Lewis Turner was the unlikely hero as the Blues sealed the title to spark joyous scenes of celebration
Lewis Turner was the unlikely hero as the Blues sealed the title to spark joyous scenes of celebration.
The second half was less than a minute old when the on-loan Leeds United defender, 20, wrote his name into club folklore by heading home a Nathan Jarman cross.
The right-back could not have picked a better time to score his first goal for the club, which also represented Chester’s 100th of a record-breaking Blue Square Bet North season.
Never before has a team gone on as long an unbeaten run (30) or racked up as many points (103), wins (33) and goals (100).Related content
As it transpired a draw would have been enough for Neil Young’s incredible side – who are now unbeaten at home since January 2012, a sequence stretching back 34 matches – to secure promotion to the Blue Square Bet Premier as second-placed Guiseley lost 1-0 at Brackley Town.
But it was fitting they did it in victory, which was celebrated by Blues fans on the pitch and in the stands at the final whistle.
Boston arrived – and left – in sun-kissed Chester as the only team to have beaten the newly crowd champions in the league this season after running out 3-2 winners when the sides met at York Street in September.
And after an edgy opening 45 minutes, there were fears among the home supporters in the biggest Exacta Stadium crowd of the campaign that the in-form Pilgrims could spoil the party.
Not because the visitors dominated proceedings but because the hosts looked leggy, despite showing five changes to the team that started the 2-0 win at Gainsborough Trinity less than 48 hours earlier.
The Blues barely troubled Boston goalkeeper Dan Haystead before the break, although Nathan Stanfield had to react quickly to clear a goalbound Antoni Sarcevic effort off the line.
Instead it was John Danby who made the save of the first half to deny Greg Mills.
Chester needed a goal to lift the tension – and Turner provided one within 30 seconds of the restart.
Jarman was the provider, racing down the left wing before cutting back on to his right foot and curling the ball to the back post.
The waiting Turner did the rest, burying his header low and hard past Haystead.
Jarman had two opportunities to double the advantage before a raking Sarcevic pass into the area broke to Matty McGinn, whose rasping drive was turned over the bar by the increasingly busy Haystead.
Moments later George Horan headed an inviting McGinn cross wide. The captain’s reaction – heads in hands – said it all. He should have scored.
It mattered little, though, especially when news filtered through that Guiseley had gone behind at Brackley.
It is the third season in succession that Chester boss Neil Young has led the fan-owned club – formed following the demise of Chester City three years ago – to a championship and automatic promotion.
But it is this latest success that means the most to the manager, his players and the club’s fans.
That is because the Blue Square Bet Premier – the top flight of non-league football – was the last league Chester City played in before the club folded in 2010.
The brilliant Blues will receive the league trophy after their final home game of the campaign, against Solihull Moors on April 20.
Chester: Danby, L Turner, Collins, Horan, D Williams, Baynes (Hankin 52), Sarcevic, Brown (N Turner 72), McGinn, Jarman, M Williams (Gray 81). Subs: A Williams, Howard.
Booked: D Williams.
Goal: L Turner 46.
Boston: Haystead, Marshall, Ward, Stainfield, Silk, Foster (Sanders 79), Ross, Weir-Daley, Milnes, Mills (Fairclough 72), Newsham. Subs: Watt, Reed, Field.
Booked: Ross, Ward.
Referee: Peter Wright (Southport).