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Chesterfield hobbled past a spirited Daventry Town to book their place in the second round of the FA Cup.
Second half goals from Gary Roberts and Jimmy Ryan were enough to hand Chesterfield their first win in six and end Daventry’s highly acclaimed cup run.
Paul Cook stated his intention to field the best available eleven in the week, and made three changes to the side that conceded late on to draw with Scunthorpe last time out.
Ritchie Humphreys, Jay O’Shea and Jamie Devitt dropped to the bench to make way for Sam Hird, Gary McSheffey and Eoin Doyle, as the Irish forward returned from suspension.
Daventry defender Liam Dolman came up against former team mate Marc Richards for the first time since the pair played together for Northampton town. Richards partnered Doyle in Chesterfield’s attack as Paul Cook resorted to a four four two formation.
Darran Foster’s side travelled from Communications Park to make their sixth appearance in the FA cup in this year’s competition after surging through five rounds since their first game on August 31st.
The Southern League Division One Central side frustrated Chesterfield throughout the first half, limiting the Spireites to half chances while creating clear cut opportunities of their own.
Ollie Banks had the first chance of the match after the 21-year-old found himself in space 25 yards out only to see his shot fly wide of Richard Morris’ goal.
Morris, a builder by trade, would have been beaten had Eoin Doyle’s outstretched leg connected with Gary McSheffrey’s volley across goal after 19 minutes, for the home side’s best opportunity of the fist half.
The Purple Army’s Ross Oulton impressed throughout in the heart of the non league side’s midfield, and played in Mykel Beckley down the left hand side for the winger to threaten with a bursting run into the Chesterfield box, only to be cleared by Drew Talbot after 26 minutes.
Eoin Doyle had another chance to break the deadlock on the half hour mark as he looked to meet Richards’ teasing cross from the right, but Morris did well to gather before the former Hibernian striker connected.
Moments later, Doyle had a strong penalty claim waved away by referee Darren Handley, officiating in his first game above non-league level, after Dolman stood his ground to seemingly unfairly block the Chesterfield striker’s path on goal.
The Spireites’ first half display was far from convincing and nervy at times as the visitors grew in confidence.
A Ross Oulton corner was parried away by Tommy Lee just before the break and the following goalmouth scramble was only partially cleared, allowing Tom Lorraine a free shot on goal from close range but the striker saw his effort go the wrong side of the near post.
Neither side made a change at the break, as Daventry’s sizeable away contingent continued to create a fitting FA Cup atmosphere.
Gary McSheffrey looked to spark into life after a lacklustre first half performance, and the winger tested Morris just after the break with a powerful shot from the edge of the box after a lay off from Doyle.
Chesterfield’s fitness levels started to tell in the second half as Paul Cook’s side began to dominate possession.
Ollie Banks shot from a similar position to his earlier effort, but this time had the keeper scrambling across his line to tip the ball round the post for a corner.
The biggest game in Daventry’s history was somewhat marred by a serious looking injury to winger Mykel Beckley, after a firm but fair challenge with Banks.
Paul Cook replaced Richards with Armand Gnanduillet on the hour mark as the Spireites looked for the elusive first goal.
And the Ivorian was soon involved as he headed Gary Roberts’ cross in to the path of the on rushing Doyle, but his shot was excellently cleared by defender Marcel Simpson.
Jay O’Shea came on for McSheffrey and it was the Irishman’s free kick that found Roberts at the back post for the winger to volley home and give Chesterfield the lead on 69 minutes.
The substitute could have doubled the lead soon after following an interchange with Banks on the edge of the area, but his shot was tipped over the bar by Morris, who impressed throughout the tie.
O’Shea threatened again with two shots from close range, but it was Jimmy Ryan who doubled the lead in the 87th minute, after his shot from distance took a wild deflection to loop over Morris and nestle in the back of the net, for his first goal for the Spireites.
Daventry almost scored their dream FA Cup goal in the final minute as Adam Confue and Ross Oulton both had shots blocked off the line, but Chesterfield held on to book a place in the second round.
After the match Daventry manager Darran Foster expressed his delight with his team’s efforts.
He said: ‘I’m over the moon. It’s been an absolutely tremendous roller coaster we’ve been on and to finish it the way we did out there today was something else.
‘In the first half I felt that we probably shaded it, we had a couple of good chances.
‘Its been an amazing experience and we’ll just grow on that. It’s been an overwhelming roller coaster we’ve been on but the harsh reality is that we’ve got to get on with the real business.’
Chesterfield Assistant manager Leam Richardson was equally complimentary of Daventry’s performance.
He said: ‘We have to compliment Daventry; firstly for getting to the first round proper and secondly for the endeavour and performance that they showed today.
‘Credit to them. They’ve come out with endeavour and work rate but we did think in the end we would wear them down and that the fitness levels would show and the quality showing and eventually they did.’
Chesterfield’s opponents for the second round of the competition will be revealed in the draw on Sunday 10th November.
The Spireites take on Rochdale in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday night before a trip to Plainmoor to face Torquay on Saturday, as Paul Cook’s side look to rekindle their league form.
Talbot, Evatt, Hird, Cooper;
McSheffrey (O’Shea 57′), Ryan, Banks, Roberts;
Richards (Gnanduillet 64′), Doyle (Darikwa 81′).
Subs not used: Chapman, Humphreys, Togwell, Devitt.