Chester saw their league winning run come to an end in the North East despite a spirited second half fightback at Darlington.
The hosts took their chances in the first 45, as an Joel Taylor own goal had the Blues on the back foot, before the lead was added to courtesy of Cameron Salkeld and Jonny Ngandu.
Chester got back into it in the second half through Tom Peers and George Glendon, but it was a case of too little too late at Blackwell Meadows.
Manager Calum McIntyre made one change from the FA Cup draw with York – Peers returned after being cup tied last weekend – in place of Reece Daly. New signing Christian Norton was named amongst the substitutes.
Chester made a fast start and after Darlington’s Kallum Griffiths was booked for a foul on Adam Thomas, skipper George Glendon saw the resultant free kick come back off the inside of the post and away.
But Darlington broke Chester’s five-game clean sheet streak on 18 minutes, and it was a self-inflicted one as Ben Hedley’s inswinging cross saw Taylor loop a header over Stanway and into his own net.
The game was an even affair as the half progressed, before Glendon saw appeals for a penalty waved away by Referee Alex Sawden after going to ground in the area, before a four minute spell saw the hosts take the game away from the Seals.
First, Salkeld was able to drive through the middle of the pitch and into the box before firing into the far corner of the net on 39 minutes – before Jarrett Rivers played a delightful reverse pass in behind for Ngandu to convert the third under Stanway.
Chester got themselves a goal back on 57 minutes after patient play. The move ended with Glendon setting it for Weeks, and his shot deflected into the goal via Peers.
And they were right back in the encounter on 70 minutes courtesy of the skipper.
Kieran Coates’ cross initially was headed against the post by Roberts, before Glendon tucked home at the end of a scramble for his third in four games and make it game on.
Chester had Darlington penned back in their own half for the remainder of the game, but the Quakers nearly made it safe on the counter when they dispossessed Matty Williams, but Hatfield fired wide from Jacob Hazel’s pass.
The Blues continued to press on in search of a memorable leveller, but Coates’ cross just couldn’t quite be turned home by the run of Peers.
Ten minutes of stoppage time came and went and Josh Gowling’s side held firm for an important win.
Chester: Stanway, Sparrow, Edwards, Williams (Burke 86), Taylor (Coates 46), Roberts, Weeks, Whitehouse, Glendon, Peers, Thomas (Caton 58).
Subs Not Used: Norton, Murray.
Scorers: Taylor (OG) 18, Salkeld 39, Ngandu 43; Peers 57, Glendon 70.