Chester recorded back-to-back pre-season wins within the space of five days with an entertaining 5-3 success at Runcorn Linnets.

First-half goals from Steve Howson and John Pritchard (pen) gave the Blues a 2-1 half-time lead before a former Football League trialist bagged a second-half brace and an own goal sealed victory late on, with Freddie Potter, a trialist and Paul Shanley replying for the newly-promoted Evo-Stik West outfit.

Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley's side gave away far too many chances and were culpable of some sloppy defensive moments, but their ability to create chances and - crucially - finish them off was the deciding factor at the Millbank Stadium.

Matty Hughes thought he’d given Chester a second minute lead as he slid in to finish off Pritchard’s low cross but was adjudged to be in an offside position.

Nathan Brown’s left-wing cross nearly caught former Blues keeper Dylan Forth off-guard but he clawed the ball clear.

Brown’s darting run helped win a 10th minute corner which the Blues converted to take an early lead. Pritchard floated a corner across and Howson powered home a header from 12 yards out.

There was a bizarre passage of play three minutes later as Chester’s defence stopped playing, expecting a foul to be given, and Grant Shenton had to produce a triple save all on his own to avoid Potter levelling up.

The striker made amends just six minutes later. Breaking the Blues’ high offside trap, Potter bore down on Shenton’s goal and fired into the top corner from an acute angle.

One of Runcorn’s trio of starting trialists fluffed his lines on 26 minutes when losing his footing with the goal gaping after a pull-back from the impressive Potter.

Chester re-took the lead on the 40-minute mark and once again it was Pritchard who netted from the penalty spot, as he had done in the midweek win at Ramsbottom.

Chester’s centre-forward trialist - who the Blues are keen to sign this week - was barged into the penalty area giving the referee little option but to point to the spot. Pritchard confidently tucked the spot kick into the bottom corner, sending Forth the wrong way.

The Blues made an encouraging start to the second period, with Hughes’ early effort charged down by centre-half James Moore.

Johnson and Morley’s men went 3-1 up after 53 minutes through their on-trial striker. Brown did superbly well to loft a tremendous ball into the trialists path, and the former Football League striker did the rest, nodding past the goalkeeper and knocking the ball into an empty net.

Linnets replied almost instantly to reduce the deficit to a single goal. Scott Burton’s error in midfield allowed Trialist C to race through on goal ad calmly slot past Shenton from 12 yards.

The trialist went close on the hour mark, rattling the upright after Pritchard had swung in a delightful cross.

Just two minutes later and the Blues were gift-wrapped a fourth goal. Runcorn’s fifth trialist, who had only been on a matter of minutes, comically sliced an attempted clearance into his own net.

Dan Mooney was introduced and swung a terrific ball in for the trialist striker, but his chest control took it away from goal.

Chester’s defensive frailties were exposed once more as Linnets pulled another goal back on 78 minutes, Shanley converting a left-wing cross from just six yards out.

Just three minutes later and Chester restored their two-goal advantage, Mooney’s superb left-footed ball converted at the back post by the Football League trialist for his second of the day.

Runcorn Linnets: Forth, Trialist A, Trialist B, Moore, O'Brien, Simpson, Holt, Hamid, Potter, Shanley, Trialist C; Subs: Holmes, Jones, Trialist D, Trialist E, Trialist F, Nolan (all came on).

Chester line-up: Shenton (Trialist C 80), Smalley (Trialist B 83), Moran (Hellawell 83), Howson (Thomson 83), Pritchard, Mahon (Murray 65), Stopforth (Noble 73), Burton (Downes 83), Hughes (Marsh-Hughes 73), Brown (Mooney 65), Trialist A.

Runcorn MOTM: Freddie Potter – Acquitted himself very well and took his chance when it arrived.

Chester MOTM: John Pritchard – The left-back looks an excellent find and took his penalty in composed fashion.