Chester got back to winning ways with a fantastic – and dominating – victory over promotion rivals Southport on Boxing Day.
They fell behind to former Blue Ryan Astles on 20 minutes, but bounced back with goals from George Waring, Akwasi Asante and Gary Roberts.
Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley made three changes from Saturday’s goalless draw. Jamie Morgan, Waring and Gary Stopforth all returned to the side.
And, after a bright start, it was the latter who almost made it count. Joel Taylor initially did great work down the left, and his clipped cross went over the head of ‘keeper Charlie Albinson. Scrambling to recover, the Southport number one watched the ball strike the post before Stopforth on the rebound was denied by a brilliant block from Dean Winnard.
They would hit the post again on 14 minutes. Moments after Devarn Green had volleyed wide from inside the box, the Blues set about a counter. Brad Jackson set up George Glendon who fired against the bottom of the woodwork from the edge of the box.
Moments later, it was Glendon at the heart of it once again. On the edge of the box, he played a super one-two with Stopforth and then repeated the trick with Asante – but his shot was well smothered by the onrushing Albinson.
Then came the sucker punch on twenty minutes, as Southport took the lead against the run of play.
A long free kick into the box was flicked on, and an unmarked Zeyn Mohammed look certain to score. However, he was brilliantly denied by Russ Griffiths, but ex-Blue Ryan Astles was on hand to stay composed and fire home right footed for his third in his last three games.
Nevertheless, just 14 minutes later, it was level again and Waring who struck. Back into the side, the big frontman dived in and turned the impressive Glendon’s cross into the far corner of the net.
The game was firmly in the balance in terms of the scoreline, but also in chances. David Morgan and Jack Sampson both firing wide for the hosts as the first half came to a close – with Waring heading straight at Albinson following Grand’s flick on.
But Chester asserted dominance in the second 45. They had the game turned on its head within four minutes of the restart. Asante nipping in and rounding up Albinson before slotting home his 15th of the campaign.
Now in front, the Blues needed to keep it that way – and did so by continuting an offensive assault.
Wave after wave of attacking play led to a plethora of chances. Gary Stopforth’s fantastic burst into the box halted by the keeper, before Asante and Glendon were both crowded out in the six yard box.
They needed a third goal to seal – and on 70 minutes it arrived – and what a stunner it was. Taylor’s long throw headed out to Gary Roberts – and the skipper ran on to it and almost broke the net with a blaster from range.
It was all about seeing the game out now for the Blues, and they did so without any real danger. Sampson headed over from close range late on but the flag was up for offside.
A fantastic day on the road, sending Chester back up to third in the table.
CHESTER: Griffiths, Morgan, Livesey (Hughes 90+2), Grand, Taylor, Jackson (K Roberts 84), Stopforth, G Roberts, Glendon, Asante (Dudley 84), Waring.
SUBS NOT USED: Ngwatala, Elliott.
SCORERS: Astles 20; Waring 34, Asante 49, G Roberts 70