Chesterfield 2-0 Swindon Town – Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final


On Sunday 25th March I went to Wembley Stadium to watch Chesterfield play Swindon Town in the Johnstones Paint Trophy final.

As soon as Chesterfield had reached the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final, I knew that I had to go to see my side’s first trip to Wembley in my lifetime. Despite being a competition that many clubs don’t take seriously, it was the best chance of reaching the home of English football for lower division sides and the day out was certain to be fantastic whether the Spireites won or lost.

Me, my Dad Mark, his cousin Marcus, cameraman Andy and his son Michael all set off early and drove down to London before catching the Tube from Stanmore to Wembley Park. The view from the station was magnificent, with crowds of colourful supporters walking up Wembley Way towards the stadium in the distance. The atmosphere around the stadium was amazing with supporters of both sides singing and enjoying the day. I bought a match day programme and a scarf and we all walked around the stadium for a while before heading through the turnstiles and taking our seats.

The atmosphere inside the ground was even better than it had been walking around the ground earlier, with nearly 50,000 supporters all excited about the game ahead and hoping that their teams could lift the trophy for the first ever time.

Chesterfield have featured in every season of the competition under its various names, yet it was the first time they had reached the final, while Swindon had never won the competition either so there was guaranteed to be a new name on the trophy come full time.

The Spireites had played at Wembley twice before, both before the stadium was rebuilt, and had won once and lost once so their supporter knew both feelings of happiness and devastation at the ground with a 1-0 defeat to Cambridge in 1990 before beating Bury 2-0 in 1995. Meanwhile, the Robins had won all three of their matches at the Old Wembley but lost their most recent trip 1-0 in the League 1 play off final to Millwall.

Both managers are football legends and one of John Sheridan’s greatest moments came at Wembley, scoring the winner for Sheffield Wednesday in the 1991 League Cup final against Manchester United. Paolo Di Canio meanwhile, had never played at the stadium in his glorious career and was looking for glory at the ground in his first ever season of management.

Despite the fact that the Spireites were in a higher division, they came in to the game as underdogs and there was just one league place between the two teams with Swindon sitting pretty at the summit of League 2.

Many pundits seemed to think that the game was a foregone conclusion with Swindon in such a great run of form while Chesterfield were at the bottom of League 1 with just 7 league victories all season. However, some good recent results including a victory over high flying Sheffield Wednesday left me feeling quite confident ahead of the match.

The teams were lead out by the captains, Alan McCormack and Jack Lester, and they were greeted by great cheers from both sets of performances. The players lined up and sang the national anthem before shaking hands and getting ready for kick off.

Chesterfield got the game underway and began the stronger. Jack Lester had the first chance of the game with a near post header that was easily saved by Wes Foderingham in the Swindon net. It looked like Lester had opened the scoring after just 9 minutes when he fired in the rebound of Simon Ford’s shot off the woodwork. However, the linesman flagged for offside and the goal didn’t count, although the replays showed that the goal should have stood.

As the half went on, Swindon began to grow in to the game and create some good chances, the first of which saw Joe Devera’s header fly not far wide of the far post. Lee Holmes came close to opening the scoring with a curved effort from the edge of the area that went just over the crossbar.
Holmes came even closer to scoring when his shot deflected off the head of Josh Thompson and bounced off the arm of goalkeeper Tommy Lee who was lucky to knock the ball past the post,

Chesterfield remained organised and almost took the lead when Alex Mendy took on a couple of Swindon players and had a shot that flew just wide of the goal.
Unfortunately for the Spireites, Jack Lester went down injured and was forced to come off to be replaced by Craig Westcarr. At 36 years old it is unlikely that he will get another chance to play at Wembley Stadium so it was a huge shame and he was visibly disappointed.

The Robins continued to dominate much of the play towards the end of the first half and their best chance fell to Alan Connell who miss-hit his attempt at an acrobatic finish just yards from the goal.

Despite all these chances, the two teams went in at half time goalless and there was still all to play for in the second period.

