HEBBURN Town slumped to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Chester-le-Street to keep their promotion hopes in the balance.
A weakened home side produced a poor performance as they went down to only their second defeat in 11 games, which opened the door for Gillford Park to catch them in the race for a top-three finish.
Hebburn almost opened the scoring early on, but their former striker Scott McDonald kicked a Jeff Forsyth effort off the line, and after that it was all Chester.
They went ahead on 22 minutes when Luke Wilson was the first to react after Dan Regan saved Brett Thompson’s shot, and five minutes later the same player was at it again, converting the rebound after Thompson’s effort came back off the post.
And just before the break the Cestrians went 3-0 ahead through substitute Kevin Hundrod.
Hebburn pulled a goal back after the break through John Toomey’s header, but Chester were always in control and sealed the game thanks to Luke Proctor’s stunning curler.
Hebburn were boosted by rivals Morpeth also losing, but they must get three points at home to leaders Team Northumbria tomorrow.