CHESTER joint manager Bernard Morley cut a dejected figure after his side's long battle to reach the National League North play offs ended in disappointment following a goalless draw with third placed Brackley Town.

Although it was a creditable result against one of the division's better teams only three points would do for the Blues who now slip out of contention after falling four points behind seventh placed Bradford Park Avenue with one game to play despite the Yorkshire outfit losing at home to York City.

But despite the ultimate failure of Chester's promotion bid, Morley was keen to stress the positives of a frustrating season with plenty of work going on behind the scenes to ensure a more creditable title challenge materialises in 2020.

He said: "We asked them to go out with a bang, whether that be winning or drawing, and that gets us a little closer to potentially finishing eighth in the league which in the bigger picture is not a bad season. Do I deem it acceptable? No, I'm a winner and I wanted to get in the play-offs.

"They (Brackley) were the better side and it pains me to say, that but I'll always be honest. But George Green has hit a thunderbolt at the end and if you get that luck on your side it goes in, but unfortunately it fell to Steve Howson who has dug in and was tired at the time. But the crowd have had something to cheer and turn up for and it was entertaining.

"Me and Jonno (joint manager Anthony Johnson) are winners and if we could have got into the play-offs that would have been everything. Whether we would have been able to compete or not, some would have doubted it but I know we would have done.

"Now I can't wait for this season to end and for next season to start. In terms of the bigger picture we have competed. But me and Jonno thought we could win the league when we came in because that's just who we are. The reality is that we haven't and now we try and improve next season."

Morley was keen not to make excuses, but a crippling injury list combined with a flooding incident which meant Chester were unable to play a home game for over a month certainly did help the joint-managers in their first season in charge.

He said: "If an analyst was to break our season down and put forward mitigating circumstances as to why it has been a stop/start season then it's all there. But we have got ourselves in good positions where we could have pushed on and we've not done it.

"We've lost red cards in big games that have cost us and I feel like that killed momentum. We've had too many changes and you could see there today that there were lads trying to run through brick walls who clearly weren't fit."

A trip to Alfreton presents the last challenge of the season for Chester and Morley stressed that there would be no thought of taking it easy before the long summer break.

"We want to finish on a high," he added. "It is three points we need to add to our tally. For the fans who are going to travel up, we just want to get a result."