A CONTROVERSIAL late penalty denied Wharfedale a stunning victory at Chester as they were defeated 24-22 in the National League 2 North.

Played in freezing conditions on a 4G pitch, the first few minutes saw both sides attempting to kick for position.

After seven minutes, a Chester kick was not fielded cleanly and ended up being reclaimed by Gethin Long who raced for the line to open the hosts' account.

Dale then gave up territory when another Chester kick was knocked-on. The home pack won the scrum and winger Harrison Vare ran a superb line to touch down. Chester had established a 10-point lead.

Wharfedale quickly regained possession from the kick-off. Sam Gaudie took play into Chester’s 22 and the recycled ball was spread left. Harry Bullough eventually handed it Ryan Carlson who crossed the whitewash.

The second try was another beauty involving forwards and backs. A successful line-out was followed by a defence shattering run from Rob Baldwin. Seven phases later, the ball was sent through the hands and room was made for Oscar Canny to squeeze over for a try.

An excellent touch-line conversion from Robbie Davidson took the visitors into the lead.

A penalty was then converted by Liam Reeve to put Chester back into the lead.

The second half saw Dale being penalised and getting the dreaded warning from the referee. Reeve capitalised with another accurate penalty kick.

Two infringements later, George Hedgley was shown a technical yellow card for accumulative team offences. The second penalty gave Chester an attacking line-out on Dale’s 22. Six phases later, prop Tom Furnival touched down in the corner for an unconverted try.

Dale struck back with a Davidson try. Wharfedale’s line-out set up good possession and, three phases later, a Gaudie pass was collected by Davidson whose great run saw him score. The successful conversion closed the gap to two points.

Davidson then stepped up again to take Dale into the lead with a penalty kick from 26 metres.

Both sides missed penalty kicks before the final controversial moment.

Chester won a scrum in the visitors' 22. On the attack, Dale managed to grab hold of the ball carrier and look to have held him up.

After a while, the maul went down and the faithful expected to hear the final whistle, instead the referee gave a penalty to Chester in front of the posts.

The result means the Greens only take a point back to the Avenue.