Bernard Morley: “It’s all about how we react now.”

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10-man Chester were ‘unfortunate’ to say the very least to suffer a 2-1 defeat away at Spennymoor Town on Saturday afternoon. The hosts fired in a 93rd-minute last-gasp winner, but Chester’s fate dealt a blow by a controversial red card to Danny Livesey in first-half stoppage time.

Joint-manager Bernard Morley spoke to the club’s media after the defeat: “For 94 minutes, I’ve just watched a performance which 12 months ago, I wouldn’t of been able to identify with Chester from numbers 1-16. It was very good. Did the red-card lose us the game? It didn’t help, but we adapted, we played the second 45-minutes unbelievably, our shape was brilliant, and we’ve been robbed, we’ve been absolutely robbed. 

“What happens with a performance that we’ve produced today? In terms of the referee and what I’ve seen, does he get a fine? Does he get suspended? Because I can’t tell him he’s had a bad game, because he’ll send me off. ‘Jonno can’t tell him he’s had a bad game, and the lads certainly can’t tell him what he’s done because he gets his cards out, so how that’s managed, and how that’s the process of what I’ve seen today, I’d be intrigued to know, moving forward. 

“If you’re a centre-half, and you’ve got a 6”5 striker backing in, and you come off the pitch with a massive gash on your eye, how that’s a foul the opposite way, I don’t know. He then goes off the pitch, gets treatment, gets strapped back up, he then believes that the referee waved him back on to the pitch. He then comes on the pitch, play then resumes, and then a foul gets given against him again, and then the referee realises, I haven’t asked you to come back on to the pitch, and sends him off. It doesn’t make sense. 

“I don’t want to stand here and say it’s all about the referee, but I can’t go in the dressing room and say to the lads, ‘we’ve not played well’, we’ve been unbelievable. We’ve lost 2-1 without the opposition doing anything, Spennymoor were poor today, Russ hasn’t had a save to make, as for the goals, he’ll hold his hands up, I don’t need to dig him out, he knows that himself. 

“It’s all about how we react now”, said Morley. “I don’t want to get on the coach with the lads now thinking what could’ve happened, what should’ve happened, our focus now is fully on Monday.

“I’m ‘gutted’ for the lads, the game-plan in the second-half was executed to perfection. The goals we’ve conceded, you can’t blame the centre-halves, you can’t blame the centre-forward’s, you can only blame who you need to blame, and Russ knows that, and he’ll get better. His confidence was gone from the first goal, we shouldn’t be conceding those goals. 

On the short-term signing of George Glendon, Morley added: “Once you’re playing well and you’re up at the top, you need to strengthen (the squad) then, not when you start losing and dropping down the league. And with Gary Roberts and Gary Stopforth coming out through injury, we had to bring some quality in to replicate what those two players have, and George is an unbelievable footballer. 

“In the first 15 seconds of the game, he goes in for a tackle, and the referee books him, it’s absolutely ludicrous. George is thinking ‘I’ve never played at this level before’, George oozes class in possession, he’s definitely something that we’ve lacked in games, with his quality and his game management. He’ll be disappointed that he’s come in, and we’ve lost on his debut, but we’ll do everything we can to keep George.”

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