Chesterfield advanced into the second round of the FA Cup after they secured a morale-boosting 6-0 victory against non-league Braintree Town.First-half goals from Eoin Doyle, Jay O’Shea and Sam Clucas sent the Spireites in with a convinvcing three-goal lead at the break.
Chesterfield then stretched their lead with a stunning volley from range from the impressive Gary Roberts, before a Dan Jones cross was turned into his own net by substitute Remi Clerima. Doyle then rounded the scoring off deep into stoppage time as he grabbed his second of the afternoon and the Spireites confirmed their place in the hat for the next round.
The Spireites travelled to Essex hoping to avoid being one of the inevitable scalps the FA Cup brings with it, and manager Paul Cook was well aware of this possibility, naming a full-strength side.
Weather conditions saw the first round tie being competed at Cressing Road on a slick surface, setting the game up nicely for a frantic 90 minutes.
Marks’ missed opportunity sparked the Spireites into life, as the usual combo of Jimmy Ryan and Sam Morsy in the middle of the field took control of the game, penning Braintree in their own half, though no clear-cut chances were created.
Although opportunities for the Spireites weren’t appearing on tap, Chesterfield’s domination of the game eventually paid off midway through the first-half, as the League One top goalscorer, Doyle, slotted in his 16th goal in all competitions, when he pounced on a parry from Iron goalkeeper Nick Hamman and slotted the ball into the empty net.
Soon after the Spireites’ opener, the influential Roberts nearly doubled Chesterfield’s lead after a sensational solo run which saw him carry the ball all of 40 yards, but a last-ditch sliding challenge from Omar Sowunmi denied Roberts from bagging a goal on his return from injury.
However, Chesterfield didn’t have to wait long for their second, as following neat build-up play between Roberts and Jones down the left flank, O’Shea’s movement found him in space on the edge of the area, before he crisply placed the ball into the top corner from 18 yards.
The Spireites looked a threat with every attack, and just two minutes after O’Shea scored, he forced Hamman into a superb save as his swivel and shot saw the big German ‘keeper worked again.
The hosts had offered little since the opening five minutes of the tie, and as that pattern continued, the Spireites carried on in their search for more goals, and young centre-half Charlie Raglan was the next man to go close as he glanced Roberts' corner toward goal, but his flick narrowly missed at the far post.
As the half-time break approached, Chesterfield were keen to bag yet another goal, and that is exactly what they did in stoppage time when a goal for another player, Clucas, occurred when he latched on to Doyle’s pull-back and tapped the ball in.
Despite the dominance that the Spireites possessed in the first period, Braintree nearly hit back immediately after the break, as an effort from the hosts’ captain Kenny Davis enabled Lee to make a smart stop and maintain his clean sheet.
However, similarly to the big chance the Iron wasted in the opening minute of the game, Chesterfield were able to capitalise and lightning struck twice, as a driving run from Tendayi Darikwa allowed the ball to fall into the path of Roberts who struck a volley from range past a stranded Hamman to put the Spireites four goals to the good.
Chesterfield were creating chances at will, and after a clever corner kick routine, Ryan found himself at the edge of the box with a free strike at goal, but his wayward effort meant that he was unable to stretch the Spireites’ lead even further.
Simeon Akinola was catching the eye at Cressing Road, and he was the star of the Braintree side, but unfortunately for the forward his fierce drive was pushed away brilliantly by a diving Lee.
Chesterfield were taking a ruthless approach in front of goal, and the scoreline was slowly but surely becoming ever convincing as the match wore on, as this time it was Jones who was claiming the fifth when his teasing delivery was met by Braintree substitute Clerima who diverted the ball into his own goal.
Chesterfield continued to press in the late stages of the game, and the scoring was eventually rounded off deep into stoppage time, as Dan Gardner’s pin-point through ball freed Doyle, who was able to calmly slot past Hamman and send the Spireites convincingly into Monday night's second round draw.
Braintree Town: Hamann (gk) - Peters, Habergham, Isacc, Massey - Brundle (Strutton 46’), Mulley, Sowumni (Clerima 61’), Marks (Cox 46’) - Akinola, Davis
Subs not used: Sparkes, Paine, Walker, Pentney
Chesterfield: Lee (gk) - Darikwa, Evatt, Raglan, Jones (Humphreys 77’) - Ryan, Morsy, Roberts (Boco 77’), O’Shea (Gardner 77’) - Clucas, Doyle
Subs not used: Wright, Ariyibi, Banks
Chesterfield: Doyle 20', 90', O’Shea 30', Clucas 45', Roberts 53', Clerima (og) 74'