BERNARD MORLEY was left embarrassed as Chester became a “laughing stock” at the hands of Neil Young’s Marine.

The Blues were understandably confident of securing a place in the first round proper of the famous competition given home advantage against a side from two leagues below.

But it was Chester legend Young’s visitors that had the last laugh as James Barrigan drilled a late penalty past Blues’ stopper Louis Gray after Danny Livesey had been adjudged to have handled in the area.

“I don’t often use the word embarrassed because it’s disrespecting the opposition and that’s not what I’m trying to do,” joint Blues boss Morley told reporters.

“In terms of our own players, the way we applied ourselves, how desperate we became with the referee - always using the referee as an excuse why we get beat. We got beaten by a side that was more hungry.

“Everyone knows Marine are two leagues below, so let’s not pay them any disrespect, because we were under no-illusions that it was going to be a tough game.

“What I watched was not acceptable. There are no excuses from us, none whatsoever. They executed their game-plan. They let us have the ball, we forced things, they picked up second balls and kept their shape really well.

“They were relying on a set-piece or a penalty, that was the game-plan, let’s make no bones about it, and they’ve executed it, which makes them the better side on the day.

“I’ve just shaken Neil Young’s hand and said: ‘Well deserved’. We looked frustrated, we forced things and we looked desperate at times.”

Morley also defended the decision made by him and fellow boss Anthony Johnson to play just one out-and-out striker in Danny Elliott with the likes of Anthony Dudley, George Waring, Lloyd Marsh-Hughes and Matty Hughes on the bench.

The Blues management felt with the likes of John Johnston, Brad Jackson, Brad Bauress in support of Elliott there were enough attacking options to trouble Marine.

“We played six attacking players at home,” explained Morley.

“If we’d have had two central midfielders and two centre-forwards, does that make us a more attacking team? No it doesn’t.

“The quality we had in that front six should be beating that Marine side. Again, no disrespect to Neil Young’s side because they’ve made us a laughing stock and I’ve got to go home with that on my conscience.

“People will have opinions. If win 6-0 and play the same formation then what a game-plan.

“We know what’s coming: ‘4-5-1 against Marine’. It’s not a 4-5-1, it’s six players that would get in any side in our league - or we’d like to think so.

“We’ve got to take that criticism, because we can’t justify why we played Brad Bauress in the number 10 position. We haven’t scored against a side two leagues below us.

“We’ve got it all coming and have I got all of the answers? No I haven’t, except from being a little bit embarrassed.”

Morley also refused to blame referee Ed Duckworth after the visitors booked a place in today’s first round proper draw via the penalty spot.

“The referee has given it, so it’s a penalty,” said Morley. “If I stand here and say it’s not a penalty... that’s the least of our problems.

“It’s the fact that we haven’t scored in 96 minutes against a side two leagues below - they are the facts.

“They’ve managed to break us down, whether that’s a set-piece, penalty or a free-kick, they’ve won the game 1-0 and you can’t take anything away from them.

“For us it’s three years we’ve been beaten by a side two or three leagues below us.

“Players have to take responsibility and accountability, myself and Jonno are embarrassed and not because we’ve been beaten by a side two leagues below.

“It’s the fact that we are in this situation again. Chester fans are thinking ‘We can go and get Sunderland’. We thought that as well, the players were asking who we fancied in the first round if we’d won.

“Unfortunately for us we haven’t got over the line, it’s alarming it really is and everything we get thrown at us we deserve.”

Young, meanwhile, went from Blues legend to party-pooper as he masterminded Marine’s shock victory.

The former Chester boss returned to the scene of past glories, where he led the phoenix club to promotion after promotion, inflicting a famous FA Cup scalp.

The victory earned Merseysiders Marine a place in the FA Cup first round for the first time in 25 years and Young was obviously delighted.

He said: “I’ve heard a few reports of people saying that Chester were poor and that they only played with one upfront but that’s being really disrespectful to us.

“A lot of work went into our gameplan and then the players carried that out onto the pitch.

“We told them that it was a case of how long can we stay in the game and if we get a chance from a free-kick or whatever then we take it.

“We got that chance with a penalty and scored it.

“It was a great victory and the lads deserve a lot of credit for it.

“We only really had 14 players but I couldn’t name just three subs. It wouldn’t have looked good. So we had two lads on the bench who were injured and could never have a played a part in the game.

“Now we hope to get a decent draw and make some money for the club.”

The celebrations weren’t exactly over the top as Young revealed management and players drove to The Deva in separate cars due to Covid restrictions.

“We couldn’t say for a drink after the game so it was a cup of tea when I got home watching Liverpool on TV,” added Reds’ fan Young. “Watching Liverpool win after our victory made it a pretty good day.”