Feb 4, 2014 at 7.45pm UK at ​Highbury Stadium
Fleetwood Town
1-3
Chesterfield
Ball (45')
Taylor (4'), Parkin (40')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Evatt (21'), Morsy (24'), Ryan (65')
Morsy (83'), Lee (90')

Live Commentary: Fleetwood Town 1-3 Chesterfield - as it happened

Sam Morsy of Chesterfield celebrates scoring their second goal during the Johnstone's Paint Northern Area Final against Fleetwood Town on February 4, 2014
© Getty Images
Relive the Football League Trophy Northern final first leg as Chesterfield take a big step towards Wembley with a 3-1 win over Fleetwood.

Chesterfield put one foot in the Football League Trophy National final this evening courtesy of a 3-1 win over Fleetwood Town in the Area final first leg.

The visitors scored twice in the space of three minutes midway through the first half, but Fleetwood pulled one back thanks to a David Ball header right on the stroke of half time.

Chesterfield restored their two-goal advantage in style 20 minutes after the restart, however, as Jimmy Ryan fired a stunning effort past Scott Davies to secure the victory for his side.

You can read how an entertaining match unfolded with Sports Mole's live play-by-play coverage of the match below.


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7.25pmGood evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight's Football League Trophy Northern Area final first leg between Fleetwood Town and Chesterfield at Highbury. Both teams are free-scoring and high-flying in League Two right now, so we should have an exciting match on our hands tonight!

7.27pmWe'll start with a look at our hosts, who come into this game still very much in the race for automatic promotion to League One despite their recent slip-up against York. They are currently fourth in the table, just one point off third and six behind leaders Chesterfield with a game in hand over the top two.

7.29pmFleetwood have had something of a rollercoaster season so far, and you can never quite be sure which side is going to turn up. No team in League Two has won more than Fleetwood's 15 (a tally they share with tonight's opponents, incidentally), yet no team in the top nine have lost more games this season either, and only two in the top 14 can beat their 10 defeats.

7.31pmThat means that they have lost twice as many games as Chesterfield in the league this season, but they have only drawn three - the fewest in the league - so you can almost always expect a result one way or the other when Fleetwood are in action. That see-saw form is reflected in their goal difference as well. Only Chesterfield can better their tally of 45 goals from their 28 games, yet only one team in the top eight of the table have conceded more goals.

7.33pmIn many ways, their home form is the perfect example of how their whole season has gone. No team has scored more goals in front of their own fans that Fleetwood this season, yet they still only have the 10th best home record in League Two. They have picked up 23 points here at Highbury, while they have amassed 26 on their travels.

7.35pmThings are rather more consistent when it comes to this competition, however. Fleetwood edged past Tranmere in the first round before thrashing holders Crewe 4-0 and then beating Carlisle 2-0. In the Northern Area semi-finals they beat Rotherham 2-1, giving them a chance to face Chesterfield for a place at Wembley on March 30.

7.37pmSpeaking of Chesterfield, the League Two leaders are enjoying a fine season and look to be favourites to get promoted to League One at the end of the campaign. If they can manage that and have a Wembley day out then it will be a memorable year for Paul Cook and his side, who come into this game with just one defeat in their last seven and three wins in a row.

7.39pmChesterfield certainly have impressive statistics to back up their league position, having scored more goals than any other team in the division while also boasting the third-best defensive record. They are tied with Fleetwood for wins this season with 15, but Chesterfield have lost significantly fewer matches, with only Shrewsbury tasting defeat less often than the visitors.

7.41pmChesterfield do have a good history in this competition having won it as recently as 2012, but they were forced into the dreaded penalty shoot-out in the last round having been held to a 1-1 draw by Oldham. Elsewhere on their journey to the Northern Area final they have beaten Mansfield 1-0 and Rochdale 3-0.

7.43pmFLEETWOOD STARTING XI: Davies, Murdoch, Roberts, Pond, Parkin, Brown, Goodall, McLaughlin, Sarcevic, Taylor, Ball

7.43pmCHESTERFIELD STARTING XI: Lee, Banks, Morsy, Cooper, Darikwa, Roberts, Ryan, Humphreys, Doyle, Evatt, Gardner

1 minKICKOFF: We're underway at Highbury as these two League Two high-flyers go head to head for a place at Wembley. A big win for either side would help them put one foot in the national final going into the second leg.

