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Spireites Yth 0-1 Walsall Yth

1 December 2012

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Chesterfield were knocked out of the Youth Alliance Cup in the first round after a narrow defeat to an impressive Walsall side on a chilly day at Warminster Road.

A single goal by striker Danny Griffiths was enough for the Saddlers as they produced a defensive master class to go through to the next round.

Dave Bentley's side were unbeaten in their last four games in all competitions, and scoring goals for fun, but couldn't find a way past a well organised back four. Cormac Noel had the best chance for the Spireites but he was denied by the woodwork.

After a timid start to the game Spireites 'keeper Josh Barrington was forced into action. He did superbly to tip wide a shot from midfielder Carlton McKenzie who used his pace well to get past defender Jamie McNicholas.

The West Midland side thought they had scored the opening goal in the 17th minute after midfielder Griffiths played a superb through ball which evaded defender Regan Edridge. McKenzie ran onto the pass and slotted the ball into the net but was ruled out for offside.

Barrington made another smart save after Griffiths managed to wriggle free on the edge of the box and unleashed a shot heading for the top corner before an outstretched hand tipped the ball over the bar.

The Spireites first chance of the game through a set-piece, as midfielder Joshua Scully's corner caused confusion in the Walsall defence but the ball was eventually hacked away off the line by midfielder Jacob Hobbis.

The pace of Cormac Noel was causing all sorts of problems for the visitors. He collected the ball deep in his own half and dodged and weaved his way past Jake Heath and Alex Dallison before hitting a thunderous effort which bounced off the post. That was the best chance of the half for the Spireites, who had 'keeper Josh Barrington to thank for keeping the scores level at the break

With less than a minute gone after the restart Bentley's boys were caught cold as a superb through ball by Reece Flannagan found Griffiths in plenty of space and he duly punished some slack defending after slotting the ball past Barrington with a neat finish.

The lead could have been doubled a minute later as a corner from Flanagan was flicked on at the near post and Griffiths stuck out a foot but his effort cannoned back off the crossbar and Edridge cleared the danger.

Bentley's team slowly got their way back into the game after playing some neat football and Scully's long-range effort was saved by 'keeper Richard Jones, a reminder that they were not going to lie down.

Despite all their efforts, the Saddlers gave Chesterfield nothing in the final third. Defenders Matt Preston and Dallison were colossus' at the back, dominating the aerial battles and sweeping up danger with ease as theĀ  Spireites struggled to create opportunities.

Bentley made a triple substitution with quarter of an hour to play. Mitchell Mullins, Ben Partridge and Fabian Johnson came on to try and give the hosts a spark.

Despite a late surge they couldn't find a way past a solid, well organised defence and Walsall deservedly progress into the next round but Bentley wasn't too down-hearted following the defeat.

He said: "We came up against a very good team today, they were very organised. In parts of the game we had good possession but couldn't create enough in the final third.

"It is our first defeat in four games and we just need to get back on track at home against Notts County next week."

Chesterfield Xl v Walsall: Barrington, Edridge ( Mullins 75), Broadhead, Maguire, McNicholas; Fereday, Scully, Hewitt, Noel; Beesley ( Johnson 75), Bowland ( Partridge 75)

Subs: Partridge, Mullins, Johnson.

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