U23s retain League Cup

Chesterfield’s Under 23s retained their U23 League Cup with a 5-4 penalty shootout win over North Leigh U23s, after a 1-1 draw at Pride Park.

The match began with the side from Oxfordshire on top, with a crunching tackle from Liam Jessop denying a North Leigh attacker from getting a shot off in the opening minute.
North Leigh had the first shot of the game three minutes later as Connor Barrett hit a wicked shot from 25 yards that had Luke Chadwick worried in the Chesterfield goal, but the ball deflected out for a corner.
From the following set-piece, Noah Parsons found himself with a free header in the box but headed over the bar.
Barrett received the ball on the right-hand side before cutting in and striking with his left foot. However, Chadwick easily held the shot.
Three minutes later, the Spireites had their first shot on goal after Archie White picked the ball inside his own half before driving at the opposition players. White then cut inside on his left and had a shot, but it was straight at Timmy Mungall in the North Leigh goal.
Chesterfield then kept more of the ball as they pushed for an opener, with Jack Dolman sending multiple dangerous crosses towards Thomas Marshall, but North Leigh’s defence did enough to clear.
Alexander Duhameau dribbled through two defenders before sending a ball towards the middle of the box but failed to find a blue shirt.
AChesterfield corner led to Duhameau cutting in on his left and shooting from 20 yards out with his shot taking a wicked deflection off Tyler Webb for North Leigh, but it went out for a corner.
From the corner, Spireites captain Ryley D’Sena was found at the near-post but he couldn’t turn his flick-on goalward.
On 40 minutes, North Leigh had their best chance after breaking on the counterattack with Adam Smith releasing Robbie Gallagher on the left-hand side. Gallagher played the ball back to Smith, before the striker’s powerful strike was beaten away by Chadwick as both teams would head into the break goalless.
In the second half, North Leigh again started the half the better side with Gallagher nearly punishing a loose back-pass from the Chesterfield defence inside the opening five minutes. However, the attacker was blocked off before a shot could come off.
Chesterfield kept more of the ball and made a chance with Duhameau cutting inside and striking with his left foot towards goal, before the ball was eventually collected by Mungall. Shortly after, Ali Aftab-Mohiuddin tried the spectacular by shooting from 35 yards, but it was straight at the goalkeeper.
After 61 minutes, North Leigh saw a penalty appeal waved away after Gallagher had gone down under the physical challenge of D’Sena, however the referee was unmoved as a corner was given.

Two minutes later, the Millers created another chance with Barrett again the danger. He picked up the ball near the left-hand corner, and dribbled inside before shooting towards the near post which was saved by Chadwick.
On 67 minutes, the deadlock was broken with North Leigh taking the lead from a corner. After the initial cross was not cleared, the ball found its way into Gallagher who bundled the ball into the net.
The Spireites responded well to going behind with Fernando Tavares finding himself with time in the box. He curled the ball towards the goal but was saved by Mungall before the defence cleared.
With nine minutes to go, Chesterfield had a chance to equalise after a cross from Dolman on the left-hand side was met by substitute Tavares who was free in the middle of the penalty area. However, he could not keep his header down as it went over the bar.
Substitute Luke Mitchell led the counterattack for Chesterfield with a shot on goal from 20 yards, but it was straight at the keeper.
With a minute of normal time to go, the Spireites found their equaliser through Duhameau. The ball was cut back from the right-hand byline into a dangerous position. After his first shot was blocked by the defender, Duhameau cooly finished into the corner to make it 1-1.
In the final moments, Chesterfield threw everything towards the North Leigh goal, but the game would end level after 90 minutes and go the distance.
In the shootout Barrett was the first man to step up and sent Chadwick the wrong way; before Mitchell sent his penalty into the top right corner.
Substitute Luca James was the first player to miss as the North Leigh player sent his penalty over the bar. Max Cook took advantage by scoring Chesterfield’s second penalty.
Fin Baker took the third penalty and scored by sending the goalkeeper the wrong way, before Sam Hooper placed the ball into the bottom left corner.
Harry Sturgess took the fourth penalty for North Leigh and sent the ball into the corner, but Fallet Bamba’s penalty was rifled into the top right corner for Chesterfield.
After Casey Highmoor scored his penalty, the pressure fell to Duhameau to win the shootout. The keeper guessed the right way, but Duhameau’s penalty was placed with accuracy in the corner for the Spireites to retain their title.
Chesterfield U23s starting XI: Chadwick, Jessop, Dolman, Hooper, Wilkinson, D’Sena ©, Duhameau, Aftab-Mohiuddin, Marshall, C. Cook, White
Subs: Tavares (White 60), M. Cook (Jessop 75), Bamba (Marshall 75), Thomas, Mitchell (Cook 60)