Chester FC secured a comfortable two-nil victory over Southport in a big game at the bottom of the Vanarama Conference. Early goals from Kieran Charnock and Craig Hobson allowed Chester to cruise to victory with the visitors struggling to work an effort on target.
Blues manager Steve Burr made just one change from the side that lost at Woking on Saturday with Craig Mahon returning to the starting line up for the first time since his injury, in place of Danny Harrison. It meant that Chester lined up in a 4-3-3 formation.
Chester got off to the perfect start, taking the lead after just three minutes as John Rooney's corner was met by Kieran Charnock, who headed powerfully past Dean Porter in the Southport goal.
Craig Mahon went inches away from adding a second in the fifth minute as Rooney was again involved, crossing just over Hobson and Mahon ran on but could only turn the ball inches past Porter's goal from a tight angle.
Southport were struggling to deal with the Chester start and after fifteen minutes the Blues doubled their lead, after some neat link up play Sean McConville played a ball through to Craig Hobson who took one touch before firing low and surprising Dean Porter at his near post to send the Blues fans into ecstacy.
After that the game settled down and Chester began to allow Southport a bit more of the ball, though the Sandgrounders never looked close to creating a chance or troubling Jon Worsnop in the Chester goal.
At the other end Chester were still creating chances and Jadan Hall very nearly added a third on the stroke of half time, hitting an effort against a defender that deflected inches wide of the post.
After the break Southport started brightly but still struggled to create clear cut chances, the closest they came was a poorly directed header that didn't trouble Worsnop.
Debutant Ibou Touray nearly added a third as he couldn't make a good connection with a cross into the area, and in the end it was deflected out for a corner.
Chester continued to look threatening when they went forward and Jadan Hall narrowly curled a free kick just wide of the far post as the best of their chances.
With the second half a much quieter affair it was Chester who saw out a comfortable victory.
Chester: Worsnop, Heneghan, Kay, Charnock (c), G Roberts, James, Rooney, Mahon, Hall (Harrison 89), McConville, Hobson (Touray 44)
Subs: C Roberts, Riley, Iwelumo
Southport: Porter, Connor (Hattersley 79), McDonald, Fitzpatrick, Collins (c), Gorman (Smith 45), Marsden, Brodie, George (Mitchell 79), Rutherford, Kay
Subs: Joyce, Lynch
Goal Scorers: Chester: Charnock (3), Hobson (15)
Man of the match: Chester: Heneghan. Southport: McDonald.
Referee: Wayne Barrett
Assistant Referee: Neil Pratt, Ian Smedley
4th Official: Justin Hayes
Match Report by Chris Graham