IF Worcester City didn’t know what it takes to be a major contender in Blue Square Bet North, they do now.

In their last two matches, Carl Heeley’s team have visited two of the sides who are vying for automatic promotion as champions.

Against Guiseley, who sit second in the table, they were out-played for 45 minutes before rallying and securing a remarkable 3-3 draw, albeit against nine men.

On Saturday they came up against league leaders Chester and, despite playing their part in a thrilling encounter, were given a lesson in clinical finishing.

These are not necessarily criticisms of the men from St George’s Lane, just the reality of life in the play-off zone.

City are a good side, and have produced some excellent football at times, but they still have a way to go to bridge the gap between themselves and the likes of Chester and Guiseley.

Of course, the fact that Worcester can even be mentioned in the same breath as these teams is testament to how far they have come in the past few seasons.

Heeley has turned them from a mid-table outfit into one that has genuine aspirations of winning promotion.

It was a point the manager was quick to make in his post-match interviews, also highlighting the vast void in wealth between the teams.

More than two-and-a-half thousand fans were inside the Deva Stadium at the weekend, well over double what City are used to and far in excess of the average away trip at this level.

Chester had quality in the final third that City didn’t, and it showed.

Although the Blues’ first and last goals were soft from a Worcester perspective — Antoni Sarcevic’s rebound off Glyn Thompson’s save and a Matty McGinn penalty — the second and third were a cut above the usual Blue Square Bet North fare.

On each occasion, the delivery from the right wing was perfection and expertly finished by the heads of Craig Curran and sub Iain Howard.

However, City’s fighting spirit, shown against Guiseley, was evident again as they dug deep after going a goal down and equalised early in the second period through Greg Mills’ sweetly-struck effort from the edge of the area.

But three goals in 12 minutes put the game beyond them and by the time Alex Meechan had been introduced there was little chance of salvaging the situation.

Yet City kept going and Mike Symons, who again ploughed a lone furrow for the majority of the match in a 4-5-1 system, pulled one back via a deflection.

Chester, though, were deserved winners and City know the level they need to reach.