It took less than two minutes of the second half for the deadlock to be broken. Jordan Bowery charged forward for the Spireites and after his shot was saved, the ball fell to Alex Mendy on the edge of the area. The Frenchman turned past a defender and crossed a low ball in front of goal which got turned in by Robins defender Oliver Risser. It was unfortunate for the defender but the Chesterfield fans didn’t care as they celebrated taking the lead, although many supporters hadn’t even got back to their seats as the ball hit the net!

With a new found belief, Chesterfield dominated the play and pushed to double their advantage. Soon after, a cross in to the box was punched away by Foderingham but on to Mendy who attempted an overhead kick that went over the crossbar.
Substitute Craig Westcarr was gifted the opportunity to almost guarantee victory when Alan McCormack slipped and left the striker through on goal. Westcarr had time to think about it and nerves appeared to get the better of him as his shot was quite a way off target.

As the full time whistle got nearer, Swindon began to pile pressure on the Chesterfield defence in hope of taking the game to extra time. The defenders held out well and Lee made a magnificent save to tip Alessandro Cibocchi’s header over the crossbar in the last few minutes.

With the Robins going all out for an equalising goal, they began to leave gaps at the back and this proved fatal for them in the last minute of stoppage time when Mark Randall played an excellent through ball to Westcarr, who made up for his earlier miss by slotting the ball home. The striker ran off celebrating while the fans went crazy, knowing that the result was now beyond doubt.

The full time whistle signalled the start of the celebrations for the Spireites, who finally had something to smile about after a long and difficult season. Chesterfield legend Jack Lester climbed up the steps and lifted the trophy in front of over 20,000 Chesterfield supporters who were filled with joy and elation at their clubs second trophy in two seasons.

The fans stayed for a long time after to celebrate the victory and the players did a lap of honour showing off the trophy and applauding the fans. After some time we headed off home, delighted with victory and a wonderful day all round. Witnessing my side win at Wembley Stadium was certainly one of my best ever moments as a football supporter.

Me, Camerman Andy, his son Michael, my Dad Mark and his cousin Marcus at a service station on the way to Wembley

Merchandise on sale at the service station!

Lee and Marcus

Me and Michael head to the Stanmore Tube Station

On the Tube to Wembley

At Wembley Park

The crowds walk up Wembley Way

We head towards Wembley Stadium

Stalls selling flags, scarfs and t-shirts along Wembley Way

Programmes!

I hold up the official programme for the final

I have a photo with Manish Bhasin from th Football League Show and Harry Gration from Look North

My Dad is interviewed for Radio Sheffield

Marcus gives his thoughts about the game

A couple of Swindon supporters are interviewed

June and Gary Steele, faithful Spireites

With some Smurfs!

A Chesterfield fan shows off his Jack Lester t-shirt

The crowds walking up Wembley Way

The back of a t-shirt listing the Spireites' route to Wembley

Getting closer to the Stadium

A Chesterfield flag

Swindon supporters

A Spireite wrapped in his teams flag

Swindon fans singing on their way to Wembley

and more Spireites not far behind

Peter Whiteley and his brother

Holding up my scarf outside the home of English football

The five of us have a photo outside Wembley Stadium

The Spireites reached the JPT Final with wins over Notts County, Tranmere, Preston and Oldham

Swindon Town reached the final with wins over Exeter City, AFC Wimbledon, Southend and Barnet

with John Shires from Yorkshire Television

Police on horses outside the ground

The Wembley Arch

Stood in front of the famous arch

The Tokyo Spireite, who travelled from Japan for the final

The many coaches that brought fans to the game

A Swindon fan with a Robin on his head

Wembley 12

Colourful Swindon fans show off their shirts, flags and Di Canio masks

Robins fans

Chesterfield supports walk towards the stadium with the Sir Bobby Moore Statue in the distance

