Martin Allen heaped praise on his side as a Tom Denton hat-trick allowed Chesterfield to book their place in the second round of the FA Cup.
Denton’s trio of goals ensured the Spireites would secure a 3-1 win over Billericay Town in their first round replay at the AGP Arena.
And Allen was pleased to see off the National League South high-flyers, who the Chesterfield boss felt were the favourites to win the tie because of their fine start to the season.
“I don’t think there was a lot between the two sides,” said Allen.
“They had chances, we had chances, we took ours, they didn’t take theirs.
“They were two great FA Cup ties, I would say, and it was great for the FA Cup.
“I don’t think their manager (Dean Brennan) can complain at the effort, the commitment, the passion, and the skill levels of his team and it’s no wonder they’ve had the promotions here at Billericay.
“This club is on the way up, there’s no doubt about it, and it’s a great result for us.”
Denton gave Chesterfield the lead five minutes before half-time, but right-back Joe Kizzi levelled matters for Billericay soon after the interval.
However, Denton restored the visitors’ advantage just two minutes later and completed his hat-trick – along with the scoring – in the dying moments to result in the Spireites booking a home tie against Grimsby Town in the second round.
And Allen was keen to highlight the budget cuts he has had to work with in testing times at the Proact Stadium, with the win extending Chesterfield’s fine unbeaten run even further.
“The players are young, they’re on their way up, and this team has had to be rebuilt with a £21,000 a week saving on salaries,” confirmed Allen, whose side drew the original tie 1-1 10 days ago.
“I’ve had a lot of work to do and I can now start to see a little bit of happiness amongst the players, a bit of happiness for the supporters and I suppose a tinge of happiness and relief for myself.”