Chester FC rolled in the New Year with a dominant display against Southport.
Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley’s side swept aside the Sandgrounders with goals from Simon Grand, Anthony Dudley and an Akwasi Asante brace.
The hosts had several more chances to extend the lead, including Asante having a header off the line in an emphatic victory.
The Blues made five changes from the side that lost at home to Curzon Ashton just four days earlier as Kevin Roberts, Matty Waters, Brad Jackson, Matty Hughes and Anthony Dudley replaced Jamie Morgan, Joel Taylor, George Glendon, George Waring and Elton Ngwatala.
Both teams sought to land the opening blow and had chances in the opening ten minutes, Reagan Ogle broke at pace and tried to find the unmarked Jack Sampson but Russ Griffiths was quickly off his line to smother it. At the other end Asante had a shot from thirty yards, but it was too close to Charlie Albinson.
It was the hosts who went close to opening the deadlock again as Brad Jackson picked out Asante in the penalty area but his glancing header went agonisingly wide.
Southport were very much in the game though and when Devarn Green beat Matty Waters and the ball was played into the area it fell to substitute Morgan Homson-Smith, who fired over at the back post with the goal gaping.
Chester continued to look threatening and forced a corner when Matty Hughes’ effort from the edge of the penalty area was turned behind by Albinson. Waters took the corner and the keeper got underneath it, flicking his punch to Grand at the back post who gleefully headed into an unguarded net.
The Sandgrounders looked for a quick response through a Marcus Wood free kick in the right channel, he fired a dangerous ball in and was denied as Griffiths punched the ball away to give the Blues the lead at the break.
Chester made the perfect start to the second half, again forcing a corner that Southport failed to clear, the ball was played back in to Hughes who shot low and Albinson could only parry it away, where Asante was waiting to add the second.
Asante almost grabbed his brace and Chester’s third shortly after as Jackson again put a teasing ball into the penalty area but the Blues forwards’ shot was deflected for a corner.
Chester continued to dominate the second half and almost scored a superb third goal as Dudley played an incredible reverse pass to Asante, he looked to round the ‘keeper but Albinson recovered well to make a good save.
The Blues did manage to get that third just before the hour as the ball dropped to Anthony Dudley on the edge of the penalty area and he struck an outstanding volley beyond Albinson who was rooted to the spot.
The hosts were rampant and came inches away from adding a fourth as Brad Jackson fired a stunning effort against the base of the post from twenty five yards.
Chester kept creating chances and Akwasi Asante almost got through but former Blue Ryan Astles got back to prevent the shot, before the striker played in Dudley who could only fire into the side netting.
The fourth did come for the Blues and it was a stunning strike from Asante. The ball was played to him on the edge of the penalty area and he twisted and turns then fired a stunning effort beyond Albinson for his 17th of a clinical campaign.
The chances kept coming for his 18th as Asante met a corner at the back post, only to see his header cleared off the line, with the follow-up then scrambled clear.
Five minutes later and there was another chance as Waters crossed for Dudley, but with the ball behind him he couldn’t keep his volley down as the Blues saw out the final few minutes for a dominant victory.
Chester: Griffiths, K Roberts, Waters, G Roberts (c) (Ngwatala 75), Jones, Grand, Jackson (Waring 83), Stopforth, Asante, Hughes (Elliott 77), Dudley.
Substitutes: Morgan, Waring, Taylor.
Scorers: Chester: Grand (36), Asante (47, 71), Dudley (58).
Referee: John Kenny.