Chester's FA Cup third qualifying round fate remains undecided after a 1-1 draw with Altrincham at the Deva.

The Blues will be in the hat for Monday's draw, but they'll need a replay to get there after Alty's Jordan Hulmes' second half header cancelled out Matty Hughes' early opener.

Without the services of Kevin Roberts (injured) and Jamie Morgan (suspended), Matty Waters deputised at right-back in his first start of the season in an otherwise unchanged Blues side.

Early goals have become a habit for the Blues this season and they were ahead after just two minutes of this sun-drenched cup tie.

Fresh from extending his stay at the Deva, midfielder George Glendon was instrumental in the build-up as he received the ball from Waters and advanced towards the box before slipping the ball to Hughes who rifled the ball into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

The goal handed Chester an initiative they failed to build on in the opening stages despite their composure on the ball and domination of possession.

Alty's first foray forward culminated in a break in play after Danny Livesey clashed heads with striker Hulme while attempting to clear a ball into the box.

The impact left the Blues centre-back needing treatment on the sidelines for a nasty-looking wound.

A cagey opening period followed, with goalscoring chances at a premium as the game steadily grew into an attritional midfield battle.

A rare chance for the visitors saw Josh Hancock head well over the bar from a corner on 21 minutes, with Chester's organisation at defensive set-pieces looking reliably solid early on.

Altrincham full-back Andy White did well to get beyond Chester left-back Joel Taylor and deliver a dangerous cross to the far post, but his delivery was marginally over-hit with Hulme unable to connect as it drifted behind for a goal kick.

Largely peripheral for much of the half, wideman Brad Jackson, sprang to life on 43 minutes as he cut inside from the right and outpaced Alty full-back Connor Hampson to drive towards goal before he was thwarted on the byline by Tom Hannigan's last-ditch challenge.

Creative midfielder James Jones had been the visitors' best player and his inswinging corner was then punched behind unconvincingly by Chester keeper Russ Griffiths.

The resultant corner was then prodded wide from close range by Hulme, who had little time to react as the ball reached him through a crowded box.

A double substitution at half-time saw Iwan Murray and James Jones come on for Scott Burton and Joel Taylor, with Jones slotting into the right-back slot and Waters shifted over to his preferred left-hand berth.

The prolific Akwasi Asante came close to adding to this season's 11-goal tally soon after the restart when his well-struck first time volley was directed straight at Alty keeper Tony Thompson after a whipped low delivery from Jackson.

Alty also upped the intensity of their attacks, with Hulme racing onto a through-ball from midfield only to be denied by a smart sliding tackle on the edge of the box by Blues stopper Russ Griffiths.

The intervention left Griffiths bleeding heavily from his nose and resulted in an 11-minute stoppage in play, much to the ire of the travelling support.

Unable to call on the services of a substitute keeper, Blues managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley were as relieved as the Blues faithful when Griffiths returned to action after lengthy treatment from the club's physios.

The lengthy stoppage did nothing to improve an already fragmented game, but the enforced water break helped Altrincham to regroup and step up their pursuit of an equaliser.

And it duly arrived on 75 minutes when Hulme's clipped cross into the Chester box was met by Hancock whose well-directed header flashed beyond Griffiths and into the far corner.

Undeterred, Chester pushed hard to restore their advantage, with Livesey seeing his back-post header comfortably gathered by Alty keeper Tony Thompson.

With the scores all level, Asante made way for fellow striker George Waring as the game headed into 11 minutes of added time.

Jackson came close to a dramatic late winner when he cut inside and eluded two defenders before curling a left-footed effort inches wide of the post.

Waters was next to try his luck, advancing well down the left flank before drilling a low effort towards the far post that had Thompson scrambling across his goal.

But there was no late drama and the National League North rivals now set to face-off again in Tuesday night's replay.