It was an extraordinary result with Spireites milestones by the bucketful as League One strugglers Hartlepool United were hit for six at the Proact Stadium.
Goals from Scott Boden, Mark Randall, Craig Clay, Terrell Forbes, Jack Lester and Craig Westcarr meant that, for the first time at Chesterfield’s newish stadium, the team had scored six goals.
Antony Sweeney, given his league debut 11 years ago by then Hartlepool manager Chris Turner, now Chesterfield’s Chief Executive, scored United’s consolation when it was 4-0, Lester bagging his goal less than a minute after Sweeney’s header from a Simon Walton corner.
Not since March 1963, in a match with the same scoreline against Darlington, have six different players scored for Spireites in what was their first victory over league opposition in the FA Cup for over 15 years.
In 1932, Chesterfield beat Nottingham Forest 5-2 in the cup; they’d never scored six against any side in the competition proper. Indeed a 5-0 away win at Wath Athletic in 1925 was Spireites’ previous record win, barring qualifying rounds played in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
On loan from Hull City defender Liam Cooper became the first man to make a starting debut for the club in the FA Cup since Les Hunter in 1974 whilst late sub Jack Broadhead, a second year scholar, became the youngest debut making defender since Gregg Pearce in 1997.
All of that against a team that, until the third goal, gave as good as they got. The statistics show that United had more shots, 13 to 11, than the hosts, both had nine on target, and at seven-all, the corner count was equal.
However Chesterfield’s urgency and, in particular, their movement off the ball, was superior throughout.
Boden’s opener set the scene. Danny Whitaker threaded a perfect diagonal ball for the striker to left-foot over Scott Flinders.
The next goal was also all about the pass. Drew Talbot, whose marauding down the right gave Hartlepool problems throughout, darted into the box and delivered a ball that required only a finish from Randall and he obliged.
The killer goal, on 42 minutes, was also as simple as they come. A free-kick on the left of the penalty area, adjacent to the goal line, was rolled by Randall to the advancing Clay. He shot low meaning the opening three goals were all first goals of the season for the scorers in what was a threadbare line-up for Spireites.
Paul Cook was without the injured Luis Boa Morte, Mark Allott, Tommy Lee, Neal Trotman and Marc Richards, the suspended Sam Hird and the ineligible Huddersfield pair of Liam Ridehalgh and Chris Atkinson. Along with Broadhead, on the bench were two others with no senior experience, first year pro Jonathan Wafula and 16 year old keeper Cameron Mason.
It didn’t take long after the break for Spireites to extend their lead. Whitaker notched his second assist with a long free-kick that Forbes volleyed home from close in.
Pool then threw on all three subs and packed their attack hoping for a miracle but Sweeney’s goal 12 minutes from time never looked like causing any late panic, particularly as sub Lester hammered in from 18 yards after Randall’s through ball just 50 seconds later.
Right on 90, Whitaker’s skill and cross saw the ball clip Lester’s heels and fall for Craig Westcarr to lift into the roof of the net to mean two Spireites subs scored at home for the first time in eight years.
Cook’s pragmatic approach saw him comment: “We’ll never get carried away with victories, and we won’t get too down with defeats. We’ll come in every day, prepare properly and work hard and when we go out there like that, if we show that application we’ll be fine.
“It was a complete team performance.”
At in-form Bradford City tomorrow night, the progress made in Cook’s short reign will be more apparent.
Chesterfield (4-2-3-1): O’Donnell 7, Talbot 9, Forbes 7, Cooper 7 (Westcarr 77), Smith 7, Togwell 8, Clay 8, Whitaker 8, Randall 8 (Broadhead 90), Darikwa 7, Boden 7 (Lester 70, 7). Subs (not used): Mason, Wafula, Hazel, Evans.
Hartlepool (4-4-2): Flinders 5, Austin 5, Baldwin 4 (Collins 56, 6), Hartley 6, Horwood 5, Humphreys 4 (Poole 58, 5), Walton 5, Sweeney 5, Murray 4 (Franks 56, 6), Noble 8, Howard 7. Subs (not used): McHugh, Loscombe, Holden, Wyke.
Bookings: Hartley, Walton (Hartlepool).