Looking up at the beautiful blue sky and the Wembley arch

League 1 v League 2, North v South, Chesterfield v Swindon

The Chesterfield players warm up

The Swindon players warm up

Pitchside at Wembley Stadium

The view from the edge of the pitch

A young Spireite proudly waves her Chesterfield flag

Chesterfield fans show off their flag

Chesterfield fans await the players arrival

The teams are announced on the big screen

Jordan Bowery makes his first ever appearence at Wembley

Veteran striker Jack Lester is the captain for Chesterfield

Oliver Risser

Matt Ritchie

Paul Benson

Excited Spireites await the kick off

Countdown to kick off

A sea of blue

Two large balloons/flags with the two finalists' badges are shown off before kick off

Chesterfield at Wembley

The Swindon fans await the players

Chesterfield fans behind the goal

A sea of blue

Not long to go...

Swindon fans on the big screen

A family of Spireites

A fan in fancy dress

Very true...

The two teams make their way on to the pitch

Fireworks greet the players

What they're playing for

The two teams line up on the Wembley pitch

The Chesterfield players

A female singer leads the national anthem

Chesterfield fans sing the national anthem

The players shake hands before kick off

The Chesterfield players run on to the pitch ready for kick off

Captain Jack Lester speaks to Bowery and Mendy before the game

The two dugouts

The Chesterfield substitutes bench

The officials, captains and mascots stand for the official photographs

The Swindon players huddle up

Our view of the action

Swindon look to attack from an early corner

Spireites supporters watch the early action

Paolo Di Canio and John Sheridan look on from the touchline

Craig Westcarr is brought on to replace the injured Jack Lester

The players head to the dressing rooms with the score goaless at half time

The score at half time

The bars show pictures of some of the famous faces to have been at Wembley Stadium over the years

The programme shows a picture of Chesterfield manager John Sheridan scoring the winner for Sheffield Wednesday in the 1991 League Cup final at the old Wembley

The Chesterfield players celebrate taking the lead courtesy of Oliver Risser's own goal

The Chesterfield fans celebrate the first goal of the game

The Robins' players are eager to get the game back underway

Swindon push for an equalising goal

Mark Randall replaces Franck Moussa with around 10 minutes to go

Match action

James Hurst takes a throw in

Chesterfield fans know there's not long left

Nervous and excited Spireites watch the last few minutes of the final with their side 1-0 ahead

Craig Westcarr scores in stoppage time and the Chesterfield fans go crazy

The Chesterfield players celebrate Westcarr's goal that guarentee's victory

Delighted with the scoreline

Chesterfield fans on the big screen

A young Spireite enjoys the moment

Final Score

Mark Allott waves to the fans while Danny Whitaker and Craig Westcarr congratulate each other

Chesterfield fans celebrate their clubs 2nd trophy in 2 seasons

Disappointed Swindon players applaud their supporters

Goalscorer Craig Westcarr, man of the match Nathan Smith and captain Jack Lester talk to Sky Sports

The Swindon players head up the steps to receive their runners up medals

Th Chesterfield players follow them up

Jack Lester receives his winners medal

Jack Lester lifts the Johnstone's Paint Trophy

Chesterfield win the competition for the first ever time

Jack Lester heads back to the pitch with the trophy

Chesterfield are victorious at Wembley for the 2nd time in 3 visits

The players celebrate on the pitch

The Swindon fans have all gone home

The players walk around showing off the trophy to the fans

Franck Moussa holds up a blue and white scarf

The players applaud the fans

James Hurst lifts the trophy

The players enjoy their victory

An excellent day out

Michael and Andy

2-0 to the Spireites

Time to go home

Peter Whiteley, Andy and me

Andy, Roy Frisby, my Dad and Marcus outside Wembley Stadium after a great win for Chesterfield

Heading up the steps to the tube station after a wonderful day at Wembley

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5 comments

  1. Well done Ryan.
    Nicely put together.
    Well done to you and Chezzie.
    Win tomorrow for the Owls would be great.

  2. Barnet fan here, saw a link to this site when I was having a peek on a Swindon forum.

    Congratulations on winning the JPT and nicely written article.

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