CHESTER CITY suffered an afternoon of total frustration at the Deva Stadium yesterday, but the lack of an incisive striker was yet again classically highlighted.
City dominated 90 per cent of the proceedings, and had they won the match by a margin of four or five goals it would have been a true measure of their territorial superiority.
Chester manager Mark Wright summed up his and the fans' frustrations, when he said after the 1-1 draw: "We murdered them. We should have three points, not one, but it proves again to me that we need a proven scorer."
Nobody who witnessed the first Nationwide Conference match played at the Deva Stadium on a Sunday would disagree.
The home side totally dominated a mediocre Gravesend side, who time and time again frustrated City and the referee with theatrical time-wasting practically every time there was physical contact.
In total the official played 105 minutes of football, adding five minutes to the first period and 10 to the second.
Michael Brown and Ryan Sugden brought saves from Wilkerson early on, before, totally against the run of play, the southerners took the lead after 34 minutes.
Zimbabwean under-21 international Tostao Kwashi was the orchestrator, launching a pinpoint cross from the right flank that allowed substitute Paul Booth to score with a close-range header.
Six minutes later parity was restored when McIntyre and Brown linked well to set up City's leading scorer Sugden, who rifled the ball home from 10 yards.
In the second period Chester laid siege to the Gravesend goal, but to no avail.
Sugden, on three occasions, Cameron and Brady all went close and Wilkerson made a succession of good saves.
Some flag-happy decisions from a linesman did not help matters, but this was an afternoon that the Chester strikers will want to forget in a hurry.
In injury time Gravesend were reduced to 10 men when skipper Jimmy Strouts was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
But the sending-off came too late to assist Chester, who have now dropped five points in their last two outings.
Don't be surprised if there are additions to the playing personnel in the next few days, as Wright strives to bolster his shotshy strike force.
CHESTER CITY: McCaldon, Ruffer, Bolland, Hatswell, Brady, Carey, Kelly, McIntyre, M Brown (Twiss 82), Cameron, Sugden. Subs: W Brown, Blackburn, Carden, Lancaster.
GRAVESEND AND NORTHFLEET: Wilkerson, Lee, Watts, Cole, Jackson (Booth 23), McKimm, Strouts, Kwashi (Sodje 70), Barr, Stadhart, Hatch (Grace 82). Subs: Turner, Owen.
REFEREE: Mr G Mellor (Rotherham). ATT: 2,210.