CHESTER joint manager Bernard Morley did not hold back after watching his side fall to a second successive defeat as they fell to a 2-0 loss at fellow promotion chasers Spennymoor Town.

Goals in either half from Ryan Hall and the prolific Glen Taylor ensured the Blues, for whom Gary Roberts missed a 55th minute penalty, lost more ground on those teams around them meaning Anthony Johnson and Morley's men are now eighth in the table and outside the play off positions on goal difference.

"It's not acceptable," said Morley. "I just feel in terms of quality we are really lacking in a lot of areas - the final ball, the desire to be on the front man and the desire to get numbers in the box was non-existent today and it has been over the last couple of weeks.

"We've lost our identity and I don't know what we are anymore. In terms of application it’s not what we are. In terms of desire and determination, we’ve lost that bit between our teeth which we need to get back as soon as possible before it’s too late.

"When you see three or four players wanting to take the penalty when they all know who the penalty taker is, it's never a good sign and it shows a lack of character in the dressing room. What we were was really hard to beat and all of a sudden we're getting undone by the basics of football which we can't coach - it's down to the individuals in terms of decision making and that was what was poor today and that was collectively all over the pitch."

A much changed Chester line up saw new signing George Waring make his debut up front with Scott Burton returning in midfield to skipper the side following a long lay off. Matty Thomson also retuned at right back with Dan Mooney and Craig Mahon dropping to the bench.

The Blues began well with Burton immediately making the midfield look a more compact unit and Waring a willing runner and not afraid to use his physical presence to unsettle the Moors' defence.

At the back Simon Grand and Steve Howson were in commanding form as they coped admirably with the huge Brewery Field slope and a swirling wind and for much of the opening 25 minutes the Blues looked comfortable.

All that changed soon after when a through ball found the league's top scorer Taylor in a one on one with Grant Shenton who flew off his line to smother the shot. It was a warning for the Blues that wasn't heeded as just a minute later an almost identical pass found Hall who kept his composure to round Shenton and pass the ball into an empty net.

It was a blow for Chester and forced a rethink after the break with George Green coming on for Sean McAllister as the visitors looked for some more creativity in the middle of the park.

The Blues suddenly looked far more of a threat and ten minutes into the half they had their chance when Waring was hauled down in the box by James Curtis and the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Roberts but his low shot to the keeper's right was brilliantly saved by Matthew Gould before Green's diving header from the rebound flew over the post.

To their credit the visitors responded well and almost went level when Burton got his head to an excellent Grand cross only to see the effort fly just wide of the post.

Mooney replaced Bradley Jackson as Chester continued to press but it was Spennymoor who had the next chance when a free kick found Taylor in the box whose shot flashed narrowly wide.

The hosts made a change of their own bringing on former Chester striker Shaun Tuton and moments later they found the decisive second goal as Taylor advanced into the box before wrong footing Dan Livesey and shooting through the defender's legs past an unsighted Shenton.

Six minutes of added time proved no help to Chester and it was Spennymoor who finished the stronger as the Blues were left contemplating a long journey south with much to ponder.

"Maybe it's a lack of confidence," added Morley, who now has a free Saturday next week to further prepare the team for a trip to Kidderminster. "We got ourselves to third in the league and we had numerous chances to go top but we never took them so there was a sign early doors that we weren't brave enough. I look back on the last seven weeks and we've won two games in our last nine but we're still there in and around the mix for the play offs. If we can put any sort of form together we're back in it.

"Today is the first time we can't make excuses with the squad we've turned up with. We were strong today, had good options on the bench and a good starting 11 so there can be no excuses."