The Blues wrapped up the season in style with a third successive National League victory – following an incredulous second half performance against Gateshead.
Following a drab first half which saw no goals – Chester responded to Rob Ramshaw’s opener by scoring four; Kane Richards, Ryan Higgins and a brace from Ross Hannah helped guide Jon McCarthy’s men to victory. Daniel Johnson’s strike proved nothing more than a consolation late on.
Chester were almost gifted the opener on three minutes when Kane Richards intercepted a loose pass and found James Alabi – but his shot was scuffed into the keepers arms.
Ben Heneghan then headed over from a Ryan Lloyd inswinging corner – all in the opening ten minutes.
The game definitely had a ‘dead rubber’ feel to it – Richards again pouncing on some lax defending from the Heed; but could only fire straight at Russell.
At the other end, Daniel Johnson would blast just over from the edge of the area – but there was little to shout about in the first half.
However, the second half came to life on 51 minutes when the visiting Heed took the lead.
CJ Hamilton’s cross from the right found one of Gateshead’s subs – Rob Ramshaw – who beat Ryan Higgins to the ball to bundle it home.
Moments later, Matthew Pattison’s long range effort was clawed away by Tony Thompson.
Thompson had to be quick to make a double save moments later too – the second of which deflected off Higgins and rebounded just wide of the post after Craig Baxter’s shot.
It was all Gateshead, and Pattison was again denied by Thompson, pushing away his firm volley.
Nevertheless, Chester had weathered the storm and levelled it up on the hour mark.
John Rooney found the ball at the left byline and chipped it back across – allowing Kane Richards to nod home.
The turnaround was complete a mere 120 seconds later – as right back Higgins cut the ball on to his left foot and smashed it into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
Daniel Johnson then poked the ball just wide from inside the box – it was truly a game of two halves as the game had come to life at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.
Substitute and leading scorer Ross Hannah was looking to extend the advantage – but struck the ball wide from inside the box on 70 minutes.
Alas, Hannah was not to be denied six minutes later – calmly dispatching the ball into the back of the net after Rooney’s dinked free kick.
The home faithful didn’t have to wait long to celebrate another goal – and another for Hannah – as he latched onto a through ball and rocketed it home into the bottom corner.
It was the ‘Ross Hannah show’ now and he should have made it at hat-trick with five minutes to go when he beat the offside trap but – with time and space – Russell was equal to it.
The Heed then cut the deficit late on as Daniel Johnson tapped home a rebound after Tony Thompson had superbly denied Josh Gillies.
CHESTER: Thompson, Higgins, Heneghan, Astles, Hunt, Chapell (Mahon 59), Shaw, Rooney, Lloyd, Alabi (Hannah 59), Richards (Hobson 83).
SUBS NOT USED: Worsnop, George.
GATESHEAD: Russell, Baxter, Pattison, Clark (Curtis 7), Gillies, Mafuta (Chandler 37), Holden, Bowman (Ramshaw 37), Johnson, Hamilton, Whitmore.
SUBS NOT USED: MacDonald, Onovwigun.
SCORERS: Richards 60, Higgins 62, Hannah 76 & 80; Ramshaw 51, Johnson 86.
REFEREE: Richard Wigglesworth.