Lester pleased to see his side come through '˜bizarre' evening
Jack Lester was pleased to see his side come through a '˜bizarre' evening in the Checkatrade Trophy against Manchester City U21s.
Chesterfield went from 1-0 up to 2-1 down in the final two minutes of the game, against nine men, before snatching a draw in stoppage time.
They went on to win the subsequent penalty shootout, picking up a bonus point to qualify as runners up in their group and book a visit to Fleetwood Town in the next round.
“A bizarre evening towards the end but they held their nerve in the penalties,” said the Town boss.
“We got ourselves into a tricky situation which we shouldn’t have done, we should have been out of sight.”
Chris O’Grady got the all important equaliser deep in time added on, his 100th league goal, and then stroked home a penalty in the shootout, which delighted former striker Lester.
“It was an important goal by Chris because we wanted to get through to the next round and we have,” he said.
“It’s a fantastic landmark and I thought his penalty was excellent as well, so that’s two nice goals and that’s brilliant for him and for us.
“Kristian (Dennis) has been playing and playing well and Chris has come in and done what we needed him to do which was score goals.
“I thought that was a real plus point of the night.”
Lester felt his side performed well at times in the game, particularly when they went 1-0 up through Joe Rowley’s header.
But despite City having a man sent off and a player limp off after all the subsitutions were made, the young visitors levelled with a free-kick and then got an implausible second on 90 minutes.
“It was okay, I thought it was good at times.
“In the second half when we got ourselves ahead it was good, we played some nice football and opened them up and I thought we’d go and win it quite comfortably and then it went a little bit wrong.
“In the end we’re just happy we’ve gone through, kept the unbeaten run going.
“It was a tough group, Man City had some very good players on show, some real talent.”
Another positive for Lester was the performance of centre-half Laurence Maguire who came in for the rested Ian Evatt.
“I thought he was excellent, they had a free-kick and a cross and a shot and apart from that I don’t remember much,” said the manager.
“I thought his distribution was excellent, I thought he read the game really well, he went and headed it when he had to.
“He can be very pleased, we really like him here.
Evo and Hirdy have been playing really well together, we’ve kept winning and drawing so it was nice to give him a chance, it was on merit and he’s taken his chance.
“So that’s another plus point.”