Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, Northern Area Final second leg.
Oldham Athletic 0
Lester 89 minutes.
Aggregate Chesterfield 3 Oldham Athletic 1
Chesterfield made it through to Wembley in the Johnstone Paints Trophy after pinching a late winner to win this tie 3-1 on aggregate. The result was harsh on the home side, who did most of the attacking, only to find the Spireites keeper Tommy Lee in fine form.
Oldham started the game quickly and less than sixty seconds had gone when Shefki Kuqi, fastening on to Robbie Simpson’s long ball, beat Lee only to see his shot cannon back into play off the post. Continuing to play impressively, Simpson then curled a delightful ball to the back post where Filipe Morais had his powerful header well saved by the keeper.
With Chesterfield in the first twenty minutes rarely threatening, Simpson then had a twenty-yard shot well stopped by Lee, and then the keeper was grateful to see Kuqi flash a ten yard shot well wide after Gregor Robertson misjudged his header. Morais then drove a shot wide from a promising position before Drew Talbot hit Chesterfield’s first chance straight at Alex Cisak in the home goal.
The Chesterfield veteran striker Jack Lester had been very quiet, but on 35 minutes he showed a touch of quality to set up Scott Boden whose strong shot was saved by the Oldham keeper at the second attempt. The first booking of the game arrived soon after, when Gregor Robertson brought down Simpson. On the stroke of half-time Lee was down smartly to prevent Diamond from forcing home a bouncing ball.
With the score goalless at the interval it meant Chesterfield were on track to reach Wembley for the first time since 1995, when they beat Bury in the Division Four play offs. This was a year after the Latics had last played at the world famous Stadium, when they lost to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final, and buoyed by the prospect of a return they again pushed forward on the restart.
Playing in midfield for the home side was Tom Adeyemi, on loan from Norwich City, a player racially abused when Oldham played at Anfield in the third round of the FA Cup. He had a quiet game, but showed his stamina by getting more involved in it the longer it progressed. He passed the ball well, and shows a nice shimmy to send an opposing player the wrong way, but failed to shoot when well placed to do so.
It was Chesterfield who should have taken the lead, on 48 minutes, when Jamie Lowry’s fine ball sent Drew Talbot running unopposed into the Oldham box, but the Chesterfield midfielders shot was too close to Cisak who saved it with his feet. When Oldham responded Lee confidently collected a Morais drive, before James Hurst and Mark Allott were booked as Chesterfield’s defence struggled to prevent Oldham equalising the tie on aggregate.
Morais then had Lee scampering across his line, but the ball finished on the roof of the net before the keeper did well to block a Kuqi header as the game moved towards the final ten minutes.
Then on 89 minutes Jean Yves Moto and Cisak, seeking to get the ball down the field as quickly as possible, only succeeded in getting in each others way and when the ball ran free Lester was like lightning in getting beyond the pair to push the ball into an empty net. Queue ecstatic celebrations amongst the 937 Chesterfield fans behind the goal as they started to celebrate a famous victory that will take them to Wembley for only the third time in the club’s history.
With six added minutes, Oldham continued to press but rarely threatened and at the end the Chesterfield players ran across to spark further celebrations amongst the away fans. Chesterfield will play either Swindon Town or Barnet in the final at Wembley on March 25th 2012.