A goal in each half from Darren Bent and Will Hughes knocked Spireites out of the cup at the fourth round stage but Paul Cook’s side put together an excellent performance that saw them out shoot and out possess a County side seeking a return to the Premier League this season.
League Two player of the year Gary Roberts picked up a hamstring injury in the 3-1 loss at Swindon Town last weekend. Spireites have not won a game this season when he’s not started. Roberts place in wide midfield is taken by Jay O’Shea, the only change Paul Cook has made so he went into the game with a 4-4-2 formation.
Former Ram Ian Evatt had to make do with a place on the bench alongside Owls loanee Mani Dieseruvwe.
Former England manager Steve McLaren gave a first start to ex-England striker Darren Bent whilst Spaniard Raul Albentosa makes his debut after International Clearance was received yesterday. Another ne man, Stephen Warnock, like Bent an ex-England man, is on the bench for the Premier League-chasing Derby side, who lost here to rivals Nottingham Forest last weekend. Former Saltergate favourite Jamie Ward was on Derby’s bench.
The pair have not met in the FA Cup since Derby won 2-1 at the Baseball Ground in 1948 and they’ve not met in any competitive fixture since Steve Baines bundled in a last minute winner for Chesterfield at Saltergate in February 1986.
Spireites were backed by well over 5500 traveling supporters. Their last venture to this stage of the competition came in 1997 when they travelled to a Bolton Wanderers side doing well at the top of the Championship equivalent. A Kevin Davies hat-trick saw off the Trotters 3-2 and Chesterfield went on to beat Forest and Wrexham on the way to the semi-final.
Chesterfield won an early corner after Jones’ left wing cross started a long period of pressure that saw Doyle and Gnanduillet go close; the flag kick failed to add to the pressure.
It took to the 8th minute for County to get into the Chesterfield box but Christie’s cross was charged down and the visitors eventually saw the ball run harmlessly out for a goal kick.
Spireites continued to look the more confident side, though Hird had to stretch to cut out what looked like a great ball forwards by Hendrick.
Hughes’ burst forwards and played a one-two with Christie but Gnanduillet had tracked back well and muscled the Derby man off the ball and it ran away from the home midfielder.
Gnanduillet got away from Keogh on the left of the box but he shot at Roos at the Dutchman saved comfortably.
Doyle was unable to get a solid touch on Jones’ cross but soon after Jones had to defend and he deflected Christie’s cross out for a corner that, when delivered found Buxton’s head and it was then headed beyond Lee by DARREN BENT on 20 minutes to give the Rams the lead.
Russell came on for debut maker Albentosa. Hughes had a shot blocked as Derby came out of the blocks well.
Doyle looped a header over from a Jones cross as Spireites, who’d switched to 4-2-3-1 for the second half with Doyle back in midfield. Lee made a superb save to deny Bent who broke through after a low ball from the back and from the counter-attack Jones earned a corner and then saw a shot blocked from the routine as the atmosphere cranked up a notch.
Clucas and then O’Shea had back to back efforts blocked, the latter flew out for a corner that took Derby an age to clear. Hughes fed Russell to put his clear but Lee and Darikwa combined to keep the shot out and the corner was dealt with well.
Hughes was booked for a foul on Jones. Lee hit the free-kick long to Doyle who hit wide on the turn. From the goal kick Raglan erred and Lee had to reach high to block Bent’s goal-bound chip.
Ryan blazed over from a glorious 10 yard position after Jones’ run and perfect delivery as Spireites continually looked capable of getting back on par
O’Shea volleyed over after starting a sweeping move and Ward hit high after Derby attacked, Bent passing the ball to him on the box-edge. Darikwa and Doyle combined but the full-back’s cross was blocked after his brilliant run.
Dawkins replaced Martin, County’s final change, on 70 and he got on the end of Ward’s cross to force Lee to tip his header onto the bar and Hird cleared away for Christie to shoot and see his shot clip a defender for the first of back to back corners that ended with Lee gathering high.
Doyle forced a save from Roos after Ryan and Gnanduillet broke to set up the 20 yard shot. Banks and Gardner replaced Ryan and O’Shea and the two subs immediately combined to see Banks cross, Roos caught.
Gardner had an opening to cross but failed to deliver the key ball as blue shirts waited in the centre, but at this stage it was almost all Chesterfield. Christie was booked for a foul on Clucas but Gardner over hit the free-kick.
Derby grabbed an undeserved second on 82. Hird defended well and passed to Clucas but the left-sider made a mistake and let in HUGHES to score from just inside the right corner of the box.
Raglan’s header from a corner was gathered safely by Roos and Gnanduillet saw a long-range free-kick charged down by the wall as Spireites refused to cave in. Gnanduillet was replaced by Dieseruvwe for the final three minutes of normal time.
Banks volleyed over from a Darikwa cross as Spireites sought some late reward that their play deserved.
Hendrick was booked for a foul on Gardner deep into stoppage time.
Derby: Roos, Christie, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth, Albentosa, Hendrick, Mascarell, Hughes, Martin, Bent. Subs: Mitchell, Bryson, Dawkins, Ward, Russell, Shotton, Warnock.
Chesterfield: Lee, Darikwa, Raglan, Hird, Jones, O’Shea, Morsy, Ryan, Clucas, Doyle, Gnanduillet. Subs: Wright, Gardner, Humphreys, Evatt, Talbot, Dieseruvwe.
Ref: David Webb