GEORGE Horan was the hero as Chester overcame the odds to record a potentially vital victory in the race for the Evo-Stik League First Division North championship.
Hamstrung by Iain Howard’s early dismissal, the 10-man Blues showed immense spirit to return to winning ways through their inspirational captain’s 10th and most important goal of the season.
With second-placed Skelmersdale United winning again, Horan’s 53rd-minute strike kept the table-toppers five points clear at the summit.
And it was no less than they deserved after a performance full of passion, commitment and application.
After a tentative start in which Neil Young’s men got no change from Mossley’s returning first-choice centre-back pairing, the match exploded into life in the 19th minute when Howard was contentiously sent-off.
The midfielder’s tackle on Matt Kay was hard but fair, but referee Ken Haycock disagreed and he brandished the red card for what he deemed was a two-footed challenge.
Fuelled by a burning sense of injustice, the visitors responded well to the setback and Michael Wilde and Horan had headed opportunities from Robbie Booth corners.
But the best chance of the first half came six minutes before the break when Michael Powell found himself one-on-one with Peter Collinge.
While the new boy’s technique was correct his accuracy was not and his attempted lob went straight into the goalkeeper’s body.
Powell, however, made amends eight minutes after the restart.
He latched on to a driven Michael Aspin free kick into the box and, although his angled shot was well saved by Collinge, Horan was on hand to side-foot home from 10 yards.
Roared on by a travelling large support dotted around the picturesque Seel Park, Chester pushed for a second and Bradley Barnes – on for the injured Wilde – went close to getting one after Chris Simm beat the offside trap and pulled the ball back for the substitute.
Thanks to those in front of him, Adam Judge had little to do at the other end.
But the one time Judge was beaten, right-back Aspin came to his rescue as he cleared sub Chris Hall’s header off the line.
Mossley: Collinge, Weston, G Kay, Watson, Warner (Hall 81), Rowney, McGonigle (Coo 70), M Kay, Oates (Rick 63), Fish, Dennis. Subs: Flint, Constantine.
Booked: McGonigle, Rowney.
Chester: Judge, Aspin, Horan, Ruffer, Stones, Booth, Powell, A Williams (Beck 90), Howard, Wilde (Barnes 69), Simm (Mackreth 88). Subs: Taylor, Wilson.
Sent-off: Howard 19.
Goal: Horan 53.
Referee: Ken Haycock (West Yorkshire).