NEIL Young was beaming with pride after his Chester FC side moved a massive step closer to securing their third successive title and promotion.
A hard-fought victory at Corby Town, coupled with Guiseley’s defeat at Vauxhall Motors, meant the Blues moved 16 points clear at the top of the Blue Square Bet North.
The results were enough for bookmakers Blue Square to declare it will pay out on all bets for Chester to win the championship.
With a third of the season still to play, Young is remaining cautious.
But his demeanour after the 2-1 win over Corby, which was secured by first-half goals from Dave Hankin and Nathan Jarman, suggested he was fully aware of what a significant afternoon it had been.
The Blues boss said: “I’m so proud of the lads I’ve got in our dressing room – they don’t give an inch and they never give up.
“I’ve got disappointed lads on the bench and disappointed lads not in the squad but they keep going and come to difficult places like this, on a difficult pitch, and win.”
Chester have now gone 21 games without defeat, which equals the league record set by Eastwood Town across two seasons in 2011.
They will have the chance to break it on Tuesday when they travel to Workington (7.45pm).
Young hopes to have announced a new signing before the match.
He has been chasing a right-sided midfielder and just missed out on bringing Craig Curran back to the club.
However the unnamed player he is in discussions with is a forward.
The Blues were the better team in the first half on Saturday and Corby could have had no complaints had they been further behind at the break.
But the struggling Northamptonshire outfit made a game of it after the restart and their late consolation, courtesy of Paul Malone, was deserved.
Young said: “I thought we dominated the game until the last 15-20 minutes and should have had a couple more in the first half.
“It was a very difficult pitch to play on but the lads dug a good result out.
“The two centre-backs were very good, as was John Danby when he was called on, but I’m just disappointed we conceded.
“But as I said to the lads in the dressing room, at this stage of the season it’s all about grinding results out.”