Chester's wait for their first point and goal of the Skrill Premier campaign continues after they were beaten by a Cardinals team side that played the whole of the second half with 10 men.

The Skrill North champions were given the perfect opportunity to get their debut season in the non-league top flight up and running after Josh Payne was sent off on the stroke of half-time.

But they were unable to make the most of their one-man advantage and two goals in the space of five shocking second-half minutes from Gavin Williams and Joe McNerney gave fellow part-timers Woking a victory they fully deserved.

The demoralising quickfire double strike also condemned the Blues to a third successive league defeat – the first time that has happened in the reformed club’s short history.

Neil Young was scathing in the criticism of his side’s performance.

The Chester manager said: “I would say that was the worst performance of any of my teams from the whole of my management career.

“I thought we were very poor. People talk about difficult starts but I don’t buy into it. We should win that game once they go down to 10 men.

“I thought we weren’t at the races in the first 10-15 minutes and certain players didn’t fancy putting a shift in.

“But then for the next 25 minutes I thought we were very good, we started getting on it, passing it, bringing people into play and flashed a few balls across the goals.

“They then had a man sent off and we went it at half-time and talked about what we wanted to do.

“We started well, hit the post and missed a sitter, but then we defend like we did.

“If you look at Woking, Barnet and Hereford, not one of them has opened us up, but what they did was give themselves a base to work from by not conceding. At this moment in time we can’t do that.

“It’s very disappointing as at this moment in time this side does not mirror my management style. One thing my teams have always had is graft. While I’m not saying everyone, a few individuals decided to play when they were down to 10 men.

“But they’re not kidding me. We were very poor from start to finish.”

Young made three changes to the side that started the midweek loss to Hereford United as Jason Jarrett, Joe Heath and Paul Linwood replaced Craig Mahon, Marc Williams and the suspended Michael Kay.

There was also a change in shape as Jarrett was positioned in front of the back four in a 4-1-4-1 formation.

One of the former FC Halifax Town man’s first contributions to the clash was to be caught dawdling on the ball in the middle of the park.

Cardinals captain Mark Ricketts robbed it off him and played a pass through to Freddie Ladapo.

The striker – signed on the eve of the match on loan from Colchester United – bore down on goal and waited for John Danby to commit himself.

But the Blues goalkeeper was equal to Ladapo’s attempted chip, pawing it away.

It was the visitors – also chasing their first win and first goal of the campaign – who looked the more likely in the opening stages, a well-struck Kevin Betsy drive from 20 yards whistling past Danby’s right upright.

But Chester ended the opening period the stronger and with a surer touch in front of goal they may even have gone in front.

On two separate occasions Nathan Turner played defence-splitting through passes.

On both occasions, however, Gareth Seddon and Craig Lindfield got the ball tangled between their legs and the opportunities passed.

The frustration was not contained to the stands.

The encounter had threatened to boil over from the moment Ricketts was booked for scything down Danny Harrison.

Referee Jason Whiteley issuing a red card to Woking's Josh Payne
Referee Jason Whiteley issuing a red card to Woking's Josh Payne
 

But there was no escape for Payne after he appeared to head-butt Turner in the 43rd minute, the midfielder being shown a straight red card by referee Jason Whitely.

This was the Blues’ big chance.

And they went close to grasping it straight after the start of the second half when Seddon flicked a Heath cross on to the post and Linwood skied the rebound over the bar.

Disaster struck in the 58th minute when Woking took the lead.

Williams jinked his way to the edge of the area and, with captain George Horan continuing to back off, the former Wales international shifted the ball on to his right foot and sent a superb shot past Danby and into the top corner.

Worse was to follow five minutes later as substitute McNerney rose highest to head in a John Nutter free kick near the byline.

It was a terribly soft goal to concede and one that Young’s men – despite the introduction of Craig Mahon, Alex Titchiner and Jamie Reed – could not recover from.

With the rain beginning to beat down, Seddon and McIntyre could count themselves unfortunate not to reduce the deficit, the former seeing a flicked header well saved by the underworked Aaron Howe and the latter floating a free kick on to the bar.

But ultimately the Cardinals coped comfortably with their numerical disadvantage and they nearly piled the woe on further when the highly effective McNerney curled an effort just wide.

Next up for Chester are Kidderminster Harriers, Forest Green Rovers and then rivals Wrexham.

Young, who will ‘speed up’ his attempts to boost his squad, said: “The players have not done their job today and as the head of those players, I have not done my job.

“I’ll leave no stone unturned until we get it right. I’m not saying this in the heat of the moment but for some of them it could be their last game as I will not put up with people who do not show desire.”

Chester: Danby, L Turner, Horan, Linwood, Heath (Reed 67), Jarrett (Mahon 54), Lindfield (Titchiner 61), Harrison, N Turner, McIntyre, Seddon. Subs: Pugh, A Williams.

Woking: Howe, Newton, Johnson, Parkinson, Nutter, Ricketts, Payne, Betsy, Sawyer (Frith 90), Williams (McCallum 78), Ladapo (McNerney 54). Subs: McNamee, Beasant.

Booked: Ricketts, Sawyer.

Sent off: Payne 43.

Goals:  Williams 58, McNerney 63.

Referee: Jason Whitely (Leeds).

Attendance: 2,016.