CHESTER CITY extended their unbeaten run to eight matches at Accrington Stanley on Saturday, but more importantly they took another stride towards the Nationwide Conference championship.
For the second time in five days, City were given another stern test by mid-table opposition, following on after the hard game against Telford United in midweek.
But for the second time the champions-elect came through the examination by a 2-0 scoreline, again with the nerve-settling final goal coming in injury time from leading scorer Daryl Clare, whose tally for the season has now risen to 26.
Chester controlled the first half for long periods, and were full value for their 13th-minute lead, scored by Scott Guyett.
A short corner between Heard and Clare saw Heard cross to the far post where Guyett firmly placed his header past Kennedy in the home goal.
Prior to the goal, Stamp and Carey had gone close for City and Clare had brought out a good save from Kennedy.
The home side's first chance came midway through the period, Turner saving at the feet of James after the diminutive striker had been put through by Cook.
Accrington looked a difference proposition at the start of the second period and came more into the game. Bolland was forced to block an effort from James and Turner tipped a snapshot from substitute Calcutt around the post for a corner.
City also had their moments and Clare had two efforts in quick succession that both went wide of the target.
Twiss was unlucky when a low shot from 18 yards hit the base of the home post before rolling across the face of the goal and eventually to safety.
Twiss, who had been handed his first starting role of the year, had an outstanding game and was only just upstaged for the man of the match award by midfield player Paul Carden, who turned in another top showing.
Carden is one of the unsung heroes of this City squad, but his energetic and consistent performances are one of the main reasons why Chester have had such a successful season.
Towards the end of the game, the home side tired and Chester began to turn the screw. Kennedy saved at the feet of Twiss, Carey fluffed a good opportunity from 15 yards and McIntyre shot into the side netting.
However Chester doubled their advantage in injury time when Clare was bundled over in the area by Williams when he had a clear run on goal.
The home defender was shown a straight red card and Clare dusted himself down before sending Kennedy the wrong way with his spot-kick.
City boss Mark Wright reflected: "I thought we deserved to win but for the second game in succession we know that we have been in a match.
"I thought we controlled the game for long periods, but yet again, this was a battle and thankfully we have come out on top."
Wright added: "The lads will be given a couple of days off now before we face another tough game, this time against Aldershot on Tuesday."
ACCRINGTON STANLEY: Kennedy, Cavanagh, Williams, Kempson, Hollis (Calcutt 38), Brannan, Proctor, Cook (Flitcroft 76), Fitzgerald (Durnin 86), James, Mullin. Subs: Speare, Smith
CHESTER CITY: Turner, Guyett, Collins, Bolland, Heard, Cardin, Carey, McIntyre, Twiss, Clare, Stamp (Lane 63). Subs: Rapley, Elam, Davies, Woods Referee: C Oliver (Ashinton) Att: 2,561.