THE Red Arrows may have soared over the Deva Stadium before Chester FC's pre-season friendly, but it was Evo-Stik Premier side Marine who brought Chester FC down to earth to end the club's winning run.
Although Chester FC had the better play for large periods of the game against a youthful-looking and inexperienced Marine FC side, the players generally lacked the final sparkle they have shown in matches previous to this.
Chester manager Neil Young reacted to Marine FC putting out a team mostly made up of reserves by fielding two entirely different teams in each of the two halves, in an attempt to give a better idea of who deserves to remain in the team when it comes to streamlining the squad.
In the end, all there was to separate the sides was a well-taken 18-yard lob from Marine's Sean Callagher in the 68th minute, making the most of an error from goalkeeper Chris Oldfield.
Oldfield had reacted indecisively to an incoming cross and punched the ball away, only for it to fall at the feet of Callagher, whose shot sailed over the Chester defence and into the top-left corner of the net.
Marine had very few other chances of note, whereas Chester players piled the pressure on with numerous half-chances and several efforts well stopped by Marine goalkeeper Tom Soffe.
Chester's Mark Peers had created the game's first real chance on nine minutes with a shot from about 10 yards, but it was directed straight at the keeper. On 22 minutes, Peers had another go after a neat one-two with Adriano Rigoglioso, but was blocked again by Soffe.
Chester upped the ante toward the end of the first half with a neat creative bit of play after 34 minutes from Richard Foulkes sees determined Olly Ryan beat his marker to have a shot on goal, only to see his effort hit the side netting.
The start of the second half saw the ball passed into the Marine 18-yard area by Chris Williams, but Michael Wilde lacked his usual finishing touch by hitting wide. After Marine took the lead, Chester attempted to increase their efforts on goal, with a brilliant one-man run from Wilde in the 73rd minute causing all sorts of trouble in the Marine penalty area, before the ball was scrambled clear.
An ambitious 45-yard effort from Andy Burgess in the 81st minute went narrowly over the crossbar, before a free kick from Burgess again from 20 yards out went far too high.
Greg Stones was unlucky not to equalise on 86 minutes when his 25-yard strike rattled off the crossbar, with a subsequent effort from Wilde going narrowly wide. The final couple of minutes had a flurry of Chester chances as they belatedly did their best to take a draw from the encounter.
Keeper Soffe looked to be struggling with fitness at this stage having taken a couple of knocks earlier in the match, and saw Michael Aspin hitting the post and the ball continually coming close to the goalline, only to be cleared away as Marine held on for the final whistle.
Chester starting XI: Richard Whiteside, Mark Connolly, Stuart Graves, Carl Ruffer, Danny Meadowcroft, Kyle Armstrong, Mark Peers, Richard Foulkes, Olly Ryan, Adriano Rigoglioso, Sam Bailey.
Second half XI: Chris Oldfield, Roger Sharrock, George Horan, Michael Aspin, Stuart Jones, Chris Williams, Greg Stones, Rob Hopley, Andy Burgess, Michael Wilde, Iain Howard.