This was the best 90 minutes of the season for managerless Chester FC, of that there is no doubt.
The draw may have extended the winless home run to 15 games - a new club record - but the performance was so much better, and it was met with warm applause come the final whistle for caretaker boss Tom Shaw and his players.
Jack Powell’s 25-yard thunderbolt gave Ebbsfleet United the lead on 58 minutes but James Akintunde struck with eight minutes left to earn the Blues a deserved share of the spoils. In truth, it was a game they deserved to win.
The Blues parted company with manager Jon McCarthy on Wednesday morning following the dismal 2-0 loss at Solihull Moors with Tom Shaw taking on the role of caretaker boss for the visit of unbeaten Fleet, a side who had not lost in their last 34 competitive games.
Shaw opted to go for an attacking approach against the visitors as the Blues looked to put an end to their 14-game winless home run, opting for a three-pronged attack of Nyal Bell, Ross Hannah and James Akintunde as the Blues lined up in a 4-3-3 formation.
And the positive change in shape brought about a positive opening 45 minutes for Chester, who were the aggressors for much it.
Wade Joyce flashed a first-time effort over early on before, at the other end, Danny Kedwell nodded well wide from a left wing cross from Bagasan Graham.
Nyal Bell then went close on 18 minutes when his scuffed effort was gathered by the imposing Nathan Ashmore in the Ebbsfleet goal after Nathan Sheron’s deep cross was nodded down by Kingsley James.
Chester were repelling Fleet’s advances with relative ease, with a weak Jack Powell free kick from 25 yards barely testing Conor Mitchell, recalled to the Blues side after missing the last three games owing to him being away with the Northern Ireland under-21 side.
But despite their positive display the Blues were also struggling to find a killer blow in the final third.
Paul Turnbull shot wide with a first time effort from 12 yards and Ross Hannah forced a save out of Ashmore with an audacious 30-yard drive.
Mitchell had to be alert to save a rasping Darren McQueen effort but the Blues saw out the first half comfortably with a display that would have encouraged some of the interested onlookers, with former Southport manager Dino Maamria one of the out-of-work managers casting an eye over proceedings with one eye on the top job.
Ebbsfleet started the seconf half on the front foot and pegged Chester back during the opening 10 minutes and had the lead just before the hour mark.
There seemed little danger when Powell picked up the ball 30 yards out, but he advanced five yards and unleashed a stunning left-footed effort that sailed into the top right corner of Mitchell’s goal.
It was harsh on the Blues but they didn’t wilt and took the game to the visitors in an attempt to restore parity.
Bell forced a good save from Ashmore with a header at the far post before Andy Halls had a rasping drive pushed away at the near post, with Ashmore once again denying a Bell header from the resulting corner.
Akintunde then saw a first-time effort from 12 yards saved by Ashmore, but he was not to be denied.
The Blues striker picked up a loose ball, found space on the edge of the area and stroked past Ashmore, finding te bottom corner to level matters with eight minutes remaining.
The Blues home faithful roared their side on in the final stages and substitute Lucas Dawson curled a 20-yard effort just over before Bell went close once again with an angled strike from 18 yards.
There was to be no late winner, though, and the Blues winless run extended to 15 games at home, but this was a good performance and one that gives some encouragement going forward.
Chester: Mitchell, Halls, Rowe-Turner, James, McCombe, Turnbull, Sheron, Joyce (Dawson 76), Bell, Akintunde, Hannah (Mahon 68). Subs not used: Lynch, Davies, Hellawell.
Goals: Akintunde 82.
Ebbsfleet United: Ashmore, Rance, Powell (Drury 71), Kedwell, McQueen, Graham, Payne, Shields (Coulson 65), Mambo (Clark 60), Magri, Bush. Subs not used: Miles, Mills.
Goals: Powell 58.
Referee: Marc Edwards.
Star man: Paul Turnbull