Stockport’s FA Cup journey ended at the first hurdle with a 7-6 penalty shootout defeat to Chesterfield at Edgeley Park as the visitors advanced to the first round proper after a 1-1 draw in normal time.
Just a week after The Hatters moved to the top of the National League with a late 2-1 win over the struggling Spireites, the two sides did battle again in the final qualifying round of the FA Cup.
Following a tentative first half for both sides, Jim Gannon’s men heaped the pressure on the away side after the break, with skipper Liam Hogan seeing his goalbound effort cleared off the line, and winger Adam Thomas clipping the crossbar with a deflected strike from the left.
Hogan did grab the opener for the hosts minutes later, as the former Salford City captain capitalised on a fumble by Chesterfield stopper Kyle Letheren to bundle home on the hour mark.
County looked in vein for a second goal to secure their passage into the first-round draw but Chesterfield had other ideas.
Midfielder Milan Butterfield pounced on a long throw into the box to drill low past Ben Hinchliffe with time running out to take the tie straight to a penalty shootout.
Butterfield himself then stepped up to roll the winning penalty home in the shootout after defender Sam Minihan had blazed his sudden death spot-kick high over the crossbar for County.