THE Blues missed the chance to pile the pressure on Skelmersdale United as the race for the championship took yet another twist.
A Chris McDonagh double and Chris Worsley single condemned Chester to their fourth and biggest league defeat of the season and gave Tommy Lawson’s second-placed team fresh hope they could yet catch the long-time leaders.
Curzon’s well-deserved victory means Skem can move level on points with Neil Young’s men if they win both of their games in hand, the first of which comes tomorrow against Lancaster City.
That will be a little too close for comfort for Blues boss Young who will be fuming at the way his side performed on a desperately disappointing evening at the Tameside Stadium.
It quickly became apparent that this was not the Curzon team that went down with a whimper at Bamber Bridge at the weekend, but the one which battled their way to a point at the Exacta Stadium 12 days earlier.
The unchanged visitors were made to fight for every ball in a fiercely-contested first half in which the fired-up hosts took advantage of two defensive lapses to take a commanding advantage into the break.
It was not until the 21st minute that the first chance of the match arrived as Michael Wilde headed over Iain Howard’s inswinging corner.
Curzon went close themselves shortly after when Harry Davis found space in the box and flicked a Luke Mack corner past the post.
The centre-back should have done better, but hot-shot McDonagh showed his team-mate how to do it in the 39th minute when he netted his 30th league goal of the season.
The striker – a serious rival to Wilde’s top-scorer crown – was given far too much space to nod in Worsley’s devastating cross from the right past the stranded Adam Judge.
Six minutes later and it was two as Worsley rifled a low 15-yard drive into the net after a Mack corner from the left was not cleared.
Lacklustre Chester needed to raise their game, but matters took a turn for the worse 11 minutes after the restart when Curzon killed the contest following an uncharacteristic error from Ashley Williams.
The midfielder offered a woefully under-hit back pass to Judge, whose attempted clearance was charged down by the quick-thinking McDonagh and rolled in off his body.
By now the Blues’ six-match unbeaten run was well and truly over, but they did manage an 89th-minute consolation through substitute Robbie Booth, who collected Michael Taylor’s long pass and lifted the ball over the underworked David Carnell.
Curzon: Carnell, Birch, Davis, Jones, Martin, Worsley, Moses, Evans, McDonagh, Moore, Mack (Blair 84). Subs: Leach, Young, Lyons, Wright.
Goals: McDonagh 39, 56, Worsley 45.
Chester: Judge, Aspin, Taylor, Ruffer, Stones, C Williams (Booth 63), Barnes (Powell 79), A Williams, Howard (Barlow 68), Wilde, Simm. Subs: Beck, Wilson.
Goal: Booth 89.
Booked: Barnes, A Williams.
Referee: Peter Gooch (Wigan).