Fleetwood so close to Wembley dream

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Going for broke, who’d do anything else?

Fleetwood Town certainly needed to, two goals down, the Wembley dream rocked but not gone.

In their way a resolute Chesterfield – unbeaten in 2014 at the ProAct – were the tougest of nuts to crack.

And, despite their lead , Chesterfield weren’t content to sit on the game, putting Fleetwood under early pressure.

The Spireites were intent to use every inch of the ProAct pitch, Tendayi Darikwa causing chaos down the right channel.

Paul Cook’s men aren’t top of League Two for no reason and were quick to show their quality, keeping Fleetwood confined and attacking with pace and venom.

Fleetwood would, before the break, be thankful to keeper Chris Maxwell, the Welshman keeping them in the tie with a number of superb saves.

Darikwa may have been a one man act down the Chesterfield right but down the left the Spireites had double trouble in the form of Jimmy Ryan and Gary Roberts, Conor McLaughlin given a torrid time.

It was almost constant pressure, Chesterfield switching play at will and setting up a line just inside their own half which Fleetwood quite simply were not allowed to cross.

The danger signs were clear to see, Jay O’Shea’s pace troubling Mark Roberts in the tenth minute, Alan Goodall’s block crucial to keep the scores level.

Maxwell was the next man called upon to show bravery, standing up in the face of the advancing Gary Roberts.

Not that the Fleetwood keeper was faultless, almost spilling into the path of Ryan as Chesterfield mounted yet another attack, recovering to hold the ball to the relief of Town’s frozen defence.

But it was mostly showstopping shot stopping from Graham Alexander’s new first choice keeper, denying O’Shea for a second time before the half hour was up, a fingertip denying the hosts the lead.

It would have been deserved, Chesterfield dominant in possession and pegging Fleetwood back for long periods, allowing the visitors no time to build, the ball often heading back towards the box before Fleetwood had picked up and regrouped.

There were moments of relief, Jon Parkin attempting to lob Tommy Lee from 35 yards and then, moments later screaming for a penalty as he felt he had been felled by Ian Evatt.

Chesterfield were quick to shut down the danger, fighting back, O’Shea on the break, Maxwell again having to be brave forcing his man wide and getting a crucial touch.

Then, suddenly Fleetwood awoke.

Or to be more precise Antoni Sarcevic awoke, suddenly remembering the battling side of his game.

And Fleetwood, suddenly were finding space, Sarcevic surging forward and earning a free-kick on the edge of the box.

Goodall couldn’t take advantage but it was a start.

And there was almost a shock ending to the half, Sarcevic involved again.

He kicked off the move, driving forward, swinging it over for Matt who couldn’t find space to shoot, flashing it instead across the face of goal, Sarcevic arriving at the back post but unable to turn it inside the upright.

It would have been a dream end to a troublesome half, but all square at the break, Town were still in it.

They needed to bring more to the party, and did, creating more opportunities after the re-start, the game more open, Chesterfield’s resolve maybe beginning to crack.

The composure, however, wasn’t with Fleetwood who time after time won the ball in midfield areas only to give it away before creating real openings.

At the other end, the Spireites were more than content on the break, O’Shea still a menace, flashing one past the post, a warning shot to Fleetwood.

Graham Alexander’s side, however much they were up for the fight, were running out of time.

And it was time for a big decision, the Fleetwood boss throwing on another striker, Mikael Mandron replacing Alan Goodall, Junior Brown another attacking option replacing Alex Marrow.

It helped Town step up a gear, Chesterfield suddenly under pressure, the visitors suddely on top of every 50-50 sustaining their assault on the Chesterfield box.

And it could have paid off, Sarcevic again showing a flash of magic, thundering into the area and unleashing a shot.

It looked every bit goal bound, a cruel deflection denying Town a chance to set up a spectacular finale.

The last throw of the dice was the introduction of Matty Hughes, on his Fleetwood debut, a huge weight on his shoulders. He more than handled the pressure and the faith put in him, charging down the right flank, the youthful enthusiasm just what Fleetwood needed.

Jon Parkin should have put Town ahead, an uncharacteristicllay tame finish too easy for Tommy Lee.

What they didn’t need was a clumsy challenge on Jamille Matt, the striker clattered on the ankle, left hobbling in the closing stages.

Town were all but down to 10 men and it looked like Chesterfield would take advantage to shut the game out.

Fleetwood though were all of a sudden full of grit and determination.

And they set the ProAct alight on the stroke of 90 minutes.

Hughes it was, refusing to give up and, from the floor, turning the ball to Matt who slipped Parkin in to tap Town into the lead.

Chesterfield had to put up the shutters.

The corner was suddenly the target, not the Fleetwood goal.

On Town battled, six minutes of stoppage time.

Surely they could grab that one last chance.

No said Cook’s Spireites, resolute, determined and, in the end, probably deserving of a Wembley day out.

Fleetwood, well they can take comfort in their victory and dream of another here in May - a win which could had them the far more lucrative prize of promotion to League One.

Here’s to dreaming... and one that’s still alive.