Legend has it that Kevin Noteman's penalty is still travelling.

While the result may have been somewhat humbling, the 6-0 drubbing at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup third round at the Riverside Stadium was, nonetheless, a fantastic day out for Blues fans, who headed to the North East in numbers with over 2,500 making the trek.

Twenty years ago today (how has it been that long?!) Kevin Ratcliffe's side heading to Teesside looking to cause an upset against a Boro side that boasted stars such as Fabrizio Ravanelli and Emerson.

Then in Nationwide Division Three, Chester had earned their trip to the Premier League side having had a relatively comfortable ride against non-league opposition, beating Stalybridge Celtic in round one 3-0 thanks to a Stuart Rimmer brace and one from Andy Milner. Milner scored the only goal of the game in round two when he helped the Blues to a 1-0 success over Boston United in front of 3,344 at the Deva Stadium.

Chester had been in mixed form for the first half of the season but had won their previous two games heading into the trip to Bryan Robson's Boro side, beating Darlington and Barnet over the festive period.

Matchday programme

It was the club's biggest cup clash for years and the first time since 1994 they had reached the third round stage.

Boro went into the game with four defeats out of five behind them as they toiled in the Premier League.

Derek Whyte returned from a ban in place of player/boss Robson while Craig Hignett came in for injured Brazilian star Juninho.

The atmosphere was electric thanks to the vociferous Blues fans who were in the buoyant mood and intent on making the most of their day out.

It was Chester who had the best of the early chances as Noteman had a shot in the box charged down after a quick break then Spencer Whelan put a looping header over the bar after a free-kick.

Then Boro broke out to take the lead on 20 minutes as Steve Vickers headed a Neil Cox cross against the bar and Ravanelli popped up unmarked to stab home the rebound from six yards.

Six minutes later as Boro got a second, Hignett threading a ball forward to Ravanelli then bursting into the box to collect the return and nip between two defenders to drill a low shot inside the post.

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Chester enjoyed a good spell of pressure and Rimmer headed over then Milner put in a fierce shot on the turn that sent Gary Walsh full length to push onto the post and away.

But gradually Boro took control with Emerson dominating midfield and Hignett sparking some inventive moves.

The game was effectively over on the stroke of half-time as Hignett floated in a corner and Cox came stooping in at the near post to head it in.

At half-time and with the game in the bag Robson brought on Curtis Fleming and Phil Stamp in place of Robbie Mustoe and Cox to give the fit again duo some pitch-time.

Fleming made a quick contribution as he teed up Boro's fourth goal on 50 minutes, latching onto a loose ball then slotting it neatly into Ravanelli's path in the box and the Italian rounded the advancing keeper then calmly cut the ball into the open goal.

Five minutes later Boro scored again as Ravanelli threaded the ball through for Mikkel Beck to rifle in a sizzling 20-yard, left-foot drive.

The visitors were still battling and Walsh had to make a string of saves then on 59 minutes they had a golden chance for a face-saving goal as they won a penalty.

A ball bounced up and hit Whyte's arm and when the ref pointed to the spot he was surrounded by Boro players and Craig Hignett was sent off for his vehement protests.

Here it was, a chance to at least have something to cheer for the Blues fans, who continued to sing their hearts out. Up stepped Noteman and he put his laces through the Mitre Ultimax sending it flying way over the crossbar and into orbit. It was last seen whooshing past the Hubble Space Telescope.

Chester heads went down and the ten men dominated the closing spell and wrapped it up with a sixth on 79 minutes as an audacious 30 yard chip from Emerson was clawed away by back-pedalling keeper Ronnie Sinclair but fell nicely for Stamp to poke home.

It wasn't the cup shock that Chester had hoped for but it was a memorable day out for many a Blues fan.

Chester went on to finish the season strongly and made the Division Three play-offs where they would eventually lose to Swansea City over two legs, missing out on a maiden trip to Wembley.

Match stats

BORO: Walsh, Liddle, Whyte, Vickers, Cox (Fleming 46), Emerson, Hignett, Mustoe (Stamp 46), Ravanelli, Beck (Fjortoft 57), Blackmore.

CHESTER: Sinclair, Woods, Jenkins, Fisher, Whelan, Alsford, Shelton (G Brown 81), Priest, Milner, Rimmer, Noteman (Giles 81). Sub: W Brown.

ATTENDANCE: 18,684.