CHESTER maintained their 16-point lead at the top of the Blue Square Bet North with an unconvincing derby victory.
The Blues – now unbeaten in 23 league games and 28 matches at home in all competitions – were far from at their best.
But goals from new boy Brendon Daniels and substitute Nathan Jarman ensured they made an immediate return to winning ways.
Neil Young cut a furious figure after Chester’s 1-1 draw at 10-man Workington in midweek.Related content
He labelled it the ‘worst performance of the season’ and promised to ‘freshen’ up his team.
The Blues boss was as good as his word.
He made five changes, handing a first start to striker Lee Trundle, a full debut to winger Daniels, and recalls to Ashley Williams, Iain Howard and Tony Gray.
It took Daniels – signed on a month’s loan from Crewe Alexandra – just 12 minutes to make his mark.
A Howard cross from the left was missed by Gray but found the onrushing Antoni Sarcevic, whose instinctive strike was clawed away by Zac Jones.
But Jones could do little to prevent Daniels from bundling the rebound over the line.
Howard could and should have doubled the advantage in the 19th minute.
His first touch following a raking crossfield Wes Baynes pass was immaculate, taking him inside right-back Steve Wainwright.
His second less so, as he dragged his right-footed attempt wide of the post.
Howard’s lacklustre finish summed up Chester’s first-half performance.
Their inability to keep possession gave encouragement to a well-organised Motors outfit that played neat football throughout.
The visitors worked John Danby for the first time in the 25th minute when the lively Craig Mahon tried his luck from distance.
It was a comfortable save for the Blues goalkeeper.
But he should have been given no chance five minutes before the break by Obi Anoruo.
A Chris Noone through ball split George Horan and Paul Linwood and gave the former Wrexham striker a clear run on goal.
Anoruo steadied himself but, with just Danby to beat, he skewed his shot horribly wide.
Vauxhall – victors over second-placed Guiseley one week earlier – went closer nine minutes after the restart.
Danby punched a Louis Barnes free kick into the path of Ashley Stott who, from the edge of the area, sent back a lobbed effort that was heading in until Linwood got back to clear it off the line.
Young made use of all three of his allotted substitutions in a bid to inject some life into his still listless side.
It was a move that ultimately paid off as it was one of the replacements who put the game beyond doubt in the 88th minute.
The hard-working Gray was the creator, cutting inside and crossing for Jarman, who took a touch before volleying in his 15th goal of the campaign in ruthless fashion.
Motors pushed forward in search of a deserved consolation.
But they were unable to find a way past Danby, who got the better of Tom Rutter in a one-on-one before diving to his left to turn a curling Barnes free kick around the post.
Chester: Danby, Baynes, Horan, Linwood, D Williams, Daniels (Jarman 73), A Williams, Sarcevic, Howard (McGinn 69), Trundle (N Turner 57), Gray. Subs: Collins, M Williams.
Goals: Daniels 12, Jarman 88.
Vauxhall: Jones, Wainwright, Hannigan (Kocsis 84), Nicholas, Barnes, Anoruo (Moss 77), Noone, Clair, Rutter, Mahon, Stott. Subs: Martindale, Ellison.
Referee: Mark Ackerman (Manchester).