On Tuesday 12th November 2013, I went to the Proact Stadium to watch Chesterfield play Rochdale in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Area Quarter Final.
The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy has given me some great memories in recent years, most notably the Spireites’ victory at Wembley back in 2012 that saw them win the competition. A cold November evening in Derbyshire is a fair distance from the home of football, but beating Rochdale tonight would see Chesterfield move one step closer to a return.
Both the Spireites and Rochdale had won just one match to reach this stage. After each receiving byes in the first round, Rochdale reached the last 16 with a 1-0 win at Port Vale while Chesterfield recorded a victory by the same scoreline against their local rivals Mansfield Town.
Three changes were made by both teams for tonight’s contest. Paul Cook replaced Marc Richards, Eoin Doyle and Gary McSheffrey with Ritchie Humphreys, Jay O’Shea and Armand Gnanduillet following a 2-0 win against Daventry Town at the weekend. Meanwhile, Keith Hill also made three changes to the Rochdale eleven that defeated Torquay United 2-0 in the FA Cup on Saturday. Matt Done, Javan Vidal and Gary Dicker took the places of Matthew Lund, Michael Rose and Joseph Rafferty.
Chesterfield started the game strongly. Ollie Banks caused some early problems for the opposition, sending a couple of shots just wide, before Jay O’Shea attempted a cheeky effort from the half way line which the goalkeeper was equal to.
The Spireites controlled possession for the majority of the opening 45 minutes but struggled to create many clear cut chances. Then, right on the stroke of half time, the home side took the lead. Gary Roberts’ cross found Banks, who powerfully headed home to score his first goal for Chesterfield.
Rochdale improved greatly at the start of the second period and thought they had levelled early in the half. Ian Henderson was played through on goal and slotted the ball past Lee, but the officials eventually ruled out the strike for offside. And Henderson came close again soon after when he fired a shot that bounced off the post.
At the other end Banks, who had been hugely impressive, came close to doubling the home side’s advantage but he could only send his shot wide.
But on the 72nd minute it was 2-0. Roberts again was the creator as his low cross found Gnanduillet, who fired home from close range in front of the Kop.
The result was put beyond doubt six minutes later when Banks scored his second and Chesterfield’s third of the evening. The 21 year old charged in to the box before confidently firing past the onrushing goalkeeper.
The victory saw Chesterfield advance to the Area Semi Finals and just two rounds from Wembley. Despite being a competition that many clubs do not take particularly seriously, I was delighted with the performance and the result. The final in 2012 is one of my best football memories and I would love a return this season!
Chesterfield 3–0 Rochdale
Banks ’45 ’79, Gnanduillet ’73
Lee, Talbot, Hird, Humphreys, Cooper, Evatt, Ryan, Banks (Darikwa ’82), Gnanduillet (Richards ’81), O’Shea (Doyle ’88), Roberts
Lillis, Done, Henderson, O’Connell, Lancashire, Eastham, Tutte (Allen ’66), Vidal (Rose ’18), Hogan, Vincenti (Cummins ’55), Dicker