4 minStewart Murdoch poses an early threat for the hosts as he gets into a crossing position, but his delivery is cleared away by Liam Cooper.

4 minFleetwood think that they have taken an early lead as they have the ball in the back of the net, but their celebrations are cut short by the linesman's flag.

5 minYELLOW CARD! Charlie Taylor picks up an early yellow card for the hosts as the referee books him for diving inside the area. That was a big call from David Coote, and one that Fleetwood fans will certainly want to see again.

6 minFleetwood continue their early pressure and Cooper is called into action again in defence as he gets across to make a fine block from David Ball's effort. Ball had been found in the box by Antoni Sarcevic.

8 minIt has been a lively start to this match from both teams, with Fleetwood applying most of the pressure in the final third. We expected an open, free-flowing game, and so far we are getting it.

10 minChesterfield threaten for the first time as Oliver Banks works space on the edge of the Fleetwood area. He turned down the opportunity to shoot, instead looking to threat a ball through to Gardner, but his pass was just too heavy.

12 minSHOT! The visitors come forward again as Cooper hoofs a long clearance forward that Doyle latches on to. He gets the better of his marker before going for goal, but he puts his shot wide of the post.

14 minConor McLaughlin breaks free for the hosts, advancing out of his own half before floating a ball into the visiting area, but once again Cooper is there to repel the danger for his side.

16 minReally good chance for Fleetwood to take the lead as Jon Parkin is left unmarked at the back post, but he can't steer his effort on target and the visitors are able to clear.

17 minChesterfield respond immediately with a chance of their own as Roberts swings the ball over from the left wing, but Scott Davies collected well with Doyle lurking dangerously.

19 minCLOSE! The hosts come very close to breaking the deadlock as Antoni Sarsevic moves into space before firing a shot just past the post. That was not too far away from the opening goal!

21 minGOAL! Fleetwood 0-1 Chesterfield (Ian Evatt)

21 minThe way this match was going, it was never going to be long before we saw the opening goal, and it has gone the way of Chesterfield. It was Roberts who delivered a free kick into the six-yard box, and Evatt was there to apply a tidy finish into the bottom corner from close range. Advantage Chesterfield in this first leg!

24 minGOAL! Fleetwood 0-2 Chesterfield (Sam Morsy)

24 minWhat a spell this is for Chesterfield! After a bright opening from both sides, the visitors take this tie by the scruff of its neck with two goals in the space of three minutes. This time it is Morsy who gets it, curling home from the edge of the box after Scott Davies had failed to get enough on his initial punch.

26 minWhat a hammer blow that is for Fleetwood. However, while they may be in a little shock at having conceded two goals in such a short space of time, they won't be panicking just yet. They still have over an hour to go in this game and there is also a second leg to be played in Chesterfield. Fleetwood, remember, are better on their travels than they are at home, so they will fancy their chances in that match.

28 minChesterfield continue to push on for a third goal that would surely kill this game off and quite possible the tie with it. They have been given a huge boost by those two goals and the away fans have responded by cranking up the noise levels inside the ground.

30 minIt isn't exactly the biggest of stadiums, but the away section is full and bouncing right now. Good support from the Chesterfield fans.

32 minThings have settled down now after an action-packed first half an hour or so in this one. Chesterfield are in control and will now be looking to get to the halfway stage with their two-goal still intact.

35 minCLOSE! It is so close to being 3-0 to the visitors as Humphreys plays a lofted through ball to Doyle, who lifts it up and over the onrushing Scott Davies. However, the ball falls just past the post and Fleetwood escape.

37 minChesterfield come forward yet again and they almost have another glorious sight of goal, but a latch-ditch interception just denied Doyle from latching on to Roberts's cross at the vital moment.

39 minDISALLOWED GOAL! Fleetwood have the ball in the back of the net for the second time tonight, but once again it is chalked off after the linesman raised his flag. It doesn't look like the officials were 100% sure about that one as the referee went over and had a long chat with his linesman before disallowing it. Big controversy at Highbury as that could have been Fleetwood's ticket back into this one.

