THE gulf in class was evident as Chester cruised to a convincing victory in their opening pre-season friendly.
An own goal set Neil Young’s new-look side on their way to a win that would have been even more emphatic had it not been for the woodwork, rusty finishing and moments of good goalkeeping.
Instead the healthy number of Blues supporters who made the short trip to Gayton Park had to settle for just two more goals, courtesy of the fit-again Ben Mills and Craig Mahon.
Heswall, who play six steps further down the non-league ladder than their Conference Premier opponents, forced Martin Fearon into an early save.
But with Michael Kay a composed figure alongside captain George Horan, the West Cheshire League Division One champions did not go close to scoring again – well not in Chester’s net anyway.
There were 22 minutes on the clock when Marc Williams swept the ball out wide to the right for Craig Lindfield, whose driven side-footed cross was turned into his own goal by a Heswall defender.
Williams and Lindfield combined again 10 minutes later, the latter standing the ball up to the back post for Mills to plant a downward header into the goal.
The post denied Williams and his namesake Ashley Williams before the hardworking Mills – clearly eager to impress on his return from a four-month injury lay-off – and the impressive Lindfield sliced wide when well placed in the box.
The Blues – who gave run outs to trialists Jonny Spittle and Alex Brees – made six changes at the break.
And it was one of the substitutes who completed the scoring in the 54th minute, the lively Mahon cutting inside from the right and seeing his cross-shot find its way into the corner of the net.
The Heswall keeper should have done better, although he redeemed himself when he got down low to his right to keep out Gareth Seddon’s superbly executed overhead kick.
Mahon went within a whisker of doubling his tally late on as he cracked an effort against the crossbar after leaving another marker for dead.
Blues boss Young, who hailed new centre-back Kay as ‘outstanding’ said: “I thought we were excellent. If we would have taken our chances first half it could have been four or five. Everyone who played or came on put in a performance.
“Some of the football we played at times was excellent. Okay Heswall are a number of divisions below us but this is a difficult place to come to, especially when the pitch was as bobbly as it was.
“I just thought we got stronger and stronger as the game wore on and 3-0 flattered them.”
Chester welcome Conference Premier champions Mansfield Town to the Exacta Stadium on Tuesday (7.30pm).
Chester: Fearon (Danby 46), Spittle (Peers 60), Horan, Kay, Heath (McIntyre 46), Lindfield (M Williams 71), A Williams (Jarrett 46), Harrison, Brees (Mahon 46), M Williams (Titchiner 46), Mills (Seddon 46).