Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final 2012
25 Mar 2012 - 2:00 PM
Chesterfield 2 Swindon 0
A stoppage-time goal by substitute Craig Westcarr dramatically clinched victory for Chesterfield in a hard-fought Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final.
Swindon central defender Oliver Risser had handed the Spireites a 46th-minute lead with an unfortunate own goal, but the Robins hit back to have most of the play in the final stages.
Paolo Di Canio's npower League 2 team were unable to breach a well-marshalled Chesterfield defence, however, and John Sheridan's League 1 side put their relegation worries to one side with a first triumph in the Football League competition.
It was a top versus bottom game with a difference as the Spireites, struggling at the foot of the League 1 table, took on the runaway League 2 leaders - ironically after the Spireites had been promoted as League 2 champions last season while the Robins were relegated as League 1's bottom club.
Swindon have been transformed under manager Di Canio and they went into the Final as favourites, but it was Chesterfield who made the brighter start.
Captain Jack Lester had a fourth minute header saved on the line by goalkeeper Wes Foderingham, then four minutes later Lester's strike partner Jordan Bowery sent in an angled drove that right back Joe Devera had to turn for a corner.
The Robins gradually worked their way into the game, however, and left winger Lee Holmes went close with a 20-yard shot that curled just over the bar in the 19th minute.
The on-loan Southampton player went even closer just before the half-hour, firing in a 15-yard shot that central defender Josh Thompson partially blocked before keeper Tommy Lee produed a fine reflex save to keep the ball out.
The Spireites were dealt a blow in the 37th minute, when Lester fell awkwardly and had to be substituted due to what appeared to be a knee injury.
And five minutes before the interval they might have gone behind as Alan Connell, in a great position from a headed pass by his fellow striker Paul Benson, volleyed wide.
That miss went punished a minute into the second half as the Spireites took the lead. Bowerey's cross-shot was blocked by Foderingham, but the ball looped out to Alex Mendy and when the left winger's low cross sped into the six-yard box Risser unwittingly turned his attempted clearance into the net.
Swindon hit back hard to mount a series of attacks, but the Chesterfield defence stood firm and a breakaway attack on the hour almost brought a second goal as Westcarr's 20 yard effort flew narrowly wide of the far post.
Westcarr then missed a tremendous 73rd minute chance to wrap up victory, shooting wide with only Foderingham to beat after central defender Alan McCormack's slip had put him in the clear.
Those openings came against the run of play but Swindon, despite enjoying plenty of possession, created no clear-cut chances of their own until substitute Ronan Murray's 76th minute pass set up Holmes for a 15-yard shot that was comfortably saved by Lee.
Two minutes from end of normal time though, Lee had to finger-tip an Alessandro Cibocchi header over the bar to keep the Spireites in front.
But the stout defending of Sheridan's men was richly rewarded four minutes into stoppage time, when substitute Mark Randall threaded a pass through the Swindon defence for Westcarr to race on and this time put the ball into the back of the net. Chesterfield (4-4-2):
Lee; Hurst, Thompson, Ford, N. Smith; Talbot, Moussa (Randall 81), Allott, Mendy; Bowery (Boden 87), Lester (Westcarr 37).
Substitutes not used: Fleming, Whitaker. Swindon Town (4-4-2):
Foderingham; Devera, Risser (Murray 62), McCormack, McEveley (Cibocchi 77); Ritchie, Ferry, J. Smith (Bostock 72), Holmes; Connell, Benson.
Substitutes not used: P. Smith, De Vita.