A PENALTY by Justin Skinner just before half time earned Gravesend and Northfleet a deserved 1-0 victory in the all Nationwide Conference FA Cup clash against Chester City at the Deva Stadium on Saturday.
The spot kick was awarded after City keeper Ian McCaldon had clattered into the back of Perkins, leaving referee Mr Sutton with a simple decision.
Whilst Chester will point to the fact that they dominated the play for eighty per cent of the match, the harsh reality was that rarely did they show the imagination and guile to break down a defence minded and well drilled Gravesend defence.
In the last nine matches City have won just twice, and regis-tered a mere six goals, which must be of concern to the Chester management team.
City defeated Gravesend 4-0 in a Conference fixture in August, but the visitors were a totally different proposition on Saturday, turning in a gritty and determined performance.
City had the better of the early exchanges with Stamp going close on two occasions and Darryl Clare bringing out a good save from Wilkerson in the visitors' goal.
Gravesend took the lead just before half time from the penalty spot. The kick being awarded after McCaldon, in attempting to clear a cross from Lee, totally misjudged the ball and clattered into the back of Perkins. Referee Mr Sutton had a simple job to decide that a penalty was a just reward.
Skinner did the rest, hitting the penalty low into the corner of the net.
City appealed for a penalty two minutes into the second half, when a header from Collins appeared to hit Haworth on the hand, but the official waved away their appeals.
The visitors could have doubled their lead after 56 minutes when Duku powered a header goalwards. McCaldon did well to push the close range effort onto the crossbar, before the relieved City defence hacked the ball clear. Territorially Chester had the majority of the play particularly in the second period, but their approach work was predictable and the visitors' defence was rarely troubled.
At the end of the game, a delighted Gravesend manager Andy Ford said: "We came here to frustrate them and get a lot of men behind the ball, which I thought we did particularly well.
"They couldn't break us down. We knew they played with three at the back and you can often get behind teams that play that tactic. The result means a lot to us because we are one of the smallest clubs in the Conference."
An angry City boss Mark Wright was critical of the home supporters, sections of whom jeered their team in the second half.
"I was disappointed and angry with he crowd, we need encouragement not people chanting for players who aren't in the squad. It was a game of two halves. In the first half we were appalling, however in the second half we came back better. I am disappointed and angry."
Chester City: McCaldon, Collins, Bolland, Ruffer, McIntyre, Carden, Davies, Heard (Brady 71), Clare (Rapley 80), Stamp, Foster (Twiss 65). Subs (not used): Guyett, Carey.
Ref: Mr Gary Sutton (Lincoln). Att: 2,251.