only real chance of the opening period when just before the half hour he latched on to a flick on, turned quickly and tapped a weak shot past Hanford's upright.

From then on indiscipline took over with Steve Howson's booking proving to be the first of three into the book inside the first 45 minutes as Simon Grand and Dawson followed suit.

Logic dictated things had to improve after the break but no one told the participants with long balls, lost possession and overhit crosses the order of the day and chances at a premium.

The Sandgrounders had a rare sight of goal after an hour when Jordan Richards hit a long range shot straight at Grant Shenton before Gary Roberts finished off a nice Chester move with a wayward drive.

Dawson was swapped for Deane Smalley with 25 minutes left with Southport boss Liam Dawson reacting with a double substitution of his own as Devarn Green and Morgan Homson-Smith entered the fray.

The hosts responded with Shenton producing a brilliant one-handed save from a Dion Charles volley before Dan Mooney finally produced a quality delivery only to see Craig Mahon fluff his lines at the far post.

At last we had a game and suddenly with ten minutes left the hosts looked a threat with Chester also posing questions on the break. Charles dragged a shot wide and Mooney drove a curler over as the sides swapped chances.

In the last minute Luke Jordan's introduction proved the last throw of the dice for Morley and Johnson but this was a game that had 0-0 written all over it and when the final whistle came it was a blessed relief.