Telford United 0, Chester City 2: CHESTER City fans gave the New Bucks Head turnstile revenue a welcome boost on Tuesday and then handed over £150 to the Telford Fighting Fund, writes Ian Bedford.
But that was where the visitors' generosity ended as Chester turned on a second-half performance which dashed United's hopes of an FA Trophy confidence boost and delivered another body blow to Hereford United's championship hopes.
More than 1,600 City supporters crammed the visitors' end of the ground and the overspill section to celebrate their team's return to the top of the Conference following a brief spell behind Hereford on goal difference.
A draw would have been enough to restore their tag as top dogs and for much of the game Telford looked capable of sharing a goalless stalemate on a heavily sanded pitch.
But the half-time substitution of Alex Smith in favour of Michael Twiss inspired a step up through the gears and Telford's task suddenly became more daunting.
There had been chances in the first half, namely when Jamie Heard powered in a 20-yarder which Martin Taylor did well to turn on to the post, but apart from a long range free-kick which was easily fielded by the United goal-keeper there was little else in the way of goalmouth action.
Matt Clarke's ugly 35th minute challenge on McIntyre was worthy of a red card, but he got his comeuppance after 76 minutes with his second yellow card for dissent.
Chester looked more business-like after the break and a sign of things to come was McIntyre's fierce 30 yard shot following Shaun Carey's quickly-taken free-kick which was brilliantly tipped away by Taylor.
Twiss looked in the mood to produce another of his stunning match winners from the bench and probably would have done but for a superb tackle by Craig Stanley who almost immediately went up the other end to bring out a fine save from Andy Woods, who had an impressive debut in the City goal.
The turning point came on 75 minutes. City manager Mark Wright wasn't convinced, but Carey was clearly nudged by Neil Howarth a yard inside the box and Daryl Clare stepped up to fire home the penalty.
Having got their noses in front the result was now never in doubt, but Clare put the seal on a valuable victory when he had the straightforward task of nodding home Heard's measured cross a few seconds into added time.
Said Wright: 'We are grateful to get a win on a pitch like that. Some people said Telford had nothing to play for and wanted to save themselves for the weekend, but it didn't look like that to me. They were fully committed and looked like they wanted to do Hereford a favour.'
Telford: Taylor, Clarke, Howarth, Lavery, Whitehead, Uddin (Rowe 83), Blackwood, Ricketts (Rush-bury 87), Moore (Green 71), Grant, Stanley. Subs: Mills, Mackenzie.
Chester: Woods, Collins, McIntyre, Bolland, Smith (Twiss 45), Clare, Carey, Carden, Stamp (Davies 90), Guyett, Heard. Subs: Rapley, Lane, Elam.
Referee: N D Swarbrick, Preston.