Chester FC exited the FA Trophy with a 1-0 defeat at FC Halifax Town, who won the right to host Gateshead in the quarter-finals.

Jordan Burrow's strike in the final seconds of the first-half settled a contest in which the Blues were the better side for long periods.

But much like the season as a whole, Chester didn't quite have the tools to open up the opposition defence and again conceded a goal that could have been avoided.

And the Blues must now shake off their disappointment because the next three games - Torquay United, Kidderminster Harriers and Altrincham - are massively important.

The tie had been postponed at the weekend because of a waterlogged pitch and the surface wasn't much better on a bitter night in West Yorkshire.

Considering the conditions, it was to both teams credit that the opening half hour provided decent entertainment with home keeper Sam Johnson saving from John Rooney and Craig Mahon while Ryan Lloyd, who replaced the injured Luke George on 14 minutes, might have done better when his shot was blocked from 10 yards.

Kingsley James and Sam Walker failed to take advantage of good positions at the other end before Richard Peniket poked wide from close range after the Blues failed to deal with Walker's free-kick.

The standard then deteriorated with a lack of quality in the final third from both sides, although it was Chester who had more possession and moved the ball better without having a cutting edge.

The first-half was poised to end goalless but Halifax grabbed the lead in time added-on as a long throw was hurled into the box and the ball dropped for James to hook over his head and Jordan Burrow stabbed home from close range.

Halifax celebrate Jordan Burrow's match-winner at the end of the first-half
Halifax celebrate Jordan Burrow's match-winner at the end of the first-half

It was the worst possible time to concede given Chester had been the better side and again a goal that could have been prevented, although there was more than a hint of a foul in the build-up.

The Blues suffered another blow six minutes into the second period when Ben Heneghan had to be replaced with Sam Hughes coming on in an unfamiliar defensive role.

Ross Hannah worked tirelessly throughout and was the biggest threat for the Blues, curling a shot past the far post, lifting another wide under pressure and then being denied via an excellent Jake Hibbs tackle after getting in behind.

Tom Shaw couldn't quite reach a loose ball after Johnson failed to hold Ryan Higgins' cross before Jon Worsnop made a vital stop from Peniket with his legs.

Chester threw on Kane Richards for the closing stages and there was no lack of effort, but the longer the game went on the more ragged the visitors became and the less likely an equaliser seemed.

Johnson denied Rooney with a good save in the 90th minute and Richards screwed a shot wide in time added-on as Halifax held on to progress to the last eight.

Talking points

Another avoidable goal: Was there a foul in the lead up to Halifax's opener? It looked like one. Could it have been defended better? Certainly. That's been the case with far too many goals Chester have conceded of late. The manager knows it and the players know it, and the Blues are going to making life more difficult than it needs to be unless the trend is bucked.

Sam Hughes: Thrown into the deep end in a position he's not accustomed to and up against an England C international in Jordan Burrow, the teenager gave another excellent account. He's a promising talent and one that probably both needs and deserves more regular football. Will he get that with Chester? If he continue to perform to this standard then he should.

Match facts

Chester FC: Worsnop, Higgins, Heneghan (Hughes 51), Sharps, Hunt, George (Lloyd 14), Rooney, Shaw, Chapell, Mahon (Richards 71), Hannah.

Subs: Thompson, Hobson.

FC Halifax Town: Johnson, Roberts, Brown, Bencherif (Hibbs 27), McManus, James, Wroe, Walker, MacDonald (Hughes 63), Burrow, Peniket (Fairhurst 71).

Subs: Porter, Miller.

Goal: Burrow 45.

Booked: Hibbs.

Referee: Michael Salisbury (Preston).

Attendance: 878.

Star man: John Rooney.