CHESTER boss Anthony Johnson says that managing expectation levels among the club’s supporters is vital in the months ahead.

Approaching the midway point of the National League North campaign, the Blues sit third in the table and are well-placed in their promotion bid.

And while those prospects were hit by a 2-0 reverse at Darlington last week, Johnson felt some of the post-match criticism levelled at his side on social media was unwarranted.

“It’s been a bit draining this week when I’ve read some of the stuff that’s been put out there since the game, mainly from people who weren’t there,” said Johnson.

“We went into that game in good form after winning three on the bounce and we wanted to keep that run going.

“The application was there and we created enough chances to have got something out of the game, but we were punished for a couple of mistakes and it wasn’t to be.

“Everyone’s disappointed with the result, of course, but we have to accept that there will be disappointments along the way - that’s just part of football.

“I’ve said it before - there will be bumps in the road, and the people who are criticising us and having a go need to realise that.

“These are the same people who say nothing when we’re hitting a bit of form and beating teams comfortably.

“From my point of view, nobody should be getting over-excited when we’re doing well, in the same way they shouldn’t be calling us rubbish when we lose a game.

“Expectations change throughout a season and it’s about managing those expectation levels, not getting carried away after one result.”

Both Johnson and joint-manager Bernard Morley pointed to ‘mitigating factors’ at Blackwell Meadows, an enforced 28-minute delay caused by a floodlight failure chief among them.

Heading into a congested festive fixture schedule, the managerial duo are focused on producing a strong response to their setback in the north east.

Following Saturday’s FA Trophy second round clash at Hednesford Town, the Blues will face Telford, Curzon Ashton and Southport twice in a three-week period.

Johnson added: “We’ve drawn a line under the Darlington game now - there’s no time to dwell on it.

“It’s not a case of over-analysing things, we move on. We just want to react to this defeat in the same way as we’ve always done this season and come back strongly.

“We’re not even halfway through the season and there’s still a long way to go, but we’re a point better off than we were this time last season and we’re still in two cup competitions as well.

“We tend to look at blocks of games throughout the season and set ourselves a points target we think is achievable.

“Obviously we go into every game looking to win it, but looking at the next four for example, we’d be aiming for at least eight points from those.

“If you can sustain that type of form across the season then usually you won’t be far off the top two in the league.”