STRIKERS Anthony Dudley and Akwasi Asante may have picked up the praise following Saturday's win but it was veteran defender Simon Grand who walked off with the Sponsor's Man of the Match award.

The 34-year-old, playing at left back, was singled out by joint boss Anthony Johnson after the hard fought victory over AFC Telford with Johnson full of admiration for the senior player who he said was "playing like a 19-year-old".

"It was our aim at the beginning of the season to make this place somewhere the fans can come and enjoy winning and enjoy the football that's being played," said Grand, who helped the Blues pick up an eighth victory of the season on their own patch.

"You go away and try and pick up the odd point if you can because any away game in this league is hard and then win your home games - if you do you'll always be there or there abouts."

Chester had to dig deep against one of the division's better sides and the Blues' response after going a goal down was a good example of the team spirit running through the squad, according to Grand.

"It showed how important it is to take your chances when you are on top," he said. "We know what we've got here and we're not a side who goes under. We've got a good bunch of lads here and we can dig in.

"We are a collective as an 11 and we defend as an 11 and we reacted in the right way and could have won comfortably in the end."

Like the rest of the team, Grand had been buoyed by the arrival of Asante who now has five goals in three games since joining Chester on loan from Tamworth.

"You put the ball in the right area for him and that's what can happen," said Grand. "He'll probably beat himself up because he could have had a couple more and I think the one which was disallowed wasn't his fault because it was me that was offside so he's been unlucky today.

"He's bringing out the best in other players like Duds (Anthony Dudley) who probably had his best game today. Akwasi takes the work load off him and he brings the wingers into play as well.

"Duds worked really hard and deserved his goal. He has that bit of quality and was unlucky not to get another one and it's great to see a lad work hard and get the rewards at the end of it."

After a long career Grand isn't phased by the bust Christmas schedule which sees Chester play four games in nine days starting with the Boxing Day clash at Southport.

"I'm used to it!" he laughed. "It's been 18 years of the same thing so it's nothing new to me. You do things right and we're in training on Christmas Eve so we can look forward to some good festive games.

"We're passed that half way point of the season now so every game is big and it's vital that we pick up as many points as we can so we don't fall away from other teams or let other teams catch you.

"It's so important you put a run together because this when the league gets won or lost."

Chester play Southport on both Boxing Day and New Year's Day after two FA Trophy clashes with their North West rivals last month.

"We know what they're about and they're going to be hard to beat," said Grand. "They've had a fantastic cup run and they're going to be two very tough games especially over Christmas but it's a good play to go and play and because we got beat here in the cup it will be nice to right a wrong."