Spireites head out of Emirates FA Cup

The Spireites went out of the Emirates FA Cup on Tuesday night, losing 4-0 in their third round replay at West Brom following goals from John Swift. Tom Rogic,  Jake Livermore and Jovan Malcolm.

The two sides had never before played each other in the FA Cup so a little bit of history was created at The Hawthorns.

There’s no doubt the home side deserved to progress but the Spireites, at half time, just one goal adrift will have felt they still had time to claw their way back. Two quick strikes at the start of the second period ended that hope. Sadly the goals came from defensive errors that put the game beyond reach.

A triple change added some fire but West Brom defended resolutely throughout and broke decisively. The Baggies took the game to Chesterfield from the first minute and never really looked in danger of falling victim to a Cup shock.

The two clubs last met In 1948 Division Two action when the two teams were almost level pegging in the much-more-even world of football with the Baggies clinching promotion back to the top flight, just edging Southampton by one point; the Spireites finished sixth – one point above West Ham – and have yet to since better that position.

Both games ended goal-less and reflected the closeness in league form. Historically West Brom have the better record having won ten of the 20 clashes and the Spireites just four.

Both teams were in a rich vein of form coming into the game, the Spireites with just one defeat in the last 14 league and FA Cup fixtures and West Brom one in 11 up to last Saturday.

Chesterfield had been without a game, since the home match against the Baggies ten days ago; Paul Cook chose to make three changes to the Technique starting line-up as Lucas Covolan got a rare start in the nets and Akwasi Asante and Kabongo Tshimanga both got the nod. Ross Fitzsimons and Tim Akinola had to settle for places on the bench.

Meanwhile West Brom made ten alterations to their much-changed side that started in the win at Luton at the weekend after coming back from a two-goal deficit; just John Swift of that starting XI began in the replay. Two youngsters, Jamie Andrews and Reyes Cleary, made their first start for the club.

The Spireites were backed by a noisy sell-out allocation who were determined to get behind their team from “the off”

In the game’s first move of note. Jake Livermore and Grady Diangana combined well and Diangana touched home but the Spireites’ keeper Covolan who took an early knock and the foul was awarded.

More good link play between Diangana and John Swift almost allowed Rogic to get in a shot but the Spireites blocked well.

The Albion had dominated the early exchanges but Chesterfield broke well and Akwasi Asante fed Armando Dobra who was central but he needed to get in an early shot but was dispossessed while still weighing up his options.

At the half-way point the home side edged in front. Livermore headed forward and Swift picked up, took a step inside before curling a left foot shot into the corner, giving Covolan no chance.

It was almost two with ten minutes to the break when Diangana found space and shot goalward; Covolan saw the danger and spread himself well.

Moments later Dobra put through a perfectly weighted ball for Tshimanga to run on to, sadly he failed to connect.

The end-to-end pattern resumed as Reyes Cleary tried his luck from the left but his effort flew wide of Covolan’s left upright.

Back again as the Spireites broke, Asante found Bailey Clements, on the left, who blasted across the face of goal. Tshimanga was close by there were no other takers.

In the next move Clements continued to threaten and forced a strong save from Button. Liam Mandeville was next in the queue but his optimistic volley flew well wide of Button’s left post. In the next move Jeff King hit from wide right but this failed to test the keeper and again went to safety.

Just one minute was added and in the last few seconds Diangana latched on to a promising through ball but the linesman showed no hesitation in signalling for offside, the whistle followed to end play that had seen the home side perform with much purpose than in the first fixture. However the Spireites had shown they were a threat with Dobra, particularly, causing some anxious moments.

Albion doubled their lead in their first attack of the half. Adam Reach had a free run down the left flank, his ball in should have been cleared comfortably but the key error from Jeff King allowed Tom Rogic to hit home.

The pressure was incessant as Taylor Gardner-Hickman went close from the edge of the area and Diangana had an effort cleared off the line.

It was soon three. Failure to clear an Albion corner from the left allowed Livermore the easiest of openings to hit home from close range.

The Spireites made a triple change as Akinola, Ollie Banks and Rhyeem Sheckleford took over from Mike Jones, Tshimanga and King.

Immediately there was a new life in the team, more energy and more threat. Akinola was all-action and and the home side were happy to concede a couple of corners.

Cook completed his five changes as Jez Uchegbulam and Branden Horton were given some game time at the expense of Mandeville and Clements.

Chances came at both ends as Asante forced a save from Button and hit the crossbar with his follow-up, play broke and Albion substitute Matt Phillips burst strongly but hit wide.

The game may have been out of reach but the Spireites continued to drive forward and were backed by fantastic support who had out-sung the home support throughout.

In time added on Albion scored a fourth. Substitute Malcolm rose well to meet a cross from the right, nodding home for his first goal for the club.

Still the fans kept singing and supporting their team who didn’t deserve the scoreline but did deserve the applause at the final whistle.

Spireites: Covolan, Grimes, Mandeville (Uchegbulam 74), Tshimanga (Banks 64), Williams, Dobra, Asante, King (Sheckleford 64), Oldaker, Clements (Horton 77), Jones (Akinola 64)

Substitute not used: Fitzsimons, Cook

Attendance: 12,638, including 2,506 Chesterfield fans

Referee: Tim Robinson