Nemesis club ends Latics’ Wembley dream
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 11 December 2013
FOR Latics, Chesterfield are the equivalent of Kryptonite.
The side that has now knocked Oldham out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy three campaigns running even has its own Man of Steel - goalkeeper Tommy Lee.
Two seasons ago the Keighley-born 27 year old produced a string of saves to help his side to victory, and here he followed those exploits with a highly-polished display before saving twice in the penalty shoot-out to help his team through.
Danny Philliskirk then Anton Rodgers were the players who saw vital kicks saved by goalkeeper’s legs.
It was a cruel verdict on Athletic. They didn’t play particularly well against a side superbly organised by manager Paul Cook.
But Lee Johnson’s team should have been handed the chance to go through. Referee Kevin Wright shook his head when 36-year-old PFA chairman Ritchie Humphreys clearly handled Matteo Lanzoni’s cross in the penalty box after four minutes of injury time.
Jonson Clarke-Harris was also thought worthy of a spot kick in first half - though not by the ref.
Athletic found it tough to cope with the speed and trickery of Chestefield’s scorer and reported Manchester United target Tendayi Darikwa in the first half.
In a reshuffled line-up which featured six changes from the weekend, Athletic winger Mike Petrasso fired off target twice in a bright end-to-end start to the contest.
David Mellor, playing on the left of midfield, then put in a swinging cross which Philliskirk trapped, swivelled and half-volleyed emphatically across Lee for his ninth strike of the season.
But the lead lasted only seven minutes. Athletic’s left flank looked vulnerable and it was proved to be so when a terrific Drew Talbot cross was converted by Darikwa.
The first half was all-action. Darikwa shot off target from a good position before and after his goal.
Clarke-Harris had a shot saved low by Lee, while the last effort of the half was a header from Chesterfield centre-back Liam Cooper who headed a corner a foot wide.
The second period was far cagier as the visitors sat back to hold on to what they had. Athletic had plenty of possession but a heck of a job getting in behind a deep, packed defence.
Philliskirk had a smart shot on the turn again well stopped by Lee, but as Petrasso faded, there was too little incisiveness.
Clarke-Harris forced another stop with a 35-yard free-kick and the best effort was from Jonathan Grounds, whose strike from the edge of the box produced a terrific reaction stop.
Substitute Adam Rooney ran into the box to try his luck with a low attempt Lee was more than equal to.
And though Athletic remained on top until the final whistle, the shoot-out after 90 minutes was won by Cook’s men, with Talbot striking home the winning spot-kick on another night to forget.
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