Corby Town’s poor run of form continued as Chester continued their relentless charge towards the Blue Square Bet North title with a 2-1 win at Steel Park.
Once again a poor start proved costly for the Steelmen as two goals in four first-half minutes proved decisive and ensured Paul Malone’s late header was all in vain.
With Carl Piergianni starting a three-match ban, Steelmen boss Chris Plummer was forced to shuffle his pack as captain Jason Crowe partnered Malone at centre-half with Liam Richardson moving into left-back.
Francis Green missed out through injury and that meant a start for Avelino Vieira while top scorer Josh Moreman was also recalled with Greg Kaziboni dropping to the bench.
Former Corby striker Nathan Jarman, meanwhile, started in attack for the visitors.
It was a fairly even opening 10 minutes but the leaders soon stamped their authority on the game with two goals in four minutes.
Paul Walker had already saved from Dave Hankin but there was nothing the Corby goalkeeper to do to prevent the same player from heading the visitors in front as he was completely unmarked to apply the finish to Jarman’s pin-point cross.
And Jarman went from provider to scorer soon after. Marc Williams’ cross from the right was headed on by Matthew McGinn and Jarman finished it off at the second attempt after his first shot was blocked on the line by Malone.
Chester could have had a couple after that as Walker saved from Jarman after a neat turn and Marc Williams was unable to get proper connection on Danny Williams’ cross from the left.
But as the half wore on, the hosts came into it a bit more and Ryan Semple had their best chance when his free-kick was deflected over the bar by the defensive wall.
Tom McGowan and Nat Wedderburn both had attempts blocked before the break while Chester goalkeeper John Danby made a decent stop when Moreman’s header deflected off Wesley Baynes.
The second half had a low-key feel about it with Chester looking comfortable while Corby were too careless in possession.
George Horan headed over for the visitors while Danby had his hands stung by a fierce free-kick from Moreman at the other end.
But Corby’s best chance by far came on 68 minutes when Moreman’s low cross was turned onto the bar by a visiting defender. The ball fell at the feet of Semple but he could only blast high over the bar.
Walker turned Jarman’s free-kick round the post at the other end while Moreman threatened again when he forced Danby into another save.
Corby did make a breakthrough in stoppage-time when Malone headed home Sam Ives’ free-kick.
But it was too late as Chester were able to celebrate another win while the defeat means the Steelmen still sit just above the relegation zone and eight points clear of Colwyn Bay, who are third from bottom.
Steelmen: Walker; Ives, Malone, Crowe, Richardson; Webb (sub Bryan, 85 mins), Wedderburn; Semple (sub Kaziboni, 72 mins), McGowan, Moreman; Vieira. Subs not used: Manga, Greer, Cuffy.
Chester: Danby; Baynes (sub Collins, 70 mins), Horan, Linwood, D Williams; Hankin, Turner, Sarcevic (sub Brown, 50 mins), McGinn; M Williams, Jarman (sub Gray, 87 mins). Subs not used: Mills, Howard.
Referee: Stephen Ross.
Goals: Hankin (13 mins, 0-1), Jarman (17 mins, 0-2), Malone (90 mins, 1-2).
Bookings: Horan (foul).