A last-minute winner from Brackley's Matt Lowe condemned Chester to an agonising 3-2 defeat at home to Brackley Town.

As they did in their thrilling midweek victory against King's Lynn Town, the Blues twice came from behind in the contest but were pegged back at the death on this occasion.

An icy wind tore through the Deva Stadium in the build-up to kick-off and failed to relent in the 90 minutes that ensued.

To say the conditions hampered play would be an understatement as any heavy touch or overhit pass was amplified in a disjointed opening 45 minutes.

Lowe had the first meaningful effort on goal on eight minutes, with a low curling effort from the edge of the box which Chester keeper Russ Griffiths got down well to save.

The visitors made the most of having the wind to their backs and penned Chester in for the early stages, though the hosts looked comfortable enough and held their defensive shape well.

A rare foray forward from the Blues saw Anthony Dudley show a deft touch to skip beyond his marker and drive down the touchline before his smart low cross narrowly eluded the on-running Akwasi Asante.

Kevin Wilkin's Town side went ahead on 35 minutes when a short corner was played to Carl Baker who in turn found Lowe whose shot was parried by Griffiths only for Holman to lift the ball over the Blues stopper for Ndlovu to bundle the ball home from close range.

Two Chester substitutions followed in quick succession with injured duo Joel Taylor and Asante making way for Matty Waters and Elton Ngwatala respectively.

Showing more fluency in their attacking play, Brackley tested Griffiths again when Baker easily got beyond Scott Burton in central midfield and advanced towards goal before his rising drive was comfortably gathered by the Blues stopper.

Just before the interval there were collective groans among the Chester faithful as Ngwatala reached the attacking third but his attempted through-ball trickled tamely through to Brackley keeper Danny Lewis.

A positive start to the second half saw full-back Kev Roberts storm forward from the restart and smash a 30 yard effort just wide.

Brackley went close soon after when Shane Byrne received the ball at a corner and his lateral run across the 18 yard line culminated in a shot that flew narrowly past the post.

Minutes later, Brad Jackson got to the byline and clipped a fine lofted ball to John Johnstone at the far post, but the former Altrincham man's first-time volley was skewed wide.

Looking to break out of defence, Waters was left fuming when he was accidentally stopped in his tracks by Scott Burton, who then played in the on-running Jackson whose angled right-footed strike flashed beyond the post.

The leveller arrived on the hour mark when Simon Grand's knock down from George Glendon's deep corner was prodded home by James Jones.

Involved in a collision in the build-up to the goal, Brackley defender Glenn Walker then left the field on a stretcher following a lengthy stoppage.

Thierry Audel came on in his place and made a swift impact on proceedings.

After Town had withstood sustained pressure from another Glendon corner, in which Grand's shot was blocked before Jackson's volley deflected into the arms of Lewis, they were back in front.

Baker's corner from the left was swung in and Audel found space to send a glancing header beyond Griffiths.

Undeterred, Chester hit back through sub Danny Livesey, who had been brought in place of Burton and deployed up front by bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley.

The move paid dividends when the veteran centre back latched onto a long punt upfield and sent a looping header over Brackley stopper Lewis to make it 2-2 on 85 minutes.

Now in the ascendancy, the Blues looked set to replicate their midweek heroics, but this time there was a sting in the tail.

Brackley took the spoils when Waters failed in his attempt to usher the ball out of play on the byline and Lowe nicked possession before slotting beyond Griffiths who failed to narrow the angle sufficiently.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for the hosts, whose title hopes were dealt a heavy setback by this last-gasp defeat.