Chesterfield repeated the impressive trick with a second time second round 1-0 win over MK Dons to progress in the FA Cup.It was second time lucky for the Spireites as they put their administrative problems behind them and it came thanks to a neat first half strike from Gary Roberts who finished a three man move with aplomb.
They had the edge in the first half and maintained their grip in the second period thanks to a strong and determined performance that saw them snuff out an MK Dons team that showed plenty of fight but little guile.
Prior to kick-off there was an almost surreal feel about the fixture. The game that was a re-match, a game without the opportunity of a genuine replay, a very unusual Friday night that, whatever happened, would see a decisive outcome to decide which League 1 team progresses to Round Three of the FA Cup, scheduled for just four nights later.
The Spireites had enjoyed a great Christmas, picking up two wins and a draw - the challenge now was to maintain that momentum and take the team into the 3rd Round of the Cup for the first time since 2009 when they reached the away tie at Ipswich in similarly unusual circumstances, their opponents Droylsden fielded an ineligible player and – despite beating the Spireites – were thrown out of the competition.
Dons’ boss Karl Robinson took the unusual step of naming his team two days early and made five changes to the side that surprisingly lost at home to Walsall on the 28th.
George Baldock, ex-Spireite Mark Randall, Danny Green, Daniel Powell and striker Benik Afobe were given the nod as quintet Antony Kay, Dele Alli, Carl Baker, Samir Carruthers and Will Grigg made way.
Spireites’ boss Paul Cook announced his starting eleven much closer to kick-off and made just one change from the side that started the game at Coventry; Ian Evatt stepped aside as Sam Morsy slotted seamlessly back into the line-up.
It was a very even opening with both sides posing early problems. Gnanduillet headed home in the seventh minute but was rightly judged offside.
Two minutes later Afobe tried his luck but his shot was held easily by Lee and moments later Gnanduilet flashed a header wide of the right upright.
Danny Green went down easily in the 12th minute but referee Stephen Martin showed no inclination to be generous.
Gnanduillet looked comfortable and was linking well with Eoin Doyle, his 17th minute flick saw Doyle clear and possibly he should have done better. Ex-Spireite Mark Randall was equally rash as he wasted a good opening and flashed his shot over the cross bar.
Gnanduillet won a corner half way through the period as his strong blast took a deflection.
The end to end theme continued as a superb ball in from Clucas failed to find a taker and moments later Afobe fired hurriedly into the side netting.
Daniel Powell played a tremendous ball in from the left and Danny Green matched previous efforts by firing waywardly over.
The Spireites took the lead two minutes before the interval thanks to a well worked move. Boco found space on the right and looked for Doyle in a central position, his ball out to the left was inch perfect for Gary Roberts who timed his run to perfection and slotted home from ten yards with ease.
Mark Randall’s involvement in the game ended at the interval as Ben Reeves took his place at the start of the second period.
Substitute Reeves flung over a great cross from the right in the 50th minute and really Dean Bowditch’s header should have posed a bigger threat than it did.
Similarly five minutes later Tendayi Darikwa’s strong run down the right produced a teasing cross that Gnanduillet really should have made more of.
MK decided to spice up their line-up and made a double substitution on the hour mark. Grigg and Carruthers replaced Green and Powell Gnanduillet burst through and forced a good low down save from home keeper Martin after 66 minutes.
MK almost broke through after 71 minutes when Darikwa lost possession on the right touchline, Carruthers burst into the box but Darikwa challenged well and ensured Lee was able to claim onches from the byline.
Kyle McFadzean won a generous free kick in the 77th minute after Sam Hird’s innocuous tackle, Bowditch fired straight into the arms of Lee.
Afobe looked for a generous decision in the box after 80 minutes but Stephen Martin showed no interest and correctly awarded the flag kick that came to nothing.
MK were battling well but the Spireites looked equally determined at the back. An 87th minute free kick from Reeves saw Tommy Lee fouled as he claimed.
The Spireites eased their way through the four minutes of added time - despite an ugly skirmish at the death that saw Carruthers cautioned in the last minute for a messy challenge on Gnanduillet – to seal an historic second win at Stadium MK in a matter of weeks and send 1164 travelling Spireites home happy.
MK Dons: Martin (gk), Lewington, McFadzean, Green (Carruthers 60), Potter, Bowditch, Spence, Randall (Reeves 46), Powell (Grigg 60), Baldock, Afobe
Subs not used McLoughlin, Hodson, Flanagan, Alli
Chesterfield: Lee (gk), Darikwa, Hird, Morsy, Gnanduillet, Roberts, Clucas, Humphreys, Raglan, Doyle, Boco
Subs not used: Wright, Jones, Gardner, O’Shea, Talbot, Ariyibi
Chesterfield: Roberts 43'
Attendance: 8,040 (1,160 away fans)