Ross Hannah's first hat-trick in Chester FC colours continued his outstanding strike-rate and helped them brush aside Torquay United 4-1 at a rain-swept Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.
Hannah has now scored 11 times in his last nine games but while the striker has earned the plaudits he is receiving, his team-mates deserve praise too with Ryan Higgins, who netted the second, showing a welcome return to form revelling in a wing back role.
These three points ended a five-match winless sequence in the league and provide a real shot in the arm ahead of a Christmas and New Year period that offers a genuine chance of moving up the table.
Chester dominated the opening 45 minutes and were full value for the three goal lead and while Torquay put up more of a fight in the second period, the damage had been done in the first-half.
Supporters were still settling into their seats when Hannah struck with 15 seconds gone, taking a pass from Danny Hattersley and curling a sweet shot into the bottom corner for the quickest goal in the National League this season.
Hannah came close to adding a second soon after when he poked past keeper Dan Lavercombe but his effort bounced against the upright before being cleared.
Torquay were second best throughout but it took until the 38th minute for the Blues to double the lead when the rampaging Higgins netted with a fine strike from outside the area and two minutes later Hannah won a free kick 20 yards out and duly converted it, swerving the ball into the far corner to make it 3-0 at the turnaround.
Chester couldn't maintain the same level of dominance after the break but the visitors had little in response and there seemed no danger of a comeback. Hannah did have the ball in the net for a third time when he stabbed home a Hattersley knock down but an offside flag curtailed his celebrations.
The three points looked safe enough but the Gulls pulled a goal back out of nothing as Andre Wright looped a hopeful punt into the area and it sailed straight over Jon Worsnop and into the back of the net to cut the advantage to two goals.
But within four minutes Chester's three goal cushion was restored as Johnny Hunt slid Hannah between defenders and his first time shot beat the diving Lavercombe
Chester should have had a fifth with four minutes to go when substitute Craig Mahon was felled in the box and referee Tom Nield pointed to the spot. Another replacement, John Rooney, stepped up but Lavercombe saved his first effort down to his left and the midfielder hit the post on the follow up.
There was still time for the Blues to strike the woodwork for a third time when Higgins crossed and Hattersley hung in the air and headed downwards but the foot of the post prevented him opening his account for the club.
Ross Hannah: Goals breed confidence and at this moment in time there's no hotter National League striker than Ross Hannah. He tormented Torquay from the first minute until receiving a standing ovation when he was replaced with seven minutes to go. His return of 11 goals in nine games is sure to be drawing attention from elsewhere. What's most impressive is that Hannah has shown himself to be capable of scoring every type of goal: header, inside the box, outside the box or set piece, there's nothing he can't do right now. It's approaching the time of the season when manager's begin to plan for the future and Chester need to do everything possible to ensure that includes Hannah.
Ryan Higgins: Perhaps one of the greatest frustrations this term has been the form of Ryan Higgins. Over the back end of last season he was one of the side's most impressive performers and hopes were high the ex-Everton trainee would kick on again. For whatever reason that hasn't happened and a series of mistakes have impacted on his confidence. However, he looked far more at ease in an advanced role on the right hand side, tearing up the wing time and time again and producing much better quality with his final ball. He deserved his goal and looks to be finding his form again at an important stage of the season.
Chester FC: Worsnop, Higgins, Sharps, Heneghan, Whitmore, Hunt, Shaw (Rooney 76), George, Lloyd (Mahon 76), Hattersley, Hannah (Hobson 84).
Subs: Forth, Chapell.
Goals: Hannah 1, 40 and 72, Higgins 38.
Torquay United: Lavercombe, Heslop, MacDonald, Smith, Nicholson (Chaney 78), Murombedzi (Carmichael 46), Verma, Butler, Briscoe, Fisher (Gerring 65), Wright.
Subs: Hancox, Corderoy.
Goal: Wright 68.
Referee: Tom Nield (West Riding)
Star man: Ross Hannah.
Three points would have been top of Steve Burr's Christmas wish-list and the convincing manner of this victory will be an additional bonus for the Chester boss.
Torquay could not have complained had the winning margin been five or six goals such was the number of chances the Blues carved out against a side who look doomed to spending the second half of the season scrapping for survival and on this showing that's a fight unlikely to be won.
Chester gleamed much-needed confidence from the FA Trophy triumph at Telford and carried that into this match but couldn't have dreamed of getting off to such a perfect start, opening the scoring inside 20 seconds through Ross Hannah.
The Blues never looked back from then on and in Hannah have a striker who can do no wrong at present. His first goal demonstrated his poacher's instinct, his second showed outstanding technique and his third was an exquisite one touch finish.
Last season the festive period was one to forget for Chester but there are signs this group of players are starting to understand each other better and could be heading into 2016 with real momentum.