A season that has been an unmitigated disaster for Chester FC ended on a high note after they earned a 2-1 victory at Barrow.
Goals from Jordan Archer and a first senior goal for Tom Crawford secured the success after Jordan White had levelled matters early in the second half.
And while the three points only ensured the youthful Chester did not suffer the embarrassment of finishing bottom of the National League, it did at least see the Blues fans rewarded on the road.
While Chester already knew their National League fate there was still plenty at stake for the home side, with Barrow in real danger of joining the Blues in falling through the trapdoor should they fail to beat the Blues and Woking claim a surprise win over Dover Athletic.
Caretaker Chester boss Calum McIntyre made two changes to the side that lost 3-1 at home to Maidstone United seven days previous, choosing Archer and Myles Anderson over teenage duo Cain Noble and Nathan Brown.
Backed by a vociferous home crowd Barrow started the brighter of the two sides and a White flick on was almost headed past Andy Firth by Chester defender James Jones, with the ball flying inches over the crossbar.
And moments later winger Lewis Walters was unlucky to see his well-struck angled effort from 20 yards skew just wide of Firth’s left-hand post as the Bluebirds looked to make the early running.
Chester did settle after a nervy opening 10 minutes and Crawford was making his presence felt in the centre of the park.
Craig Mahon did well on 17 minutes to jink inside from the right wing before sliding the ball into the path of Jordan Gough whose first-time effort whisped just over.
But the home side had two great opportunites to open the scoring seconds later.
Dan Jones pounced on a loose ball 25 yards out striking a low effort that looked destined for the bottom corner before Firth got down well to turn it round the post.
And Walters managed to wrestle possession from Matty Thomson moments later on the wing before crossing to former Norwich City striker Grant Holt, with the veteran 37-year-old seeing his close range header held by Firth.
But it was Chester who landed the first blow on 20 minutes when a long punt forward evaded everyone but Archer who outstripped the Barrow defence for pace before coolly slotting past Steve Arnold to hand the Blues the lead.
Chester’s back five, with Ryan Astles, Anderson and Jones as part of a back three with Gough and Thomson as full backs, was proving effective in stifling a fairly unimaginative Barrow side.
Barrow were looking nervous and failing to find any rhythm in the final third.
Chester were next to get an effort away when Crawford decided to try his luck from distance, with his deflected effort finding the grateful arms of Arnold.
Barrow huffed and puffed for the remainder of the half and forced the Blues to sit deeper, but they were unable to find a way through, although Jones’s long throw-in in first-half injury time came off Anderson and trickled just wide to create some panic late in the half.
HALF TIME: BARROW 0 CHESTER 1
Chester almost doubled their advantage almost immediately after the break when a Crawford corner was flicked goalwards by Astles but James Akintunde was caught by surprise and could only tamely turn it into the clutches of Arnold from close range.
Crawford then saw a 25-yard free kick curled over before Barrow wasted a gilt-edged chance.
Luke James burst into the box from the right wing, squaring the ball to Walters who took too long trying to fashion a chance before having the ball pinched off his toe by Andy Halls. Halls and Mahon then brought Chester up the pitch before the former crossed to find Gough who blazed over from a tough angle.
But the Bluebirds had started the second half in much more positive fashion and they had their leveller on 54 minutes.
A mistake from Thomson was pounced on by White who looked up before dipping a superb strike from 25 yards past Firth into the back of the net for a critical goal for the home side.
Barrow were looking a more threatening propostion than in the first 45 minutes and came within a whisker of taking the lead on 70 minutes when a Calum MacDonald free kick from distance was curled inches wide by the Bluebirds winger.
And Firth was called into action moments later when a dipping Walters effort saw the Chester keeper scramble across goal before pushing it wide.
But it was the Blues who found a way through next when a Halls cross caused mayhem in the Barrow box, with Archer managing to push it into the path of Crawford who managed to fire past Arnold from 10 yards to hand Chester the advantage once again.
Walters went close again for the home side as he fired over from 18 yards before Chester had a glorious chance at the other end when Akintunde broke free from the halfway line before sliding a pass into Halls whose weak effort was gathered easily by Arnold.
James and Harry Panyiotou went close for the home side late on for the home side, who avoided relegation owing to Woking’s late home defeat to Dover Athletic.
But after a season of misery for the Blues it was nice to end on a high note.
Barrow: Arnold, MacDonald (Waterston 80), Diagne, Diarra, Hall, Walters, Jones (Fitzpatrick 85), Gomis, White, Holt (Panayiotou 80), James; Subs not used: Dixon, Cook.
Goals: White 54.
Chester: Firth, Halls, Astles, Jones, Mahon (Brown 73), Gough, Anderson, Thomson, Crawford, Akintunde, Archer (White 90). Subs not used: Noble, Hellawell, Downes.
Goals: Archer 20, Crawford 76.
Attendance: 1,788 (98 from Chester).
Referee: Peter Wright.
Star man: Andy Halls.