Bernard Morley admits Chester have plenty to work on defensively ahead of next weekend’s league opener against Spennymoor Town.

The Blues completed their pre-season programme with a 4-2 home defeat against David Unsworth’s Everton Under 23s side, blowing a 1-0 half-time lead which had come courtesy of new signing Anthony Dudley’s composed finish.

Chester’s defending left plenty to be desired in the second period though, as goals from Nathan Broadhead, Harry Charsley, Bassala Sambou and Shane Lavery saw the Goodison Park visitors streak ahead, Jon Moran’s effort briefly restoring parity before the Toffees sealed victory.

"I'm disappointed to concede four goals in a half of football," joint-manager Morley said.

"People might say it's only pre-season and it's not realistic but it is to us, especially with only seven days until we kick off against Spennymoor.

"A little bit of a disappointing second half but overall there were some good things to take out of it. Defensively first half it didn't look like they could break us down at all and I think going forward we created a lot more going forward than we have the last four or five games.

"But that's football for you. The message at half time was don't get complacent, especially the experienced lads, don't let the young lads get complacent. Continue to do the right things, or at least try. But we didn't do that second half, we started to do what we wanted and made individual mistakes and went hiding. Nobody wanted the ball and we were forcing things, but it gives us something to work on next week."

Goalkeeper Grant Shenton – who had looked shaky in the midweek draw with Morecambe, made two individual mistakes which both led to goals for the Toffees during their second-half blitz, but Morley refused to lay the blame squarely with the number one.

"Shents has dropped two and put them on a plate for the lad but I think as defenders we have got to follow everything in and anticipate that Shents might make that mistake, which he did,” Morley explained.

"As comfortable as it looked the centre forward has been ambitious to come in and get the ball, we've not, we've just stood still."

Morley expressed his delight at the performances of new signings Dudley and Danny Livesey, both brought in on season-long loan deals from Salford City.

Centre-back Livesey – formerly with Carlisle and Wrexham – lined up alongside Steve Howson and Simon Grand in a back three, while Dudley bagged the opening goal on his debut for the Blues.

He added: "Danny hasn’t played for nine months but he didn’t look out of place. He looked confident, he got us playing, he won his individual battles and his headers.

"Anthony Dudley is someone we have been looking at closely for the last six or seven weeks. Did we think it was ever going to be doable? No.

“We're delighted we got the deal over the line, but it is important that we get the right person to complement Anthony.

“One shot, one goal. That is what we brought him in for.

"He's deadly in front of goal. I still feel at times he has got to be a lot more unselfish and gets shots off, but I'm probably knit picking at the wrong things here."