Chester FC’s National League woes worsened after a disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Boreham Wood.
In miserable conditions the Blues were made to pay for a dismal first half spell that saw them concede two poor goals to the mid-table visitors and saw them met with boos at the half-time interval after Shaun Jeffers and Angelo Balanta strikes gave Luke Garrard’s men a two-goal cushion.
Chester improved after the break and Nyal Bell’s strike with 13 minutes left made a game of it, but the Blues need reinforcements soon if they are to turn this around and avoid the gap further widening between them and safety.
After the horror show that was the 2-0 FA Cup fourth qualifying defeat at Kidderminster Harriers, Chester players had something to prove to the supporters, who had been given little to cheer in 2017.
Manager Marcus Bignot opted to hand home debuts to Offrande Zanzala and Reece Hall-Johnson, with the loan dup replacing the injured James Akintunde and suspended Andy Halls respectively.
There were also starts for Tom Shaw and Jordan Chapell with Matty Waters dropped from the squad and Paul Turnbull on the bench.
As kick off approached the rain swirled around the Swansway Chester Stadium and the wind gpot stronger as Storm Brian approached making for some trying playing conditions.
The visitors, under the stewardship of manager Luke Garrard, sat in 11th in the National League coming into the game and were unbeaten in their previous three games.
After a tentative start from both sides it was Chester who carved out the first opening of the game.
John McCombe sent the ball forward from defence to Harry White who brought it down outside the area before checking back inside his marker and driving a low shot goalwards that took a slight deflection before being gathered by Grant Smith.
The swirling wind wasn’t aiding matters on the pitch but it was Chester who fared better in the opening 20 minutres.
Tom Shaw’s first-time effort from 25 yards after a Lucas Dawson corner was cleared blazed wide on 15 minutes before good work on the left-hand side from Lathaniel Rowe-Turner three minutes later saw him beat his marker and stand up a cross to Zanzala at the near post but the on-loan Derby man could only nod just wide.
Boreham Wood’s first effort came on 23 minutes when Shaun Jeffers cut in from the left before curling an 18-yard effort just wide of Alex Lynch’s left-hand post.
Two minutes later Zanzala did well to hold up the ball and tee up White but his first-time volley flew way over Smith’s crossbar.
But Chester found themselves in familiar territory just after the half-hour mark, and they were the architects of their own downfall once again.
When it would have been easier to hoof the ball out of play, Rowe-Turner inexplicably sliced a back pass that went out for a corner - and Boreham Wood duly profited.
Bruno Andrade’s corner was swung into the six-yard box where Jeffers was on hand to head home and hand the visitors the lead.
Chester failed to muster a response to the setback, though and were unable to keep the ball and compose themselves.
Their heads had dropped and the second goal would soon arrive.
A quick ball swung out to the right hand side found Kane Smith who put in a low cross that wasn’t dealt with by Ryan Astles and Balanta turned and slammed home from close range to spark a chorus of boos from the home faithful. It was an oh so familiar tale.
And when the half time whistle was met with boos from some sections of the home crowd it was a scene that had been played out all too often this season. A promising first 20 minutes followed by a horrid 25.
Bignot opted to introduce Ross Hannah at the break for the ineffective Chapell as he looked to salvage something from a game that seemed a lost cause.
And Hannah tried to get in the thick of the action almost straightaway when he picked up a loose ball inside his own half and raced forward but, with options, he decided to pull the trigger from 25 yards and it flew well wide.
Wood were in the mood for more, though, and Lynch had to be alert to keep out an Andrade effort with an outstreched leg while Astles blocked the rebounded effort from 18 yards by Balanta.
Chester did have a little bit more about them in spells that followed, but void of any kind of cutting edge and profligate in possession time and time again they struggled to put together anything meaningful to test Smith in the visiting goal.
Boreham Wood seemed to be cantering to the points but Chester made a fist of it with 13 minutes remaining when substitute Bell opened his account for the season.
A Rowe-Turner cross from the left found Bell who held it up, shimmied past a defender before slamming home from 15 yards to make a contest of it for the closing stages.
The Blues had their tails up and were pushing, buoyed by Bell’s goal.
Kingsley James saw a header from a corner deflect over when well placed and the same player volleyed wide from the following corner after Boreham Wood could only half clear their lines.
But time was running out for Chester and when Shaw’s 18 yard volley from an Astles knock down, you sensed that the points were heading south.
There was some heart shown in the second half but it was too little, too late and the Blues face a huge game against Barrow on Tuesday.
Chester FC: Lynch, Hall-Johnson, McCombe, Astles, Rowe-Turner, Shaw, Dawson (Turnbull 74), James, Chapell (Hannah 46), Zanzala, White (Bell 62). Subs not used: Mitchell, Jones.
Goals: Bell 77.
Boreham Wood: G Smith, K Smith, Woodards, Ricketts, Wells, Stephens, Jeffers (Holman 76), Champion, Balanta (Shakes 82), Murtagh, Andrade. Subs not used: Turley, Benson, Turgott.
Goals: Jeffers 31, Balanta 38.
Referee: David Richardson.
Star man: Reece Hall-Johnson.