PRACTICE made perfect for the Blues on Tuesday as they held their nerve in a tense penalty shootout to reach round two of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
City triumphed 4-3 on spot-kicks after a pulsating Deva Stadium tie finished all square at 1-1 after normal time.
Although full-back James Vaughan saw his penalty saved by Crewe keeper Stuart Tomlinson, successful conversions by Paul Butler, Richie Partridge, Nathan Lowndes and John Murphy sent Chester through - making up for last month's shootout defeat to Nottingham Forest in the Carling Cup.
Blues boss Bobby Williamson later revealed that his players had practised penalties on the day of the match.
He said: 'We did actually take penalties after training but you can't really prepare for them. Playing for two hours and then taking penalties is harder than doing a training session then taking penalties.'
Williamson added: 'James Vaughan was hitting all his kicks in the top corner in training, and I said to him that he didn't need to find the top corner, just in the corner would do.
'But the keeper got across to his kick and made a good save.
'But it was good to see big John Murphy stepping up and finishing the shootout by sticking his penalty away - and I don't think he practised after training!'
Crewe's misses came from full-back Billy Jones, who hit the post, and captain Julian Baudet.