41 minThe home fans certainly are not happy with that decision, and they are letting the officials know all about it. The referee must have thought that it was a goal, otherwise I don't see why he would have had such a long chat with the linesman, but I suppose his official will have been better placed so David Coote had no option but to bow to his superior judgement.

43 minThe hosts are pushing for a goal before half time and they have a good chance to get it as they are awarded a free kick on the angle of Chesterfield's area. Junior Brown steps up to take it, but he can't fire his effort on target, instead sending a shot flashing past the post.

45 minGOAL! Fleetwood 1-2 Chesterfield (David Ball)

45 minFleetwood do get their goal before the break! It is a vital strike from Ball, and for once the linesman's flag is not raised to disallow it. Ball nodded Parkin's cross past Lee from close range to give the hosts a route back into this match. The Chesterfield keeper did get a hand on the ball, but he still couldn't keep it out. That has made the second half very interesting indeed.

45+1 minThere will be three added minutes at the end of this first half.

45+2 minFleetwood want a second before the interval, but it doesn't look like they will get is as Parkin fires a half-chance wide of the mark.

45+2 minChesterfield also come close right on the stroke of half time as they win a free kick 25 yards from goal. Roberts steps up to take it, but his strike fell just over the bar. That should be that for this first half.

45+3 minHALF TIME: Fleetwood Town 1-2 Chesterfield

8.44pmWell, what a half of football that was! We were expecting excitement and goals from these two teams and they certainly haven't disappointed in that department. It is Chesterfield who go into the break the happier with a 2-1 lead, but Fleetwood have momentum on their side having pulled a goal back late in the opening period. We are set up for a really good second half at Highbury.

8.47pmThe visitors raced into a two-goal lead in the space of three minutes after an action-packed opening period of the match. It was Ian Evatt who opened the scoring with a tidy finish from close range, while Morsy took advantage of a goalkeeping error to make it 2-0 shortly afterwards. Fleetwood fought back, however and got on the scoresheet right on the stroke of half time courtesy of David Ball's header from close range.

8.50pmIt was Chesterfield who enjoyed the most possession in the opening period with 54% of the ball, but it was really end-to-end stuff for much of the half. Fleetwood had more efforts on goal, with seven to Chesterfield's five, while the only shots on target so far tonight have ended up in the back of the net.

8.50pmWhat those stats don't account for, however, is the fact that the hosts have also had two goals disallowed, the second of which was very controversial. The referee seemed happy to give it but, after a long chat with his linesman, decided against it and chalked the strike off. How important could that decision prove to be in this tie?

46 minKICKOFF: We're back underway at Highbury at Fleetwood look to pick up where they left off at the end of the first half. Can they get themselves back level and then perhaps ahead in this match, or will Chesterfield hold out to take a lead into the second leg?

47 minWell, already we have seen something that we didn't in the first half as Taylor forces a stop from Lee less than 60 second after the restart. It was a fairly comfortable save for the Chesterfield keeper, however.

48 minThe hosts continue their good start to the second half as Ball finds space to shoot this time, hitting his effort on the turn and sending it just over the bar.

50 minChesterfield flow forward with a quick counter, but Gardner's eventual low cross is put behind for a corner. The blustery conditions inside Highbury will certainly have an impact on crosses into the box, but it doesn't seem to bother Davies much here and he comes out to collect it safely.

52 minBall is looking like a handful tonight and he once again finds space for himself to have a go at goal, but he fails to hit the target as his left-footed effort flies wide of the mark.

53 minCHESTERFIELD SUB: The first change of the night comes from the visitors as Drew Talbot comes on in place of Dan Gardner.

55 minWe're 10 minutes into the second half now and, while it hasn't quite been as action-packed as the first so far, you still get the feeling that there are goals in this game. I would be very surprised if this one ended 1-2.

57 minChesterfield have shown glimpses of threatening in the second half but are yet to string a really dangerous move together. Another good attacking platform breaks down here as Ryan's first-time pass towards Doyle is just too long for the striker to latch on to.

