When it come to job interviews, Jon McCarthy and Ian Sharps' has been pretty impressive.

A breathless second half that saw six goals ended up in a resounding 4-2 success for Chester FC over Neil Aspin's Gateshead as Ross Hannah netted a brace from the bench, Ryan Higgins struck a belter and Kane Richards bagged after another man-of-the-match performance.

It marked the end of a season that has been more down than up but McCarthy and Sharps have to be credited with giving fans some hope for next season.

Confidence was high among the Blues heading into the contest following their success at Blundell Park last weekend and they started on the front foot and James Alabi saw a weak effort from 12 yards saved after Kane Richards had picked off a sloppy pass on four minutes.

The Heed were forced into a change two minutes later when skipper Ben Clark limped off after he had fallen awkwardly when fouling Richards.

Ben Heneghan headed a Ryan Lloyd corner well wide from an awkward angle as the Blues looked to find a breakthrough but the opening half wasn't one to be savoured.

Gateshead enjoyed possession in threatening areas at times, as did the Blues, but were unable to test Tony Thompson. Daniel Johnson's curling 20-yarder was as close as they came.

Richards, who was full of running and willing, picked the pocket of ex-Chester loanee Alex Whitmore and wriggled away from his man but saw Sam Russell easily gather his 25-yarder.

The visitors were forced to use all their available subs inside the opening half, though, with Rob Ramshaw and Jamie Chandler replacing injured duo Gus Mafuta and Ryan Bowman.

READ: Recap from our live blog as the Blues run out 4-2 winners

Chester started the second half brightly but were a goal down on 51 minutes when the impressive CJ Hamilton broke on the right hand side and slid a low cross across the face of the Blues area where Rob Ramshaw bundled home despite the attentions of Higgins.

Gateshead threatened after taking the lead and wasted good opportunities to extend their advantage before Chester levelled against the run of play.

John Rooney clipped in to the near post where Richards glanced a header past Russell from four yards to restore parity.

Sixty seconds later and the Blues were in the lead. Higgins picked up a loose ball and advanced before firing a low effort into the bottom left of Russell's goal from 25 yards.

Substitute Hannah grabbed goal No.25 of the season on 76 minutes, receiving a chipped ball from Rooney, taking a touch and picking his spot from 10 yards.

And goal number 26 soon arrived when the Blues striker received a pass from Tom Shaw, dinked the ball over the head of Alex Whitmore before racing on to his own ball and rifling past Russell.

There was even a chance for Hannah to claim his hat-trick but he saw his close range effort foiled by the Heed keeper after he was put clean through by Craig Hobson.

Gateshead pulled one back late on through Daniel Johnson, who fired home from close range after Ramshaw's initial shot was blocked, but it couldn't take the shine off a glorious end to the season for the Blues and McCarthy, who must now be odds-on favourite to be the next incumbent of the Chester hot seat.


Macca's the man: The players believe in Jon McCarthy and it shows. They rallied against Gateshead during a spell where the game seemed to be going away from them, almost as if they sensed that it was a game that had a lot riding on it for the caretaker boss.

The change for the better since he succeeded Burr has exceeded expectations. He has the backing of the players and he has lifted the gloom that had been hanging above the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.

He is his own man, he has shown that. With Sharps, he looks to have hit upon a winning formula. He was given his chance and has taken it with both hands. It's hard to envisage anyone else being given the nod. He deserves his shot.

Kane is able: A goal and a man-of-the-match display. Richards has thrived under McCarthy in his preferred role up front and has shown the promise that so many Blues fans saw.

He gave experienced National League defenders a torrid time today and looks a real prospect for next season.

What next for Ross?: Was that Hannah's final game for the Blues? He's out-of-contract and already been linked with moves away, but a brace on his final outing of the season shows just how important he has been this season. His 26-goal haul has saved Chester this season. Hopefully he can be persuaded to stay with the Blues, it must be one of the top priorities for whoever gets the nod as boss.

Chester FC: Thompson, Higgins, Heneghan, Astles, Hunt, Chapell, Shaw, Rooney, Lloyd, Alabi, Richards. Subs: Worsnop, George, Hannah, Mahon, Hobson.

Goals: Richards 60, Higgins 62, Hannah 76 & 80.

Bookings: Mahon

Gateshead: Russell, Baxter, Pattison, Clark (Curtis 6), Gillies, Mafuta (Chandler 37) Holden, Bowman (Ramshaw 37), Johnson, Hamilton, Whitmore. Subs: MacDonald, Onovwigun.

Goals: Ramshaw 51, Johnson 86.

Bookings: Mafuta, Ramshaw, Chandler.

Referee: Mr R.Wigglesworth (Doncaster).

Attendance: 2,323.