Chester FC registered their first league win of 2016 in emphatic fashion as goals from Danny O'Brien, Ryan Astles and Ross Hannah sealing a convincing 3-0 success at Altrincham.
Prior to kick-off, one place in the table and two points separated the teams but there was a clear gulf between them on the pitch with the Blues full value for the one-sided scoreline.
Steve Burr made five changes with debuts for Tony Thompson, who replaced Jon Worsnop between the sticks, and O'Brien along with a first start for Sam Hughes.
O'Brien lined up as right wing-back with Lloyd on the opposite side in a 3-5-2 formation with Jordan Chapell outstanding behind Hannah.
Chester went close to taking the lead on 10 minutes when Chapell’s scuffed effort took a deflection and rebounded off the upright with Tim Deasy scrambling.
The Robins couldn't keep hold of the ball but the Blues couldn't punish them with Lloyd unable to pick out an unmarked Hannah when well placed in the area.
Lloyd did much better with his next cross on 26 minutes, creating the first goal for O'Brien. The on-loan Wigan Athletic winger chested the ball down and smashed his shot past Deasy from 12 yards to make it 1-0.
Chester continued to press matters and could have had a second with Hughes heading wide under pressure, John Rooney forcing Deasy into action with a free-kick from 35 yards and Hannah firing straight at the keeper after a sweeping break.
The Robins had offered nothing in return but Ryan Crowther thought he had levelled on 44 minutes before an offside flag curtailed his celebrations.
Altrincham's frustration was compounded a minute later when the Blues got that deserved second goal. Deasy did well to turn a Rooney free-kick behind. Rooney took the resulting corner and Astles got the final touch after a scramble to make it 2-0 at the turnaround.
Chester should have been 3-0 ahead a minute after the restart when Chapell ripped through the defence and Marcus Holness dragged him down after the winger rounded Deasy.
Referee Stephen Ross pointed to the spot, although opted against further punishment for Holness. Hannah stepped up but skied his spot kick well over the crossbar.
That was about as much excitement as the second-half produced with Altrincham showing no signs of being able to turn things around and the Blues controlling the game.
Chester got a deserved third goal on 76 minutes as Hannah stabbed the ball home from close range to make amends for his penalty miss.
Thompson had been a spectator for much of the night but did well to keep out an effort from substitute James Lawrie late on to preserve his clean-sheet.
Selection: Five changes, three ever-presents dropped and three full debuts: there were some bold calls from Steve Burr. Pre-match reaction was mixed with some fans questioning the manager's wisdom. In his defence, performances and results have failed to improve and to some extent he had nothing to lose. If the result had been different, Burr's selection could have backfired but to his credit he made big decisions and got them right. Altrincham were forced onto the back foot from the off and couldn't handle the width and pace of the Blues.
Jordan Chapell: There were good performances across the pitch with Ryan Lloyd and Danny O'Brien particularly impressive but it was Chapell who impressed most. He's copped his fair share of criticism this season and would probably admit himself that he hasn't reached the standards he is capable of but he's been coming back to form in the past few games and this was his best performance in a Chester shirt. He was a constant menace, too quick, too skillful and too clever for the Robins defence.
Chester FC: Thompson, O'Brien (Higgins 85), Astles, Heneghan, Sharps, Lloyd, Rooney, Hughes, Mahon (Richards 90), Chapell, Hannah (Alabi 90).
Subs: Worsnop, Hunt.
Goals: O'Brien 26, Astles 45, Hannah 76.
Booked: Hannah, Sharps.
Altrincham: Deasy, Leather, Holness, Heathcote, Griffin, Crowther (Reeves 63), Richman (O'Keefe 31), Moult, Ginnelly, Rankine, Margetts (Lawrie 80).
Subs: Cain, Williams.
Referee: Stephen Ross (Boston).
Star man: Jordan Chapell.