Chesterfield made two changes to the team that progressed to the Wembley final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on Monday, bringing the cup-tied pair Liam Ridehalgh and Neal Trotman back into the side. The unlucky pair to miss out were Jamie Lowry and Simon Ford. Lowry took a place on the bench alongside new loan signing Nicky Ajose. The Spireites lined up like this:
Hurst, Trotman, Thompson, Robertson
Talbot, Allott, Davis, Ridehalgh
Subs: Fleming, Lowry, Whitaker, Bowery, Ajose.
Carlisle made a lively start and won a corner on 3 when Trotman headed the ball behind. The kick found Michalik's head and was cleared under a challenge for a second corner, which Lee gathered.
Only the assistant referee saw enough to give Carlisle their third corner on 7, and Thompson headed the danger away. United were playing a 4-3-3 formation and both sides tried to play with the ball on the floor, despite conditions that became heavier as the game went on.
Zoko headed a McGovern free kick wide on 11 but the officials gave The Cumbrians another mystery corner, making amends for their error by awarding a free kick against someone as soon as the flag kick came over.
On 15 Ridehalgh got away down the left and crossed, but Allott's shot was blocked; possession was retained and returned to Ridehalgh, who worked it through to DREW TALBOT, whose shot slithered away from the grasp of keeper Collin and into the net to give Chesterfield the lead.
Lester turned well on 18 and for a moment had a clear look at the Carlisle goal but Michalik came in with a timely challenge.
Boden beat the offside trap and advanced to the edge of the box before being brought down by Michalik on 28. Ridehalgh's free kick was cleared and Robertson had to be alert to come across the defence and clear the danger. Cook took the ball past Robertson and Ridehalgh and into the Chesterfield box on 31 but saw his shot charged down by the alert Thompson.
Lee had to push away a Noble shot from distance on 35. A foul on Lester on 37 gave Ridehalgh the chance to cross again but the United defence cleared safely through Murphy. Noble again had Lee scampering for a shot on 42 and he got there, to give away a corner. McGovern's kick was cleared to Noble, whose shot was charged down for another corner. Lee dealt with the cross in fine style.
On the stroke of halftime Thompson was penalised for a foul on a rather theatrical Noble some twenty yards out. McGovern's shot flew comfortably over the bar.
Halftime: Cumbrians 0 Spireites 1. Attendance: 4313 (231 from Chesterfield.)
Carlisle brought Madden on for Noble at half time and employed a 4-4-2 formation. The home side won an early corner that looked for Zoko and another corner resulted; Lee and Robertson combined to clear the danger. Trotman didn't hear a shout from Lee and hacked a ball into the box away for another corner. The ball was cleared to Boden, who went down under a challenge to allow the visitors a moment's respite.
The pressure on the Chesterfield goal showed no sign of relenting. Thirlwell's shot was blocked by Thompson on 53. McGovern and Simek tried to set up Madden on 55 but Allott tracked back well to prevent the substitute from getting the ball. At the other end Lester turned Murphy and appeared to be pulled down, but the referee saw the offence as being committed by the Chesterfield legend.
Nicky Ajose came on for Scott Boden after 58 minutes. Trotman had to stretch to get the ball away after Zoko came forward with it to the bye line, and the ball ended up in the safe hands of Tommy Lee. Ajose showed pace to get to a Davis pass on 63; Collin came out and could only flatten Parker as Ajose stabbed the ball agonisingly wide of the goal. Ajose worked another great chance with a fine turn on 67 but saw his effort cleared off the line by Murphy after beating a man and drawing the keeper.
Carlisle won a corner with their next attack. Murphy got to McGovern's corner but Lee was able to watch the ball bounce wide.
Welsh replaced Jordan Cook after 70 minutes. Welsh pumped the ball forward and a challenge from Trotman and Thompson denied Madden at the expense of a corner. The ball was put in to the near post and Ben Parker stole in to head the equaliser, on 73.
Chesterfield won their first corner of the game off Michalik on 79. Thompson's header flashed inches wide of the post. At the other end, a defensive error presented Carlisle with their second goal when Hurst's backpass lacked pace and Zoko was able to intercept and round Lee before slotting the ball into the net.
Jordan Bowery replaced Lester with six minutes left, and Lowry replaced Ridehalgh two minutes later. Zoko got away again in stoppage time and Lee had to come out to force an early shot that squeaked wide.