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REPORT: Spireites bow out of the FA Cup after defeat to European Champions


The Spireites' dream FA Cup run ended in the third round after falling to a 5-1 defeat to Premier League side Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.


James Rowe had a side boosted by the return of Luke Croll to the starting XI and Laurence Maguire to the bench.


Thomas Tuchel named a very strong and experienced squad including the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Christian Pulisic and Timo Werner.


It was the latter who opened the scoring after just six minutes. Hakim Ziyech's original shot was deflected into the path of Werner, who tapped home into an empty net.


Ziyech and Lukaku looked to put the European Champions two up after ten minutes but both players had their respective efforts blocked or saved by Scott Loach.


Callum Hudson-Odoi was the Chelsea player to find a second goal. They 21-year-old cut inside from the left before curling an unstoppable effort into the opposite corner.


Two soon became three when Lewis Hall, a 17-year-old debutant for Chelsea, capitalised on a Chesterfield mistake before setting up Lukaku, and the striker made no mistake sweeping the ball home from close-range.


Chesterfield refused to stay down though and almost forced a way back into the game. Manny Oyeleke's long-range effort drifted past Marcus Betinelli's left post.


The eight-time winners of the FA Cup added a fourth before the break. Hall forced a save from Loach before Andreas Christensen sent a looping header over the goalkeeper and into the net.


Rowe made two substitutions at half time with Liam Mandeville and Calvin Miller replacing Saidou Khan and Jeff King. Tuchel followed suit with two changes of his own; Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Kia Havertz replaced Mateo Kovacic and Lukaku.


Chelsea continued to send waves at attack at the Chesterfield goal and soon got a penalty when Miller brought Pulisic down in the area. Ziyech assumed responsibility and just snuck the ball under Loach to make it five.


The second half didn't match up to the pace of the first with the home side happy to keep possession until the end of the game.


However, Havertz thought he had added a sixth goal for the runners-up of last season's competition. Werner played the ball across for his fellow countryman to tap home but the linesman raised his flag to signal for offside. VAR looked at the incident and confirmed the on-field decision to rule the goal out.


With ten minutes to go, the 6,000 travelling fans got their reward. Kabongo Tshimanga managed to make his way to the edge of the box before forcing Betinelli into a smart save; substitute Akwasi Asante quickly pounce to turn home from a couple of yards to send the Spireite fans into deliroum.


It was no more that the Spireites deserved , who never gave up all game and had made a few chances in the second half.


At the final whistle, a majority of Chelsea supporters showed respect to the National League side and the fans packed into the Shed End showed their appreciation for a fantastic FA Cup run.


Chesterfield will travel to London again next Saturday as they face Barnet in the National League in the push for the title,


Chesterfield: Loach; Kerr, Gunning (C) (Grimes 60), Croll; King (Miller 46), Weston, Oyeleke (Maguire 72), Whittle; Khan (Mandeville 46), Kellermann (Asante 65); Tshimanga.


Unused Substitutes: Minter, McCourt, Tyson, Payne.


Attendance: 39,795

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