MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood 2 Chesterfield 0
While most Town fans stayed toasty at home to watch I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, the 372 hardy souls that braved the elements saw one man complete his trial as Jake Sowerby stole the spotlight.
Sowerby's trial was no Australian jungle and involved no creepy crawlies but it did involve a lame Chesterfield side like a mauled beast there for the taking as the midfielder's prowling runs and fierce strike slayed the Spireites and sent Uwe Rosler's side on the way into the quarter finals of the Checkatrade Trophy.
Alex Reid put the icing on the cake to net his first ever competitive goal for the club 11 months after joining from Rushall.
It was all Fleetwood in the first 45 as Uwe Rosler's mix of development squad kids and first teamers outclassed League Two side Chesterfield.
Only three of the side who started against Hereford in the FA Cup remained as keeper Chris Neal was given another chance to put pressure on Alex Cairns, Ash Hunter was handed a shot at breaking his goal drought and left-sided centre half Baily Cargill was given some more minutes after a shaky performance on Saturday. Rosler had shifted back from a 3-4-3 to 3-5-2
Jack Sowerby seems to enjoy this competition and fresh off scoring in the 2-1 win at Carlisle in the final group game he grabbed the tie by the scruff of the neck with a number of storming runs from the middle.
Though despite Sowerby's prominence it was Chesterfield who had the first effort with Reece Mitchell's cross met by O'Grady in the ninth minute.
Sowerby took centre stage and won the ball back in the Spireites box and then blasted home in the 17th minute, if this was an audition for Saturday's clash at Wigan then Sowerby certainly impressed though it was a shame just 372 witnessed his showing with the much derided competition and freezing conditions failing to draw the crowds.
Fleetwood kept the pressure up and Hunter's strike cannoned back to O'Neill but the Burnley loan star's connection was tame.
O'Neill dusted himself down to turn provider in the 22nd minute and send Hunter clear with an inch perfect pass but it was an almost carbon copy of Saturday's last gasp chance against Hereford as his effort clattered into the post.
The kid from Squires Gate Sowerby was determined to hog the headlines as he raced forward again and slid the ball over to the right for Hunter to race onto but his shooting boots must have been stored at home as he curled the anther chance wide of the left stick
A 1-0 lead is always a precarious situation and though Town dominated proceedings Chesterfield still had a chance with Conor Dimaio blasting the ball over.
Town should have doubled their lead as Hiwula broke through but his effort well saved by Anyon as he joined Hunter in failing to fire though on a stage set for Wigan auditions the strike duo's pressing and work rate off the ball would not doubt have impressed Rosler.
Sowerby though was determined to hog the limelight and he was the man in form and once again was at the forefront of the danger as he tried to force his name onto Saturday's team sheet.
Schwabl drove the ball past the post from distance but despite all of Town's possession and chances they entered the break with just one goal to their name.
Rosler made a change at half-time sending Stocksbridge Park Steels signing Harrison Biggins into the mix.
Dimaio fired a free-kick at the wall after Rodgers had fouled O'Grady but that was the pick of the action as the action petered out with both sides seemingly settling for a 1-0 Town win.
Rosler sent on Nirennold for Town danger man Sowerby and the Reid on for Hiwula presumably with one eye on Saturday as everyone, even the players it seemed started to watch the clock tick down with the Spireites failing to muster any desire in the final third as Town seemingly accepted their place in the quarter final draw at 3pm on Friday.
Then the game sprang to life as Chesterfield keeper Anyon came off with an arm injury and with all three substitutes all used up Lawrence Maguire was forced to play the final seven minutes in goal.
As one member of the press box commented it was the most exciting thing to happen in the half and Fleetwood smelt blood.
It was Reid who was to seize the chance, his eyes lighting up at the sight of a rookie keeper on his return from a three month loan spell with National League side Wrexham.
With his fellow development squad striker Ashley Nadesan sidelined after warming the bench for Town's first team on occasions in recent weeks Reid put his name forward as he tested Maguire with a header before rippling the back of the net.
Rosler had called on his development players to use this as an opportunity to show him they could do it on a competitive stage and Hunter teed-up Reid to pounce in the box in the 89th minute to arrow the ball home and build on his four goals from Wrexham.
Fleetwood: Neal, O’Neill (Biggins 46), Hiwula (Reid 64), Maguire, Rodgers, Godswill, Hunter, Schwabl, Sowerby (Nirennold 58), Sheron, Cargill. Subs not used: Crellin, Donohue, Higham, Kerrigan.
Chesterfield: Anyon, Wiseman, Mitchell (Kellett 46), O’Grady, Rowley, Dimaio (Dennis 80), De Girolamo (Reed 46), Maguire, Barry, Weir, Briggs. Subs not used: Parkin , Binnom-Williams, Hird, Wakefield,