John Aby reckons he saw the best and worst of his Chester side on Saturday.
They slipped to their second National Two North defeat of the season in a low-scoring affair against Otley at Hare Lane.
A super defensive performance meant Chester only conceded seven points in the whole 80 minutes.
But a toothless attacking display saw them score just five and slip to sixth in the standings.
The best and the worst
Head coach Aby said: “Our set-piece went well, it was our best defensive performance of the season. But it was our worse attacking performance of the season too.
“We are in a learning curve and, unfortunately, days like this are part of that. We will be better for the experience going forward.”
The afternoon began brightly for Chester, when early pressure yielded a lineout close to the visitor’s try-line.
Ross White won clean ball, which the forwards drove for an unconverted try wide out in the left hand corner.
The hosts kept up the pressure, winning and driving a series of lineouts – one for more than 20 metres.
Lack of accuracy
However, despite dominating territory for long spells, Chester lacked quite the control and accuracy needed to cross the Otley line.
The visitors began to grow into the game, winning some quick ball and forcing Chester into conceding a stream of penalties. Their left wing Toby Harris almost scored on the half hour but was pulled down metres from the line.
It appeared Otley lacked confidence in their kicking, as they turned down good opportunities to kick at goal in favour of putting the ball into the corners.
Their doubts proved justified when full-back Sam Allan missed a straightforward effort at goal.
In the second half the Otley pack got a tighter grip on proceedings. They were willing to run the ball from deep, but this brought out the best in the Chester defence which kept shape and scrambled effectively when necessary.
Good work from Tom Foden prevented what looked a certain try from Otley’s Mike Cody, and the West Yorkshire side’s anxiety grew as the hour-mark came and went.
Their fly-half Neil Chivers missed a sitter of a penalty from 15 metres and, even when Kyle Joseph was sin-binned for persistent infringements at the breakdown, the stubborn Chester defence would not be breached.
But deep in the final quarter Otley outside centre Coady sped through two despairing tackles and dived across the whitewash.
Their third kicker of the afternoon, captain Stephen Depledge, converted to seal a 7-5 victory.
Chester travel to face struggling Luctonians on Saturday (3pm).