THE defeat at Swansea on Saturday was fairly predictable, but the same scoreline against Cheltenham on Tuesday certainly wasn't.
This was the relegation season to the Conference re-visited and the sort of performance by Chester City which gets managers the sack.
The crowd of 1,634, City's lowest in the league since they played Farnborough in April, 2002, sent out a clear message to the management that current form isn't good enough and the supporters are not prepared to tolerate it. Even Burton Albion had a bigger attendance against Tamworth in the Conference.
The early indications are that the new signings are too inexperienced to deal with a relegation battle which City are being well and truly sucked into in their first season back from four years out of the Football League.
Joe O'Neill, recruited from Preston reserves, looked out of his depth and George Elokobi, after a promising start, lost his way in a defence which has conceded six goals in two games.
The decision to play midfielder Ben Davies at full-back when his industry and work-rate were essential in the engine room in the absence of skipper Paul Carden, was baffling.
The switch was made at half-time with Sean Hessey replacing Stephen Vaughan and Davies moving to his more accustomed role.
But City were already trailing and, these days, when Chester fall behind there is little chance of saving the game, such is the paucity of goalscoring chances.
Taiwo Atieno, signed during the afternoon from Walsall, went up front for his debut for the entire second-half, but, like Michael Branch, hardly had a meaningful touch and Cheltenham's defence was never seriously troubled.
City's defence, though, was rarely out of trouble and the second goal was a symptom of the lack of understanding which has crept into the team with the introduction of new players and un-necessary positional changes. Confusion reigned and goalkeeper Chris Mackenzie was put into an impossible situation which he was powerless to re-cover.
Discipline has been an issue at Chester all season and David Bayliss, booked in the first half, lost the plot in the final moments, conceding a penalty and then inviting a second yellow card which was quickly followed by a red.
It was a shambolic end to a poor performance and doesn't augur well for the vital matches to come.