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Cookie: 'We Should Never Have Lost'

6 March 2013

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Manager Paul Cook was left bemoaning his side's cruel luck after Paul Benson's 92nd minute winner gave Cheltenham Town a flattering 1-0 win over his plucky Chesterfield side.

The former Swindon Town striker pounced deep into stoppage time with the Robins' first meaningful assault on Tommy Lee's goal to completely stun the Spireites and shatter their hopes of sneaking in to the League Two play-off places.

The win meant Mark Yates' side moved into the third automatic promotion spot, while the Liverpudlian's side's hopes of clinching a place in the top seven were all but ended as they trail Northampton Town by 11 points.

"That was disappointing tonight, it really was," a deflated Paul Cook told Spireites Player after the game.

"Was that their first shot on target in stoppage time? It's hard for us because we're not scoring. We're trying all sorts of things, we've had Armand [Gnanduillet] back and he's out on his feet, the big man.

"We don't want Jack [Lester] up top and his own and it's not firing for Marc [Richards] at the minute but you've just got to stick in there and keep working.

"I've just said to our lads, i've got no criticisms.

"Again, we've got good travelling support and when you work as hard as that people don't really have any problems. We should never have lost, but that's football.

"We've got beat unfortunately, we haven't scored again and it's our perennial problem. Unfortunately we can't solve our problems, but going forward we have got to."

After a strong start from the home side, the visitors visibly grew in confidence at Whaddon Road and should have taken the lead through French-born forward Armand Gnanduillet headed Jay O'Shea's inviting cross into the ground.

The Spireites were then denied a stonewall penalty by the referee after Sam Hird's attempted cross appeared to strike a flailing arm in red and white, but the wait for their first penalty kick in the league went on.

Second-half substitute Jack Lester then flashed an effort narrowly wide, before Benson popped up in the dying seconds to slam home the most heart-wrenching of winners.

But with it looking increasingly difficult to return to League One at the first attempt, Cook believes the supporters who have travelled to the last two away games will be aware his side were hard done by.

"It's obviously getting more and more difficult to get in the play-offs. We needed to win tonight.

"Jack Lester's turned and hit one that was destined for the top corner but it has drifted wide, we thought we had a claim for a penalty and we were never under pressure in the game.

"Sometimes you don't get what you deserve, we know we have got to do better going forward but our supporters who travelled to Dagenham on Saturday and watched us tonight, I don't think they'll have any problems with our commitment and our effort."

The Spireites are now languishing down in 14th place and although admitting he wasn't prepared to write the season off, the former Accrington boss also moved to reassure fans that the squad will be addressed in the summer.

"Everyone's down, you can imagine how down the dressing room is rightly so," he added.

"You should hurt, but when you work hard and keep working you'll get your little bounces. We're in a position in the league that none of us like.

"Unfortunately we're not delving into markets at the minute to solve our problems, we are just trying to work with what we've got.

"If we can be patient and go into summer and address our problems, we'll be okay."

You can watch Cookie's interview in full exclusively on Spireites Player.

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