CHESTER advanced in the FA Trophy with a 2-1 victory in their replayed tie with Hednesford Town.

First-half goals from Brad Jackson and Akwasi Asante proved enough to set up a second round clash with Royston Town next month.

Frustrated for long spells in Saturday’s goalless draw in Staffordshire, the Blues showed their quality against their Southern Premier Central League opponents.

The opener arrived on 16 minutes when Joel Taylor cut the ball back for Asante, whose shot deflected into the air and Jackson was on hand to fire the loose ball into the net.

Chester doubled their lead on 34 minutes when Asante nodded home from Danny Elliott’s deep cross from the right.

Hednesford did threaten before the break with Blues stopper Russ Griffiths producing a smart save to thwart Reece King’s header.

The visitors halved the deficit five minutes into the second half when Danny Glover volleyed home from 15 yards out.

James Hurst was unfortunate not to bag a leveller on 67 minutes when his well-struck volley from 25 yards crashed against the post.

But there was to be no comeback from the Pitmen as Chester held firm to close out victory.

Anthony Johnson is targeting an unbeaten run over Christmas to rejuvenate Chester’s promotion bid.

The hectic festive period sees the Blues host Telford United on Saturday, with three National League North fixtures following in quick succession.

Boxing Day and New Year’s Day matches against Southport fall either side of a home clash with Curzon Ashton on December 28.

Chester currently sit third in the league table and 10 points adrift of leaders King’s Lynn Town and seven behind second-placed York City.

But, as an ardent fan of the congested schedule at this time of year, Johnson is relishing the chance to claw back the deficit.

“It’s my favourite time of the season, I love it,” said the Blues boss.

“The games come thick and fast and there are lots of points up for grabs in such a short space of time.

“Most of the results are pretty tight around this time of year and you look ahead at other teams’ fixtures as well as your own.

“You’ve got King’s Lynn playing an in-form Boston United side twice and then Spennymoor who are going well.

“There could be points dropped in those type of games and we have to try to ensure we capitalise.”

Southport sit level on points with Chester in the table and arguably pose the greatest threat to the Blues pulling level with the division’s pacesetters.

But Johnson insists it is vital his side take something from each of their next four games.

He added: “As managers, Bern (Morley) and me always try to block things off and set ourselves points targets throughout the season.

“Obviously we head into every match with the mentality and belief that we can beat any team in this league.

“But looking at our run over Christmas, I think eight points should be the bare minimum we need from those games.

“That would mean we’d take something from every match and go unbeaten if we can.”