THE lack of a cutting edge in a disjointed performance and a number of strange refereeing decisions meant the Blues were forced to accept a share of the spoils.

Chester started the match as favourites which explains just why the final outcome felt like a defeat to Blues fans as they headed for the exits.

The Blues created plenty of goalscoring opportunities but were continually frustrated by a stubborn and  hardworking Prescot rearguard.

The only consolation for Chester arrived 10 minutes from time when man of the match, Bradley Barnes, powered home an unchallenged near post header from substitute Mark Peers’ well measured corner kick.

Chester’s disappointing display had been compounded by Prescot substitute, Aaron Rey’s unstoppable volley from Dale Wright’s right wing cross which broke the deadlock in the 64th minute.

The Blues remain fourth in the Division One North league table, but there was no disguising the bitter after-taste as two points were dropped.

Chester made two changes from the side that secured a 4-0 victory at Salford City the previous week, with midfielder Andy Burgess and striker Robbie Booth starting in place of Stuart Jones and Iain Howard.

Chester bossed the opening half but failed to break down a resolute Prescot rearguard.

Centre half George Horan saw his tame third minute glancing header from Mark Connolly’s throw bounce wide of the left post.

And Burgess continued to raise hopes of a breakthrough a minute later when his low 25 yard strike was gathered by visiting keeper Farai Jackson after good work from a lively Booth in the heart of midfield.

Dale Wright responded for Cables in the fifth minute when he burst forward, but his long range attempt flew high and wide of the target.

James Thomas on the left edge of the box pressed for the visitors in the eighth minute, but his dangerous looking cross was headed behind by Chris Williams.

Chester returned to their familiar attacking guise after nine minutes when a Burgess cross from the right was headed on by Rob Hopley and palmed wide by Jackson.

Hopley then saw his goalbound shot deflected into the path of Jackson as Chester penned Cables into their own half.

Williams was replaced by Stuart Graves in the 16th minute and he took up position on the left flank.

Booth, who looked a threat whenever he ran forward with the ball, forced Jackson into a tip over save with a 25 yard piledriver in the 24th minute.

And the former Chester City striker kept Jackson on his toes seconds later with another 25 yard drive which the keeper did well to push wide of the right post.

Prescot countered in the 27th minute when John Cass played a one-two with Lee Madin on the edge of the area, but Cass then turned his shot over the bar from 15 yards.

Chester hit back in the 28th minute when Booth measured a pass for Michael Wilde to perfection, but the Blues’ leading marksman was tackled by Tom Spearitt.

Wilde, always determined to carve an opening, found himself in a good position in the 33rd minute, but was again tackled in the area as he was about to pull the trigger.

Greg Stones tried to make his mark a minute before the break with a surging run beyond defender Liam Hollett, but although his lob beat Jackson it dropped wide of the right post.

And seconds before the break Wilde was set up by Connolly whose long ball was completely missed by Jackson, but covering defender Hollett was on hand to clear the danger.

Chester started the second half in expectant mood and pressed for a breakthrough by forcing Prescot into their own half.

But the visitors refused to lie down and sparked a few problems for the Blues defence, including a move featuring Cass who twisted his way into space inside the area only to drag his left-footed shot wide of the left post.

Mark Peers replaced Burgess in the 55th minute, before Prescot introduced Aaron Rey and Karl Brown in a double substitution two minutes later.

Chester came close to breaking the deadlock on the hour when Peers’ right wing cross was volleyed goalwards by Wilde, but his first time effort was saved on the line by Jackson.

Peers then received a yellow card for diving just outside the Prescot area.

And Prescot then punished Chester’s failure to find the target by taking the lead in the 64th minute.

Dale Wright created time and space on the right and hoisted a precision cross towards Rey who made no mistake with a close range volley into the roof of the net.

Chester responded in the 68th minute when Wilde’s close range header from Peers’[ corner was tipped over, and Chester were angered by the referee’s refusal to award a penalty after Stones had been blatantly floored in the area.

Rey demonstrated his pace immediately after that controversy, but his run and shot from the left of the area was brilliantly fisted away by Blues’ keeper Richard Whiteside.

Wilde attempted to put Chester back on level terms in the 73rd minute, but his run and shot from the left edge of the box was turned round the post by Jackson.

But Chester’s constant pressure eventually paid dividends 10 minutes from time when Bradley Barnes steered a near post header powerfully into the net from Peers’ right-sided corner.

Blues’ fans cheers turned to jeers seconds later when Wilde was booked after falling to the ground following a face-to-face confrontation with a Prescot defender.

The incident underlined Chester’s frustration with the match officials – and with the Blues’ failure to secure all three points from a winnable game.

CHESTER (4-4-2): Whiteside; Connolly, Horan, Ruffer, Williams (Graves 16); Booth (Howard 63), Barnes, Stones, Burgess (Peers 55); Wilde, Hopley. Subs (not used): Field, Wilson.

PRESCOT CABLES (4-4-2): Jackson; Hollett, Foy, Calland, Spearitt; Gililiru, Wright, Holme, Madin (Rey 57); Cass (McGann 87), Thomas (Brown 57). Subs (not used): McGann, Jarret, Ojapah.