A tough watch but Blues get job done; MATCH REPORT.
Goals from Akwasi Asante and James Jones sealed a valuable win for Chester FC as they saw off the 10-men of Blyth Spartans, who netted what proved to be a consolation with nine minutes remaining through Olly Scott after Shane Blaney had seen red on 52 minutes.
Chester dominated and deserved their success, undoubtedly, but it was not free flowing, it wasn't edge of your seat stuff and it probably didn't do much to win over those who fear a falter in the play-off bid.
But all that mattered was three points. Three points that arrived.
After back-to-back defeats in the National League North the Blues came into the clash with the struggling Spartans in desperate need of three points to get their play-off bid back on track after losing their position of strength over the past two weeks.
There were three changes from the team that lost 4-2 at York City seven days ago with Matty Hughes, James Jones and Kevin Roberts all coming into the side at the expense of Elton Ngwatala, the suspended Jamie Morgan and the injured Danny Livesey.
In a swirling wind at the 1885 Arena conditions made for a difficult first 45 minutes of football, both for the players and the spectators.
Chester started the stronger of the two sides and Brad Jackson rifled an effort wide before Zach Hemming pushed behind an Asante header from a John Johnston cross following a good passage of play on the right between him and Scott Burton.
Hemming was struggling to deal with the wind and almost got caught out when Joel Taylor's resulting corner almost went directly in, the Blues sensing his weakness with the ball coming into the six yard box.
The opener arrived on 12 minutes when Hemming flapped at a George Glendon corner, the ball finding the path of Asante whose drilled effort from 10 yards deflected off a green and white shirt and into the back of the net.
At the other end a chance presented itself on 17 minutes when Lewis Hawkins' delivery was glanced just past the post by Robbie Dale.
The game was a tough watch but Chester were still dominant, Jackson shooting over from distance before Asante did well to shrug off two defenders only to see his effort deflected out for a corner that the Blues couldn't capitalise on.
Blyth emerged with more purpose after the break and Russ Griffiths had to be alert to push away a Macauley Langstaff header from a corner - the first attempt on target for the away side.
Their chances weren't helped on 52 minutes when debutant Shane Blaney put in a terrible tackle on Glendon on the halfway line with referee Richard Holmes dishing out a straight red card.
Johnston then saw an effort deflect wide after great work from the excellent Taylor with Johnston and then Glendon both denied from the resulting corner after some strong rearguard action from the 10-men Spartans.
The second goal did arrive on 69 minutes, however, when a Taylor corner found the head of Jones who peeled off his marker before finding the target with well directed header.
Seemingly cruising, Chester nerves started to jangle with nine minutes remaining after Blyth got in down the right hand side and Langstaff's effort was kept out superbly by Griffiths, Roberts clearing off the line only for Scott to bundle over from close range.
There was no grandstand finish, though, and Chester saw the game out in relative comfort with substitute Anthony Dudley denied superbly by Hemming from a close range header, Dudley forcing another save out of the Blyth keeper with a well struck effort from the edge of the box in added time.
The five minutes elapsed and the Blues bagged the points, and after back to back defeats that was all that mattered.
? James Jones heads Chester into a 2-0 lead against Blyth Spartans on Saturday