Nathan Jarman of Chester FC
Chester FC rewarded the hard-working volunteers who ensured today's game against Stalybridge Celtic went ahead with a convincing victory.
A 'snow patrol' of about 100 Blues fans helped clear the pitch covers and make the ground safe for the hardy 2,095 crowd, who later witnessed a feast of chances as the hosts utterly dominated the first half. Chester, naming an unchanged line-up to the side which demolished Hinckley United last week, continued their excellent form into this match, pummeling the visitors' defence from the first whistle.
And their efforts were suitably rewarded after just 11 minutes when Matty McGinn fed the ball through to Nathan Jarman, who wriggled his way around the Stalybridge defence to power home from six yards.
Stalybridge keeper Ashley Woodhouse was called into action frequently as the home side looked deadly every time they were on the attack.
Chester deservedly doubled their lead on 26 minutes as a McGinn corner found its way to Jarman, whose close-range shot was parried by Woodhouse straight to the feet of captain George Horan, who needed no second invitation to help the ball over the line.
By this stage the Blues were in complete control of the game and when Craig Curran fired in a cross with pinpoint accuracy, Jarman rifled at the net, had his shot blocked, but Marc Williams hit in the rebound to make it 3-0 at the break.
Play was held up briefly early in the second half as, for the second time in the game, a linesman had to scurry down dugout to replace their broken flag. Helpful assistance from Blues boss Neil Young and kit man Jimmy Soul meant the flag was repaired and, following a bizarre interruption, play resumed.
The Blues had taken their foot off the gas in the second half as Stalybridge used up all three substitutes just after the hour mark. And the visitors' gamble appeared to pay off, as substitute Jack Laird sweetly struck a free kick from just outside the box into the top-left hand corner of the net to make the score 3-1.
To add injury to insult, Blues keeper John Danby knocked into the post and looked to be walking wounded for the rest of the game.
Not to be outdone by Laird's strike, Wes Baynes grabbed what was the goal of the game with a 30-yard half-volley which looped overWoodhouse and into the net on 89 minutes and seal the match 4-1.
The Blues, who will now go unbeaten at home for a full calendar year in all competitive fixtures, have now moved 16 points clear in the Blue Square Conference North, leaving it all to do for nearest rivals Guiseley, who have four games in hand.
Chester FC: Danby, Baynes, McGinn, Horan, Linwood, Turner, Hankin, Sarcevic, Jarman (Mills 79), Williams (Brown 80), Curran. Goals: Jarman 11, Horan 27, Williams 43, Baynes 89. Booked: Hankin, Linwood.
Stalybridge Celtic: Woodhouse, Lees, Warburton, Ryan, Egerton (Laird 63), Hayward, Bleau (Pepper 30), Buckley, Bembo-Leta, Osborne (Gregory 63), Austin. Goal: Laird 63. Booked: Hayward, Egerton.
Referee: Matthew Bristow. Attendance: 2,095.