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Lester: "I thought we’d have the stronger finish."

10 December 2017

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Chesterfield manager Jack Lester says that his team’s fitness levels were the key to yesterday’s 2-1 victory over Barnet at the Proact.

Spireites midfielder Robbie Weir scored a stoppage time winner to secure the three points, capping off a second half fight back, with Town levelling through a Charlie Clough own goal after John Akinde’s opener in the 11th minute.

Speaking exclusively to iFollow, Lester said: “I thought that we won it with a little bit more energy at the end, I don’t think the quality was quite there today, it was quite an edgy game.

“You’re trying to play down the league positions of the two teams, we knew it was a big game and maybe it was a slightly edgy performance but as the game went into the last five minutes I thought we’d nick it.

“I thought we’d have the stronger finish in terms of the fitness levels and in the end I think that was enough for us to win it.

Normally a holding midfielder, Weir took his second goal of the season with great composure and Lester hailed the Northern Irishman and the part Louis Reed and Ian Evatt played in the winner.

“He was in a lot of space but it was a great pick out and to be fair it’s a really cool finish,” he said. “In the 93rd minute you need strong characters at the end and you need someone with a strong character and Robbie’s got that.

“Evo [Evatt] was excellent again and when Louis went out on to the left he added some real quality for us and he picked up the pockets really well and I thought he was probably our best player in that second period.

“We’re delighted to get that result, I think that today the result mattered more than performance and I’ll have to say that because the result was better than the performance.”

Lester also hailed second half introduction of striker Chris O’Grady from the substitutes bench, with the former Brighton and Hove Albion man playing a big part in the Spireites’ equaliser.

He said: “With the shape we didn’t really get in and around Denno [Kristian Dennis], our two midfielders were a little bit deep and Denno was up there on his own.

“We tried switching the wingers and getting them in and around Denno in the second half and that didn’t really work so we went with two up top and Chris was excellent. He gave us a physical presence and won his battles, he was in and around Denno so he could go and get space for himself and I think that was key to getting the result.”

The manager lost both Andy Kellett and Bradley Barry to injury during the match with the Bees and Laurence Maguire failed to make the matchday 18 due to injury and Lester gave an update on those players.

“Kells [Kellett] has struggled all week, he’s had a tight hamstring but I don’t think his will be too bad, he just didn’t feel like he could do it,” Lester explained.

“As for Brad we’ll see, it looked like a hamstring injury and we’ll see how it is on Monday. Laurence did his thigh on Tuesday so it looks he’ll be out for 6-8 weeks.

“We haven’t got a big squad, it’s an unbalanced squad so we’ll have to patch it up and go again.”

Goalkeeper Cameron Dawson signed on an emergency loan from Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the week and he made his debut for the Spireites in yesterday’s fixture and Lester was pleased with his performance.

“I thought he did well,” he said. “He made some good saves and caught the ball well, he was on the front foot and played his part in our result.

“We conceded a goal that he couldn’t do a lot about and apart from that he’s not looked like being beaten, so we’re pleased.”

Yesterday’s result moves the team from the bottom of the Sky Bet League Two table, a move that Lester feels has been coming for a few weeks given Town’s impressive run of results.

He asserted: “I think that’s us up to 20th, if we win three out of our last four games and draw the other one that’s us moving up.

“We’re unbeaten in six, we’ve played teams in the automatic places and play offs, so it’s not like we’ve had a run of games with teams around us.”

When Weir’s effort hit the back of the net it sparked wild celebrations amongst players, staff and supporters and Lester himself recalled exactly how he reacted and also praised the efforts of the Town fans.

“I was off down the tunnel,” he added. “I ran down there as I was so happy that it had gone in, so I missed the celebrations, sometimes when you score a goal you lose yourself and I lost myself today!

“But it was a great feeling the stadium was great, the fans kept with us and stayed on again – I keep talking about the fans having a big part to play, but they do! Because I know that when your team is behind you here it gives you that extra yard and they’ve stayed with us again.”

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