Spireites ‘keeper Tommy Lee believed his team played well enough to win the FA Cup tie at Derby County on Saturday, but rued the missed chances that separated the two teams.
Goals from Darren Bent and Will Hughes separated the Derbyshire rivals, but for long spells the Spireites threatened to cause an upset, Jay O'Shea going especially close on three occasions in the fourth round clash.
After the game Lee offered his assessment: “For large periods of the game we were the better team and on another day we might have got something out of it.
“In the first half you couldn’t tell who were the Championship team and we probably bossed the game for most of it. They got one chance and took it in the first half but if you were to ask a neutral who didn’t know then they would have probably said that we were the Championship side.
“When you step up a level you have to be more clinical in front of both goals and unfortunately we weren’t.”
Lee was disappointed with the goals conceded, and went through how the crucial opener came about.
He said: “Bent’s goal was the second phase of the set piece and it just died in the turf before he pulled away from his man and nodded it in. Those are the fine margins and we all need to defend those better.
“We were chasing the game a bit in the second half so they got a few more chances than we’d have liked but that’s par for the course when you go behind at a Championship club.
“We came here full of confidence and we knew if we stuck to our game plan then we would cause them a lot of problems. We did for large spells but we didn’t take our chances.
“Nevertheless the players can hold their heads high, everyone was brilliant and we weren’t far off.”
Lee was one such player, twice saving one-on-one chances, first from Bent then from substitute Johnny Russell. The large travelling army of Spireites fans clearly appreciated the guts and determination shown by their players, support which came as no surprise to the Chesterfield number one.
He said: “Every time there’s been an occasion at the club they’ve turned out in numbers and away from home we can’t be far off the best supported team in Sky Bet League 1. That’s a credit to the fans and it’s a shame that we couldn’t get any goals for them to celebrate today.”
There’s not much time for the Spireites to reflect on their FA Cup near-miss with the next fixture coming on Tuesday at home to Crawley Town in the league.
Lee said: “We’ll learn from this, we’re a good young squad and we’re getting better in all areas.
“We’re not a team that needs much confidence because we know the quality that we’ve got. It’s a case of brushing ourselves off and looking towards the game on Tuesday.”