60 minMorsy already has one goal to his name this afternoon and, but for a good block, he may have had another there. The midfielder picked up the ball on the edge of the area and cut onto his left foot, only to see his eventual shot deflected wide.

63 minMorsy is involved again as he chips a delicate ball towards Doyle, but Pond is across well to mop up the danger and clear his lines.

64 minGOAL! Fleetwood 1-3 Chesterfield (Jimmy Ryan)

64 minChesterfield regain their two-goal advantage, and what a strike it is to give them a bit of breathing space. Jimmy Ryan won the ball 25 yards from the Fleetwood goal before hammering a stunning effort past a helpless Scott Davies.

66 minJust how big could that goal prove to be? The fourth goal was always going to e a vital one in this tie and, unless Fleetwood can find another tonight, it could well be the pivotal one. One thing is for sure - the next goal is even more important. If the hosts get it, it is very much game on, but if Chesterfield move 4-1 ahead it is very hard to see a way back for Fleetwood.

68 minFLEETWOOD SUB: Interesting change from the hosts as goalscorer David Ball makes way when they are in need of a goal. He is replaced by Mikael Mandron, who has scored once in five appearances since joining on loan from Sunderland at the start of January. Can he be their hero tonight?

70 minFleetwood need a second wind here, that third goal really seems to have knocked the stuffing out of the hosts. A two-goal margin is by no means insurmountable with a second leg still to come, but Chesterfield would be overwhelming favourites to reach Wembley if things stay like this.

72 minThe home fans need to raise the volume a bit here as doing so could give Fleetwood that second wind. As it is, the away fans are making all the noise, and who can blame them? They are looking like they will be making a trip to the home of football on March 30 at the moment.

74 minFLEETWOOD SUB: The hosts make another change as Stewart Murdoch makes way for Gareth Evans. That is a positive, attacking move from Graham Alexander - will he reap the rewards?

77 minCHESTERFIELD SUB: Chesterfield respond with a change of their own as off comes Owen Doyle and on comes Marc Richards. They certainly don't look like just parking the bus in these closing stages.

79 minNervy moment for Scott Davies as he skips away from a Ryan challenge, almost getting caught in possession. A fourth goal would surely kill this tie off, and they certainly won't want it to come from a carelessly mistake.

81 minCHANCE! Great defending from Humphreys as he throws himself in the way of a Parkin strike to deny the Fleetwood man what looked like a certain goal! The ball fell to Parkin just three yards from goal after a Fleetwood corner, but it was heroic defending from the Chesterfield man. That could be a crucial moment in this tie.

84 minCHESTERFIELD SUB: The visitors make their third and final change of the night as Jimmy Ryan, goalscorer of their third, makes way to be replaced by Sam Hird for the final six minutes or so.

87 minIt is fair to say that this second half hasn't quite lived up to the action-packed first, but Chesterfield won't mind that one bit. They are controlling possession in these closing stages and looking like seeing it out for a valuable away win in the first leg.

90 minThere will be five minutes of added time at the end of this match - still enough time for Fleetwood to get what could be a vital second goal.

90+1 minParkin tries to find that second, but he drags effort wide of the mark from 20 yards out. That looked like a really tired effort from the striker, who had broken free of the Chesterfield defence and should have done better.

90+4 minCHANCE! Late chance for the hosts as Alan Goodall rises highest in the box to get onto the end of a corner, but he can't keep his header down, putting the ball narrowly over the top. That may have been their last chance in this match.

90+5 minFULL TIME: Fleetwood Town 1-3 Chesterfield

9.43pmReferee David Coote brings an end to the match, and Chesterfield put one foot firmly in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy National Final courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Fleetwood. Two goals in the space of three first-half minutes proved to be decisive for the visitors, who added a third in the second half to give themselves some breathing space.

9.45pmRight, that is all we have time for this evening. Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for what was an entertaining match overall, and one that leaves Fleetwood with a lot to do in the return leg if they want to make it to Wembley on March 30. Be sure to stick around for the match report, while the Southern Area final first leg takes place tomorrow. Until then, though, it is goodbye from me!

A general view of Glanford Park the home of Scunthorpe United on March 31, 2012
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