BLUE Square North runaway leaders Chester FC were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw at home by a doggedly determined Brackley Town side.
It was clear from early on in the game the visitors, placed third in the table, had come to earn a point through stubborn, effective defending and persistent timewasting.
And despite the best efforts of the home side, who until this game had scored in every competitive home match since March 2011, the fixture ended goalless.Related content
Chester started quite well, with a Wes Baynes free kick unexpectedly spilled by vocal Brackley keeper Billy Turley in the eighth minute.
Captain George Horan then had a decent chance to make the breakthrough, heading just wide from a Baynes cross with 10 minutes on the clock.
The only other chance of note in the first half was when Horan headed a cross to Ben Mills, who repeated the captain's earlier miss.
Following the break, Brackley captain Brett Solkhon created the visitors' only chance of the game, shooting wide on 50 minutes.
Chester substitute Marc Williams had the game's best chance to take the lead when a Baynes corner was whipped dangerously into the Brackley box, but he just failed to get on the end of it.
The second half saw the visitors use every trick in the timewasting book, and a sizeable proportion of the 2,689 crowd voiced their frustrations.
When Baynes' free kick sailed over the crossbar on 81 minutes, it was becoming clear it was not to be the Blues' day.
Chester added more pressure in injury time but couldn't create any clear-cut chances, meaning their 0-0 result was the first time they'd dropped points at home since Bradford Park Avenue in October.
However, with yet another of closest challengers Guiseley's games postponed due to bad weather, the Blues did extend their lead at the top of the table to 17 points.
They have also set a new league record for going 20 games unbeaten in one season, a feat Brackley could repeat themselves if they played the same tactic of negative football every week.
Chester FC: Danby, Baynes, McGinn, Horan, Linwood, Turner, Hankin, Sarcevic, Jarman (Gray 76), Mills (M Williams 53), D Williams (Howard 81). Subs: A Williams, Collins.
Brackley: Turley, Clifton, McDonald, Corcoran (Robinson 89), Shrape, Austin, Mulligan, Solkhon, Louis, Sandy, Nisevic (Story 85). Subs: Joynson, Diggin, Walker.
Referee: Simon Bennett.