CHESTER swept their title rivals aside to move up to second and stretch their winning run in all competitions to seven matches on a record-breaking night at the Exacta Stadium.
Stunning strikes from Alex Brown and Wes Baynes and an instinctive Matty McNeil finish ensured Neil Young’s excellent side hauled themselves above Chorley and within one point of top spot.
The three second-half goals were lapped up by an electric 3,310 crowd that was the biggest since the Blues reformed.
The home fans also took delight in a seventh straight clean sheet – a sequence going back 636 minutes and one which means John Danby has replaced Grenville Millington in the Chester history books as the goalkeeper to have gone the longest time without conceding a goal.
The hosts were the better team before the break and they would have led had Iain Howard taken the one clear goalscoring opportunity of the opening period.
Chris Simm led a lightning-fast counter attack before pulling the ball back across the box to the on-running Brown, whose outrageous dummy gave a Howard a clear sight of goal. But with just Russell Saunders to beat, the winger got his technique horribly wrong and he skewed his right-footed attempt high and wide.
Howard had earlier curled an effort just over the bar, Simm and McNeil also saw half-chances come and go before Matty McGinn was just off target with a 20-yard free kick.
It was going to take something special to break down a well-drilled Chorley side unbeaten in five in the league – and in the 53rd minute, Brown provided just that.
There seemed little danger when McGinn’s right-wing corner broke to the midfielder 30 yards out. But with little backlift, Brown let fly with a wondrous strike that flashed past Saunders.
It was Brown’s first goal for the club and he went close again moments later with a swerving 25-yard drive that beat Saunders but also the post.
The visitors, who survived penalty scares either side of half-time, were rocking and McNeil doubled the advantage in the 61st minute.
The impressive veteran striker raced on to a long ball over the top from George Horan and, with Saunders coming out to meet him, he looped a header over the stranded goalkeeper and into the net to register his fifth goal of the campaign.
Chorley rang the changes in a bid to claw their way back into the match, but any hopes they had of making a comeback were ended five minutes from time thanks to a sublime second goal of the season from Baynes.
The substitute beat Saunders all ends up with a 30-yard curling shot that arrowed into the bottom corner.
The Blues continued to pile forward and subs Jamie Rainford and Michael Wilde so nearly made it four.
Chester: Danby, Brownhill, Horan, Taylor, McGinn, Booth (Baynes 81), Powell, Brown, Howard, Simm (Rainford 77), McNeil (Wilde 88). Subs: Judge, Wright.
Goals: Brown 53, McNeil 61, Baynes 85.
Chorley: Saunders, Brown, Walker, Teague, Russell, Roscoe, Witham, Vermiglio, Whaley (Denham 46), Williams (Payne 61), Ince (Cunliffe 61). Subs: McEvilly, Maden.
Referee: Gary Stott (Manchester).