Chester warmed up for their pivotal promotion play-off showdown with a hard-fought 22-21 victory at Preston Grasshoppers in their final National League Two North game of the season.

Head coach Jan Van Deventer had urged his side to continue their positive momentum ahead of next weekend’s clash with Canterbury and his side delivered with another spirited display.

Played-out in poor weather that alternated between light and heavy rain in windswept Lancashire, the conditions restricted the kicking ability of both sides.

The visitors were 12-0 up by half-time through tries from Alick Croft and Mike Craven.

An early second half penalty for Preston brought the hosts to within nine points, but Chester responded quickly when another clinically-effective driving maul allowing Guy Ford cross the whitewash to make it 17-3.

Sustained Hoppers pressure was then rewarded as two tries Luke Proctor and Matt Lamprey, the former’s converted by Tom Davidson to reduce Chester’s lead to two points.

The home side then edged ahead late on as two successful penalties from Davidson put them 21-17 up.

But Chester rallied well in the closing stages, with a penalty kicked into touch fora five-metre line-out to put Hoppers under pressure.

And after working through the phases, Chester worked the ball out to Josh Woods who drove over to score the winning try.

The resulting conversion sailed wide of the uprights but, with the clock now dead, the visitors emerged with the narrowest of victories.

Van Deventer said: “It was important to sign off with a win ahead of a massive game next weekend, but I was disappointed by Preston’s approach to the game. "From the start I felt like they’d adopted quite a dirty approach and that the referee and officials were never fully in control of the game.

“Even though it was late in the game after Preston had got ahead, I’m pleased that we showed enough quality when it mattered to claw it back and win the game.”

“That’s testament to the desire and calibre of players that we have in our squad now and their willingness to come off the bench and make a positive difference when called upon.”