A FURIOUS Bernard Morley admitted he was "embarrassed" after watching Chester's faltering play off chances take another blow as two first half goals saw them lose at fellow promotion hopefuls Bradford Park Avenue.

Hopes had been raised that the Blues' season was 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 Morley and and co-manager Anthony Johnson's outfit lost further ground on the top seven following a poor defensive performance in West Yorkshire.

Chester went behind after just 30 seconds when Jake Beesley took advantage of a statuesque visiting defence by heading in a cross most in the ground believed had gone out for a goal kick before the Salford City loanee doubled his tally after accepting a gift from Blues defender Bradley Jackson and finding the net on 35 minutes.

"Even in the under-6s you play to the whistle and the whistle wasn't blown," said Morley on Beesley's controversial opener. "I will say the officials looked confused and we looked confused. All I know is that Bradford scored and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb straightaway.

"This is a place where you come and whenever you concede first they will slow the game down and hide balls and we knew that - that's game management and fair play to them, they frustrated us.

"The lads are going to get criticised and we are going to get criticised and rightly so because it’s laughable and I haven't got the answers. "I'm actually a bit embarrassed by what I've watched today."

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 Beesley nodded the ball in and the referee pointed to the centre spot.

It was a massive blow and so credit must go to Chester who rolled their sleeves up and 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 referee Lewis 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 of 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.

"We looked frail all over the pitch," added Morley, with Chester remaining in eighth place but four points off the play-offs.

"We don't look for excuses and we deserve whatever is thrown at us today and we have to take our medicine. It was a shambles. I get picked to manage a group of players and I won't pass the buck, it was not good enough.

"If these lads can’t learn from that then there’s nobody in the world that can coach them. It’s the basics that I think we aren’t getting right. It's been like that since Christmas, forget the injuries the lads coming in can't do it either.

"We ran out of ideas and became predictable. For 90 minutes we chased our first touch throughout the team. I won't be defending anything that we've done or the lads have done today. It can only improve and it can't get worse than it was today. There will be criticism thrown at me and Jonno again and we deserve it."