Chester FC made it a winning start to 2013 as they beat Droylsden 4-3 at the Butcher's Arms, but had to endure a late fightback inspired by ex-Chester loanee James Ellison who netted a hat trick for the home side.
Chester showed no signs of any festive tiredness as they flew out of the blocks scoring three times inside the first 10 minutes, with Antoni Sarcevic, Craig Curran and Danny Williams giving the Blue Square North leaders an instant 3 goal cushion.
The first goal scored on just 3 minutes came about following good work from Danny Williams who made his way through the defence, but saw his effort stopped by Bloods keeper Dale Latham but he could only parry it away and into the path of the oncoming Antoni Sarcevic who scored from close range, despite the defender's best efforts to clear the ball.
Within 60 seconds it was 2-0 as Craig Curran netted, a fine individual effort cutting inside before curling a low shot into the corner of the net to leave the hosts shell shocked.
Just when Droylsden thought they had weathered the early storm it was 3-0, with in-form Sarcevic rounding the keeper and from an acute angle crossed for Danny Williams to nod in for a third goal with just 8 minutes on the clock.
The home side could've been forgiven for shutting up shop, but to their credit they continued to search for a way back into the game, and they found it on 16 minutes when James Ellison tapped in after a good save from John Danby had initially prevented Hall from scoring.
Chester though seemed to come forward in waves, and it was a surprise that it took until the 41st minute to see the Blues register another goal, this time Nathan Turner - making his first start - played a 1-2 with Ben Mills before curling the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area to give Chester their three goal cushion back for half time.
The second half saw a much more level game, with Chester seemingly taking their foot off the gas, although Danny Williams had two efforts which fizzed past the post, and Curran almost scored again, but his effort was saved by Latham.
Droylsden then staged their late comeback when with just five minutes remaining Ellison turned substitute Dom Collins to fire past Danby to make it 4-2, and the Bloods began to attack Chester, and Derbyshire had a shot which Sissons just failed to get on the end of.
Ellison then completed his hat trick in the second minute of injury time when he scored another fine individual goal, flicking up before shooting home to make it 4-3 and very tense finale for Chester.
There was almost disaster a minute later when a back pass almost let in O'Neill, but Danby rescued the situation, and in turn clinched the win for the Blues as the referee signalled the end of the contest and Chester had won their 12th league game in a row and started the New Year off as they left off in 2012 - with a win.
Chester maintain their 15 point lead at the top of the table after Guiseley won 3-1 but Halifax were beaten 3-0 at Gainsborough, meaning that the Blues are 32 points clear of their promotion rivals - although the Shaymen do have 7 games in hand.
Droylsden: Latham, Derbyshire, Logan, Palmer, Kerr (Killeen), Langford, Hall (Doherty), Sissons (c), O'Neill, Ellison, Rick (Jacombs)
Subs: Bryan, Holden
Goals: Ellison 16, 85, 90+1.
Chester: Danby, Baynes, McGinn, Horan (c)(Collins), Linwood, D Williams, Curran, Sarcevic, Turner (M Williams), Mills (Jarman), A Williams
Subs: Hankin, Howard
Goals: Sarcevic 3, Curran 4, D Williams 8, Turner 41
Man of the Match: Sarcevic
Referee: Mr A Holmes
Assistant Referee: Mr M Powell, Mr D Midgley
Match Report by Chris Graham