The script was written perfectly as Jack Lester bagged a brace on his last ever appearance as a player.
After six glorious years with the Spireites, the 37-year-old skippered the side to its biggest victory of the season ahead of him retiring from the playing side of the game.
Lester, with a beaming smile, said: “I was thinking today it would be nice to get a nice ovation coming off, but to score two goals, one in each end ... I’m absolutely made up about it.”
After a slow, end-of-season opening to the game, lifted only by the regular crowd interjections to proclaim their thanks to Lester, Jay O’Shea pulled a plum from the top drawer. Conor Townsend’s cross was blocked, and the loose ball fell for the Irishman who quickly turned, burst to the box edge and curled in a wonder goal to open the scoring.
It wasn’t a long wait for the next goal and Townsend was again involved. He delivered a free-kick from the right for Marc Richards to head in. The striker then revealed a messaged T-shirt with the moniker ‘1 Jack Lester’ .
By then the crowd only wanted one thing, a Jack goal, and it came in an almost predictable fashion.
Having not won a league penalty all season - indeed, Dean Morgan’s spot-kick winner against the Owls in February last year was the last - Lester teased young defender Jordan Moore-Taylor into a trip and ref Tony Bates, in his last match, pointed to the spot.
There was never any doubt who’d take it and Lester dinked the ball to the keeper’s right to really get the party started. Lester said: “I was thinking, if I miss this, this is the worst-case scenario. I spoke to my wife this morning; I said I’ve never missed a penalty when I’ve dinked it. She said ‘I know nothing about football, so why are you asking me?’”
On the hour he grabbed his second. O’Shea’s perfectly-weighted pass saw him left-foot the ball beyond Krysiak to end the rout. Lester commented: “The second was a great little finish. I was going to run to see the family but I was cramping up so I had to stop, so if the celebration looked understated then that was why!”
His subsequent withdrawal and final lap of honour made it clear what the public of North Derbyshire felt for their now-departed hero.
Chesterfield (4-4-2): O’Donnell 8, Talbot 8, Trotman 7, Cooper 7, Townsend 7, Darikwa 6, Togwell 6, Randall 7, O’Shea 8 (Whitaker 65, 6), Richards 8 (Gnanduillet 71), Lester 9 (Henshall 75). Subs (not used): Barrington, Clay, Hird, Hazel.
Exeter (4-3-3): Krysiak 6, Dawson 6, Coles 5, Moore-Taylor 5, Woodman 6 (Anderson 63, 5), Rodgers 5 (Gosling 69, 5), D’Ath 6, Davies 7, Gow 8, Bennett 7, Reid 5 (Chamberlain 54, 6). Subs (not used): Evans, Doherty, O’Flynn, Keohane.
Ref: Tony Bates (Stoke).