CHESTER joint manager Anthony Johnson maintained his side will stay make the National League North play offs after a battling performance saw them hold league leaders Chorley to a goalless draw for the second time this season.

The Blues had the better of a tight and nervy game as evidenced by the host's disappointment on the final whistle that they had not managed to convert their territorial dominance into a win against the impregnable Magpies who left the pitch relived with their away point.

The draw left Chester relishing a second clean sheet of the week and five points off the top seven with six games remaining - a gap which Johnson is confident can be breached in the coming weeks.

"I believe we will get in the play offs, absolutely I believe that," said Johnson. "The lads today feel that is two points dropped because the play offs are still the aim. Normally if there was nothing to play for and we were a mid table team drawing 0-0 with a top of the table team we'd be quite happy but our performance levels show we are absolutely striving for the play offs.

"If Telford and Altrincham win their games there's not a lot we can do but we're breathing down their necks and they have to play each other. We've got numerous players in the dressing room with experience of chasing and being chased and you get some funny results this time of year. You see teams who have been in the top three all season suddenly looking over their shoulder and it does funny things to you and we are in a position where no one will be talking about us but everyone knows how good we are and no one will want to play us.

"We have that belief that we will get there but that will only happen if we win our games and we need to go and win our next six."

A tense opening saw both sides jostling for supremacy with Akwasi Asante and Anthony Dudley getting little change from Chorley's Andy Teague and Courtney Meppen-Walter.

Elliot Newby forced the first save from Grant Shenton who got down easily to keep out the former Telford striker's short and it was not until just before the 20 minute mark that Chester had their first opportunity. Anyone who caught a glimpse of the Blues' free kick routine in midweek against Darlington should have known what to expect, but clearly the Chorley defence weren't watching as Akwasi was played in down the left before his cross shot was parried and Craig Mahon's follow up was blocked.

The chance teased the game into life with Chester enjoying their best period of the match with Roberts attempting a 25 yarder and Mahon embarking on an excellent run before his long range effort fizzed just wide as half time beckoned.

With both sides desperate for the three points, the nerves seemed to be jangling throughout much of the second half as Chorley improved and the visitors almost took the lead when the dangerous Marcus Carver ran clear of the Blues defence and beat the onrushing Shenton to the ball only to stab his shot wide. Moments later it was Carver again causing the palpitations as he closed down a Shenton clearance which deflected just wide of the post.

From then on it was Chester who enjoyed the majority of possession, but faced with one of the division's strongest defensive units they were unable to convert dominance into any chances of real note. A Dudley snap shot was spilled by Matt Urwin, Simon Grand headed a Roberts free kick over the bar and Ben McKenna enjoyed some good moments on the ball after coming on for Mahon, but that was it as both sides failed to produce a goal between them for the second time this season.

"It was a decent performance," added Johnson."I felt we did enough to win the game and we have had one or two other half chances. It feels to us like two points dropped as opposed to a point gained. But they are a good side and are always going to be a benchmark to what we need to be.

"We've matched them over two games and in parts we've been the better team. We know we can hit those standards but we also know we have to do that every week if we want to be in the top two or three and we haven't done that enough.

"We've played the top four teams in the league and not been beaten by any of them yet. I sound like a broken record but had we not had momentum killed for various things we would have been right amongst it. That's the disappointing thing for us."