CHESTER CITY'S new manager Mark Wright witnessed at first hand the size of the task that faces him as his shot-shy team slumped to yet another defeat at blustery Grimsby Town on Saturday.
City have now alarmingly lost 12 of their last 13 Coca-Cola League Two outings, and the club slide has been so spectacular that chairman Stephen Vaughan must no doubt be contemplating bringing in Red Adair to assist the former Liverpool defender.
Defensively, Chester showed more solidity and organisation than they have in recent games, but the under-performing strike force continues to be of concern.
During the last five consecutive defeats Chester have only troubled the scorer once, and at Blundell Park on Saturday they registered a paltry one effort on target, which is hardly the stuff that sends shock waves through opponents, or is the stuff that revivals are made of.
Wright handed debuts at the weekend to defenders Paul Ellender and Mark Albrighton, and they combined with Scott McNiven to form an impressive central defensive trio.
Carl Regan and Sean Hessey were employed as wing-backs, and while the pair in the main coped adequately defensively, they rarely troubled their opposite numbers offensively.
Up front Paul Tait, who has been impressive in the two games he's played since joining the club, was sacrificed to the substitutes' bench, with Michael Branch and Greg Blundell employed as a mobile twin strike force to try and unnerve Grimsby's central defenders Ben Futcher and Rob Jones, who are 6ft 7ins and 6ft 4ins tall respectively.
Blundell Park is situated just outside Grimsby in the town of Cleethorpes on the banks of the North Sea.
On a hot and balmy afternoon in July Cleethorpes is a soulless and depressing place. On a cold, wind-swept and drizzly day in February, it makes Siberia sound like a reasonable candidate for your summer holidays.
Early on, Chester had slightly the better of the exchanges, Drummond and McNiven went close, and Blundell should have done better with an effort from 15 yards, which ended up creating terror on the face of a St John Ambulance man who was perched behind a corner flag.
Grimsby took the lead three minutes from the break, Woodhouse floated a cross from the right which found the head of Gary Jones.
The ex-Tranmere Rovers player, who was linked with a move to City last season, looped his header over Gillet from 10 yards and into the net.
In first half injury-time Gillet made an excellent save to deny Futcher, after the defender had found space behind his marker. Chester's first effort of the second period didn't come until 73 minutes, when Lowes' 20-yard thunderbolt went just over the home side's bar.
Hessey also flashed a shot narrowly wide, but City's only real threats were coming from long range.
Grimsby should have doubled their advantage after 82 minutes, when Drummond was harshly adjudged to have bundled Wood-house over in the area, but the same player blazed the resulting spot-kick well over the bar.
Things are now extremely tight at the bottom of League Two, Chester are in 19th place, just three points ahead of Rushden & Diamonds, who are in the final relegation placing.
After the match an up-beat Mark Wright spoke about the task facing him. He said: "I have learned a lot about the players here. There's a long road ahead for this club and a lot of work to do, but I am confident I have the players to be able to succeed.
"There are a lot of positives to take from today's game.
"I thought we showed confidence and desire in parts which I was pleased with."
Wright continued: "Every player is playing for his place each week, and the longer I can keep that hunger throughout the team, the more beneficial it will be for the club.
"We have a lot of quality in this squad, and it's now up to me to get the full potential from the side. I am confident we have what it takes to start putting results together."
The former Oxford United and Peterborough United manager added: "It was not a great game of football, but we did not come here to be pretty.
"Our result suggest we have not done well defensively, so we came here to be strong and aggressive, and I thought we achieved that."
GRIMSBY TOWN: Mildenhall, McDermott, Futcher, R Jones, Newey, Toner, Bolland, Woodhouse, Parkinson, G Jones, Cohen. Subs: Mendes, North, Barwick, Goodfellow, Downey.
CHESTER CITY: Gillet, Albrighton, Hessey, Ellender (Artell, 73), McNiven, Drummond, Curtis, Regan, Lowe, Branch (Richardson, 77), Blundell. Subs: Harrison, Tait, Vaughan.
REFEREE: Mr R Lee (Essex)