Spireites denied Wembley glory by Peterborough.
Chesterfield fell at the final hurdle of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, although were the better side overall on the day. Two quick-fire goals from both Josh McQuoid and Shaun Brisley built up a valuable cushion for Posh in the first-half, before Eoin Doyle pulled a goal back.
However, Britt Assombalonga – who’s goals have been the catalyst behind his side’s success this season - netted from the penalty spot to guarantee victory for the League One side.
Chesterfield manager Paul Cook made two changes from Tuesday’s 1-0 home win against Morecambe, with Gary Roberts and Ollie Banks taking the places of both Daniel Kearns and Mason Bennett.
In the opening moments, the Spireites had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Andy D’Urso after Doyle was supposedly brought down just inside the area. Two minutes had passed before Peterborough went in front, as McQuoid took advantage of the absence of central defender Ian Evatt – who was receiving treatment for a head injury – and latched onto loose ball which he poked home from six yards.
The Wembley dream was brought to a premature end for Chesterfield’s Banks, as he was withdrawn from proceedings due to injury as Sam Hird took his place on 12 minutes. Tendayi Darikwa surged forward and sent a low pass across goal which found Sam Morsy, who fired over an open goal from close range as the Spireites began to look like the side in the ascendancy.
With only 38 minutes on the clock, Posh netted a second courtesy of another corner-kick as Shaun Brisley rose above everybody and directed his header past a helpless Tommy Lee. On the stroke of half-time, Roberts sent a low pass in search of Doyle through the opposition defence, but Robert Olejnik gathered possession with ease.
Chesterfield began the second period in the same manner in which they ended the first, and it only took eight minutes to reduce the deficit to just one goal. Morsy drove forward and pulled a cross back to Doyle, who fired his effort on the half-volley straight into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. This raised the spirits of the travelling support from Derbyshire and the noise levels rose rapidly.
On 67 minutes, Peterborough were reduced to ten men as a consequence of Joe Newell kicking out at Morsy in reaction to a strong challenge from the midfielder. This offered an opportunity for the Spireites to take this game by the scruff of the neck and grab that all important equaliser.
Against the run of play, Posh were awarded a penalty after Liam Cooper took Mark Little’s legs straight from underneath him. Assombalonga stepped up and fired straight down the middle past Lee to reinforce his side’s two goal lead. In reply, Morsy attempted a speculative effort from the edge of the area that Olejnik held comfortably.
Chesterfield continued to press forward in search of a second goal during the full five minutes of additional time, but failed to stop a clinical Peterborough side from claiming the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy for the very first time in the club’s history.