An incredible game of football that saw both sides create great chances was eventually settled by a penalty shootout as Oldham Athletic advanced into the FA Cup First Round.
The 90 minutes was very similar to the game between the two sides at the weekend, Oldham took the lead in the tenth minute through a stunning Ben Tollitt strike before Chester scrapped and fought their way back into the game on the hour mark, with Kurt Willoughby heading home the equaliser.
The Blues took a deserved lead through a stunning Kevin Roberts strike in extra time before Mike Fondop found a leveller with one minute of extra time remaining, sending the game to penalties.
In the shootout Roberts and Hall missed for the Blues, giving the Latics two chances to win it, that they took at the second time of asking as Chris Porter went down the middle as Harry Tyrer dived away to his right.
Blues boss Calum McIntyre made one change from the side that got a draw at the weekend as Joe Lynch came into the starting line-up at the expense of Danny Devine.
In a cacophonous atmosphere, it was Oldham who settled quicker and created the first chance of the game as Jordan Clarke’s cross was met by Tollitt, who headed off target.
Five minutes later and Chester weren’t so lucky as Fondop got in down the right wing, brought the ball to the edge of the penalty area and laid it off to Tollitt, who curled a superb effort into the top corner, beyond the dive of Tyrer.
Chester responded positively as a Weeks set-piece broke to Burke, but his shot was deflected out for a corner. Weeks again was the man to take it and found Willoughby, but he couldn’t get enough power or direction to trouble Magnus Norman in the Oldham goal.
Ten minutes later and Norman was called into action as he was required to keep out a curling free kick from Willoughby with a routine save. If that was a comfortable save for Norman then the one from Kieran Coates was far more testing, as the Blues’ full-back ran onto one from twenty-five yards and fired a fierce low drive that the Oldham ‘keeper got down well to parry it away.
As Chester enjoyed their best spell of pressure of the game so far it was Oldham who almost added a second against the run of play.
First, Ben Tollitt was played in through the centre of the Blues’ defence by Dan Gardner but Tyrer was out quickly to smother the effort. A minute later and Tyrer had to be alert again as Gardner struck one from range but the Everton loanee did well to acrobatically turn it over the crossbar to keep the visitors lead to a single goal at the break.
Chester started the second half brightly, pressing high into the Oldham half but struggling to create clear-cut chances. That all changed on the hour mark though as some lovely play lead to Lynch in space down the left side and his cross was inch perfect for Willoughby to stoop in and head home from close range and send the Deva Stadium into a frenzy.
Oldham looked to regain their advantage after conceding and again looked to Tollitt for inspiration, but his effort was deflected for a corner from substitute Liam Edwards.
The Blues almost found the goal to put them ahead within the final ten minutes as Hall flicked it on to set Willoughby in behind, he managed to pick Hall out in the middle but Magnus Norman kept himself big and made a huge save.
Hall had another huge chance in stoppage time to put the Blues ahead as he and Willoughby broke with only Okagbue back for Oldham, but the former Blues defender stood up well and made a superb block and that was enough to send the game to extra time.
Oldham enjoyed possession but struggled to create chances in the opening period of extra time, with Clarke forcing Tyrer into a comfortable save.
With ninety-nine minutes on the clock Roberts delivered something special as he picked the ball up twenty five yards out and unleashed a stunning effort into the bottom corner, beyond the dive of Norman and once again sending the Deva wild.
Chester had a chance to put the game to bed but again couldn’t take it as Hall played through Darren Stephenson but again Norman kept himself big and was able to stretch out and deny the Blues’ forward.
The Blues were made to pay for those wasted chances as a ball into the penalty area was met by Fondop, who guided the ball inside the far post to tie the game with one minute of extra time remaining.
As the final added time board of three added minutes went up the Blues launched another attack as Stephenson got in some space but his cross deflected onto the roof of the net and the resulting corner was dealt with by Oldham, sending the game to a penalty shootout.
Chris Porter was the man who kept his cool, with the tenth and final spot kick, winning it for the visitors after Roberts and Hall had both missed for the Blues.
An FA Cup exit, but plenty to be proud of.
CHESTER: Tyrer, Coates, Burke (Edwards 46), Williams, Coulton, Roberts, Weeks (c) (Murray 115), Lynch (Devine 101), Hall, Willoughby, Dudley (Stephenson 65).
SUBS NOT USED: Beswick, Morgan, Daly.
SCORERS: Willoughby 59, Roberts 99; Tollitt 10, Fondop 119.