It was a game that Chesterfield dominated in front of a crowd of 6,358, with plenty of chances going their way but they couldn’t find a breakthrough and Fleetwood managed to get what proved to be a consolation goal through Jon Parkin. But it wasn’t enough as the Spireites held on and they will now travel to Wembley on Sunday, March 30 to face Peterborough in the final.
Fleetwood had the first effort of the game within minutes of the start when Jamille Matt was played in down the left and his run ended with a shot from Antoni Sarcevic who controlled neatly before flashing a shot wide from the edge of the area.
Chesterfield were showing some nice touches and after some good build-up play, Jay O’Shea wildly shot over the bar from outside the box. But it was Fleetwood again who went close with Ian Evatt stopping a goal-bound shot after another excellent driving run from Matt.
Chesterfield still continued to probe and Gary Roberts was next to trouble the Fleetwood back-line, with his shot being blocked.
Chesterfield were starting to gain control of the game and their next chance came through Jimmy Ryan. He was played in by Roberts but his shot from the left hand side of the penalty area was tipped away by keeper Chris Maxwell. From the follow-up cross, Roberts volleyed well over under pressure.
The Spireites pressed again when a cross field ball to the right was controlled well by Tendayi Darikwa who moved the ball onto O’Shea, but his shot was again comfortably saved by Maxwell.
Fleetwood managed another effort on goal with a speculative 30-yard shot from Jon Parkin. Seeing Chesterfield keeper Tommy Lee off his line he attempted the audacious, but the ball sailed harmlessly wide.
More excellent play from Chesterfield saw a cross from Ryan find the head of Marc Richards, but the striker’s header was tipped over the bar by Maxwell. The resulting corner caused havoc in the Fleetwood box before the ball rolled to Sam Hird whose fierce shot was blocked.
Fleetwood had calls for a penalty turned down when Parkin went down under a challenge from Lee but the referee waved down their appeals.
Soon after Chesterfield had another excellent chance when Roberts played a through ball to O'Shea, who made his way into area before unleashing a shot on goal that Maxwell saved brilliantly.
Fleetwood were struggling to make an impact on the game but towards the end of the half they created two decent chances. The first came when Alan Goodall did brilliantly to trick his way into the area and won a free-kick 20 yards out. Goodall stepped up to take the free-kick but his effort was poor and Chesterfield cleared the ball with ease.
Minutes later Sarcevic danced his way into the box and shot across the goal but the ball was cleared away well by Darikwa - his clearance went only as far as Matt who, under pressure, headed wide.
The first half ended with another Chesterfield chance when Sam Morsy played an over the top through ball to Richards who found himself with an on rushing goalkeeper who he attempted to lob but his effort was saved by Maxwell.
Fleetwood had the first effort of the second half through target man Parkin, whose effort on the half volley was struck just over with his back to goal. Chesterfield had started the second half the way they finished the first and it wasn’t long before another chance came their way. More excellent passing from the midfield saw the ball break to O’Shea but his shot went just narrowly wide.
Chesterfield were really starting to dominate the game and more neat passing saw Roberts in the penalty area, but his final ball couldn’t find a team mate and Fleetwood cleared their lines. Minutes later Richards did well to rise above his marker to nod the ball onto Roberts, with the winger in space a shooting opportunity was on but he fired wide right of Maxwell’s goal.
Just after the hour-mark Fleetwood made a double substitution with Mikael Mandron and Junior Brown replacing Alan Goodall and on-loan Blackburn midfielder Alex Marrow. The changes gave Fleetwood renewed energy but it was Chesterfield who kept up the pressure when O’ Shea found himself in the area after an error from the Fleetwood defence, but his shot was brilliantly blocked.
Fleetwood came forward in a rare attack with Antoni Sarcevic forcing a fine save from Lee who tipped his goal bound effort round the post. Both sides made substitutions next with Matty Hughes replacing Mark Roberts for Fleetwood. For Chesterfield it was a double substitution, with Ollie Banks and Eoin Doyle coming on for O’Shea and Richards. Hughes was straight into the action going down under a challenge from
Evatt in the area but the referee had no hesitation in booking him for diving.
Chesterfield fans were sensing progress to Wembley and they so very nearly made sure when an excellent ball in from the left by the impressive Roberts was headed over by Doyle. The Spireites again found themselves in an excellent position but Banks couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and Fleetwood managed to clear. Chesterfield made their final substitution of the game with Armand Gnanduillet coming on for Ryan with five minutes remaining.
Parkin missed a gilt-edged opportunity when, after being played in, he was given time to hit the target but his shot was tame and straight into the arms of Lee. But minutes later they did manage a goal to take the lead on the night in the 90th minute. Parkin was again found free in the area and he managed to slot home from 10 yards to give Fleetwood a 1-0 lead.
Six minutes of added on time was shown and both fans were in full voice as Chesterfield looked to keep a transformed Fleetwood at bay. Chesterfield defended heroically and managed to hold on until the final whistle to earn their place in the final of the competition.
Chesterfield will now make their second trip to Wembley in three years to face Southern area winners Peterborough in the final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.