CHESTER City turned in a festive cracker as they demolished a pedestrian Leigh side with a performance that forced their opponents to chase shadows.
As well as the three points that create pressure on the chasing promotion contenders in the Nationwide Conference, City also registered a number of landmarks.
The victory was City's greatest winning margin of the campaign, it saw the club take their tally of goals to 10 in the last 180 minutes of football, and it is the first time since the Second World War that City players have registered hattricks in consecutive league matches, Darryn Stamp's treble following Daryl Clare's hat-trick at Tamworth last weekend.
The first half was a joy to watch, and City could easily have gone in at the break leading by more than the three goals they did score.
Clare opened the scoring after 10 minutes. Stamp did all the hard work, disposing Lancaster before squaring the ball to the ex-Boston United striker, who thundered it home from 15 yards.
Eight minutes later Clare turned provider when he linked well with man of the match Alex Smith to set home debutant Carl Regan on the right. The ex-Everton defender flashed the ball across the face of the visitors' goal and Stamp got a vital touch to divert it into the net.
Stamp doubled his personal tally after 26 minutes when he latched onto a through ball from Smith. He beat two players before firing low past the hapless Kelly.
Kelly made an excellent save to deny Clare, then the same player was unlucky when a close-range effort hit the Leigh upright after their defence had parted like the Red Sea.
In injury time in the first period Kelly made a tremendous save to thwart McIntyre's 20-yard thunderbolt.
At the start of the second period City could easily have doubled their tally in the opening 14 minutes. Stamp missed two sitters and Clare was unfortunate when a snap shot went narrowly wide of the upright.
Stamp completed his hat-trick after 73 minutes. McIntyre made a surging run down the left before the ex-Tranmere player crossed to Stamp to slide the ball home from close range.
Three minutes from the end substitute Kevin Rapley made it a nap hand of goals for City when he hammered the ball home following good work by fellow substitute Michael Twiss.
City's victory was tempered by the news that Daryl Clare had suffered an ankle injury towards the end of the game that needed a visit to hospital to assess the damage.
City boss Mark Wright said: "I am pleased with the way the players responded; the festive period is important to clubs and the players have shown true professionalism in the way they have responded and in the sort of performance they put on.
"I haven't enough praise for my players, the level of performance was outstanding."
CHESTER CITY: McCaldon, Collins, McIntyre, Smith (Davies 80), Carden, Clare (Rapley 80), Regan, Carey, Ruffer, Guyett, Stamp (Twiss 80). Subs: Bolland, Foster. Referee: R Pollock (Maghull) Attendance: 3,044.