Cup triumph for young Spireites

Chesterfield’s U23s have won the National League U23 League Cup after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Rushden and Diamonds at The Hawthorns on Wednesday evening. with Alexander Duhameau scoring the winner.

After Monday’s 4-2 win over Morpeth, the lads were going off some good form, but struggled to break down the stubborn Rushden defence.

The first effort on goal came from Spireites captain Leigh Whelan, looking to continue his goalscoring form. His long-range effort looked destined to nestle in the corner of the net, but Rushden keeper Regan Saunt made a terrific save.

On 36 minutes, the Diamonds had a chance of their own. A cross from the right-hand side was not properly cleared, resulting in the ball landing at Emmanuel Gbejuade’s feet. But the forward could only drag his effort wide.

Chesterfield nearly went into the break a goal down, with a loose pass nearly seized by Nasha Mukwada. A brilliant tackle from keeper Luke Chadwick denied the forward.

The Spireites began the second half on top, and got their deserved lead on 53 minutes. An interception and subsequent pass from Archie White released Duhameau. The forward chopped in on his left and finished calmly.

Seven minutes later, Chesterfield nearly doubled their lead as White’s shot from outside the box was tipped over by Saunt.

Despite Chesterfield’s domination, Tejan Thomas nearly got a Rushden equaliser on 68 minutes. His powerful strike blazed over from range.

Neil Cluxton’s men then had to dig deep and defend waves of Rushden pressure, with Chadwick having little to do in the Chesterfield goal.

White had a chance to seal the win three minutes from time, as a quick counter-attack resulted in Sam Hooper sending White through. His effort clipped off the post and bounced out.

But in a game of few chances, the Spireites did enough to be the National League U23s League Cup champions for 2023.