AFTER successive home defeats by Forest Green Rovers in previous Conferences clashes, Chester City had every reason to treat their country cousins with the greatest respect.
City boss Mark Wright predicted this would be a tough match following Rovers' midweek hammering at early leaders Hereford, and he was right.
Rovers are from a small Gloucestershire town in Royals country where polo may have a bigger following than professional football, but they have an experienced and shrewd manager in Colin Addison and any team under his control has to be taken seriously.
The fact it took City 93 minutes to break them down proves the point perfectly, and although the Deva faithful - a worrying 1,881 - must have been frustrated, there was no denying Chester deserved to win.
Converting territorial superiority into goals, though, remains a problem for City and, again, it was a midfielder who came up with the goods when Ben Davies turned in a pass from substitute Steve Brodie when everyone was settling for a point from a goalless draw.
Even City's acting skipper and man-of-the-match Paul Carden had to admit this wasn't a champagne performance. 'We have to be cuter than that and play better,' he said. 'But we will probably play better on another day and lose, so we will take that result.'
Fair enough, but although it's good to see City are still hard to beat, they will have to find a more consistent scoring touch if they are to improve on last season and clinch that coveted promotion place.
Not for the first time, Chester's best scoring efforts came from defenders and midfielders. As early as the fourth minute, Carl Ruffer, who scored the only goal against Tamworth, had a goalbound header blocked by keeper Steve Perrin from Kevin McIntyre's free-kick, and three shots from Davies and an off-target Wayne Hat-swell header completed City's attempts in the first half.
It wasn't until just before the break that Rovers, for all their hard work, managed to bring Chester goalkeeper Wayne Brown into the game, and he was up for the task of keeping out a header from the lively Jimmi Lee-Jones.
Michael Twiss, back from injury, was sent on just after the hour and made an immediate impact. A great run towards the box was ended with a foul and from McIntyre's free-kick, Danny Collins powered a header wide.
With Brodie also on, to the crowd's delight, City had more attacking ideas and they were rewarded with that strike from Davies with the clock ticking down.
There was a rumpus after the final whistle and the referee confirmed he had red-carded Forest Green's Gary Owers for violent conduct.
Chester: Brown, Collins, McIntyre. Carden, Hatswell, Carey (Twiss 61), Davies, Rapley (Foster 70), Ruffer, Gill (Brodie 70), Heard. Subs: Kelly, McCaldon.
Forest Green: Perrin, Jones, Richardson, Ingram, Jenkins, Morgan, Russell, Owers, Foster, Grayson, Lee-Jones (Rogers 80). Subs: Giannangelo, Cowe, Sykes, Cook.
Referee: D J Storrie, Leeds. Attendance: 1,881.