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SPIREITES AT WEMBLEY: Chesterfield’s road to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final

Chesterfield v Rochdale......GOAL....Ollie Banks hits home his second goal and his teams third

Chesterfield v Rochdale......GOAL....Ollie Banks hits home his second goal and his teams third

For a second time in three seasons, a sea of blue from Chesterfield will arrive at the shores of Wembley for the final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

More than 13,000 supporters are set to embark on the national stadium for what they hope will see a repeat of 2012 - a Spireites success story!

As the anticipation for Sunday’s clash steadily reaches fever pitch, we take a look at how Paul Cook’s side reached the final in their Road to Wembley.

No-one could say they had it easy, despite having a bye through the first round ties, as they locked horns with bitter local rivals Mansfield Town.

The second derby of the season came just 11 days after the first with revenge firmly in the sights of the travelling Chesterfield army at Field Mill.

Stags had ended the Spireites’ unbeaten league run in September when Calvin Andrew’s header snatched all three points at the Proact Stadium.

But Gary McSheffrey’s second goal in as many games reclaimed the bragging rights for Chesterfield to advance into the third round of the JPT.

Spireites keeper Tommy Lee was at his best to keep Mansfield at bay and capped off a memorable night with a crucial stop to deny Ollie Palmer at the death.

Cook said it was a professional performance from his troops who had suffered a second half collapse in the league at Morecambe the previous Saturday.

“We have an identity of being quite solid at the back, counter attacking and looking good on the break - probably all the things we were tonight,” said Cook.

A third round tie against Keith Hill’s Rochdale saw Chesterfield comfortably sweep aside one of their fellow League Two promotion chasers in November.

A brace from Ollie Banks and a goal from Armand Gnanduillet gave Cook’s side a convincing win on home soil to set up an area semi-final date with Oldham.

The Spireites were accustomed to facing higher league opposition having battled with Leeds United at Elland Road in the League Cup earlier in the campaign.

Though a trip to Boundary Park - the highest ground in the Football League - on a cold and frosty winter’s night in early December was far from straightforward.

The match went to penalties in a closely fought encounter which saw Tendayi Darikwa cancel out Danny Philliskirk’s opener before Lee’s heroics from the spot.

The Chesterfield keeper had already saved from Philliskirk and Anton Rodgers after both sides had converted five from six in a tense shoot out.

Drew Talbot held his nerve and sent the Spireites through to the northern area final where they faced Fleetwood Town over two legs.

Another authoritative display from Chesterfield saw Ian Evatt, Sam Morsy and Jimmy Ryan give Cook’s side a 3-1 lead going into the concluding chapter at the Proact Stadium.

The players did their best to settle a nervy spectacle for the spectators for 89 minutes before Fleetwood got themselves back in the tie with a 90th minute goal through Jon Parkin.

But the Spireites held on and choruses of ‘que sera sera, whatever will be will be, we’re going to Wembley’ rang round the Proact at the full time whistle.

Shortly after his side confirmed their place at Wembley in the final of the JPT, Cook said: “The night was all about getting through.

“It was always going to be a difficult game, the result being what it was, because we know Fleetwood are strong.

“I’m very proud of the players tonight. I’m very proud of everything we’ve done in such a short time at the club.

“I think there are a lot of other people at the club who should take plaudits tonight rather than myself.”

 

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