Heavy legged, weary and misfiring in attack, the Blues wretched end to 2014 continued with a 2-0 defeat at home to Altrincham.

A hard working and well organised Robins side made it six games without a win for Chester, who are in dire need of a rest and reinforcements.

Centre backs Tom Marshall and Gianluca Havern benefited from defensive errors to score in either half and Alty were deserving winners.

This was a world away from the quick tempo passing and high energy pressing the Blues have produced at times, and the transfer window cannot come soon enough.

 

December had been disappointing for the Blues, whose interest in the FA Cup and the FA Trophy had been ended during a five match winless run.

Four games in 10 days meant Chester, who were unbeaten in eight home league games, had no time to dwell and needed to start winning again, or end up dropping down the table.

Altrincham on the other hand had put together a decent run with one defeat in seven games, and a win would take them level on points with the Blues.

Steve Burr made one change with Kane Richards returning to make his home debut having been ineligible for the FA Trophy replay. Ben Heneghan had to settle for a place among the substiutes with Michael Kay at right back.

Alty boss Lee Sinnott recalled Jake Moult, Ryan Crowther and Kyle Perry with Nicky Clee moving to the bench and Sean Williams and top scorer Damian Reeves missing out.

Chester started with the look of a side that had over indulged on Christmas Day: slow to react, wasting passes and unable to settle into the game.

Alty were not much better and the opening 10 minutes were as depressing as the cold and miserable as the conditions.

Simon Richman fired a shot over for the Robins before John Rooney brought a fine save out of keeper Stuart Coburn, the 38-year-old tipping his free kick around the post.

Matty Brown headed wide from the corner that followed although Chester did not look at all comfortable in possesion.

Jon Worsnop made a comfortable stop when James Lawrie tried his luck from 30 yards for the visitors, who had a lucky escape when Gianluca Havern was on hand to save Coburn's blushes after the keeper mistimed a clearing punch.

Alty took the lead on 25 minutes when Shaun Densmore's free kick caught out the defence and Tom Marshall headed down and past the diving Worsnop.

Chester should have been two down when Worsnop denied Kyle Perry from close range, the keeper redeeming himself after failing to clean up Jake Moult's shot.

Kingsley James had a penalty appeal turned down when he went to ground under Moult's challenge and the midfielder put an excellent ball across the face of the goal soon after but his team-mates could not get on the end of his pass.

There were feint signs of life from the Blues towards the end of the half as the Robins went into the break leading 1-0.

Chester came out with far more purpose in the second half and Hobson had a decent chance on 47 minutes but he curled his shot well wide.

Coburn gathered a Mahon shot at the second attempt as sleet and snow began to fall, James had a header blocked and Rooney brought another save out of Coburn as the Blues pressed.

Alty had been second best but doubled the lead against the run of play on 59 minutes, again taking advantage of a defensive lapse.

Lawrie sent over a corner that was allowed to fly across the face of goal and Gianluca Havern had the simple task of nodding into the net from a couple of yards out.

Chester boss Burr brought on Ben Heneghan and Jamie Menagh for Charnock and Mahon, but the change couldn't address the lack of threat up front.

There was a lot of huff and puff but it was a performance worryingly short on quality with the Robins finding things far too easy.

Wayne Riley came on for the final 12 minutes as the snow turned heavier but there was no way back for the Blues, who on this evidence need fresh legs and new ideas to keep themselves clear of trouble.

Chester FC: Worsnop, Kay, Brown, Charnock (Heneghan 65), Touray, Rooney, James, Mahon (Menagh 65), McConville (Riley 78), Richards, Hobson.

Subs: Roberts, Peers.

Altrincham: Coburn, Densmore, Marshall, Havern, Griffin, Cavanagh, Moult, Lawrie, Richman, Crowther (Clee 69), Perry (Leather 90).

Subs: Gillespie, Wilkinson, Parton.

Goals: Marshall 25, Havern 59.

Referee: Darren England (Barnsley)

Attendance: 2,569.