On another evening the Blues would have had this game wrapped up before the break but wasteful finishing and inspired goalkeeping saw them leave with nothing.

Steve Burr's side were not troubled in the opening half hour, had enough chances to be three or four up and missed a penalty before conceding twice in three minutes.

Keeper Rhys Taylor had kept Macc in the game, his penalty save was top drawer, and Waide Fairhurst opened the scoring from the spot before smashing a magnificent second into the top corner.

Macc had been second best but took a two-goal lead into the break and Matthew Barnes-Homer added a third on 53 minutes.

Ben Heneghan responded a minute later and the comeback seemed possible but it never happened.

Chester had a few opportunities but in truth didn't look capable of clawing back another two goals and attention now turns to a big home game with Gateshead on Saturday.

 

Burr had completed loan deals for Josh O'Keefe and Rhys Oates before the game and named both among the substitutes.

He had to make one change from the FA Cup win over Southend United with Jamie Menagh replacing the unfortunate Peter Winn.

Another change took place on the fashion front with referee Darren England ruling the visitors' purple strip clashed with the hosts' blue and enforcing a switch to Macc's green alternative shirts.

Chester took three points off the Silkmen back in September with John Rooney getting the only goal against his former club but Macc are stronger at Moss Rose.

An unbeaten home record has been the bedrock for John Askey's side season and there were only three points between them and the top-five.

Askey gave a debut to Liam Hogan in the sole change to the side that drew 1-1 with Nuneaton Town last time out.

Chester, whose garish new look won't be seen on the catwalks of Paris and Milan anytime soon, kicked off but that was one of few completed passes in a poor opening.

Both sides were cancelling each other out with the Blues' short passing game not quite clicking and Macc's more direct approach ineffective.

Craig Hobson did have the ball in the net on 13 minutes but Mr England's whistle sounded for an infringement before he flicked Rooney's free kick past Taylor.

Chester began to get on top with Craig Mahon forcing the keeper into action from 25 yards and Kieran Charnock going close with a header.

Macc should have gone behind on the half hour when McConville danced into the box and tempted Hogan into a foul that resulted in a penalty.

McConville took the spot kick himself and smashed the ball down the middle but Taylor, who had dived to his left, somehow managed to turn his attempt over the bar with a remarkable save.

Matty Brown had a header cleared off the line seconds later as the game came alive and then Rooney hit the post from 10 yards but the home side survived.

Macc were awarded a penalty themselves on 39 minutes when Menagh needlessly clipped Phil Turnbull's heels and Fairhurst made no mistake, sending Jon Worsnop the wrong way to put his side in front.

Chester were still coming to terms with that when the hosts doubled the lead with a wonderful strike from Fairhurst on 42 minutes.

He picked up the ball 40 yards out after McConville lost possession, took a couple of touches and unleashed a rocket that flew past the airborne Worsnop and into the top corner.

Macc could have been three up when ex-Chester City forward Chris Holroyd had only Worsnop to beat from 12 yards but the keeper blocked well.

Chester must have been wondering what had happened but his side did have the final chance of the first half when Mahon's cutback found McConville but the sliding Taylor denied him.

Burr sent his side out for the second period with the deficit not insurmountable but knowing the next goal would be crucial.

He would therefore have been furious with the subdued start his team made that resulted in the Silkmen getting a third eight minutes after the restart with soft defending allowing Barnes-Homer to fire home from 15 yards.

Macc were still celebrating when the Blues pulled a goal back from a corner on 54 minutes, McConville floating the ball into the box and Heneghan guiding his header past the stranded Taylor.

Taylor made a decent stop low down from Kingsley James and the keeper then made an even better start from the midfielder, tipping his curling shot over the bar.

Burr threw on Oates and Ibou Touray with 25 minutes remaining and Taylor spilled a shot from the former but managed to block from McConville on the rebound.

Chester sensed a comeback was not beyond them as the Silkmen began to grow tired but time was against them too.

Macc were vulnerable but the changes had affected the Blues and the chances dried up the as the end neared with the home side able to see the game out.

Chester FC: Worsnop, Heneghan, Brown, Charnock, G Roberts, Rooney, James, Mahon, McConville (O'Keefe 76), Menagh (Touray 65), Hobson (Oates 65).

Subs: C Roberts, Harrison.

Goal: Heneghan 54.

Booked: McConville.

Macclesfield Town: Evans, Halls, Pilkington, Hogan, Barrow, Holroyd, Whittaker, Turnbull, Gnahoua, Barnes-Homer, Fairhurst (Moke 86).

Subs: Branagan, Grant, Bailey, Lavelle-Moore.

Goals: Fairhurst 39 (pen) and 42, Barnes-Homer 53.

Booked: Turnbull, Halls.

Referee: Darren England (South Yorkshire)

Attendance: 1,951.