CHESTER centre back Steve Howson believes the Blues' win at FC United of Manchester is the type of display the side will need to replicate if they are going to win promotion back to the National League this season.

A brilliant backs to the wall performance saw the Blues record a much-needed 2-0 victory against their relegation-threatened opponents with the three points moving Chester up to fifth in the National League North where they now lie seven points behind leaders Chorley.

But it was the way that the Blues one which has pleased Howson so much with the side conceding possession for long periods of the game after Anthony Dudley's first half header and then capping the display with a fine breakaway goal from Gary Roberts as the match entered added time.

"I wouldn't say it was a great performance but it was a tough, battling performance and the kind of performance we haven't produced enough in my opinion this season," said Howson, who joined Chester last summer after being released by Southport.

"It's a massive win considering how results have gone around us and we earned it so I'm proud of everyone out there. We've worked hard and ground out a result against a tough side."

Alongside the returning Danny Livesey and Simon Grand, Howson, 33, excelled during the game as the back four held FC United at bay despite a second half onslaught which saw the Red Rebels throw everything they could at the visitors.

"They had a lot of the ball but you're confident when you've got good lads around you and we soaked it up and dealt with it. We're where we are in the league because we defend reasonably well as a team - you can have the ball but we'll hit you on the break and thankfully that's what we did.

"We were happy to let them sling balls into the box because I'm a big lad and we'll deal with those balls all day," he said. "We limited them I thought and although Shents (Grant Shenton) made two great saves I can't think of much else they did.

"Having Danny back was fantastic - he's an old head like myself and Simon but he's also comforting if he's next you to you as centre half because he talks to you and and we bounce off each other. It's good to play alongside him it really is and we've formed a good partnership. We've missed him and it's good to have him back."

"As for the goal at the end, I don't know where Gary got his legs from to be honest but he's shown some pace and from where I was it looked like a great finish and it was the perfect way to finish the game."

The victory at Broadhurst Park was only Chester's third win away all season and their first since September and Howson admitted they need to improve to sustain their challenge at the top.

"We have aspirations of going up and at getting to the play offs at least so we have to improve our away performances and our away results," he added. "We can build on this and it gives us real confidence - we've got Akwasi Asante coming back in the next few days, we've got Danny back, hopefully Gary Stopforth and Scott Burton in a couple of weeks so it's looking OK.

"Christmas wasn't good enough but that result goes some way to clawing it back."

Chester made it through to the third round of the Cheshire Senior Cup on Tuesday evening with a 4-0 win at North West Counties side Winsford United.

Following a goalless first half, Chester turned on the style in the second 45 to score four goals without reply with Nathan Brown scoring twice either side of strikes by Iwan Murray and George Green who scored direct from a free kick.