Oldham manager Paul Dickov was left to rue his side's profligacy as Chesterfield pipped them to a place at Wembley.
Latics headed into Monday night's Johnstone's Paint Trophy northern area final second leg looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit, and although the hosts dominated for long periods, veteran striker Jack Lester bundled in a late winner to secure a 1-0 triumph on the night for the Spireites.
"With the number of chances we've made, not just here but over two legs, we should have scored more than once," Dickov said.
"It was something like 40 shots over two games. Missed chances are the story of the tie because some of our football was the best we've played in my time at the club.
"It sounds stupid, but for the majority of the game we were the only side who were going to win. Getting to Wembley meant so much to everyone at the club and we created so many openings, but it wasn't to be.
"I've got mixed feelings because we played some fantastic football and I'm proud of the desire and application we showed. At the same time I'm gutted for the players, the chairman and the fans."