Two in each half seals Cup progress

A strong Chesterfield performance saw a place in the FA Cup first round secured thanks to two goals in each half in a 4-0 win at Curzon Ashton.

The goals came at key points in the game with the first two strikes coming after good periods of home pressure. 

The third, a well worked finish, by Mandeville effectively sealed the win and the late penalty award gave Stefan Payne the chance to break his scoring duck. His clinical finish was the least his performance deserved.

Overall a strong, effective performance against a team that just couldn’t get the breaks against a side determined to get the job done with several fringe players impressing strongly.

The Spireites faced a tough FA Cup challenge in their first ever fixture against Curzon Ashton, a team just one division below Chesterfield and handily placed to progress further. The Nash had won five games on the bounce until the previous weekend’s league defeat against Farsley Celtic.

Chesterfield’s impressive win at Southend sadly added two more injuries to the growing list of wounded and James Rowe decided to ring the changes at the Tameside Stadium and made eight changes from the team that started at Roots Hall.

Melvin Minter made his first start for the club, in goal,  and Manny Oyeleke, Liam Mandeville, Nathan Tyson, Jamie Grimes, Stefan Payne, Alex Whittle and Jak McCourt joined him in the opening line-up.

With Covid rules out of the window both teams knew that parity at ninety minutes brings about a replay and, really, neither side would relish an extra fixture as they both push for the bigger prize.

The Spireites, in all red, started confidently on an excellent playing surface. Liam Mandeville tested the home keeper, Christopher Renshaw, with a speculative effort from wide on the right, one that he held comfortably.

Within minutes Alex Curran, for Curzon, and Jeff King had both forced the keepers to claim, without seriously testing.

Curzon front man Craig Hobson, free in the six yard box, was unlucky when a quality ball in hit the back of his heel and flew to safety.

A good spell of Spireites pressure followed with two corners, from one Renshaw was forced to push to safety. 

There wasn’t long to wait before the deadlock was broken. A gem of a Maguire cross from the left found Jeff King unmarked at the far post; he powered his header coolly home.

Within a minute it could have been more. Initially the referee pointed to the penalty spot as Nathan Tyson was felled, a re-think brought a free-kick on the line. Jeff King stepped up but his strong effort hit the side netting.

A neat ball from Laurence Maguire found Tyson central in the area, he turned well and hit a goal-bound first time shot that, sadly, was blocked on its journey.

Curzon’s first corner on the left was well directed but Minter was fouled as Hobson jostled to connect.

With four minutes to the interval, Nathan Tyson doubled the Spireites’ lead; a superb Grimes ball over the top found him in, what looked a safe space; instead he turned, jinked, saw an opening and hit a superb angled drive into the far corner. He had time to add another, instead he was just inches away from Jeff King’s great ball across the box, from the right.

Curzon made one change at the start of the second period, Craig Mahon was introduced to add some extra pace.

A good spell of Chesterfield pressure brought their first flag-kick of the period and a second followed after Mandeville’s powerful blast was deflected.

The Spireites made their first swap, just before the hour-mark, as the ever-green Tyson made way for Kabongo Tshimanga, having put in a very effective shift.

A Spireites’ free-kick, just outside the area, was struck strongly by Jak McCourt but flew wide of the right upright.

Jim Kellermann was the second change for the Spireites, replacing the excellent Oyeleke.

It was 3-0 after 75 minutes when the alert Tshimanga spotted a clear opening and laid on a delicate through pass for Liam Mandeville to slot home from close range.

Moments later Calvin Miller became the final Chesterfield change as Alex Whittle left the action.

Within a minute Miller had earned a penalty after drawing a clear foul in the area from Matt Challoner.

Stefan Payne hit firmly home to Renshaw’s right to make it four.

As the last minute approached Jeff King hit a bobbling shot wide. Surprisingly just one minute added time was allocated by the referee and that proved eventless as the Spireites sealed their second consecutive 4-0 victory away from home.

Chesterfield FC: Minter, Oyeleke (Kellerman 72) , Maguire, Mandeville, McCourt, Tyson (Tshimanga 58), King, Grimes, Payne, Whittle (Miller 78), Kerr

Attendance: 1210