THE heroic Blues overcome the odds to end their 18-match winless League Two run with an incredible victory at Meadow Lane.
Mark Wright’s men were cruising through goals from David Mannix and Ryan Lowe, but the face of the game changed after goalkeeper John Danby hobbled off late on and had to be replaced by striker Lowe.
Mike Edwards reduced the deficit for the mid-table Magpies with a minute to spare before they threw everything forward in a bid to snatch what would have been the cruellest of equalisers.
City held on, however, to secure a first win since Boxing Day which extends their unbeaten run to four and leaves them just a point behind third-from-bottom Grimsby Town.
Chester, with Mannix in for the ill Jay Harris and Paul Rutherford replacing the injured Kevin Ellison, started slowly and they would have fell behind in the sixth minute had Phil Picken not fired wide from 10 yards after the right-back’s initial attempt was blocked.
The Blues weathered the storm before breaking the deadlock in the 14th minute when Laurence Wilson's right-wing corner was flicked on for Mannix to nod in from close range.
That proved to be Wilson's last contribution of the match as, struggling with a knock he sustained early on, he limped off to be replaced by impressive youngster James Owen, with Anthony Barry taking over the role of left-wingback.
County should have added insult to injury moments later but Delroy Facey could only dink the ball over the bar after Myles Weston’s pinpoint cross had picked him out.
The home faithful, who were watching top-flight football not too long ago, were growing restless. But it was events in the away end of the Jimmy Sirrel Stand that briefly took the attention away from the game as a handful of City supporters were ushered out by the police.
City were defending resolutely yet they nearly conceded in first-half injury-time when Jamie Forrester’s flicked header dropped just past the post.
And the Magpies were made to pay for their wastefulness four minutes after the break.
A terribly under-hit header from Jamie Clapham sold Kevin Pilkington short and allowed Rutherford to nip in and nudge the ball towards goal, where top-scorer Lowe was on hand to tap in his 16th of the season.
Lowe went close to doubling his tally five minutes later when his chest-trap and volley from 25 yards looped just wide.
Beleaguered County boss Ian McParland rang the changes, with Jonathan Forte and Sean Canham coming on for fellow forward Forrester and shame-faced left-back Clapham.
And the changes galvanised the hosts, with Forte blazing over when clean through, Facey shooting just wide from John Thompson’s cross and Canham heading straight into the hands of the relieved Danby after Picken’s 30-yard thunderbolt cannoned back off the crossbar.
Danby then hurt his shoulder in a heavy collision and, with three minutes to play, had to be withdrawn. And with no substitute keeper on the bench, Lowe was forced to take over the gloves.
The makeshift-stopper was straight into the action, pushing a Forte effort around the post before, with a minute of normal time remaining, saving from the same player. Edwards, however, was there to hammer the rebound into the roof of the net.
The last thing Chester, who to a man were superb, needed was to see the fourth official indicate that there would be seven minutes of injury-time. But somehow they survived.
NOTTS COUNTY: Pilkington, Picken, Edwards, Johnson (Tann 12), Clapham (Canham 71), Hamshaw, Thompson, Butcher, Weston, Facey, Forrester (Forte 59). Subs: Strachan, Fairclough.
GOAL: Edwards 89.
CHESTER: Danby (Jones 87), Vaughan, Linwood, Roberts, Rule, Wilson (Owen 15), Rutherford, Mannix, Barry, Partridge, Lowe. Subs: Kelly, Smith, Ellams.
BOOKED: Rutherford, Mannix.
GOALS: Mannix 15, Lowe 49.
REFEREE: Kevin Wright (Cambridgeshire).
ATTENDANCE: 4,025 (230 away).