CHESTER CITY remain unbeaten in their four-match pre-season build up, but they were taken to the wire by a lively Queen of the South outfit, who responded well in the second period after being outplayed.
The Nationwide Conference champions were full value for their 1-0 half-time lead, former Everton striker Michael Branch registering his fourth goal of the summer friendly fest after 13 minutes when he nipped in to head home.
City should have been three or four goals in front by the break, but the quicksilver predatory instincts of striker Kevin Rapley weren't fully focused and he failed to reach the standards that have caused terror among bemused opposition defences.
The former Colchester United hot-shot failed to connect on three occasions with crosses that zipped across the face of the Scottish side's goal-mouth.
Chester doubled their advantage three minutes into the second period when Ben Davies registered with an unstoppable 25-yard drive that fizzed into the net.
City took their foot off the pedal after Davies' goal,, and the Dumfries outfit took full advantage.
After 62 minutes, substitute Gary Wood powered a header home from six yards after a cross from Reid.
Ten minutes later the Scots grabbed an equal-iser when Paul Burns swept the ball home from the edge of the area after good work between McNiven and Wood.
City boss Mark Wright said: "These matches are about achieving good habits and fitness prior to the start of the league season on August 7.
"There were mistakes in the second half, and hopefully the players have learned from them."
Chester City are next in action tomorrow evening, when they send a team made up of first and reserve team players to face Heswall.
CHESTER CITY: Brown, Edmondson (Vaughan, 70), McIntyre, Bolland, Hessey (Belle, 70), Weller (Davies, 20), Collins, Roberts, Harris (Carden, 70), Rapley (Sheron, 70), Branch. Subs: Mackenzie, Hope.