TORQUAY United headed to Chester for our pre-Christmas clash on a grey and damp afternoon on the England-Wales border.
In difficult conditions, it took the home side just 15 seconds to take the lead when a ball in from the right found Hattersley who set up Hannah to curl home beyond Dan Lavercombe.
Moments later it was almost two when the lively Hannah rattled the post as Simon Heslop was on hand to clear the loose ball.
United’s first chance came just before the quarter-hour mark when Andre Wright showed good skill out wide on the right before setting up Alex Fisher whose strike went just over the crossbar.
As we looked to get into our stride, Shepherd Murombedzi linked up with Wright to force a corner, which was cleared by the home side.
A long ball forward from Chester found its way to Hunt from Hattersley and he hit a powerful effort from distance that flew over.
There was a great challenge from Nathan Smith to deny Hannah as he looked to break through and it allowed Lavercombe to gather.
The next attack for the home side saw Higgins’ strike take a deflection off Nicholson for a corner, which ultimately came to nothing.
At the other end, a chance opened up for Aman Verma but the home ‘keeper was alert to clear the danger.
A positive move from United saw Wright do well out wide as he linked up with Nicholson and as the ball came in, it found Verma who was denied by a smart save from Worsnop in the home goal.
With less than ten minutes to go until the break, a strike from Higgins took a wicked deflection which saw the ball beat Lavercombe and double the advantage.
It was cruel luck on United, but worse was to follow as shortly afterwards as Hannah’s free-kick found the net to make it 3-0 with five minutes to go until the interval.
As half-time approached, Hannah found himself in a good position but his header was dragged wide of the target.
In stoppage time at the end of the opening period, a powerful strike from distance by Nicholson was well tipped over by Worsnop.
It wasn’t long before the half-time whistle sounded as we went in three goals behind.
The early action of the second half saw Hannah put the ball in the net only for the offside flag to rule it out.
With Josh Carmichael on for his first taste of the action since September in place of Murombedzi, his teasing cross was met with a glancing header from Fisher that crept inches wide.
An opportunist effort from Hannah as he saw Lavercombe stray off his line, but whilst the attempt was on target, the United ‘keeper was able to gather.
Just past the hour-mark and a good ball in from Hunt was met by the head of Lloyd but his effort hits the side-netting.
On 65 minutes, Ben Gerring replaced Fisher and went up front.
There was a lifeline for United with 68 minutes on the clock as a cross-come-shot from Wright sailed beyond Worsnop and into the net but within five minutes, Hannah had completed his hat-trick with a neat finish from a Hunt cross to make it 4-1.
With just over ten minutes to go, Sam Chaney came on for Nicholson before a header from Gerring, who was being used up front, went wide of the target.
A penalty for the home side saw Rooney’s spot-kick saved well by Lavercombe as the rebound was struck against the woodwork before being cleared.
In the final minute Higgins’ ball in was headed against the post by Hattersley as United survived, whilst at the other end, Wright went close but it ended in a 4-1 reverse.