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Match Previews

Classic encounter

7 February 2020

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Chesterfield welcome Wrexham to the Proact Stadium on Saturday for what will be a big game in the National League.

The two sides have faced each other on 118 occasions with the Spireites winning 52 times. An FA Cup quarter-final match stands alone as the biggest fixture between the two sides.

John Duncan’s side beat Bury, Scarborough, Bristol City, Bolton Wanderers and Premier League side Nottingham Forest on their way to the last eight.

The draw included the likes of Chelsea, Derby County, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, Sheffield Wednesday and Wimbledon but the Spireites found themselves drawn against fellow Second Division side Wrexham.

Chesterfield hadn’t had the best of luck against their Welsh opponents in the league that season with Wrexham gaining four points out of a possible six. The most recent of those meetings saw 6,738 people pack inside Saltergate as both sides were forced to settle for a 0-0 draw.

However, almost 1,500 more supporters packed into the old Recreation Ground on Sunday, March 10, 1997, all with the dream of seeing their team reach an FA Cup semi-final.

Going into the game, both top scorer Tony Lormor and a certain young upstart going by the name Kevin Davies were forced to miss out.

The Welsh side started on the front foot and almost took the lead early on; Bryan Hughes latched onto a Peter Ward lofted ball, but a combination of a Billy Mercer save a Mark Williams clearance stopped what was looking like a certain goal.

This seemed to wake up Duncan’s side and they would soon have a big appeal for a penalty. Andy Marriott provided an unconvincing punch from a long-ball and Andy Morris then looked to chip it back over the keeper. The attempt seemed to cannon off Tony Humes' arm, however referee Mike Riley waved away the protests.

Just before the hour-mark, the deadlock was broken. A Morris flick-on looked like it was going to be dealt with by either Deryn Brace or Marriott. Nevertheless, both players hesitated, which allowed Chris Beaumont, in front of the Kop, to deftly lift the ball into the back of the net.

The goal blew the roof off Saltergate as Beaumont celebrated just his second goal of the season. The midfielder was the Spireites' only summer signing, arriving from Stockport County for £22,500.

It almost went from good to even better for Beaumont just five minutes later when he pounced onto Sean Dyche’s forward ball before unleashing a curling effort that smacked against the upright. Jonathan Howard came in for the rebound, but Marriott made a great save to stop Chesterfield from doubling their lead.

Wrexham’s goalkeeper was forced into action to stop Howard yet again. A counter-attack saw the forward put through on goal but Marriott stood tall deny Howard once more.

The Red Dragons piled forward in an attempt to send the tie to a replay. However, Gareth Owen’s long-range deflected effort was the closest that the away side came.

With Mercer’s goal-kick, Riley brought the game to an end and prompted a mass pitch invasion and delirious scenes from the majority inside the Recreation Ground as Chesterfield went one step closer to becoming the first third tier side to ever reach the FA Cup final.

The rest they say is history but Beaumont’s 58th minute strike provided the biggest moment in the 139-year history of Chesterfield's old stomping ground.

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