ANTHONY JOHNSON believes his side was punished for Simon Grand’s mistake as The Blues were defeated 2-1 by Gateshead at The Deva Stadium.

Chester found themselves behind 12 minutes into a first half dominated by the visitors, as Jordan Preston fired his shot past Louis Gray in the Chest\er goal.

There would’ve been some strong words said at half time and it certainly got the desired effect as Grand headed home George Glendon’s cross to level proceedings.

The game looked set to end one apiece, but there was late heartbreak for the Blues as Grand’s back pass was intercepted by Macualey Langstaff who finished well.

“He’s just made a mistake and we’ve been punished,” said joint-boss Johnson.

“It’s a difficult one, what we want to be in terms of playing out from the back comes from him. Unfortunately, he’s made a big mistake and the lad has scored, he knows that.

“Grandy is the way that he is, we can’t coach a 36-year-old centre back what’s right and wrong. It’s the nature of his game, he’s admitted he should’ve cleared it, but he thought better. He’s done it before and he’ll do it again, hopefully not in the last few minutes and it won’t cost us the game.”

Despite the mistake, the Chester boss was full of praise for the visitors.

“They were miles better than us first half, miles better,” added Johnson. “When we went up there last year, I thought they were the best team we’ve played against. That is a well-coached team, they’re full time, got a manager who’s played in the Premier League, they’re a good side.

“Greg Olley and Jordan Preston are top, top players, really good players, who in my opinion, are playing below their level.

“They gave us the run around and looked like a very good footballing side which is what they are.”

Gateshead boss Mike Williamson echoed Johnson’s complimentary words.

“It shows huge character from the lads, to be able to change the momentum in a game and stick to what you’re doing. It’s a game in which for the majority we dominated with and without the ball,” said the former Newcastle United centre back.

“The lads were excellent, and they deserve everything they get.”

Leaders Gloucester City, whose manager James Rowe and star striker Akwasi Asante moved on to Chesterfield last week, lost 2-1 at Farsley Celtic while Kidderminster moved to within three points of top spot with a 1-0 over Curzon Ashton.

Second-placed Fylde were 2-1 victors over Boston United, while Telford beat Guiseley 2-0 and Leamington defeated York 2-1.

Hereford and Kettering ended 3-3 and Spennymoor drew 2-2 with Bradford.