Chesterfield manager Jack Lester declared himself proud of his team’s performance, after they won 2-1 at Rotherham United last night in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Diego De Girolamo gave the Spireites the lead in the ninth minute, lobbing former Chesterfield goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell from the edge of the area.
Millers midfielder Will Vaulks levelled from close range in the 70th minute, before midfielder Jak McCourt headed home Jordan Flores’ cross in the 89th minute to give the Lester his first win as Chesterfield boss.
Speaking exclusively to iFollow, Lester said: “I think that our shape was better tonight, we won more tackles - the things that we’d asked for in the week and the things that we’d highlighted. I thought it was an excellent, battling performance and one full of character, which is what we’ve asked for from the players.
“Everybody played their part, even the substitutes that came on. We knew it was going to be a tough night against a team that’s going for the play-offs in League One.
“We were really disciplined tonight and when the performance came with the 50-50s, I thought that we were much better.
“I thought they really battled well, the character was excellent and I’m really proud of them.”
Lester also gave a special mention to the two goalscorers, De Girolamo and McCourt.
“Diego’s got quality,” he said. “I’ve seen him score goals at all different levels. It was great for him to get off the mark and hopefully it’ll give him a good feeling going into the next game.
“And that’s what it’s about, building confidence in this group of players and that will help.
“Jak was running all over the place, wasn’t he?
“He showed the discipline at the right time and to make that run in the 89th minute for someone who hasn’t played that much I thought was outstanding.
“I thought his leadership qualities were brilliant tonight and I was really, really pleased with him.”
Lester confirmed that goalkeeper Tommy Lee missed the match due to a knee injury, while Sam Hird did not feature because of a groin injury.
Laurence Maguire missed the match through concussion, but is expected to resume training on Thursday, while midfielder Louis Reed was not selected as a precautionary measure, after taking a knock to his ankle.
Lester will assess all of the injured players over the coming days, before the Spireites return to league action away at Lincoln City on Saturday, 3pm.
And the manager says that the win at the New York Stadium can provide the squad with a huge boost and help Town push up the Sky Bet League Two table.
He added: “It’s that feeling that they’ve not had many times. It breeds confidence and confidence plays such a big part.
“We’ve said in there that it’s a small step. There willll be tough moments coming up but they’re the times to grow, that’s the time you become a man and I thought a few of them stepped up tonight when they equalised.
“I was really looking at that from the run that they’ve been on. When it goes to 1-1 away from home at Rotherham in the league above they got themselves together and that’s excellent!”