Chester were denied a morale-boosting victory at the death as they drew their final home game of 2016 15-15 at home to high-flying Sedgley Park.
Keen to end a run of three straight defeats, and backed by a large crowd, the Hare Lane outfit made an uncharacteristic fast start.
With barely a minute on the clock, Chester had a lineout on the opposition five-metre line and from a good clean take the forwards drove toward the try line where captain Guy Ford touched down.
Young Alex Burrage added the conversion for the near perfect start.
And four minutes later the start got even better with wing Craig Ross crossing the whitewash.
From a loose kick, buoyant Chester looked to run the return and from a loose pass fullback Sean Green found space before drawing the last defender and putting Ross in the clear to score untouched.
Burrage was unlucky with the conversion, hitting both uprights before the ball rebounded the wrong side of the posts.
It got worse for Sedgley Park in the 18th minute when flanker Mark Goodman was shown a red card for a swinging arm in the tackle.
But four minutes later Green was penalised for a technical offence and was shown a yellow card, sending him to the sin bin for 10 minutes.
That galvanised 14-man Sedgley Park and four minutes after that, after sustained pressure, they moved the ball wide to left wing Richard Lepori, who scored in the corner.
A well-taken penalty followed which ensured Chester had to settle for a 12-8 lead at the end of the opening period.
During the half-time break the weather took a turn for the worse and the rain would grow heavier thereafter.
But Chester did not notice the conditions and they started the second half in the same vein as the first.
This time, however, they were only able to advance the score by three with an excellent Burrage penalty.
The weather now assumed command of the fixture and, with both teams reluctant to move the ball through hands, the game became a kicking duel.
Penalty attempts were missed at either end and slowly the experienced Sedgley Park backline started to gain territory.
And in the 72nd minute a fine break through the midfield saw No 8 Juan Crous score near the posts for a converted try, which made it 15-15.
Supporters seemed to hold their breath for the last seven minutes.
Finally it was Sedgley Park who broke, with no time left on the clock, giving a penalty away.
From the left-hand touchline Chester had no option but to go for goal.
And, with the pressure on, Burrage could only see his kick slide agonisingly wide.
Seventh-placed Chester head to table-topping neighbours Caldy on Saturday in their last match of the year.
Chester 2nds produced a superb second-half comeback to win 31-29 at home to Macclesfield 2nds.
Pete Rees, Tom Phillip-Croft, and James Preston (2) shared the tries for Chester with Callum Bennett adding the extras.
Christleton were in fine form, winning 39-3 at home to Prenton, while Helsby maintained their title challenge with a 29-12 success at home to Liverpool Collegiate 3rds.