Chesterfield manager Jack Lester refused to get too down hearted after the Spireites’ conceded a late goal at the One Call Stadium to draw 2-2 with local rivals Mansfield Town.
Lester’s side were excellent on the day, in particular in the second half and but for Stags’ captain Zander Diamond’s header in the 88th minute, would have held on to record three consecutive Sky Bet League Two victories.
Speaking exclusively to iFollow, Lester said: “I’ve got to be pleased with the performance, coming here to your rivals and putting a show on – I thought we were completely dominant.
“We were the only team who could get the ball down and play and I thought they were brilliant. I thought everybody in the stadium could see who they’d rather be watching every week.
“The football was superb, the energy was great and I thought we were ok in the first half and the goal we scored was absolutely marvellous, I thought both were, but for the first the passing and the movement was clever and intricate, they couldn’t live with it and it was great for Joe Rowley to get his goal.
“And for the second half we kept it off them for the majority of the game, they got a little bit of luck with a header at the end and we’re disappointed about that, but in terms of the process and the quality of football it was top drawer.”
If Lester was pleased with Rowley’s opener in the 14th minute then he declared himself just as pleased with Andy Kellett’s 58th minute goal, which capped off a superb counter attack from a Mansfield free-kick and cancelled out Hayden White’s equaliser.
He said: “We kept the ball really well and we moved through the thirds and there was a good understanding and a good exchange because Kells (Kellett) went and made the centre forward position and that was bright and intelligent.
“The cross was brilliant – strikers always seem to put the best crosses in because they know what they want and it was a great header from Kellett, it was a lovely goal.
“After that we controlled the game, but if you’re nit-picking, could we have got a third? We opened them up a few times and didn’t quite pick out the man in the middle, but it was good.”
Lester stuck with the same team that beat Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday, saying that it was an easy decision after they performed so well.
The match in Nottinghamshire marked the end of a busy week, with Town taking seven points from the last nine available and extended their good run to one defeat in their last seven matches. The three-game week has seen some excellent performances and Lester reflected on what he’s learned most during that time.
“I think you’re learning all the time about the squad, but their attitude has pleased me the most,” he said.
“Their willingness to work and the lads who’re not quite in the squad it’s key for them and they know if they give everything in training that they can play on the Saturday.
“There’s no guarantee from week to week but their attitude to want to get better, work and be bright is excellent and they’re a pleasure to work with.”
There were 1,646 Town supporters in attendance at Mansfield and Lester heaped further praise on them for providing the team with fantastic backing throughout the 90 minutes.
“I think we spoke at half time about rising to the occasion, not boiling over but giving the fans something to go home happy about,” he explained.
“They’ll be a little bit hurt from the goal that was scored at the end but in terms of the play and the passing, movement, intelligence and desire to break up bits and I thought they’ll go home happy.
“I think they’ll be pleased with the performance, coming away to this stadium and where they are in the league I think they expected to turn up and win and they got a bit of a lesson.”
The Spireites face a break from league action in their next match, when they take on Manchester City U21s at home in the Checkatrade Trophy on Wednesday night (7pm).
A win for the Spireites either in 90 minutes or via a penalty shoot-out will be enough to secure a place in the second round and Lester emphasised the importance of keeping momentum going.
He added: “There are a lot of players who deserve a chance to play, but we’ll decide after two days training to see who looks the most up for the game.
“We want to keep our run going and I’ve been there as a player and it was an amazing experience and it’s something that when I look back at my career it was one of the highlights.
“So I know how important it is for a nice cup run and we’ll be approaching the game to win it like every game.”