You can't read too much into pre-season friendlies but Chester FC can take some heart from an encouraging display against League One side Walsall.
The Blues clawed back a 1-0 deficit in the second half thanks to a fine Nyal Bell effort only to concede late on against the run of play.
But there were reasons to be positive.
Having been away from home for the first six friendlies of their pre-season campaign, Chester were making their first appearance at the Swansway Chester Stadium since their miserable 2-0 home loss to Boreham Wood at the end of April.
Aside from Ross Hannah, still nursing a calf strain, all of the summer signings were in the squad with many Blues fans getting their first look and Jon McCarthy took the opportunity to field a strong side against the Blues' strongest opponents of pre-season.
Alex Lynch was one omission, sitting out while McCarthy ran the rule over a trialist keeper in each half as he bids to find cover for the North Walian.
Walsall looked every inch a League One side in the opening exchanges as they moved the ball around with pace and purpose and asked plenty of questions of the Blues back four.
But Chester's shape was holding and they were limiting the Saddlers going forward, although Maz Kouhyar did see a low 25-yard effort saved by Trialist A in the home goal after he picked up on the a weak clearance by the keeper.
The visitors were dominating possession and were awarded a penalty on 20 minutes, albeit somewhat dubiously by referee Joe Johnson.
Liam Kinsella broke down the right and made his way to the byline and was adjudged to have been bundled over unfairly by left back Lathaniel Rowe-Turner.
But Trialist A did his chances of a deal no harm when he got down well to push away Simeon Jackson's low spot kick, ensuring parity remained.
The stalemate did not last too much longer, though.
A corner from the right was swung in as far as Andy Halls whose clearance cannoned back of a Blues body and into the path of Luke Leahy who made no mistake in firing home from 10 yards.
Adam Chambers went close with a 25-yarder shortly after while Paul Turnbull was well off target at the other end with an effort from similar distance.
But Chester's best move of the first half came on the stroke of half time when a wonderful piece of skill from Craig Mahon on the halfway line saw him break from midfield and lay off James Akintunde who quickly set free Harry White who bamboozled his man before seeing an effort deflect wide for a corner.
McCarthy made changes at the break with Matty Waters, Liam Davies, Bell, and a trialist keeper entering the fray, and it was Bell who made an impact just six minutes into the second period.
Davies set him free with a ball forward and Bell, on loan from Gateshead, let the ball sit up before slamming home on the half volley from 18 yards to level matters.
The Blues were holding their shape well and limiting the League One side to precious little going forward, much to the frustration of the visitors. The back four of Ryan Astles, Rowe-Turner, John McCombe and Andy Halls sticking to their tasks manfully.
Chester were seeing more of the ball and began asking some more probing questions of the Walsall back line and substitute Nathan Brown nearly connected with a Lucas Dawson corner before Davies saw a sweetly stuck left footed effort from 25 yards palmed away.
But for all Chester's good play in the second half they found themselves behind with six minutes remaining.
A corner was only partially cleared and Mitch Candlin turned and fired home through a crowd of bodies to restore the advantage for the Saddlers against the run of play.
Chester: Trialist A (Trialist B 46), Halls (Jones 78), Rowe-Turner, James (Dawson 66), McCombe, Astles, Mahon (Waters 46), Turnbull (Joyce 66), White (Brown 68), Chapell (Davies 46), Akintunde (Bell 46).
Goals: Bell 51.
Walsall: L Roberts, Kinsella, Wilson, Guthrie, Leahy, Kouhyar, Edwards, Flanagan, Chambers, Jackson, Oztumer. Subs: Hayles-Doherty, Cockerel-Mollet, K Roberts, Candlin, Peters, Sangha, Bakayoko, Morris, Devlin.
Goals: Leahy 26.