Marcus Bignot hailed the ‘character’ within his Chester side after the Blues produced a stirring fightback at Eastleigh.

Bignot’s outfit – who remain in the bottom four of the National League – looked dead and buried after Ben Williamson and Gary McSheffrey had put Richard Hill’s Spitfires in control of this rearranged encounter.

However, Chester refused to lie down and James Akintunde’s strike on the hour mark handed the Blues a lifeline which they grabbed with both hands as Ryan Astles’ towering 88th minute header salvaged a crucial point and raised spirits ahead of Wednesday’s titanic cross-border derby clash with bitter rivals Wrexham.

“I've got to say a massive well done to the players for their character,” said Bignot, who was forced to shuffle the pack after losing key trio Alex Lynch, John McCombe and Paul Turnbull to injuries in midweek.

“To come here, be 2-0 down, the timings of the goals as well, and what we've experienced in recent games, it really pulled on their mental strength and to get a point from two-down is excellent.

“For me, anybody you watched that game will say we deserved three points for the amount of chances we created.

“They had three chances, have taken two of them. It's another encouraging performance though for a third game on the bounce and I felt we deserved to win.

“Goals are always disappointing to concede but the manner we've conceded in terms of timings, we've pretty much stepped off the coach and we're a goal down.

“That can really change the pysche of the group and a team talk but I've got to praise the players, it's a massive plus they've shown the character, and there was only one team going to go on and win it.

“We had so much of the ball, we had too many options at times, so it was probably disjointed in those terms because we dominated the ball for so much of the game.

“We spoke at half-time and they started seeing the pictures quicker and overall it was a pleasing performance. Disappointing result but we'll go on from here.

“These past three performances, we should be sitting on seven points, but we've got four points. That's encouraging and it'll spur us on on Wednesday.”

Initially postponed a month ago due to drainage issues at Ten Acres, Bignot felt the progress his side have made in the three weeks since switching to full-time training was clear for all to see.

“When this game got postponed to where we are now, we're physically, mentally stronger, we're getting players who are now showcasing their talents on the pitch, such as James Akintunde, Andy Halls, so there's huge benefits in full-time,” he added.

“We are reaping the rewards and hopefully now we can keep picking up the results. We're certainly going in the right direction, now let's turn this point into a good point by getting three points (against Wrexham) because Wednesday night is going to be massive for us.”