Chester FC are hurtling towards the National League North, it seems.
Yet another dismal showing and a performance void of any shape, any desire or any quality saw them succumb to a 2-0 defeat at home to a Guiseley side who were no great shakes and were beneath them at the start of play. Guiseley didn't need to be good, though.
But after goals on six minutes from Callum McFadzean and 14 minutes from James Roberts, Chester, who played 65 minutes of the game with 10 men after Lathaniel Rowe-Turner’s sending off, are now third bottom and eight points from safety and peering into the abyss.
They were awful and, not for the first time, let their long-suffering fans down. Merry Christmas indeed.
After the 4-0 horror show at FC Halifax Town, Marcus Bignot opted to make three changes to the side who were thumped at The Shay, with Daniel Udoh, James Akintunde and John McCombe making way for Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Harry White and Ross Hannah.
With the gap between themselves and safety six points heading into the game, this was a must-win game against their fellow strugglers, who were sitting three points and two places below Chester ahead of kick off.
But in a game that the Blues needed to start well, they were behind on four minutes.
McFadzean wasn’t closed down quickly enough from 25 yards and he rifled a superb effort right into the top corner past they despairing dive of Sam Hornby.
The home side failed to regroup and were the same shapeless mess that they were in the opening 45 minutes at Halifax on Saturday.
The Lions almost doubled their lead on 10 minutes when a ball into the box saw James Jones head against his own post which saw a scramble ensue on the edge of the six-yard box before Roberts’ effort was eventually blocked and cannoned away to safety.
But it was soon 2-0 when, on 14 minutes, former Chester loanee Roberts burst into the area after some slack Blues marking to fire an angled effort high into the roof of Hornby’s net.
Cue much justified ire from the home faithful, being let down once again by their side.
Chester were offering nothing in response and their task was to become even more difficult before the half hour mark when Rowe-Turner steamed into Roberts on the halfway line and was shown a straight red card by referee Karl Evans.
And just when you think things couldn’t get much worse, Bignot was forced into a change on 33 minutes when leading scorer Hannah pulled up with what looked like a calf injury. Akintunde was brought on in his place.
But despite the numerical advantage Guiseley weren’t pressing in the manner they were.
The Blues did try and make some kind of fist of it in the final 10 minutesof the half at least, playing better since going a man down, and had three decent chances to reduce the deficit.
Firstly, Kingsley James got to the byline and pulled the ball back to Tom Shaw whose first time effort from 12 yards was gathered by Jonathan Maxted.
White then came close when he received a pass from Jordan Gough before turning and firing an effort which Maxted did well to save.
And Maxted had to be alert to stick out an arm and deny Akintunde shortly before the break when he burst into the box and looked to find the bottom corner, only to be foiled.
But the half-time whistle was met with a chorus of boos from the home fans - and rightly so. It was another case of them being let down. Not for the first time.
HALF TIME: CHESTER 0 GUISELEY 2
The Lions had the first effort of the second half when on 52 minutes Alex Purver volleyed straight at Hornby from 18 yards.
At the other end the Blues went close when Akintunde’s ball from the byline found White, but his scuffed effort was blocked and went out for a goal kick in the melee that followed.
Guiseley came close to making it 3-0 moments later when Roberts saw an effort blocked by the legs of Hornby after he had got beyond the Blues defence, and Mike Fondop’s follow up from 18 yards was acrobatically headed off the line by Shaw and out for a corner.
Roberts went close again minutes later when his low effort from 20 yards was spilled by Hornby, but Fondop was flagged for offside as he attemped to chase the rebound, much to the relief of the Chester keeper.
The Blues, who threw on Craig Mahon in attempt to salvage something, did go close on 77 minutes when Jordan Archer nodded a James cross inches wide after rising well to meet it.
Guiseley almost made it 3-0 with eight minutes remaining when Roberts crossed for Fondop, but the Lions striker got it all wrong and couldn’t stab home from six yards.
The final whistle was met with a chorus of boos. It's hard to see a way back after this.
Chester: Hornby, Jones, Astles, Rowe-Turner, Hall-Johnson, Dawson, James, Shaw, Gough, White (Archer 65), Hannah (Akintunde 33). Subs: Halls, Mahon, Turnbull.
Red card: Rowe-Turner.
Guiseley: Maxted, Brown, Palmer, Lawlor, McFadzean, Purver, Lenighan, Fondop (Odejayi 83), Harvey, Crookes, Roberts (Correia 86): Subs not used: Niate, Holden, Hughes.
Bookings: Purver, McFadzean, Maxted.
Goals: McFadzean 4, Roberts 15.
Referee: Karl Evans.
Star man: Tom Shaw. At least showed some heart.