CHESTER CITY registered their third league away victory of the season at Barnet to extend their unbeaten run on the road to seven matches.
The convincing win consolidated City's position in the Coca-Cola League Two promotion pack. With their next two league matches against clubs in the bottom half of the table, it sets them up perfectly for the remainder of the month.
However, the match on Saturday was rarely allowed to flow by former Premier League referee Andy D'Urso, who made a series of petty decisions.
D'Urso's performance was best summed up by Barnet's Liverpool-born manager Paul Fairclough who said: "The referee had a colourful game, but he was colourful for both sides."
There are other adjectives that could describe D'Urso's match, but "colourful" is probably the strong-est word that can be utilised in a family newspaper.
Both teams finished the match with 10 men. City's Stewart Drummond was dismissed after 35 minutes, while Anthony Charles of the home team received a second yellow card after 68.
Chester took the lead after 14 minutes. Ben Davies played a well-rehearsed short corner to Michael Branch, the former Everton striker, who found Marcus Richardson. His 10-yard effort cannoned off Flitney to Branch, who stroked the ball home.
Barnet came back well. Batt fired wide and skipper Ian Hendon then headed wide from close in.
There was a heart-stopping moment for Chester supporters on the half hour. City keeper Chris Mackenzie stumbled out of his area after making a save, but fortunately he only received a yellow card for the error.
Five minutes later the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Drummond was shown a straight red card. The former Morecambe midfield player clashed with Bailey in midfield, and the referee immediately pointed the player to the dressing room.
The Londoners nearly equalised two minutes before the break. Batt crossed from the right, the ball was headed back by Hatch to Giuliano Grazioli, whose effort rattled the City bar. Chester doubled their advantage a minute before the break thanks to man of the match Ryan Lowe.
Ben Davies was the orchestrator. The ex-Kidderminster Harriers midfield player threaded the ball to Lowe, whose effort from 18 yards took a deflection before entering the net.
Barnet came out strongly at the beginning of the second period. Hendon shot narrowly over the City bar, Mackenzie made a tremendous save to deny Gross and Grazioli sliced the ball wide from close range.
The North Londoners, who were Nationwide Conference champions last season, also found themselves reduced to 10 men after 68 minutes.
Anthony Charles received a second yellow card when he committed a dreadful tackle on City's Tom Curtis on the halfway line.
Curtis made Barnet pay for their indiscretion in the best possible way when, two minutes later, he scored a delightful goal from 18 yards following good work by Lowe.
Grazioli scraped a consolation goal for the home side 12 minutes from time, but this was City's day and it was another impressive away performance from a team that is maturing as the season progresses. City manager Keith Curle had mixed feelings after his side extended their unbeaten run.
"I don't look at records, I just like collecting points," he said.. "We got the result our hard work deserved. It was pleasing, though there were little bits and pieces I didn't like."
Curle added: "When we got in at half-time there was lots of shouting, but I was saying calm down it's half time, don't waste your energy. I thought we played particularly well in the second period."
Barnet boss Fairclough was complimentary about City.
"I told my players before the game that they were playing against the best team in the league," he said.. "and that was demonstrated on the pitch. They are a very functional group. They did their jobs and they are what we are trying to be at this level."
Chester are next in action tomorrow night when they travel to the Abbey Stadium to face Cambridge United in the first round of the LDV Vans Trophy.
Barnet: Flitney, Batt, Hendon, Charles, Gross (King 73), Strevens (Norville 62), Bailey, Sinclair, Graham (Lee 62), Hatch, Grazioli. Subs: (Not used): Tynan, Soares.
Chester City: Mackenzie, McNiven, Regan (Hessey 45), Artell, Dimech, Branch (Curle 79), Drummond, Curtis, Davies, Richardson (Walker 46), Lowe. Subs (not used): Vaughan, Bertos.
Ref: Andy D'Urso (Essex)