ANTHONY JOHNSON branded Chester’s 6-0 capitulation to National League North rivals Stockport County as ‘diabolical’ and likened his side’s first half display to a ‘comedy show’.

Outclassed in front of a 2,565-strong crowd at the Deva on Tuesday night, the Blues shipped three goals in each half as they were routed by the new league leaders.

The defeat saw Chester slip to 10th in the standings, with their chances of reaching the play-offs now looking increasingly bleak.

Reflecting on a night to forget for his side, joint-manager Johnson said: “It was diabolical.

“The first half was a comedy show in terms of errors leading up to goals. Every time they went forward, they looked like they were going to score.

“So it was was alarming the way we capitulated in terms of doing the basics right.

“In the second half we are 3-0 down and we told the lads that this isn’t September or October when we might have shut up shop, we needed to get something out of the game.

“It’s four or five times I’ve seen that this season now to degrees that I’ve not seen in the other 10 years that I’ve managed - it was quite unbelievable.

“They wanted it far more than we wanted it. The only player who looked like he had any desire about him was Steve Howson when he went on. He made it personal against their best player, in my opinion, Darren Stephenson.

“But it was like a cancer had spread throughout the team.

“Lads who have shown that they’re honest throughout the season looked like they’d thrown the towel in.

“Their quality of play, their ruthlessness in front of goal, they’re robustness in defence was so far away from what we were trying to do it was unreal.”

Johnson refused to absolve himself or joint-manager Bernard Morley of blame for the abject defeat.

And in a season blighted by disruption, injuries and inconsistency he gave no excuses for their latest setback, insisting that questions must now be asked of his side.

“There are a lot of things we need to have a think about now.

“We shouldn’t be getting beaten 6-0 at home by anybody.

“We got beaten 8-1 away from home at Blyth and you almost chalk it off as a bit of a fluke - until now.

“You don’t lose 6-0 at home in front of your own supporters.

“The supporters were hurting and I could feel it.

We talked about trust throughout the season, this group, mine and Bernard’s group, but we have lost it too many times now.

“We were a disgrace as a group, so I’m not going start singling individuals out. The fingers are pointing at me and Bernard and that’s the way it goes when you’ve been beaten six-nil.”

Four points adrift of the play-off spots with just four games remaining, Chester must now pick themselves up for Saturday’s must-win home clash with York City.