Nathan Smith kept his place after his Man of the Match performance in the Johnstone's Paints Trophy final last Sunday, for the short trip to Bramall Lane tonight. Two changes were made to the starting line-up from the Wembley game; Neal Trotman came in for Simon Ford, and Craig Westcarr replaced the injured Jack Lester.
The Spireites started like this:
Holmes, Trotman, Thompson, Smith
Talbot, Allott, Moussa, Mendy
Subs: Whitaker, Ajose, Ridehalgh, Boden, Randall.
United had the better of the opening exchanges getting forward, but once they were there Evans fired shots that ended closer to the corners than Tommy Lee's goal. A neat Spireite move on 8 allowed Moussa to cross to the back post and The Blades went up the field from this to win the game's first corner. The corner was played short but came to nothing.
Westcarr shot a few yards wide from the United "D" after Bowery played him in on 14. A United free kick near the edge of the box was bent in hard by Williamson but no-one gambled and the ball flew wide. United enjoyed a good period of possession until Hurst slid in to tackle, winning possession after the ball came back off Williamson on the way out.
A slightly subdued atmosphere perhaps gave away home fans' nerves. Play was stopped when Doyle caught Westcarr off the ball on 20. The officials judged the contact accidental but Westcarr obviously felt aggrieved by the episode. Lowton forced Lee into a good save before the rebound was fired over on 27 by Quinn. Westcarr had an opportunity to cross in the next move, but was inaccurate.
A second United corner on 28 was taken by Quinn and claimed by Lee after a spot of pin-ball in the Chesterfield box. Chesterfield broke through Lee's roll-out to Moussa and Westcarr played in Bowery, who curled a shot close to the corner of the United goal. Chesterfield won their first corner on the half-hour through Westcarr. Moussa's flat flag kick was flicked goalwards by Thompson at the near post and Simonsen was forced to save at the expense of a second corner, which the keeper caught.
Talbot tracked back to concede a corner on 34. Quinn's kick was confidently claimed by Lee, who set Hurst away on the counter. At the end of a neat United move Williamson was not closed down, and gave United the lead on 37, firing home after picking up a chested-down ball from Evans. Thompson headed an intended clearance out for a corner., but Bowery was able to break over halfway to relieve the pressure.
Westcarr worked the ball forward to FRANCK MOUSSA on 43 and the on-loan midfielder took a few steps forward before curling a lovely left-footed shot past Simonsen to level the scores. Hurst was late with a challenge on Evans and presented United with a free kick just outside the box. Evans fired a low shot towards the bottom corner but Lee got down to make the save look easier than it was. The half ended fairly on the balance of play so far, with both sides on level terms.
Blades 1 Spireites 1. Attendance: 20,159.
The home side won a corner off Hurst in the opening seconds of the second half. Williamson's flag kick was poor, but it hit a Chesterfield defender and went out to give Williamson a second bite at the cherry. This one was at least fired in and partially cleared, but Mendy unnecessarily challenged Evans in the box; the United man went down with relish and the referee was persuaded to award a penalty, which Evans put past Lee to give United the lead again, on 47. Westcarr was booked for saying something, presumably, to referee Hooper.
Play was held up when Creswell needed attention to his face on 51. Bowery raced on to a Westcarr pass and was challenged in the box but there was no question about the quality of the tackle. Bowery and Westcarr were working hard up front to try to drag the visitors back to parity. Smith was forced to pull Evans' shirt just outside the box to concede a free kick, on 58. Williamson passed the ball in to Evans; the move caught Chesterfield off guard and Evans was able to slip the ball into the net to take a 3-1 lead. United replaced Cresswell with Hoskins before the restart. Evans fired against the post two minutes later but scored his third only two minutes after that, letting the ball run on before firing a rising shot into the roof of Lee's net.
Chesterfield made a triple-substitution with 22 minutes left. Perhaps with an eye to Saturday's Scunthorpe game Randall, Boden and Ajose replaced Allott, Westcarr and Bowery.
Chesterfield won a corner on 73 but Hoskins was able to complete a clearance downfield and United won a corner of their own, which was worked short by Williamson and Lowton, and which Lee dealt with easily.
United brought Beattie on for Evans after 79 minutes. Chesterfield won a corner after Simonsen fluffed his lines under a strong challenge, but the ball was cleared. Talbot was caught late on 81 and Randall clipped the ball to the far post, where Simonsen took Thompson's knockdown.
O'Halloran came on for Quinn on 82. Ajose played Boden in on 87 but the ball ran away from him. Mendy had a shot blocked as two United men went down. Mendy won a corner off Lowton and Ajose passed to Randall; he lifted one towards Moussa, whose shot hit the side-netting. O'Halloran's effort on goal was deflected for a United corner as the game entered stoppage time. From the short one, Williamson lifted a bobbling ball over Lee but Beattie couldn't force the ball home and a foul on Thompson ended the danger.