Spireites give Boro a run for their money in memorable FA Cup campaign

Jamie Hewitt scores the equaliser at Old Trafford in the FA Cup semi-final
Jamie Hewitt scores the equaliser at Old Trafford in the FA Cup semi-final

Chesterfield will compete in the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since that memorable run to the semi-finals in 1997 - some 18 years ago.

The Spireites were the surprise package of the 1996/97 competition, which started with a narrow victory at home to Bury and ended at Hillsborough against Middlesbrough in the replay.

John Duncan’s team benefited from five home draws, including all three of the first three rounds when they overcame Bury, Scarborough and Bristol City without conceding a single goal.

A Mark Williams header saw off Bury, Kevin Davies and Tony Lormor scored against Scarborough and a Jon Howard double was enough to overcome Bristol City to set up a fourth round trip to Bolton Wanderers.

A young striker by the name of Kevin Davies would prove to be the match-winner on a day he is unlikely to forget, scoring all three against a club he would later make over 300 appearances for between 2003-13.

His hat-trick against Bolton in a 3-2 win would see the Spireites, of Division Two, in to the fifth round, where they would face Premier League opposition in Nottingham Forest, under the guidance of Stuart Pearce.

It was a sweet day for Chesterfield at home, who would outplay their higher league opponents, and deservedly ran out 1-0 winners thanks to Tom Curtis’ penalty. It was rewarded with another home tie, this time Wrexham were the ones charged with halting the Spireites’ progress.

The Welsh side had already despatched of West Ham United and Birmingham City on their way to the quarter-finals but came up against a stubborn Spireites side that got a 1-0 win, Chris Beaumont scoring.

It all meant a semi-final at Old Trafford against Middlesbrough’s multi-million pound stars, managed by another England legend in Bryan Robson.

In an enthralling game that swung one way and then the other, and packed with controversary, goals from Andy Morris, captain Sean Dyche and home town man Jamie Hewitt earned Chesterfield a replay nine days later that Boro would go on to win 3-0.