CHESTER'S faltering play off chances took another blow on the road as two first half goals saw them lose to fellow promotion hopefuls Bradford Park Avenue.

Hopes had been raised that the Blues were back on track after last week's excellent display in beating Boston 4-1 at home but an eighth away defeat of the season ensured Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson's outfit lost further ground on the top eight following a poor performance in West Yorkshire.

Most of the crowd of 705 were still taking their seats and basking in the sunshine when straight from kick off Matty Waters lost the ball down the right allowing Lewis Knight to lob a deep cross into the far post. The ball looked to have swirled out and back in and with the majority of players stopping there was general disbelief when Jake Beesley nodded the ball in and the referee, Lewis Smith, after glancing at his linesman, gave the goal with no more than 30 seconds on the clock.

It was a massive blow and so credit to Chester who rolled their sleeves up set about creating a number of chances from which they should have equalised. On ten minutes there was more controversy as George Waring looked to have been fouled by the onrushing keeper Charlie Andrew only for Mr Smith to give a foul and book the protesting Waring. Five minutes later Anthony Dudley found himself with the freedom of the box after taking down a long ball but with only the keeper to beat he shot straight at Andrew.

Chester were dominating possession and Dan Mooney was next to exercise Andrew who saved well low down with his feet before a great run from Bradley Jackson down the right saw Waring go close with a glancing header.

It was a shock then that disaster struck with ten minutes left of the half when under no pressure Jackson gave the ball away to Beesley close to the half way line with the forward sprinting clear towards goal and finishing well after Grant Shenton had saved his initial effort.

A two goal deficit was harsh on Chester who could argue they were the better side before the break which made what was to follow all the more disappointing as the visitors offered virtually nothing in the second period. With Avenue content to defend a bit of imagination was need to get past the back four but Chester showed none as long ball after long ball was headed away by the impressive Adam Nowakowski and skipper Shane Killock.

Waring headed over from a corner as did Daniel Livesey but that was about as good as it got with the double substitution of Iwan Murray and Lloyd Marsh-Hughes for the ineffective wing pair Mooney and Craig Mahon doing little to shake things up until the final five minutes when another Livesey header was cleared off the line by Spencer and Murray saw a long range effort deflected off the bar.

Five minutes of extra time added little to the spectacle and Chester now face a must win game against Blyth Spartans at the Swansway Stadium if they are to stay anywhere near the promotion shake up.