Chesterfield reach the final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy following a 3-2 aggregate victory over Fleetwood.
The first and only goal of the game came on 89 minutes, after Jon Parkin met a low cross from the right-hand side to calmly finish past Lee. However, one was not enough for the Cod Army to send this contest into extra-time and as a result, Chesterfield will travel to the Wembley for the second time in three seasons.
Spireites boss Paul Cook made three changes from Saturday’s 3-1 victory at home to Torquay with Sam Hird, Gary Roberts and Marc Richards taking the places of Ollie Banks, Dan Gardner and Eoin Doyle.
The first opportunity of the night fell to the feet of the visitors’ Antoni Sarcevic, but the ex-Chester forward dragged his effort disappointingly wide of Tommy Lee’s post. Mark Roberts, the Fleetwood captain, squandered a fantastic opportunity after he put the ball into the stands from six yards out.
Jimmy Ryan stung the palms of visiting goalkeeper Chris Maxwell with a forceful effort from inside the area, as part of a very open start to the game from both sides. Ryan turned creator in his next involvement, after Richards rose well to meet a driven cross that was palmed behind for a corner-kick by Maxwell.
With only ten minutes remaining in the first period, Parkin was supposedly brought down inside the hosts’ area but the referee waved away the Cod Army’s immense protests. Jay O’Shea met a neat through-ball from Roberts, but the Irishman fired his effort straight at Maxwell.
On the stroke of half-time, Jamille Matt wasted a glorious opportunity for his side after he directed his header dismally wide of the post following a looping cross from Sarcevic.
After the restart, the hosts’ Tendayi Darikwa was awarded a yellow card as a consequence of a cynical foul on Matt. Only moments had passed before Fleetwood’s Gareth Evans went into the referee’s notebook following a high challenge on Darikwa.
With 63 minutes on the clock, the Cod Army made a double substitution. Mikael Mandron replaced ex-Spireite Alan Goodall, whilst Junior Brown entered proceedings at the expense of Alex Marrow. The alterations made by Gary Alexander seemed to inject extra impetus into his side’s play, with a rise in tempo being the most noticeable factor.
Sarcevic cut inside onto his stronger foot and fired an effort that was magnificently blocked by the Chesterfield defence. On 74 minutes, the visitors’ Matty Hughes replaced Roberts.
With only 14 minutes left to play, Chesterfield made two alterations. Banks replaced Richards and Doyle took to the field in place of O’Shea. Only moments after entering the fray, Doyle squandered a fantastic opportunity after his headed effort evaded the crossbar from six yards.
On 86 minutes, Armand Gnanduillet replaced Ryan. Fleetwood broke the deadlock with one minute of normal time left to play, courtesy of Parkin’s smart finish into the bottom right-hand corner of the net that left Lee stranded.
It was then announced that there would be six minutes of additional time, which encouraged the travelling support to spur their side on in search of a second and equalising goal in this two-legged tie.
For the duration of time added on, Fleetwood failed to muster up a clear chance at goal, as Chesterfield’s dreams of Wembley became a reality.