CHESTER saw off one of their Conference promotion rivals in an eventful clash at rainswept Haig Avenue.
Both sides had a player sent off - Steve Soley for Southport following his second yellow card on 34 minutes and Chester's Daryl Clare for retaliation 10 minutes later.
By then City were a goal up after Shaun Carey had fired home from 30 yards just after the hosts had been reduced to 10 men.
Even without Clare, who could be suspended for three matches if a planned City appeal is not upheld, had too much firepower for Southport and on 57 minutes Paul Carden took a return pass from Ryan Sugden to make it 2-0.
Southport hit back four minutes later through substitute Steve Jones, but Chester, backed by their noisy army of fans, had the last word when substitute Carl Ruffer headed home a Kevin McIntyre corner.
Chester have sold all but 250 standing tickets for their FA Cup second round match at Morecambe on Saturday.
They will be on sale at the Deva Stadium on Monday. The game is all-ticket for Chester supporters.