A week is a long time in football and the misery and woe that followed the dismal 2-0 loss to Tranmere Rovers last weekend was long forgotten as Chester FC registered a morale-boosting 1-0 win over one of the National League's promotion favourites in Eastleigh.

A much-improved performance in their 1-1 draw with Grimsby Town on Tuesday night was followed up by one of the Blues' best displays of the season, full of attacking endeavour and intent and one that was backed up by a strong rearguard performance.

Birthday boy Ben Heneghan's header from a John Rooney free-kick was all that separated the sides in an excellent, end-to-end encounter at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium that banished the memory of Prenton Park just seven days previous.

The Blues could have been 1-0 to the good as early as the first minute when John Rooney expertly slid the ball through to Craig Hobson, but the big striker couldn't convert and his weak left-foot effort bobbled wide of Eastleigh keeper Lewis Noice's left-hand post.

Sixty seconds later it and there was a another chance for the Blues as Rooney's cross landed dangerously in the visitors area but Jordan Chapell couldn't connect. There was also a chance for Rooney to get himself on the scoresheet on nine minutes when Hobson held the ball up in the area, shifting it back to Rooney 12 yards out but the Blues midfielder could only strike at Noice.

But the Chester pressure paid off on 11 minutes when birthday boy Heneghan, who was called up to the England C team this week alongside Blues team-mate Ryan Higgins, rose highest to power a header past Noice after Rooney's free-kick on the right wing after Chapell had been felled.

Look: Images from the Blues' win over Eastleigh

Eastleigh, however, began to grown into the game in the first period without ever bossing the contest but Blues fans thought the visitors had levelled when winger Lee Cook's deep cross evaded everyone and hit the back of the net, but the linesman flagged for offside against Spitfires skipper Jamie Turley. And James Constable couldn't convert from three yards shortly after following Jai Reason's cross was flicked across goal by Ross Lafayette.

Seasoned Football League goal-getter Constable proved a threat for Eastleigh and went close with a header on 29 minutes before going close with a spectacular overhead kick on 35 minutes that had looked destined for the bottom corner.

And Rooney looked to half increased the lead a minute later when he checked back on his right 25 yards from goal and bent a superb effort that looked to have Noice beaten, but it fizzed inches wide.

Eastleigh boss Richard Hill kept his players out on the pitch during the half-time break, visibly angered by their showing at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.

They re-emerged with slightly more purpose but it was Chester who had the first chance of the second half, as a Blues counter attack found Chapell on the right, with the pacey winger firing just over Noice's goal. And George Thomson went close when he shot over after a goalmouth scramble minutes later.

Both sides were playing their part in an open an expansive attacking game and it was the Blues who looked the most threatening, breaking quickly and utilising their wingers. Full-back Higgins and Ross Hannah had a neat interchange and Hannah cut inside on his left but his 20-yard effort flashed over the bar when he really should have worked Noice.

But the visitors then began to assert themselves on the contest and Lafayette went close before substitute Yemi Odubade broke into the box and fired wide for a goal kick, despite it appearing Jon Worsnop had touched the ball.

The game's pendulum continued to swing and Hobson should have done better on 77 minutes when he couldn't get onto an inviting Chapell cross from the right-hand side when just eight yards out.

Hannah, who was full of running and guile throughout, should have increased the advantage on 83 minutes when he found himself in space on the right before cutting inside and shooting way wide on his left foot from 12 yards.

Eastleigh came close at the other end as Lafayette's powerful header went inches over Worsnop's goal, much to the relief of the Blues custodian. And winger Cook had the last chance of the game when he dispatched a free-kick from 20 yards that looked to be heading into the back of the net but Worsnop dived acrobatically to keep it out and ensure the first win in five matches for the Blues.


Hannah and Hobson: If Hannah is to be a threat the he needs Hobson. And while neither of them found the target against Eastleigh they were a constant menace to the Eastleigh back line, with Hobson's physical presence allowing the Blues' wide players the room to create.

Holding on to a result: The Blues conceded a late equaliser to Grimsby Town on Tuesday night and Ross Hannah had stressed the need for them to see out games, and that was just what happened. Heneghan and Ian Sharps barely put a foot wrong and limited Eastleigh to half-chances. A performance that shut out two of the division's most potent strikers in Lafayette and Constable.


Chester FC (4-3-3): Worsnop; Higgins, Sharps, Heneghan, Hunt, Chapell, Rooney, Shaw, Thomson (Mahon 67), Hobson (Hughes 88), Hannah

Subs: Forth (GK), Hughes, Mahon, Kay, Richards

Goals: Heneghan 11mins

Bookings: Shaw, Thomson

Eastleigh (4-4-2): Noice; Partington, Green, Evans (Drury 56), Turley (Midson 70), Payne (Odubade 62), Reason, Cook, Harding, Lafayette, Constable

Subs: Odubade, Midson, Lee, Drury, Todd


Bookings: Green

Referee: Mr John Brooks

Attendance: 1,922


Tranmere was horrible but a week is a long time in football. Fast forward seven days and a clash with one of the league's big spenders represented a tough task for Steve Burr's charges. But an attacking display that was, arguably, one of their best of the season, saw them claim deserved three points against a side who will be challenging for a place in the Football League come the end of the season. It was a performance that showed what the side is capable of. The challenge now is to carry this on into a run of form, starting at Welling on Tuesday.