CHESTER edged closer to a Conference promotion play-off berth, but they were pushed all the way by struggling Southport.
The Sandgrounders, with only one win in 17 games, had a spell when they threatened to cause a major upset, but City got their act together in the second half and in the end were comfortable winners, although they had to wait until the last quarter to get their noses in front.
It needed a freak goal to put them on their way. Kevin McIntyre's free-kick being deflected into his own net by the head of Southport defender Chris Lane.
The clincher came four minutes from time when Paul Carden ended a superb run by firing clinically past goalkeeper Steve Dickinson.
Manager Mark Wright reacted to an indifferent first half performance by making two interval substitutions, Sean Carey and Mark Quayle replacing out of touch Michael Twiss and Mark Quayle.
Beesley had been guilty of an early miss, while at the other end Wayne Brown kept Chester on terms just before the break when he kept out a Lee Mulvaney shot.
There were chances for both sides in the second half and Southport's best chance was when Steve Jones headed inches over from a Lee Ashcroft corner.
For all the latest news from the Deva Stadium see Friday's Chester Chronicle.