Anthony Johnson insists that Chester's 8-1 drubbing at Blyth Spartans has clearly exposed the club's defensive frailties this term.

The defeat, Chester's biggest since a 9-2 reverse to Leyton Orient in1962, followed successive clean sheets in both of their opening National League North fixtures.

The summer recruitment of Johnson and Bernard Morley as joint managers had prompted optimism among Blues fans, who hope the duo can oversee a swift return to the National League.

But Johnson admits that the shocking defeat will have evoked bad memories of recent campaigns for supporters.

He said: "Let's get it right. We've given them (the fans) a little bit of hope over the last few games and what's just gone on at Blyth has just dragged everything that's happened over the last three or four years right back into the shop window.

"And they're going to start comparing us to that again, so everything we've tried to eradicate and all our talk about positivity has just gone out of the window again, unfortunately.

"It's going to take a long time to build that trust up again. I suppose if we'd have conceded two in the first game and then three on Monday night at Curzon Ashton then you'd think that's alright, but it's come from nothing.

"We've conceded none in the first two games and then gone to Blyth and conceded eight - it's bewildering.

"The one thing that result will do is put the lads feet back on the ground.

"When there's no build-up to that kind of result happening, there's a lot of things you can put it down to, but I've never seen anything like it.

"Some of the basic errors we were committing, you could put an under 12s team out and they wouldn't have conceded as many as we did. It was shocking."

The scale of the defeat has made Johnson and Morley re-assess the club's early progress, with the result tarnishing their good work at the club to date.

Johnson admits that poring over Chester's defensive horror show will be tough and that 'drawing a line' under the result even tougher.

He said: "It's never happened to us before. The most goals we'd ever conceded in a game was against Liverpool, so in the space of five weeks we've conceded 15 goals over two games.

"We have worked towards something, but what the Blyth game has done is show up the frailties within that system. What me and Bernard have always said is that we're very pragmatic in how we play and what we do depending n the opposition.

"But watching the Blyth game back would probably make me commit murder. You want to be able to put a line under it and say it's a one-off, but that result will stick with us and the supporters for a long, long time and it's a very difficult one to try to address."

"In hindsight, having been beaten 8-1, you'd have changed the shape after we'd gone two nil behind after 20 minutes.

"But it's justifying changing that shape after the great start we've had and throwing the white towel and saying that everything we've done over the last five or six weeks goes out of the window because we're two-nil down.

"For the first time since we've been here our back we're against the wall and it was a case of how we responded to that.

"But every time they went forward they scored another goal and when it gets to 4-0 or whatever it was we get a man sent off."