Chesterfield avoid FA Cup shock with comfortable win against battling Anstey Nomads

Chesterfield booked their place in the FA Cup first round after a comfortable 3-0 win against battling ninth tier side Anstey Nomads.
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Armando Dobra, making his first appearance in six weeks after an ankle injury, gave the Spireites an early lead after 10 minutes, heading in Jeff King’s cross from close-range.

There was a scare for Town, though, as Michael Reeve almost equalised but he was denied by a brilliant save by Ross Fitzsimons.

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The Blues nearly doubled their lead as King’s shot was tipped onto the post by former Mansfield Town goalkeeper Conrad Logan.

Chesterfield beat Anstey Nomads to progress to the FA Cup first round.Chesterfield beat Anstey Nomads to progress to the FA Cup first round.
Chesterfield beat Anstey Nomads to progress to the FA Cup first round.

The visitors hit the woodwork again when Joe Quigley’s shot smacked against the crossbar.

But Chesterfield did get their second just before half-time when Akwasi Asante found the bottom corner from inside the area to give them some breathing space.

Substitute Kabongo Tshimanga added a third late on to make sure of the victory and seal their place in Monday’s draw.

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Anstey, the lowest ranked team in the competition, who play four leagues below the Spireites in the United Counties League Premier Division North, were well-organised and put in a spirited display and could be proud of their efforts.


Paul Cook made five changes from the defeat at Eastleigh last weekend but it was still a strong line-up, including a debut for Bailey Clements, a first start for Mike Jones and a return from injury for Dobra. Darren Oldaker and Quigley also came in, while Branden Horton, Tim Akinola, Ollie Banks, George Cooper and Tshimanga dropped out.

Chesterfield’s last FA Cup game was against then European champions Chelsea in front of 40,000 at Stamford Bridge, including 6,000 Spireites fans, but this was a very different experience and captured everything magic about the historic competition.

From the temporary marquee press area, to the makeshift TV gantry for the BBC cameras, to the 1,500 sell-out, it had a proper FA Cup feel about it.

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Anstey manager Tony Blanchard, who celebrated his 50th birthday this week, revealed that he jets off to Spain with his assistant manager in the early hours of Sunday morning – which would have made things interesting had this one gone to a replay.

As well as being the manager, Blanchard, a social worker and teacher by trade, pulls the pints in the club bar – and he will be able to enjoy a few himself tonight despite the result.

For the Spiretes, a defeat against the lowest ranked team in the competition who describe themselves as a ‘village team’ would have been a huge embarrassment and possibly the worst result in the club’s entire history.

Anstey had nothing to lose and everything to gain, this was the biggest game in their 76-year history. Their players combine training twice a week and earning £20 to £30 with their day jobs of being teachers, factory workers and builders. They had already won five FA Cup matches to reach this stage.

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Thankfully for Chesterfield, there was no cup shock here as they returned to winning ways after three successive defeats in the league.

Any nerves were eased early on as Dobra headed in his fourth goal of the season from King’s accurate delivery from the right.

But Anstey rallied and almost levelled but Fitzsimons denied Reeve with a top reaction save from point-blank range following a long throw.

Soon after, the threatening King nearly got on the scoresheet himself but Logan did well to tip his shot onto the post after racing through on goal.

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King then set up Quigley for a glorious chance but the striker hit the crossbar with a first-time strike from around 12 yards.

Anstey would have been delighted had they gone in only one-nil down at half-time but Asante made sure they had an uphill task, finishing low into the bottom corner to double the lead.

Dobra could be happy with his afternoon’s work, banking an important 45 minutes on his return from injury, and he was replaced by Cooper at half-time.

Chesterfield were fairly comfortable in the second-half but Anstey came on strong with 25 minutes remaining, Fitzsimons again denying Reeve with a superb save to prevent his shot from finding the top corner.

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To their credit, the Nomads kept battling away and they won themselves a few corners, and while ever it stayed two-nil there was always a glimmer of hope for the hosts.

As the clock ticked down, Cooper had a shot blocked on the line, but from the resulting corner Tshimanga turned in Liam Mandeville’s cross from a couple of yards out to put the game to bed.

In the end, it was job done for the Spireites who will go into the hat for the first round in Monday’s draw.

But the day belonged to Anstey, who will remember this occasion for a very long time.

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