Chester FC continued their strong push for the Blue Square Bet North title with an impressive three-one victory at Harrogate Town. Goals from Nathan Jarman, Tony Gray and Matty McGinn saw Chester go three goals up before Domenic Knowles struck back for the hosts.
On a pitch that many fans anticipated the match to be called off, after heavy rain and standing water on the pitch, Chester struggled with their passing game early on, with Harrogate striker Chib Chilaka causing the Chester defence problems.
Chilaka did control the ball nicely down to Domenic Knowles inside the Chester penalty area but his shot went just wide.
Chester's best period of sustained pressure saw a Harrogate defender force 'keeper MacGillivray into a fine save before Nathan Jarman saw his effort cleared off the line.
Both sides were battling hard with both defences getting several blocks in.
Chester took the lead with just under ten minutes left in the first half. Matty McGinn's free kick saw Dom Collins' header blocked before the ball broke to Nathan Jarman whose overhead kick snuck through Craig MacGillivray's hands to give The Blues the lead at the break.
The visitors started the second half strongly as Antoni Sarcevic's free kick found George Horan at the back post, his header was saved and Tony Gray's follow up effort was hit over the bar.
Chester didn't have to wait too long before doubling their lead though with a lovely goal as Matty McGinn stood the ball up to the back post for in-form Tony Gray to loop a header over Craig MacGillivray.
The second half was showing more of the usual Chester, playing some lovely football, despite the difficult conditions, and Matty McGinn found his way in, unleashing a powerful effort that MacGillivray parried away.
With The Blues the far superior side in the second half Matty McGinn nearly added a third with a stunning free kick that had Craig MacGillivray beaten all ends up.
Fortunately Chester didn't have to wait too long for a third as Dave Hankin's cross deflected off Dwayne Samuels and Matty McGinn got a touch, trying to claim the goal as the ball crossed the line.
The hosts struck back straight away after a dubious free kick conceded by Dom Collins, Domenic Knowles stepped up to take it and curled a superb effort in off the post.
Harrogate seemed to gain a new lease of life after the goal and the impressive Chib Chilaka beat three players before shooting just inside the far post but John Danby pulling off a stunning one handed save, Harrogate pushed but were unable to get another and really crank up the pressure.
Chester: Danby, Collins, McGinn, Horan (c), Linwood, Turner, Daniels (Hankin 58), Sarcevic, Jarman, Gray, D Williams
Subs: A Williams, M Williams, Trundle, Howard
Harrogate Town: MacGillivray, Samuels, Merris, Dean (Elam), Bloomer, Killock, Platt (Hardy), Bolland (c), Knowles, Chilaka, Nowakowski
Subs: White, Youhill, Da Veiga
Goal Scorers: Harrogate: Knowles (75). Chester: Jarman (37), Gray (56), McGinn (72).
Man of the match: Nathan Turner
Referee: Mr A Holmes
Assistant Referee: Mr M Powell, Mr E Simms
Match report by Chris Graham