A SPECTACULAR hat trick on debut from on loan striker Akwasi Asante lit up the Swansway Stadium as ten man Chester got back to winning ways with a 3-1 triumph over old Football League rivals Darlington.

Saturday's game had been billed as a celebration of all things 'retro' with both sets of supporters donning old replica shirts and fittingly it was Asante's performance which had Blues fans racking their brains and thumbing through the record books as they tried to remember a better first appearance from a new signing.

Netherlands-born Asanti's exploits won the game for Chester who had made things far harder than they should have been against a woeful Quakers outfit thanks to winger Dan Mooney's first half dismissal and this was a welcome victory for joint managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley who had seen their team go four games without a goal.

As if desperate to put their miserable experience in the FA Trophy behind them the Blues started off in impressive fashion with Asante instantly providing a focal point for the home side's attacks.

On five minutes Steve Howson had the first sight of goal heading over from a Mooney free kick before the same player placed a lovely through ball into the path of Anthony Dudley whose first touch took him wide allowing Jonathan Maddison to narrow the angle and save the shot.

Returning to the side after being dropped for the Southport replay, Craig Mahon looked lively and the Irishman was unlucky after he burst into the area only to see his low drive deflected narrowly wide.

Mooney was next to have a go with a trademark curling long ranger flashing past the post before Mahon was at it again as the winger battled his way through some heavy challenges and shot low to Maddison's left where an outstretched palm tipped the ball away.

A goal felt on the cards and when it came it was a beauty with huge credit going to Asante who won the ball on the nearside touchline, laid it off and then charged into the Quakers' box where he got on the end of a pinpoint cross from Mahon and powered a header beyond Maddison.

Chester looked comfortable with Darlington offering very little going forward so it came as a blow when Mooney, who had already been booked for a pull back, lost possession and then overstretched himself to win the ball and brought down Jordan Nicholson leaving referee Barry Lamb no choice but to brandish a second yellow.

At the start of the second half ten man Chester looked vulnerable but any doubts about where this game was going were soon put to bed thanks to another moment of brilliance from Asante. Mahon, who ran tirelessly all afternoon, began the move after robbing a defender before passing to the Dutchman who turned brilliantly leaving a defender in his wake and placing a lovely finish past on the onrushing Maddison.

With Chester's supporters still basking in the afterglow of their new striker's skill, Asante almost claimed a third when the loanee rose to head a corner goalwards before it was cleared off the line.

As in the first half however, Chester almost immediately had their wings clipped with Darlington's first real foray forward producing an unlikely goal as Josef Wheately picked up a lose ball 25 yards before placing a powerful shot past a stunned Grant Shenton.

Buoyed by the strike, Darlington surged forward and the game looked on a knife edge with 10 man Chester inevitably tiring and looking stretched and the visitor's enjoying their best spell of the encounter.

The Blues still looked more than capable on the break however and inevitably on 69 minutes it was that man Asante again who turned a brilliant debut into a spectacular one after Dudley ran at the Darlo defence before laying off to the former Birmingham striker who cut inside and lashed a right foot curling shot beyond Maddison to complete his hat trick.

From then on it was damage limitation for Darlington while the Chester fans rose to give Asante a rousing standing ovation when he was substituted for Deane Smalley with five minutes left.

Chester have a new goalscoring hero and not a moment too soon.