Nine-man Chester were defeated by ten-man Fylde on an eventful afternoon at the Deva Stadium.
The Referee was at the centre of the controversy, starting with his decision to send off both Adam Thomas and Pierce Bird on the stroke of half time.
Blues fans were further infuriated at Stuart Morland’s decision to show Joe Lynch a straight red card early in the second half for stopping a Fylde counter-attack.
The only goal of the game came with fifteen minutes to play as a cross deflected off the back of Liam Edwards and fell perfectly for Danny Philliskirk to head beyond the dive of Harry Tyrer. Despite Chester’s best efforts to get an equaliser Fylde were able to hold firm.
Chester made four changes from the side that were beaten by Peterborough Sports a week ago as Burke, Morgan, Williams and Stephenson all made way, with Edwards, Coulton, Lynch and Hall replacing them in the starting line-up.
The game kicked off in the sweltering sunshine and it was the Blues who started brightest, forcing the opening chance of the game as Willoughby set up Declan Weeks but the midfielder couldn’t get his curling effort on target.
Fylde looked dangerous in attack though and could have taken the lead through Nick Haughton’s header – but Thomas was back on the line well for the Blues.
Chester continued to get the better openings as first Alex Kenyon looped a header goalwards before Thomas picked out Kole Hall, but both instances Chris Neal was equal to it in the Fylde goal.
The Blues almost took the lead a minute before half time as Willoughby’s deceptive free kick was dipped and swirled but Neal was able to get enough behind it to keep it out.
In first half stoppage time both sides were reduced to ten men as Bird brought down Thomas, the Blues’ midfielder got up and a scuffle ensued, with referee Morland adjudging both men deserved a red card apiece.
The first chance of the second half fell to the visitors as a deep corner was met by Captain Alex Whitmore, but his looping header landed on the roof of the Chester goal.
Weeks almost put the Blues ahead as he cut inside from the left and fired low, forcing Neal to parry the ball away but that was Weeks’ last involvement as an injury forced him off.
The Blues’ afternoon got even tougher three minutes later as they were reduced to nine men as Lynch was shown a straight red card after bringing his man down on the halfway line.
As Chester fought an uphill battle to repel wave after wave of Fylde attack they had Tyrer to thank for keeping the scores level just after the hour mark as Whitmore peeled away from his man and headed back across goal but the Everton loanee made a huge save for the Blues.
The nine men of Chester almost took the lead as Coulton’s corner glanced off the top of Burke’s head, but he couldn’t direct it goalwards.
Nevertheless, the visitors found the breakthrough with fifteen remaining as a ball into the penalty area deflected off Edwards’ back and broke kindly for Philliskirk to head home.
Chester responded brightly and had a huge appeal for a penalty as Alex Kenyon’s shot was blocked, but referee Morland waved away appeals.
Sub Danny Rowe almost sealed the victory for Fylde as his long-range effort deflected inches wide.
Despite having nine men Chester were giving it everything going forward, with Fylde sitting deep to defend to defend, even pushing Tyrer up for set pieces, but Fylde’s defence stood firm.
CHESTER: Tyrer, Coulton, Weeks (Burke 56), Kenyon, Willoughby (Stephenson 59), Thomas, Devine, Coates, Lynch, Hall (Heywood 70), Edwards.
SUBS NOT USED: Morgan, Murray.
SCORERS: Philliskirk 75.