Chester FC endured a difficult opening day in the Vanarama Premier Division, losing -0 to promotion hopefuls Barnet. Andy Yiadom, Lee Cook and Charlie McDonald fired the visitors to a first half lead as Danny Harrison was shown a straight red card and John Rooney missed a penalty in an eventful half. The second half was more of the same as Lee Cook added his second and Keanu Marsh-Brown added Barnet's fifth.
Jon Worsnop beat Freddy Hall to the starting berth for the opening game of the season, with Keiron Charnock and Matty Brown taking the centre back positions. Danny Harrison made his first competitive start since 19th October 2013 after recovering from a hip injury. Up top it was Craig Hobson given the start ahead of Chris Iwelumo and Sean McConville, with the former only able to train once after recovering from injury, before the game.
Chester started the game brightly and won a free kick in the opening seconds that was headed back across goal, hitting Kingsley James but he couldn't get it on target.
One of the main weaknesses for the Blues in pre-season was the struggles in defence and with Barnet's first attack of the game they took the lead, Mauro Vilhete flicked the ball into the path of Andy Yiadom who turned in the area and fired low past Jon Worsnop.
The Blues nearly got back on level terms after 10 minutes as Peter Winn's cross was turned goalwards by Craig Hobson only for Elliott Johnson to turn the ball into Graham Stack's arms.
Danny Harrison's return to action was short lived though as he lasted just 14 minutes before being shown a straight red card after diving in to a tackle on Sam Togwell.
Chester's misery was compounded in the 19th minute as Barnet played some neat football before Lee Cook completed a one-two before finishing well with a half-volley from just inside the penalty area to leave the Blues staring down the barrel of a heavy defeat.
Craig Hobson nearly got one back for the home side as he latched on to a ball over the top but couldn't direct his effort on target.
Bad turned to worse for Chester as John Akinde appeared to overhit the ball and Jon Worsnop committed the making the save was adjudged to have brought the powerful striker down.
Barnet captain Charlie McDonald stepped up from the spot and sent Worsnop the wrong way, putting the visitors three infront just after the half hour mark.
John Rooney fired a free kick over the bar as Chester looked to get back into the game.
On the stroke of half time Chester were given a lifeline, John Rooney's free kick was blocked by the arm of Mauro Vilhete and the referee pointed to the spot.
Rooney stepped up to take and hit it low to the keeper's right, but Stack was equal to it and produced a fine save.
Danny Taylor's struggles at right back continued as Akinde caused problems before finding Lee Cook who turned home from the edge of the penalty area.
The visitors continued to show no mercy on the home side and Keanu Marsh-Brown got one on one with Gareth Roberts, the winger teased the Chester left back before firing low past Jon Worsnop on a tight angle.
Chester twice went close to pulling one back, first a Rooney free kick being tipped over the bar by Graham Stack. Moments later Craig Mahon unleashed a beautiful curling effort to the top corner with Stack equal to it, pulling out a brilliant save.
John Akinde nearly added a sixth as he controlled a ball and forced Jon Worsnop into a good save, tipping the ball over the bar as Barnet eased off towards full time.
Chester: Worsnop, Roberts, Brown (c), Charnock, Mahon, James, Winn (Menagh 58), Taylor (Iwelumo 58), Harrison, Hobson (McConville 78), Rooney
Subs: Hall, Disney
Barnet: Stack, Yiadom, Johnson, Togwell, N'Gala (Saville 54), Stephens, Vilhete (Marsh-Brown 54), Weston, Akinde, McDonald (c), Cook (Villa 58)
Subs: Villa, Nurse, Muggleton
Goal Scorers: Barnet: Yiadom (4), Cook (19, 52), McDonald (31), Marsh-Brown (57)
Booked: Barnet: N'Gala, Vilhete
Sent Off: Chester: Harrison.
Man of the match: Chester: Mahon. Barnet: Cook
Referee: Steve Rushton
Assistant Referees: Luke Watson, Joe Johnson
Fourth Official: Mark Cunliffe
Match report by Chris Graham