Chester underlined their National League Division Two North title credentials with a thrilling 31-27 victory over Sheffield Tigers at Hare Lane.

A breathless encounter saw Chester pegged back from a 19-0 lead in the contest, before Tom Foden’s late match-winning try.

The hosts’ fine start saw Shay Owen cross for the opening score, before Alick Croft touched down following a Chester maul, with James Robbins converting to open up a 12-0 lead.

That advantage was stretched further on the half hour mark when Kyle Joseph’s powerful run culminated in an offload to Tom Holloway, whose pass allowed George Baxter to cross for a try converted by Robbins.

But a yellow card for Robbins heralded a change in momentum soon afterwards as the Lions imposed themselves on proceedings.

Tries from Henri Packard and Lewis Bloor reduced arrears before a successful penalty cut Chester’s lead to 19-17 at the break.

The Tigers emerged for the second half with renewed purpose and went ahead on 44 minutes with a further penalty.

Chester responded well and restored their lead when Croft ran in his second try of the game, with Robbins’ conversion making it 26-20.

The spirited Tigers rallied once more, with Robbie Davidson’s break from deep setting up a third try for the visitors when Ryan Holmes dotted down for a converted score.

But Chester dug deep and, with their final attack of the game, set up Ben Foden who crossed in the corner in the final minute to snatch the points.

Head coach Jan Van Deventer said: “It was a superb game for the neutral, but less so for me as a coach.

“I’m delighted with how strongly we ended the game and the character we showed to win it at the death.

“But we made some really costly errors in the game and we should never really have allowed them back into it after being so far ahead.

“Sheffield ensured it was a real battle though and came here to take a big scalp in this division, so I’m happy we’ve come out of it with the points.”