Chester underlined their National League Two North title credentials as a superb 26-20 comeback victory at Hare Lane knocked rivals Hull Ionians off top spot.

The hosts exacted revenge for an agonizing 25-24 defeat in the reverse fixture with a dominant second half display.

Despite a strong start to the contest from the home side, it was Hull who took the lead when some neat handling and strong running freed Steve Slingsby to cross for the opening try, which Lewis Minikin converted.

Winger Craig Ross powered over in the left hand corner as Chester hit back but the visitors rallied once more and extended their lead on 25 minutes when Minikin gathered his own deft chip over the Chester defence to cross the whitewash.

He then kicked the conversion and two subsequent penalties as Ionians opened up a commanding 20-5 lead.

But the deficit was reduced just before the interval as Chester forced the ball over the line at a driving maul, with Robbins converting to make it 20-12.

The hosts emerged for the second half with renewed purpose and moved to within a point of Hull when club-captain Colin Campbell carried the ball at another driving maul and Robbins converted.

Now dominant in all areas of the field, the host pushed hard for the lead and were rewarded with five left when winger A.J King showed his finishing quality as he drove at the line and powered through a challenge to dot down and earn his side a bonus point.

Robbins’ successful kick capped a fine all-round display as Chester moved into second place and within a point of new leaders Fylde.

Delighted head coach Jan Van Deventer said: “I thought it was a superb performance.

“Everyone from one to 20 in the squad were on their game and contributed towards a big victory.

“We scored our second try at a vital time I thought and that gave us the momentum to take into the second half.”