Rain and a rugby match the night before had put a question mark over this game going ahead.
Rovers were desperate for it to be played if only to use up one-match suspensions for key midfielders Stuart Campbell and Sammy Igoe ahead of next Saturday's FA Cup tie at Derby.
Chester took a long time to get their game anywhere near flowing and Rovers might have taken an early lead when Andy Sandell made the first of several fine runs down the left.
When his cross came over, Chester's David Artell missed his jump and a scoring window opened briefly for Craig Disley. But, nursing a rib injury, his run was restrained and Chester cleared.
The visitors had a chance when Lewis Haldane gave away a free-kick just outside the box. Roberto Martinez swung the kick high towards the far post but Phillips was quickly off his line to grab the ball long before any Chester player moved.
Sandell was making light of the heavy going on his flank and another good cross should have been tucked away by Richard Walker.
The winger set up an even better chance for Haldane, who got past Laurence Wilson but saw his shot fly off John Danby's legs for a corner.
The danger was not over for Chester. From the corner a Walker volley was thrust on to the bar by Danby while Sandell's follow-up blast went past his left-hand post.
Some forthright words from manager Mark Wright saw Chester come out much sharper after the break and Gregg Blundell might have put Chester ahead when he broke past centre-back Steve Elliott.