Chesterfield striker Chris O’Grady hailed the character shown by the Spireites, after they came back to defeat Manchester City U21s on penalties in the Checkatrade Trophy last night.
O’Grady scored an equaliser in stoppage time to send the game to penalties after Joe Rowley’s opener had been cancelled out by an Ed Francis free kick and Lukas Nmecha’s close range finish. The Spireites then went on to win the shoot-out 4-3, with captain Sam Hird dispatching the winning spot-kick.
Speaking exclusively to iFollow, O’Grady said: “It was a bit surreal especially at the end as we thought we’d won the game 1-0 and they were down to 10 men, there was then a crazy five-minute period where we went 2-1 down and almost lost the game.
“We managed to get back into it and win on penalties so we were quite happy at the end of it.
“I think that showed good character, when you go 2-1 down you can be a bit shell-shocked, but we didn’t have the time to be shell-shocked, because if we had done that the game would’ve just filtered out and ended.
“We managed to get our heads together quite quickly, we had three or four chances before I scored so we reacted quite well to it.”
When it came to the shoot-out O’Grady scored the third of Town’s penalties to help book a second round tie at Fleetwood Town next Tuesday. And the striker dismissed any notion of nerves when stepping up to take a spot-kick.
He said: “No not at all, especially with having scored a few minutes before that.
“I was just hoping that the players before me scored, when Kells (Andy Kellett) missed the first one, we knew we had to score the others after then and I hoped that we were still in the game when it came to mine and thankfully we were.”
The former Sheffield Wednesday striker was one of the four players to come back into the starting XI and he declared himself happy with his own performance, following a frustrating few weeks on the side-lines.
“I’m just trying to work as hard as possible to get back on track,” O’Grady said. “I was happy with my performance I gave everything and I worked hard and I was glad that I was rewarded with a goal, I managed to get a penalty at the end and I’m happy as I wanted to get back to contributing.
“It’s a continuation from what we’ve been working on under the new manager, it’s chalk and cheese earlier in the season, so I’m trying to integrate myself into the team, give him everything he wants and just work with him as hard as possible to continue the form that we’ve been on.”
Since Lester’s arrival at the club the team’s performances and results have improved, with just one defeat in their last seven league games and the summer signing says that playing for the Spireites legend is enjoyable.
“He’s got the mentality of a manager who’s above this level,” he explained. “He’s trying to instil elite performance into us and that’s shown on the pitch with the results we’ve been getting and if we can continue that then who knows?”
With the Sprieites not being involved in the second round of the FA Cup this weekend, their next fixture will see them take on Uwe Rosler’s ‘Cod Army’ on Tuesday night, 7.45pm.
O’Grady will once again be in contention to start the match and while he expects a tough game in Lancashire, he believes that it’s one that he and his team mates can perform well in.
He added: “It’ll be different in the way that they are a League One team and they’ve got their style so we’ll have to adapt to that.
“They’re not a young Man City team where their philosophy is a lot different so we’ll adapt to it and if we play like we’re capable of and have been doing then just recently we’ll be fine.”