MARK Wright's return to the Deva Stadium was marked by a double sending off and a defensive performance that will have raised serious concerns for a manager renowned his solid back line philosophy.
The Blues were almost behind in the third minute when Anthony Barry on the post cleared a Danny Carlton shot, but Chester created plenty of openings, mostly for Ryan Lowe, but he struggled to keep his shots on target.
His best effort saw him turn in the box and fire goalwards only for Morecambe keeper Barry Roche to pull off a fantastic save.
Kevin Ellison made a nuisance of himself but Chester could not find an opener.
The visitors took the lead in the 32nd minute when skipper Paul Linwood was caught out and the ball went between his legs, presenting midfielder Craig Stanley with a great opportunity which he tucked past John Danby.
The second half was full of controversy. Firstly a disputed penalty was awarded by Wiltshire official Simon Hooper when Laurence Wilson made a challenge on Carlton in the box in the 55th minute.
Renee Howe placed the spot kick past Danby to double the lead.
Just five minutes later Chester had a lifeline, Wilson bursting down the left flank and delivering a pinpoint cross which Eddie Johnson met to score his first goal for his home-town club.
But Wright had already earmarked him for substitution, which meant his first goal was his last action as Paul Rutherford replaced him.
Chester continued to make inroads but were let down by their final touch, until the 82nd minute when the game really erupted.
Kevin Ellison, surrounded by two midfielders, attempted to escape their attention but in frustration stamped on the leg of Fraser McLachlan.
The referee gave him a straight red but in the resulting melee he also noticed an offence committed by Danny Adams of Morecambe, who received a second yellow and his marching orders.
Despite Linwood pushing forward and five minutes of injury time, Chester could not find the equaliser their play deserved, but the side provided Wright with plenty of food for thought in his third spell in charge.
Chester City: Danby, Roberts, Harris, Hughes, Linwood, Lowe, Johnson (Rutherford 60), J Vaughan, Ellison, Barry (Partridge 60), Wilson. Subs: McManus, Kelly, Rule.
Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)