Dean Saunders gave an honest assessment of his youthful Spireites side after they lost 2-1 at Rochdale to go out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in the second round.A lacklustre first half saw the Spireites fortunate to go in behind by just a single Scott Tanser deflected goal.
Half time substitute Sylvan Ebanks-Blake forced a Dale own goal midway through the second period, but within moments of drawing level the Spireites were behind again to a second goal from Lewis Alessandra that would ultimately decide the game.
After the game the Chesterfield manager gave a scything verdict of his side's perfomrance: "Being honest, the first half was the worst 45 minutes of football I've ever been involved in.
"We didn't ever win a header up front or at the back, didn't do the basics properly. I'm really disappointed with the whole performance in the first half.
"I thought we had some energy and legs on the pitch and I can't find an excuse for what we've done in the first half.
"I thank goodness that Jay O'Shea came on the pitch because it was a totally different game in the second half. He ran the game when he came on, we got on top and played much of the second half in their half.
"Sylvan (Ebanks-Blake) came on and made the goal: it just makes things clearer for me, some of the players are not as good as I thought they were. They've got a lot of work to do and I've told them."
After a first round JPT bye, Chesterfield lost at their first hurdle in the competition and Saunders felt sympathy for the hardy fans who made the journey over to Lancashire.
"I just don't like losing, whatever the game is,"he said. "Our supporters have come from Chesterfield tonight and paid money to come here and to watch.
"We need to be as excited as them and I've just said to them that Jay O'Shea's shown them where they need to get to if you want to play higher up."