Alfreton Town had notched up 488 minutes without conceding a goal until Chester’s late equaliser at the Impact Arena on Saturday, but crucially they remain unbeaten in five games.
Tom Shaw’s superb 30-yard strike in the 22nd minute was cancelled out by Ben Heneghan’s header two minutes from time, but the draw has enabled the Reds to open up a vital five-point cushion in their quest for Vanarama Conference survival.
Manager Nicky Law was able to keep an unchanged starting line-up from the midweek goalless draw with Lincoln City, but had added strength on the bench with striker Jake Speight having returned to the club for a second loan spell, this time from Harrogate Town.
Last season, on loan from Mansfield Town, Speight scored five times in six games before being recalled early by his parent club and very nearly carried on where he had left off with two chances within four minutes of replacing John Johnston.
Heneghan cleared a Karl Hawley header off the line before Shaw’s wonder strike opened the scoring midway through the first half. Surely one for an award in the end-of-season presentations after the midfielder lashed the ball into the roof of the net with venom after pouncing on a misplaced pass.
The equaliser came with a sense of controversy as Speight was blatantly fouled by Hughes on Alfreton’s right flank, but neither the referee nor his assistant agreed with that diagnosis and allowed Chester to break swiftly with the goal coming from a subsequent throw-in.
Heneghan headed over from a McConville free-kick in the 81st minute, then seven minutes later the same combination triumphed, but the Reds’ contingent were incensed that play had not been stopped.
Alfreton: Mooney, Graham, Howe, Rowe-Turner, Wood; Johnston (Speight 56), Lenighan, Shaw, Thanoj, Hawley, Ironside. Subs: Courtney, Howell, Leesley, Heaton. Att: 857 (269).