An injury-time leveller from Gary Roberts earned battling Chester a deserved 1-1 draw with Altrincham at the Deva on Tuesday evening.

Danny Livesey's unfortunate own goal in the first half looked to have condemned the Blues to their first defeat of the season, before Roberts' blistering half-volley salvaged a point.

Chester found points hard to come by against Altrincham last term, losing home and away to their National League North rivals last term, and so it proved again as they were forced to dig deep against the resilient visitors.

Managerial duo Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley kept faith with the starting eleven who emerged with a creditable point from their opening day clash at Boston United.

Prior to kick-off, Robins manager Phil Parkinson had played down his side's chances this season and cited Chester's adoption of the hybrid training model as a sign of intent from the Blues this season.

But there was no discernible gulf in class between the north west rivals in a tightly-contested match in front of a healthy 2,000-plus crowd at The Deva.

Chester were physical from the outset, with striker George Waring booked inside the first minute for an over-zealous challenge on Alty skipper Connor Hampson.

Danny Elliott had the hosts' first sight of goal, but fired straight at Alty stopper Steen Drench from the edge of the box.

The Blues continued to push forward and probe the visiting defence, but fell behind against the run of play on 11 minutes.

John Johnston broke quickly down the right flank before whipping a menacing low ball into the Blues' six-yard box which Livesey inadvertently steered beyond Russ Griffiths and into his own net.

A second own goal in just three days felt harsh on the Blues, who had dominated possession and territory up to that point.

With their tails up, Alty continued to threaten down the right hand side before Gary Roberts eased the pressure on the home goal with a timely block from Andy White's attempted piledriver from 30 yards.

The blustery conditions hampered the passing game of both sides, but Chester found some joy down the left flank with Joel Taylor and Danny Elliott combining well.

And it was Elliott's flighted delivery that found Anthony Dudley 10 yards out but his first-time effort drifted wide of the upright.

Strong tackling was in evidence from both sides, with Simon Grand's late slide in on Max Harrop earning him a 36th minute booking.

The visitors' back line continued to hold firm, though, with too many of the hosts' first half attacks breaking down due to misplaced passes.

Brad Jackson showed his pace when he broke from deep in his own half and ran the length of the pitch to force a corner.

Taylor's subsequent delivery was poor, however and easily dealt with by the visitors' towering centre halves.

The wind dropped slightly after the break with Chester showing more urgency in their pursuit of an equaliser, with Jackson involved in their most promising attacks.

First the 22-year-old found space out wide before whipping in a fine ball for Elliott, who was adjudged to have handled as he brought the ball under control.

Some neat interplay with Dudley inside the box then saw Jackson force a smart reaction save out of Drench with a close range effort.

Dudley was involved again on 67 minutes when his shot flew a foot over the bar after a smart ball to his feet from Simon Grand.

The pressure on the Altrincham box continued with Roberts' powerful effort blocked before Dudley saw the ball cleared off his boot as he prepared to shoot n the follow-up.

The visitors responded with a succession of dangerous corners, which the Blues back line did well to snuff out.

Frustrations grew on the pitch and in the stands as the hosts huffed and puffed but were unable to find the incisive pass to break Alty's resolve.

With 10 minutes left, Kevin Roberts fired over at the back post from a lofted ball before Waring failed to connect with a header from Craig Mahon's cross into the danger zone.

Chester looked devoid of ideas heading into injury-time until a clearance from a long throw into the Alty box fell to the feet of Roberts, whose vicious half volley took a deflection before flying beyond Drench to the delight of the rapturous home fans.