Saunders delighted to have seen off FC United in FA Cup

FC United vs Chesterfield - Dean Saunders giving out instructions - Pic By James Williamson
FC United vs Chesterfield - Dean Saunders giving out instructions - Pic By James Williamson

Dean Saunders says successfully negotiating a potential banana skin in the FA Cup pleased him greatly given the number of shocks which occurred in the first round last weekend.

Chesterfield beat National League North side FC United of Manchester 4-1 on Monday night to set up a home clash with Walsall in the second round.

And having seen other league sides defeated against lower level teams before the Spireites’ game was played, Saunders was happy to get through.

He said: “People were hoping for another shock which is why the TV cameras were there. I’ve been on the end of shocks before and they’re not pleasant for the team knocked out.

“But we got off to a great start with two really good goals. Then it was important we didn’t concede because if they’d got one back it could have made things uncomfortable for us.

“We took our foot off the pedal a bit and gave them some encouragement, but in the end they didn’t have the firepower to hurt us and we went on to win comfortably.

“I wasn’t happy with conceding the goal at the end as I want high standards set here and sloppiness like that can’t be allowed, although a positive to come from it was that it didn’t cost us any points and I can now go over it in training and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“All in all I was pleased to get through what was a potentially tricky tie for us.”

Saunders was also enthused by the manner of the goals Chesterfield scored, adding: “Gboly Airiybi’s came from a throw-in and a routine we’d worked on in training. I’ve been encouraging him to get in the box and between the posts as the chances will come to him and he finished it well.

“Lee Novak’s goal was world class and then Rai Simons and Ollie Banks have scored good goals too in the second-half.”

A reserve game against Rotherham on Tuesday night also saw the Spireites win 4-1 after fielding a side full of players requiring valuable minutes on the pitch.

Saunders said: “We were three up inside eight minutes and could have scored 15 given how much we created but the lads treated the game professionally, as they should have, and it was a useful run out.”

On the challenge of Walsall in the next round, Saunders added: “It was the toughest draw we could have got given the were the highest-ranked team in it but we beat them at their place a few weeks ago so will look forward to it.

“It’s always nice to get home advantage even though we’ve been in better form away from home, but the incentive of a potentially big draw in the third round against one of the Premier League clubs is there for all of the players so that will also help.”