A sponge can only soak up so much water, a defence only so much pressure.

City's previously watertight rearguard finally cracked against Chester after more than 400 minutes of meanness.

It took an own goal but there was no mistaking the quality of Chester's second strike that followed just 60 seconds later and for all the confidence renewed after witnessing City embark on a ten match unbeaten run one sensed it had been coming.

Fingers in dams can only hold back the floods for so long.

After Saturday's scoreless draw with Brighton, City boss Terry Dolan warned the ball had to stick up front to relieve the pressure on his overworked defence.

Unfortunately, his message went unheeded as once again the York central defensive trinity of Chris Fairclough, Peter Swan and Mark Bower, backed by the able Alan Fettis, carried City to within touching distance of at least a point only for the bow to break.

The nagging disappointment in defeat was made greater because the hard work had been done.

The home fires had been largely quelled and it was the Minstermen who looked more likely to score when Chester finally forced a breakthrough.

As the heavens opened just prior to kick-off there was a fear we were about to start from where we left off on a soaking, scoreless Saturday.

Fortunately, there were more chances in the opening 15 minutes than all of Saturday's 90.

Fettis was forced to show his international class as early as the fifth minute with an acrobatic flip to tip Carl Heggs' shot on the turn over the bar.

Two minutes later and City could have scored in what would prove to be their best chance of the game.

Steve Agnew picked up a loose ball in midfield and carefully floated a pass in behind the Chester defence.

John Williams burst clear before firing in a stiff shot from wide of the goal that 'keeper Wayne Brown could only parry.

Chances were coming thick and fast.

A slip by the usually unflappable Mark Bower allowed Trinidad and Tobago international striker Angus Eve to advance into acres of space.

His deep cross found Carl Heggs with pin-point accuracy but the striker with the demeanour of Steve Claridge - and just for added authenticity, rolled downed socks too - could only head the ball softly into the arms of a grateful Fettis.

City's season may be over in terms of nothing but pride left to play for but judging by Terry Dolan's prowlings on the touchline there is to be no let up.

Much of Dolan's wrath seemed directed forwards where the ball simply refused to hang around. No sooner had lines been cleared than back came the danger.

Right wing back Neil Fisher seized on Eve's cheeky back heel to fire in a dangerous low, bouncing cross that would have required only the faintest of touches.

Fortunately for City, Fettis was alert to make an important clutch.

Heggs charged down a Fairclough clearance and played a neat one-two with Luke Beckett before drifting inside and unleashing a low drive that just missed the City upright.

City's advances were few and far between - Williams had a good case for a penalty turned away by referee Graham Laws while Barry Conlon was deemed to have impeded Chester's last line of defence, Gary Hobson, when through on goal.

Still, the Minstermen had the final word as half-time approached.

Agnew's deep cross found Peter Hawkins arriving late at the far post. The Wimbledon youngster climbed head and shoulders above Neil Fisher but could not direct his header goalwards.

York, their forward switch now turned to on, had the first, second and third words at the start of the second half via the boot of Barry Conlon.

Three times City's top scorer tried his luck from long range. All finished in the stands but it augured well.

An aggressive Conlon managed to win the ball from the dallying Hobson with a good old fashioned shoulder charge.

The Irishman's centre bounced in front of a static Matt Woods before then bouncing goalwards only for Brown to scurry across and claw the ball around the post.

But just as City threatened so Chester struck, and in the cruellest of circumstances.

Heggs broke free of the shackles imposed by Swan to latch on to Andy Porter's through-ball and close in on goal.

Fettis dived low to his right to block but could do little as the ball hit a retreating Mark Bower and rolled into the City net.

Bower was crestfallen but worse was to follow as within seconds Chester doubled their advantage.

Heggs outpaced Fairclough down the left before squaring the ball back to a waiting Beckett on the penalty spot, who wasted no time in slamming the ball into the roof of the net.

With the points decided City still managed some late scrambles in the Chester area as Mark Sertori came off the bench and Swan was pushed up front in pursuit of a goal.

But in truth, goalkeeper Brown was never really troubled and the Chester fans celebrated as if their Football League status was certain.

It was their party and York were welcome guests.

York City: Alan Fettis 8, Darren Edmondson 6 (Marc Thompson 62mins, 6), Peter Swan 7, Mark Bower 7, Chris Fairclough 7, Peter Hawkins 7, Steve Agnew 7 (Mark Sertori 71mins), Scott Jordan 6, Paul Talbot 6 (Craig Skinner 46mins, 6), Barry Conlon 6, John Williams 6
Subs not used: Russ Howarth, James Turley
Goals: None
Bookings: None
Sent-off: None
York City Statistics: Half Time: 0 Corners: 4 Shots on Target: 2 Fouls Cmmitted: 11
Evening Press Unique Pub Man of the match
Alan Fettis: Signed-off before linking up with Northern Ireland with an assured display. Safe handling and a number of fine saves but could do little about Chester's goals.

CHESTER: Wayne Brown, Matt Woods, Stuart Hicks, Gary Hobson, Neil Fisher, Tony Hemmings (Nick Richardson 90mins), Andy Porter, Paul Carden, Angus Eve (Matt Doughty 61mins), Luke Beckett, Carl Heggs
Subs not used: Steve Finney, Martyn Lancaster, Darren Wright
Goals: None
Bookings: None
Sendings off: None
Chester Statistics: Half Time: 0 Corners: 4 Shots on Target: 4 Fouls Committed: 7

Attendance: 3,503
Referee: Graham Laws (Whitley Bay)