Oldham Athletic 4 Chasetown 0
Chasetown?s glorious FA Cup adventure finally ended in tears last night after they succumbed to Oldham Athletic.
Goals from Paul Warne, Chris Hall and a brace by Chris Porter proved sufficient for the League One outfit to progress into the second round, but Charlie Blake-more?s collection of carpet fitters, teachers and plumbers can hold their heads high at work today after the best Cup run in the club?s 51-year history.
An adventure that began in front of 76 people at Church Street in August finally ground to a halt in front of a quite incredible 2,500 travelling Chasetown supporters.
For a club with annual gate receipts of #5,000, Chasetown?s profile has shot through the roof and the finances gleaned form prize money, the BBC?s live coverage on Match of the Day and the gate receipts from this replay is a huge consolation to the tiny Harvey World Travel Midland Alliance club.
But they will still be left wondering whether their ten-game adventure could have continued if they had converted two excellent first-half chances.
Chasetown looked like a side defending a 22-game unbeaten run as they started the replay with confidence and Chris Slater?s storming 80-yard run wasn?t matched by the finish as it sailed well wide.
Oldham manager Ronnie Moore was visibly more vocal as his side failed to make any headway against a resolute defence although Danny Hall provided the first glimpse of danger when his header from Andy Liddell?s corner 20 minutes before the interval.
Yet Chasetown wasted a wonderful opportunity to take a shock lead just before the half-hour mark after excellent work from Nicky Harrison.
He left Paul Edwards trailing in his wake and whipped in a cross that was met by the head of Karl Edwards.
His effort left home goal-keeper Chris Day rooted to the spot but it looped agonisingly wide and that miss was to prove costly when Warne made them pay dearly two minutes later.
The goal arrived like a bolt from the blue and changed the atmosphere as the home supporters had turned on their players following an even first half hour.
But the sour demeanours were soon replaced by broad smiles after Warne unleashed a strike of the highest quality to leave goalkeeper Simon Bryan clutching at thin air. Warne cut in from the right-hand channel and struck a sweet left-foot shot that cannoned in off the underside of the bar to leave Bryan helpless.
It was the first shot on target that Bryan, recalled in place of Martin Taylor, had forced into action but he was blameless as Warne?s shot had pinpoint precision.
Liddell chipped past Bryan but just wide as League One side Oldham?s superior status finally threatened to shine through.
However, Blakemore?s gallant troops weren?t about to let their Cup dreams slide away without a fight and Duncan Horler?s volley flew inches over Day?s bar.
But the tide was turning and with Liddell in particular causing problems with his crafty runs and nimble footwork, the Alliance outfit were left hanging on grimly.
There was some desperate defending but it proved to be effective as Bryan wasn?t really called into action for the remainder of the half.
Yet Chasetown spurned a fantastic opportunity to restore parity one minute before the interval when Steve Edwards? firm header from point-blank range was somehow diverted to safety by Day.
Nicky Harrison?s cross hung invitingly in the six-yard area and Edwards muscled his way in yet was left holding his head after Day?s sharp reflexes denied him.
Despite Chasetown?s preparations for this fixture, including training at Manchester United?s complex and an overnight stop, they looked tired at the start of the second half and were caught napping 12 minutes after the break.
Liddell was again instrumental as he engineered space down the right flank and delivered a low cross that was side-footed home by Porter.
The relief around Boundary Park was tangible and with Liddell and the erratic Paul Edwards pulling the strings, it was a tough period for Chasetown.
Even the introduction of the one-time youngest goalscorer in the Premiership, Andy Turner, as a Chasetown substitute couldn?t stem the tide and Porter added his second with an exquisite curling shot from 25-yards out.
There was time for Paul Edwards to strike a post and Harrison to blaze wide before Hall sealed the Latics? victory with six minutes remaining. Paul Edwards fired in a deep cross and Hall rose to loop a header past Bryan for his first senior goal.
It might have ended in heartache for Blakemore?s boys but their massed support insisted on a good natured pitch invasion and applauding their team, as a chorus of ?Chasetown? echoed around this freezing corner of Lancashire at the final whistle.