Chester advanced in the Emirates FA Cup courtesy of a late winner from James Hardy.
The Blues’ number seven struck just five minutes from time to set up a Third Qualifying Round tie at Marske United on Saturday 2nd October.
Bern and Jonno had made three enforced changes from Saturday’s goalless draw. Kevin Roberts, Darren Stephenson and Paddy Lacey all missed out with Jamie Morgan, Luke Clark and George Glendon coming in.
The opening 45 was a quiet affair, much like the tie over the previous weekend, with both sides cancelling each other out. Half chances came and went for Will Hatfield – who looped an effort over the bar from the edge – while Josh Askew’s dangerous cross was turned behind by a Darlington defender.
Second half saw the game spring to life, and the visitors had a chance seconds after the restart. Matty Williams did well to block an initial attempt from Luke Charman before Joe Wheatley lashed the rebound wide.
Louis Gray made some big second half stops from range, firstly doing well to push away Kallum Griffiths’ free kick.
Up the other end, Hardy found space on the edge but shot off target, before George Glendon’s free kick into the box fell kindly for Anthony Dudley inside the six yard box – however Tommy Taylor was out quick to foil him.
Taylor was at it again a few minutes later, making a smart save with his legs to deny Hardy in the area.
The game was end-to-end with both sides looking to win the tie in the 90. Sub John Johnston fired a loose ball over the crossbar, while Gray stopped Hatfield from 20 yards before Josh Askew hooked Jake Cooper’s effort away from the line.
And it was the Blues who got that winner late on as Hardy kept his head to convert inside the area, pouncing on George Waring’s sliced shot to tuck home to send the home fans happy.
CHESTER: Gray, Morgan (Marsh-Hughes 76), Williams, Grand, Askew, Hardy (Livesey 89), Glendon, Clark, Weeks, Dudley (Johnston 65), Waring.
SUBS NOT USED: Smith, Heywood, Hughes, Lowe.
SCORERS: Hardy 85.
PIC: Rick Matthews.