Chesterfield coach 'proud as punch' as youngsters shine in big FA Trophy win against Southport

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Spireites academy manager, Neil Cluxton, said he was ‘proud as punch’ after six of his young players were involved in Chesterfield’s 6-1 win against Southport in the FA Trophy.

The afternoon was made even better when Liam Jessop grabbed a brace and fellow substitute Ali Mohiuddin curled in a long-range beauty.

Centre-back Ryley D’Sena and midfielders Jay Abudu and Sam Hooper all started, while Jessop, Mohiuddin and Thomas Marshall all came off the bench. Marshall assisted Jessop’s second goal.

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Cluxton said: “It has been a great afternoon for us. What they have done today is now on their CV forever. The gaffer and the first-team staff have given our young players an opportunity today. To have six of them on the pitch at the end, playing some great football, it is just testament to what we do behind the scenes. We have got a lot of people in the academy who put in a lot of hard work in developing these youngsters. A day like today makes it all worthwhile. It is a really proud day for the academy.

Spireites academy manager Neil Cluxton.Spireites academy manager Neil Cluxton.
Spireites academy manager Neil Cluxton.

"I thought in the first 10 or 15 minutes one or two of our lads struggled to get hold of the pace of the game but after that they settled down and grew in confidence. In the second-half I thought we played some great football. I think they have taken their opportunity today.

"Behind the scenes we try to copy what the first-team do. We play the same way, train the same way and try to give them the same detail and it gives them half a chance on days like day.

"The gaffer and the first-team staff have been great with us. They have highlighted the FA Trophy as maybe an opportunity to blood a few youngsters and that is great for us. We have got another game and if the gaffer gives the young players another opportunity then I am sure they will step up. It is a good experience for our lads and it also shows the town what we have got behind the first-team.”

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The competition is not a priority but the Spireites are in the hat for the fourth round.

Cluxton said he met with the young players involved and told them to enjoy it. He added: "I told them to embrace the experience, listen to the staff and just keep everything simple. I told them to play to their strengths and work hard. I am proud as punch. A couple of them have had their parents watching so it is a really proud day for them. Some of their team-mates were also here so we have a great camaraderie. I am sure some of the other lads are disappointed that they missed out but they got behind their team-mates today.”

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