'Better chance' - Paul Cook optimistic about promotion despite Chesterfield's narrow defeat to Stockport County

Chesterfield will have a ‘better chance’ of winning promotion if they perform like they did in the narrow defeat to leaders Stockport County, said manager Paul Cook.

By Liam Norcliffe
Monday, 2nd May 2022, 5:37 pm

Paddy Madden scored the winner from the penalty spot ten minutes before half-time after Calvin Miller was penalised for a handball. Referee Elliott Swallow initially awarded a free-kick before he overturned his decision.

The defeat leaves Town in the last play-off spot, just three points above Dagenham and Redbridge, with two games remaining.

"It is disappointing for us but I thought in terms of level of performance it was very, very committed.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Chesterfield lost 1-0 to Stockport on Monday.

"I think from where we were Saturday at 5pm to where we are today is night and day.

"We were very committed, we restricted a very strong Stockport team to very few chances, if any, in the game, and we succumbed to a penalty.

"We have had a couple of chances, probably a draw might have been a fair result for both teams.

"I asked the lads to make our lads believe in them today and I felt they did that.

"I felt in the second-half we were looking for more passages of play and quality – 100 per cent – but in terms of commitment levels I could not ask for any more.

"We can’t put the level of performance in that we did at Bromley and expect to be promoted. But I feel if we can keep that level of performance up today we have got a better chance.

"What we can’t have is a continuation of changes every week, you will get no continuity. We made four changes today and you can’t keep doing that.”

Madden slotted in the penalty after Miller was penalised for handball.

On that decision, Cook said: “It is pointless (talking about it), I am not going to slate the referee now.

"I was just getting disappointed with (Tom) Denton not getting a foul on the pitch after clearly having his shirt dragged off.

"But the referee has not cost us the game, whether the penalty is in or out (the box), it has been given.”

Jamie Grimes went close twice after the break and Jeff King was denied by a brilliant save.

"It would have been great for us to nick that draw but unfortunately we could not,” Cook, who revealed Alex Whittle missed out with a groin injury, said.

Danny Rowe came off the bench to make his first appearance since October.

“We have got to keep going with two games to go,” Cook continued. “We are getting more players back fit, our bench was very strong today. Those lads have got to get a week of training under their belt and hopefully we can get a result that sees us hopefully in the play-offs.

"All of them need training minutes and hopefully the minutes come quick enough so we can salvage our season for our supporters who were magnificent today.”

On the remaining two games against Torquay and Woking, Cook added: “I think we need a win or two to get in the play-offs.

"I have just said to the lads that they can’t work this hard to stop now.

"The reality is we have still got an opportunity to be successful for our supporters and we have got to believe that.”