WOEFUL defending from the Blues saw them crash to a heavy defeat at Christie Park yesterday.
City conceded five goals for the first time in Bobby Williamson’s reign – and it cost them their place in the League Two play-off zone as they slipped from sixth to eighth.
Kevin Ellison gave Chester the perfect start when he crashed home a 25-yard free-kick after only five minutes.
But City were undone by three goals in the space of six first-half minutes – all from right-wing corners taken by ex-Blue Michael Twiss.
Jim Bentley headed in the first on 18 minutes, then Garry Thompson stooped in at the near post to put the Shrimps 2-1 up two minutes later. Matthew Blinkhorn added the hosts’ third soon after, scoring after Dave Artell’s header had been pushed into the air by over-worked Chester keeper John Danby.
Amazingly, City’s defence failed to learn their lesson and Morecambe netted a fourth goal from a Twiss corner in first-half injury-time when Carl Baker netted after a scramble.
Chester, with Simon Yeo on for the injured John Murphy and Chris Holroyd replacing debutant Glenn Rule, improved in the second half and went close on a couple of occasions through Ellison before Bentley headed the hosts into a 5-1 lead. The Morecambe skipper beat Danby after a quickly-taken free-kick caught Chester napping, allowing Thompson to send in a pinpoint cross from the right.
The match was effectively over as a contest, but City salvaged some pride – and raised faint hopes of a comeback – with two late goals.
Ellison blasted home a trademark 20-yard drive on his left foot before Holroyd came agonisingly close to scoring a spectacular strike of his own – only to see his shot from the edge of the box bounce out off one post and onto the other.
The young striker had better luck 14 minutes from time when he volleyed a crisp effort beyond Joe Lewis after Yeo’s left-wing cross was only partially cleared – but it proved to be too little too late.
Morecambe: Lewis, Yates, Artell, Bentley, Adams (Howard 64), Thompson, Hunter (Sorvel 90), Stanley, Baker, Twiss (Curtis 72), Blinkhorn. Subs: Scott Davies, Newby.
Goals: Bentley 18, Thompson 20, Blinkhorn 25, Baker 45, Bentley 70.
Chester: Danby, Marples, Linwood, Butler, Vaughan, Partridge, Roberts, Hughes, Ellison, Rule (Holroyd 54), Murphy (Yeo 32). Subs: Ward, Rutherford, Newton.
Booked: Linwood, Roberts.
Goals: Ellison 5, 73, Holroyd 76.
Referee: Mike Pike (Cumbria).