MORECAMBE keeper Barry Roche was a spot-kick hero tonight as the Blues crashed out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on penalties.
Anthony Barry, Kevin Roberts and Paul Taylor were all denied by Roche in the shoot-out as the visitors booked their place in round three.
A spirited second-half fightback by Chester had ensured the tie would be decided on penalties as no extra time is played in this competition.
But Ryan Lowe was the only City player to beat Roche from 12 yards as Dave Artell, Diarmuid O’Carroll and Aaron Taylor all netted from the spot. Chester keeper John Danby saved former Blue Stewart Drummond’s penalty but had no luck with the others.
Chester were second best to Morecambe by a distance during the first half, with only a wayward cross from Mark Hughes testing Roche.
The visitors went 1-0 up three minutes before the break through Rene Howe. The big striker capitalised after Roberts inexplicably ducked under Roche’s long clearance, beating Danby to the ball and lofting it over the onrushing Chester keeper.
City only gained a foothold in the contest once boss Simon Davies made a double substitution on the hour, throwing on Lowe and Taylor for the ineffective Richie Partridge and Paul McManus.
City began to pen Morecambe in their own half for long periods and their equalising goal arrived eight minutes from full-time.
It came after Taylor jinked past three challenges on the left and slipped a pass to Ellison, who curled a low right-footed shot past Roche from just inside the area. Roche, however, was to have the last laugh as his penalty heroics condemned Chester to defeat.
Chester: Danby, J Vaughan, Linwood, Roberts, Wilson, Barry, Mozika, Hughes, Partridge (Lowe 60), Ellison, McManus (Taylor 60). Subs: Kelly, S Vaughan, Harris. Goal: Ellison 82.
Morecambe: Roche, Artell, Bentley, Stanley, Twiss (Wainwright 18), Hunter, Curtis (Taylor 85), Howe (O’Carroll 87), Drummond, McCann, Parrish. Subs: McStay, Davies. Booked: Artell. Goal: Howe 42.
Referee: A Bates.
Attendance: 926 (180 away).