COLUMN: Did Town players get caught up in EFL Trophy derision? Is a long, hard winter ahead?

Chesterfield FC v Accrington Stanley,
Chesterfield FC v Accrington Stanley,
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Have Chesterfield’s players got caught up in the mass derision that has greeted the EFL Trophy?

On Tuesday night it certainly looked that way, as League Two Accrington Stanley dished out a footballing lesson to League One Town.

It’s certainly a more palatable conclusion than many others you might draw if you were one of the unfortunate home supporters among the 976 who ‘packed the Proact.’

Sadly, the accusations that the Spireites showed a lack of respect to their management team, the badge on their shirts and the supporters who paid to watch them can also be levelled, with some justification.

If Saturday’s encounter with Bradford was a case of the haves and the have nots, Tuesday’s was a case of the willing and the unwilling.

Accrington showed desire, passion and an ability to pass the ball around with accuracy, take on their men and make firm, fair tackles.

They took pride in their work.

Chesterfield, by comparison, were miles off the pace.

At the weekend they could count themselves lucky to only lose 1-0 to a strong, talented Bantams side.

In midweek they were fortunate to trudge off just 3-0 down at the break.

Supporters might be able to stomach their beloved team being outplayed by a wealthier club with strength in depth.

But being outworked and outsmarted by a midtable League Two outfit is a worrying development.

The injury crisis that has gripped the Spireites squad, a trio of international call ups and a cup tied striker are all mitigating factors.

However the side that Danny Wilson fielded on Tuesday had enough quality and experience to at the very least compete with their lower league visitors.

There was a 15-minute spell in which Chesterfield got to grips with the game and that was it.

Positives were few and far between, save perhaps a debut for a 16-year-old Ify Ofoegbu and yet another Kristian Dennis goal.

Wilson certainly didn’t mince his words when he got his squad into the changing room, admitting that he went through them.

It was scant consolation to the livid Town boss that this performance came in the EFL Trophy and not the league.

Perhaps the most telling statement in his post-match interview was the urgency he expressed to get his injured players back.

That was more than a hint to the players coming into Tuesday’s side that they did their chances of staying in the manager’s good books no favours at all.

It’s important not to throw the baby out with the bath water and get too hysterical after an EFL Trophy defeat.

It’s more important to ensure that this remains an isolated incident, a bad day at the office and Chesterfield must return to their habit of staying competitive in every game.

Otherwise it will be a long, hard winter.

The absence of players like Dan Jones, Paul McGinn, Tommy Lee and Ched Evans would hurt most League One clubs.

It’s down to the rest of the squad to make sure it doesn’t cripple Chesterfield’s 2016/17 season.