A strong reserve Chesterfield side were defeated by Notts County in an eight-goal thriller at the Proact Stadium.
Three headed first-half goals, two from Mani Dieseruvwe and the other from Byron Harrison, put Chesterfield 3-1 ahead after Colby Bishop had given the visitors a tenth minute lead. But an eleven-minute spell turned the game on it’s head and made it 4-3 before Wes Atkinson’s wonderful strike wrapped up the victory for the Magpies in this Final Third Development League Cup group stage fixture.
A steady crowd turned out on Tuesday afternoon to watch Chesterfield’s second-string team play their second game of the reserve cup group stage, following a 3-1 victory against Scunthorpe United a few weeks earlier.
Naming a strong line-up, which included five players who had started first team league games this season, Chesterfield got off to a strong start and could easily have had a goal or two inside the opening ten minutes.
Harrison nearly marked his return from injury with a goal in the second minute but his attempted lob of goalkeeper Scott Loach went wide of the target. Moments later the striker was through on goal again, but this time the former England-U21 stopper was alive to the danger, charging down the attacker’s poked effort.
Loach was called into action again moments later as he tipped wide Dieseruvwe’s curling free kick, but against the run of play it was Notts County who broke the deadlock in the tenth minute – Bishop’s low strike beating Alex Cairns and finding the bottom corner.
But the lead didn’t last long as Harrison found a deserved equaliser, heading home Rai Simons’ pinpoint cross just moments after Cairns’ had been forced to make an excellent save at the other end to tip over Jimmy Spencer’s effort.
A rare quiet spell in the contest saw few chances during a twenty minute period, but the final ten minutes of the half made up for this with a further three goals before the interval – all coming from headers!
In the 35th minute Dieseruvwe, who has made eight appearances first team appearances this season, gave the hosts a deserved lead when he got the wrong side of his marker and sent a powerful header past Loach. And it was double delight for the forward two minutes later when he made it 3-1, directing home Dion Donohue’s corner.
But just as the Spireites looked to be sailing to a comfortable half-time lead, their League 2 opponents reduced the deficit. Chesterfield’s new-signing Liam Graham was unfortunate to head the ball into his own goal whilst under considerable pressure from Spencer.
It remained 3-2 until half-time but, remarkably, the visitors were ahead by the 52nd minute!
Spencer, who had been one of County’s main threats in the first period, got himself on the scoresheet three minutes after the restart with a looping header that left goalkeeper Cairns tangled in his net as he tried to keep the ball out.
And a wonderful move four minutes later led to Lartey Sarpong giving Notts County a 4-3 lead – the youngster meeting with Spencer’s neat flick-on to smash the ball home from around twelve yards out.
The game calmed down considerably after a rapid start to the second half and it was Chesterfield who looked the more likely to score the game’s eighth goal. Dieseruvwe came close to levelling when American U23 international Gboly Ariyibi picked him out from the wing, but with a hat-trick beckoning the attacker headed the ball over the crossbar.
And a comeback looked increasingly less likely when, with 19 minutes to go, County found the net for a fifth time. The Chesterfield goalkeeper stood no chance as Atkinson scored with a magnificent curling strike.
The Spireites battled until the end and threatened a fightback, Ollie Banks and Jake Orrell forcing a double-save from Loach before Dieseruvwe was again denied a hat-trick when his stretching effort directed Ariyibi’s low cross on to the crossbar.
But despite this late pressure, there was no late comeback to add to an action-packed afternoon and it was Notts County who headed back to Meadow Lane victorious.
Line-up: Alex Cairns, Liam Graham, Dion Donohue, Ritchie Humphreys, Laurence Maguire, Ollie Banks, Liam O’Neil, Gboly Ariyibi, Rai Simons (Jake Orrell ’69), Mani Dieseruvwe, Byron Harrison (Wilson Kneeshaw ’72)
Unused Subs: Dan Thistlewaite, Aaron Chapman, Jack Brownhill
Scorers: Byron Harrison ’15, Mani Dieseruvwe ’35 ’37
Notts County (5)
Line-up: Scott Loach, Wes Atkinson, Rhys Sharpe, Rob Milsom, Taylor McKenzie (Luther Wildin ’46), Haydn Hollis, Fillip Valencic (Ronan Murray ’46), Lartey Sarpong, Jimmy Spencer, Colby Bishop, Genaro Snijders (Montel Gibson ’82)
Unused Subs: Monty Parkes
Scorers: Colby Bishop ’10, Liam Graham (og) ’41, Jimmy Spencer ’48, Lartey Sarpong ’52, Wes Atkinson ’71
Date: 3rd November 2015
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