All good things must come to and end and Chester FC 's nine-match unbeaten streak in the National League was ended in some style by a strong Lincoln City side.
The Blues had more than matched their opponents for the opening 45 minutes and led twice through Ryan Astles and Tom Shaw but two goals from Matt Rhead and strikes from Sam Raggett, Jack Muldoon and Harry Anderson secured the points, although the scoreline was somewhat flattering to the Imps.
Blues boss Jon McCarthy made one change from the side that drew 0-0 at Macclesfield Town on Tuesday as Blaine Hudson came in for the injured Theo Vassell with Sam Hughes switching to right back.
An open game from the off, Chester went close through Elliott Durrell and Jordan Chapell while the Imps had Nathan Arnold denied by a smart Alex Lynch stop.
But Chester took the lead on 33 minutes when a Ryan Lloyd cross found Tom Shaw at the far post whose header back across goal was met by the head of Astles who nodded in from close range.
The lead would last just 10 minutes, though, as the dominant figure of Rhead headed home from close range from a Sam Habergham corner.
But Chester didn't let their heads bow and they were back in front just before the break when Shaw was hacked down in the area by Luke Waterfall with the Blues skipper dusting himself down to coolly slot past Paul Farman from the resulting spot kick.
Lincoln pressed from kick off and won a corner off Blaine Hudson and Habergham's delivery found Rhead who nodded across goal for Raggett who headed in from eight yards to restore parity. Galling was the fact that the goal came four minutes into two minutes added time.
And Chester were behind three minutes after the break when Arnold's free-kick was punched clear by Lynch as far as Rhead who lifted it over the Chester keeper expertly from 12 yards.
Chester huffed and puffed and Farman have to save well from Shaw's effort from distance but Lincoln looked comfortable for much of the second half and it was 4-2 on 81 minutes when Muldoon won the ball off Johnny Hunt, breaking from his own half before playing a delightful one-two with the superb Rhead and rifling past Lynch.
And any lingering hopes of a Chester fightback were ended entirely two minutes later when the Blues defence were all at sea and Anderson recieved a through ball from Rhead before shooting beyond Lynch.
It was Lincoln's ability to punish in the final third that proved so decisive in the end, making their prowess at set pieces pay with their undoubted quality shining through.
When all is said and done at the end of this season it's hard to imagine that Lincoln won't be returning to the Football League.
While Chester were more than a match for them in the opening half, leading twice, the quality of the Imps shonw through and their dominance at set plays paid dividends.
It was always going to be a tough test for this young Blues side and the run had to end some time and this game proved a bridge too far.
They struggled for long periods after the break but were good in spells in the opening 45. The second half proved a different story, though as the Imps grew in stature.
The hope now is that they don't crumble following this result and that the hard work isn't undone by this game.
What a run it was, though.
Sam Hughes: Playing in an unfamiliar right back role, Hughes was the standout and had the stomach for the fight. Got up and down the wing well and didn't deserve to be on the losing side.
Chester: Lynch, Hudson, Hughes, Astles, Hunt, Shaw, Lloyd, Mahon (Richards 60), Durrell, Chapell, Alabi (Akintunde 67). Subs: Horwood, Joyce, Waters.
Goals: Astles 33, Shaw 44 (pen)
Lincoln City: Farman, Wood, Habergham, Waterfall, Power (Whitehouse 76), Anderson, Raggett, Arnold, Woodyard, Robinson (Muldoon 64), Rhead (Hawrkridge 85). Subs: Whitehouse, Miles, McCombe.
Goals: Rhead 42, 48 Raggett 45+2, Muldoon 81, Anderson 83
Attendance: 2,586 (413 from Lincoln)
Referee: Anthony Backhouse