CHESTER joint manager Bernard Morley insisted on collective responsibility after his side crumbled to a 4-0 defeat at Altrincham thanks to a second half horror show following the 51st minute dismissal of skipper Scott Burton.

Burton's sending off was pivotal after an encouraging first half saw Chester dominate possession and go in goalless at the break against their play off rivals, only to concede four goals following the captain's red card as Josh Hancock scored twice for the hosts between Joe Piggott's opener and John Johnson's last minute strike.

Burton later apologised publicly on Twitter for his sending off even going as far to offer to contribute to Chester fans' transport costs to the next away game but Morley was in no mood for platitudes after the final whistle.

"It took us a while to get into the game but after that we had good chances and were the better side," said Morley. "We got in at half time and it was the perfect game plan but once Scott was sent off it was doom and gloom after that.

"An apology doesn't make it right and as a man's man I don't want to go into the changing room and hear my captain say sorry because it is a token gesture. When you've been booked you can't go to ground and in my opinion it was a second yellow.

"Altrincham are a very good possession side and it is hard enough against them with 11 men. They will pass it around for 45 minutes, tire you out, suck you in and hit you on the counter like they did.

"I've never known a side who concedes goals they we do - ultimately if that is mine and Johnno's (Chester joint manager Anthony Johnson) fault it is what it is but it is something we've been working on in training. We never seem to concede those goals in training but on a match day whenever we concede a goal we just seem to crumble and it is something we are trying our best to put right."

In contrast to their last away outing, when they conceded to Bradford Park Avenue after just 30 seconds, Chester began well and through the work of the tireless Burton and Gary Roberts they were soon controlling midfield and dictating play.

Dan Mooney had the first sight of goal on ten minutes when his 25 yard pea-roller proved to hot to handle for Alty keeper Tony Thompson who dived to his left and parried the ball away.

Despite their possession this proved to be the best chance for Chester who despite some incisive play down the wing from Craig Mahon couldn't carve out any more clear openings.

At half time hopes must have been high in the Chester dressing room that a bit more effort would see the chances arrive so what happened next was as inexplicable as it was inexcusable.

Burton had been a commanding figure in the centre of the pitch,but he'd already picked up a booking for tugging Hancock's shirt when he leapt into a tackle with Sean Williams leaving the referee Mr Andrew Kitchen no choice but to brandish a second card just five minutes into the second half and moments after George Waring should have given Chester the lead when he fluffed a header from a brilliant Roberts cross.

Cue the calamity as Chester folded in alarming fashion conceding the opener a minute after Burton's dismissal when Hancock dribbled into the area down the left before squaring the ball for Piggott who slid in to get the ball over the line.

The visitors were now at sixes and sevens and 12 minutes later Alty doubled their lead when John Johnston executed a fine run to the byline and Chester could only partially clear his cross straight to Hancock who smashed the ball home from 15 yards.

Barely five minutes afterwards the game was well and truly up for Chester when Altrincham notched up a third with 20 minutes remaining when Grant Shenton spilled a headed effort from Jake Moult with the loose ball finding Hancock who bundled the ball home from close range.

Sean McAllister and Ben McKenna both made their returns from the bench after injury replacing Mooney and Mahon but it was a now a case of damage limitation with Chester completely overrun in midfield and conceding corner after corner.

As the clock ticked past 90 minutes a fourth came thanks to Johnston who drove a low shot past Shen from just inside the area to round off another dreadful performance on the road for a Chester side who slip to ninth in the table where they are three points off the play off positions.

"I can't defend what I see and I can't legislate for the goals we concede," added Morley. "Especially after the performance we put in the first half where I thought we showed resilience against a great passing side. We set traps and took the ball off them but we didn't take our chances and when you don't take your chances at this level of football you're going to allow the opposition to get back in the game which is what we did in the second half. What they are good at we stopped them doing in the first half which is why we've gifted them the game in the second half by going down to ten men. It became a training session for Altrincham after that. We crumbled and I don't think I've got the answers why we did that.

"We all deserve the blame collectively. People will lose faith in us if they've not already but we've got to dust ourselves down - we have nine games to go and there is a good side out there. We know that from Tuesday night and Boston two weeks ago but we have to find away to compete away from home."