Chester got back to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Alfreton Town on a rain-soaked wintry afternoon at the Deva.

Goals in each half from centre-back Danny Livesey and a late Danny Elliott strike earned the points in an attritional National League North contest.

The Blues' promotion tilt had taken a hit in recent weeks after a five-game winless run saw them fall to third in the table and eight points behind leaders York City.

Billy Heath's Alfreton side entered the contest in similarly stuttering form after defeats in four of their last five league outings.

There were two changes from the Chester team who earned a creditable draw at Brackley Town last weekend, with Matty Hughes restored to their attack and Matty Waters pushed into an advanced role on the left in place of Anthony Dudley.

The action got underway following an impeccably observed minute's silence from the home and travelling support for the weekend's Remembrance Sunday commemorations.

In a scrappy and disjointed start to the game, Nyle Blake's long throw into the Chester box reached Alfreton forward Amari Morgan-Smith whose first-time shot was blazed high over the Harry McNally terrace.

Joint-manager Anthony Johnson had warned his Chester players to expect a physical and combative approach from the visitors, and so it proved as the Reds launched into some agricultural tackles that left both Simon Grand and Waters left crumpled on the ground.

The first decent opening fell to the visitors when Shane Killock's lofted cross to the far post reached midfielder Daniel East who headed just wide of the target.

A couple of corners were all Chester could muster in reply, with a paucity of goalmouth action in a dire opening half hour.

Alfreton had looked functional but effective as they continually pumped the ball long into the Chester box and played the percentages.

But it was Chester who made the breakthrough from a set-piece on 36 minutes when Waters' free-kick into the box was headed down by George Waring and Livesey poked home from close range.

It should have been 2-0 just four minutes later when Brad Jackson's cross from the right flicked off Waters' shoulder and reached Waring, who lacked composure and blazed over with a first-time attempt.

As the interval approached, Morgan-Smith showed good strength as he advanced on the Chester box but went down under a challenge from Gary Roberts, who was booked in the aftermath. Alfreton attacker Bobby Johnson stepped up fired just over from the resultant free-kick in the last action of a dismal half.

The hosts emerged with renewed purpose after the restart and doubling their lead on 47 minutes.

Gary Roberts' high ball into the box was nodded down by Grand to fellow centre-back Livesey whose low drive from 10 yards flashed past Alfreton stopper Charlie Andrew.

The second goal settled the home side, who looked more composed in possession and carried more threat from wide positions.

Alfreton toiled and struggled to make any headway into Blues territory, with Morgan-Smith booked on the hour mark for catching Livesey with a trailing arm.

In truth, neither side could conjure a creative spark as the incessant rain made the Deva playing surface increasingly greasy.

A double substitution on 75 minutes saw Elliott and Dudley replace Waters and Hughes to freshen up the hosts' attack.

The third goal arrived in bizarre fashion on 88 minutes when Joel Taylor's inswinging corner kick curled into the far corner of the net but was ruled out for a push inside the box.

The resultant free-kick was skewed straight to Elliott whose strike flew past Andrew and into the bottom corner.

A laboured victory maybe, but that will have been of little consequence to Blues bosses Johnson and Bernard Morley, whose side are now five points off the summit.