Goals either side of the break from Darren Bent and Will Hughes gave Derby County the Derbyshire bragging rights in a 2-0 win in the FA Cup fourth round.The Rams took the lead when Bent reacted first to a deflection in the Spireites’ area following a Hughes corner kick, with the striker flicking a header into the net.
Despite Chesterfield continuing to carve out opportunities and dominate proceedings, County sealed the win when Hughes pounced on a loose ball so seal the victory late on.
Nearly 5,500 Chesterfield fans made the short trip across Derbyshire to cheer a Spireites side who had lost just twice in their last fifteen fixtures, hoping to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup for just the second time in 60 years.
Two Rams debutants were on show from the off, but that did not stop the Spireites from making a blistering start to the cup tie, as following tricky work from Eoin Doyle down the right, Armand Gnanduillet had the opportunity to bundle the ball home, however he was unable to do so.
Gnanduillet was causing problems for the three Derby central defenders in the opening stages and Chesterfield carved out another chance after their bright start to the tie, as the Frenchman expertly brought down a raking Sam Morsy pass, before he attempted to bend the ball into the far corner. However, his effort was saved by Rams 'keeper Kelle Roos.
Despite Paul Cook’s side creating the better of the chances, Chesterfield did find themselves trailing as Derby County struck first in the Derbyshire Derby, Bent reacted quickest to a ricochet inside the Spireites area, before heading past a diving Tommy Lee.
Following on from the Rams’ opener, the Spireites’ confidence did not drop off as the half grew older, and Irishman Jay O’Shea was inches away from the leveller, as he turned his man on the edge of the area before firing a vicious half-volley which appeared to be destined for the top corner, but instead whistled inches wide.
The impressive Chesterfield were giving the Premier League chasers a real game at the iPro Stadium and following a patient build up, the silky Spireites mustered up an opportunity which would have deservedly rounded off a superb move, but Clucas scuffed Tendayi Darikwa’s cutback over the bar.
The Spireites would have felt unlucky to have headed into the dressing rooms one down at half-time, but they could have been two down within minutes of the restart, as a killer ball from the highly-rated Hughes released Bent who was denied by a sensational one-on-one save from Lee. Chesterfield reacted well brilliantly to the Rams’ missed opportunity and could have found themselves all square and what a goal it would have been.
Immense pressure from the Spireites saw them camped inside County’s half. O’Shea picked up the loose ball on the edge of the area, and after he dribbled past a number of Derby defenders, a last-ditch Richard Keogh challenge denied the Spireites' number ten.
Similarly to the majority of the Spireites’ fixtures this season, the cup tie was proving to be an end to end contest, and just as Derby’s substitute Johnny Russell broke clear and slotted by Lee, Darikwa was on hand to slide the ball away from danger.
An electric atmosphere was increasing the intensity of the tie and the debutant Bent was sent through on goal again, but his attempted lob was incredibly tipped wide of the goal by the ever-reliable Lee.
The Spireites were knocking on the door having already asked numerous questions of the hosts’ backline, and that equaliser very nearly arrived for Chesterfield when Dan Jones’ delivery found its way to Jimmy Ryan at the back post, but unfortunately he snatched at the shot to blaze over.
The end-to-end action showed no sign of finishing as both sides pressed forward for the game's crucial second goal and the Rams came within the width of a post of doubling their lead, as the onrushing Simon Dawkins met Cyrus Christie’s cross, but his header rattled the woodwork with help from lee's fingertips.
A double change from manager Paul Cook saw the introduction of Dan Gardner and Ollie Banks, and the pair were straight into the thick of it as they combined to slide Darikwa away down the right, but after the full back beat his man, he could not find a man in the middle.
The home side had been pushed hard throughout the tie, and County undeservedly sealed their place in the FA Cup fifth round when Hughes capitalised on some hesitant Spireites defending and caress the ball underneath Lee to make it two nil and knock Chesterfield out of the cup.
Derby County: Roos (gk) - Keogh, Buxton, Christie, Forsyth, Alebntosa (Russell 46’, Ward 65’) - Hendrick, Hughes, Mascarell - Bent, Martin (Dawkins 69’)
Subs not used: Mitchell (gk), Bryson, Shotton, Warnock
Chesterfield: Lee (gk) - Darikwa, Raglan, Hird, Jones - Ryan (Banks 75’), Morsy (c), O’Shea (Gardner 75’), Clucas - Doyle, Gnanduillet (Dieseruvwe 87’)
Subs not used: Wright (gk), Humphreys, Evatt, Talbot
Derby County: Bent 20’, Hughes 83’
Attendance: 28,392 (5,433 awat fans)