Chesterfield 0 Fleetwood Town 1 (Chesterfield win 3-2 on aggregate)
Despite a heroic performance, Fleetwood Town’s Wembley hopes ended as Chesterfield advanced to a second Wembley final in three years. Jon Parkin’s ninth goal of the season, in the 89th minute, separated the sides on the night and made for a tense finale for the 6358 fans. Town return to the Proact Stadium on the last day of the season for what could be another big occasion.
Ten coaches brought the Cod Army down to Derbyshire in their hundreds, all with hope in their hearts as their side aimed for a first Wembley appearance since 1985. Town’s Alan Goodall returned after missing the Northampton game at the weekend, replacing the injured Steven Schumacher.
Town started positively. Antoni Sarcevic shot narrowly wide in the second minute and Jamille Matt was denied at close range by stout defence. The game had opened at a high tempo with Chesterfield keeper, Tommy Lee, the busier in the early stages. Town’s Chris Maxwell was not called on until the 19th minute when he dived to his left to block a shot from Jimmy Ryan. He also dealt comfortably with a drive from Jay O’Shea six minutes later as Chesterfield exerted more pressure in the final third. They were nearly rewarded on the half hour when Maxwell tipped a header from Marc Richards over the bar after good build up from the left. Gary Roberts, who had started the move, was booked in the 31st minute for a strong challenge on Alex Marrow.
Sarcevic caught the eye with some strong runs and instinctive play but Chesterfield were a threat with their fast approach play. Maxwell made a fine save from Jay O’Shea after 37 minutes and denied Richards on half time.
Chesterfield threatened to put the tie beyond reach in the early part of the second half, squandering several opportunities. Graham Alexander made a double substitution in the 62nd minute, adding Mikael Mandron and Junior Brown to his attacking options. Town drove forward but were indebted to Alan Goodall for a timely tackle on O’Shea in the 67th minute as Chesterfield threatened once more.
Town came back and Sarcevic had a shot on target deflected wide after 72 minutes. Matty Hughes made the strikers’ tally four when he came on in the 73rd minute and was immediately denied a claim for a penalty. Referee Webb deemed it a dive and the debutant was booked. Town continued to work hard but Chesterfield denied them, showing why they are promotion favourites.
Eoin Doyle headed over from in front of goal with seven minutes left as the home fans started to sing about going to Wembley. Parkin had a chance of a consolation goal three minutes from time but went one better two minutes later, sliding home from close range after good work from Hughes. There were six minutes of added time but Chesterfield held on.
TEAM: Maxwell, McLaughlin, Pond, Roberts (captain) (Hughes 73), Taylor, Goodall (Mandron 62), Sarcevic, Marrow (Brown 62), Evans, Parkin, Matt
Booked: Evans, Hughes, Pond