CHESTER'S joint manager Anthony Johnson was full of Christmas cheer after goals from Akwasi Asante and Anthony Dudley ensured Chester came from behind to beat AFC Telford and kick off their festive season in style.

With the best home record in the division the Blues are heeding bosses Bernard Morley and Johnson's desire to turn the Swansway Stadium into a fortress and this was a deserved eighth victory of the campaign in front of their own fans and sweet revenge for a 3-1 defeat in Shropshire earlier in the season.

"I think we deserved to win with the chances we had and we were superb in the first half," said Johnson after watching his side fall behind to Amari Morgan-Smith's header before Asante and Dudley sealed a win that takes Chester to third place in the table.

"On the counter attack we were very, very dangerous and could have had a couple on top of that, but to be absolutely honest me and Bern are fuming about the last 10 minutes.

"We were poor in managing the game and that wasn't good enough. But we'll learn from that and it's a massive three points against a side that are going to be up there and amongst it, and it's a little bit of redemption for us as a group after what happened down there. All in all it was a fantastic win."

Chester supporters had waited three weeks for a match at the Swansway but they were rewarded for their patience with a Christmas cracker of a first half as two of the league's promotion hopefuls did battle with no thoughts of goodwill or charity.

Fresh from their Saturday off last week, the Blues flew out of the traps and had the ball in the back of the net on 10 minutes when a lovely floated free kick from Adam Dawson was flicked in by the leaping Asante only for the assistant referee to chalk off the goal for offside.

Moments later Dudley went close with a far post header and when on 15 minutes Asante found himself unmarked in the six yard box before placing his shot straight at keeper Andrew Wycherley it felt like an opener was arriving sooner rather than later.

It was a shock then when the goal did come it went to AFC Telford as a deep free kick from Steph Morley found Amari Morgan-Smith escaping the shackles of his marker Asante and placing a header beyond Grant Shenton.

Chester responded brilliantly and were level almost immediately through Asante, whose excellent form since his arrival on loan from Tamworth continued, when he ran through on to a flick on from Dudley before holding off the attentions of Theo Streete and slotting past Wycherley for his fifth goal in three games.

More chances followed with Cain Noble, a late replacement for the sick skipper Gary Roberts, drilling a 25 yarder just over the bar and Asante going close again following a succession of twists and turns in the area.

The Bucks were dogged and determined though and more than happy to put in a tackle or two with referee Sam Barrott doing well to keep his cards in his pocket until Dawson was penalised for a late challenge.

After the break Chester showed their intent from the off with a lung bursting forward run from Steve Howson resulting in another chance for Asante whose shot was blocked.

On 51 minutes the deserved breakthrough came and it was Dudley who was on the receiving end of a big slice of luck when his first shot from the edge of the area was blocked only for the rebound to come back to the Salford City loanee who placed his second effort carefully past a diving Wycherley.

With the advantage gained the game began to open up with chances at both ends. Shane Sutton went close with a header for Telford before the Bucks did get the ball in the net following a scramble in the box only to see the referee disallow the goal for a push on Shenton.

In such a feisty game a red card always looked likely and with 20 minutes left Sutton obliged with an obvious pull on last man Dudley who had beaten the Bucks' captain to the ball before advancing on the area.

With Asante limping off Johnson and Morley shuffled their pack bringing on Cain Noble and handing a Chester debut to winger Bradley Jackson who arrived this week from Ashton United.

Jackson immediately looked the part getting on the end of a Simon Grand cross and running at the stretched Telford defence at every opportunity as the Blues went in search of a third.

There was time for one more nervy moment however as Brendan Daniels' whipped near post corner almost found its way directly into the net but this was a game Chester deserved to win as the Blues stepped into Christmas with the confidence of a team bang in form.

"Anthony (Dudley) was unbelievable," added Johnson who was full of praise for the goalscorers and assured supporters that Asante's injury was not serious. "I'm so glad he got his goal as he's been through a bit of a drought. He'll get 20 goals that fella this season and I think his performance since Akwasi has come in has been really high.

"There are not enough superlatives for Akwasi, but it's what he does for everyone else's game. Since Akwasi has come in everybody's performances have markedly improved. He is the focal point of the team, sets the ethic up top and everyone loves him. That applause when he came off gave him a huge sense of pride that the supporters have got his back."