Chester's title hopes suffered a setback on Saturday as they crashed to defeat against fellow contenders Hednesford Town as the visitors displayed that most snivelling of characteristics - the ability to win on talent alone mixed with the obsession of using snide little tactics anyway.
Hednesford boss Rob Smith had attempted to employ mind-games from well before matchday, as though he was Sir Alex Ferguson or something. Following Saturday's game, Smith admitted that his tactical inspiration actually comes from another source entirely.
"The 1980s West Indian test cricket side," he revealed .
"We get in a bunch of big, hard players, with bags of ability, then we contrive to waste as much time as is humanly possible - it's far easier to win a game where the ball is only in play for 17 minutes. Far less defending to be done."
The Hednesford goalkeeper began wasting time before scoring had even commenced, taking so long over goal-kicks and free kicks you'd be forgiven for thinking that his life depended on the precise placing of the ball. Indeed, Police began investigating him under the Theft Act 1968, as experts tried to deduce whether you can be found guilty for stealing several minutes from the lives of 3340 people. The investigation broke down when no-one could remember the keeper's name.
There were some flash-points, whilst the ball was briefly in play. Levi Mackin broke his collarbone early on, and as Cleggy asked for Mackin's girlfriend to report to the players' entrance, there was controversy as seven different women turned up, as a bunch of wannabe WAGs tried their luck. An "I'm Spartacus"-style melée ensued, and even Mackin, having been pumped full of painkillers, struggled to identify the real one. The fight was eventually broken up by smooth CEO The Pet Husky, who boomed "ladies, please," in his commanding voice and the girls desisted.
On the pitch, following a two-footed tackle from a Hednesford midfielder, Christian Smith was so incensed that he decided to do his best impression of said tackle, but amplified by ten. Smith launched himself into the tackle, wiping his opponent out with every limb available to him before protesting his innocence. A confused referee let Smith off with a booking and awarded Chester a throw-in, in one of the more bizarre passages of refereeing seen this season.
Either side of Smith's caution, Hednesford netted two goals, Chris Clements and Gary Hay scoring from pinpoint assists by Chester's Iain Howard and Michael Taylor respectively. Matty McGinn knocked home his customary penalty on the stroke of half-time to halve the lead.
After the break, in between an increasingly fine display of time-wasting, a football match occasionally broke out, Chester bombarding their tormentors' goal with chance after chance. The Blues couldn't make the breakthrough, however, as the Hednesford keeper turned out actually to be pretty good, annoyingly.
With the game ending 2-1, it was Neil Young's turn to waste everyone's time, conducting his usual four hour post-match interview so that The Tall Peacock would have a couple of quotes for his weekend article.