The final game in this season's Group Stage of the Midland Youth Cup saw last season's finalists play out a competitive and entertaining draw at Sincil Bank on Wednesday night. The Imps, who won the trophy last year, needed a victory to progress to a semi-final at Walsall.
It was the visitors who had the first chance, but Imps’ goalkeeper Aaron Myles - on work experience loan from Nottingham Forest - made two excellent stops before Luke Weaver made a last ditch block to keep Chesterfield out.
City began to press with Matt Cotton impressing in midfield and front men Aaron Rice, Jordan Thomas and Alex Simmons constantly threatening in behind the visitors. The deadlock was broken on the half-hour mark following some neat link up play between Will Rawdon and Cotton, the ball broke to Thomas who turned and fired into the top corner. Moments later and with momentum clearly with the home side, Thomas appeared to be caught in the box as he was about to shoot, but appeals for a penalty were waved away.
Chesterfield responded and always looked a threat on the break, particularly in wide areas, and following a scramble on the edge of City's box the ball broke to Hewitt who fired home to level the score before half-time.
The Imps dominated possession for long spells in the second period, with Rob Taylor and Rice once again linking up well. Weaver glanced a header wide from a rare corner, and Taylor drove into the side netting. Myles made another good save as Chesterfield continued to look to counter attack, and Rob Smith replaced the excellent Cotton on 70 minutes. Taylor drove a long range effort wide after good play from Rice and Thomas, and Rice saw his free kick saved by Barrington.
With the game on a knife edge, Matt Bowles broke up another Chesterfield attack and Rice drove forward. He found Taylor who's cross just evaded substitute Helsdown, and it proved to be the last chance of the game.
The young Imps had given everything in defence of their trophy and can be very proud of their performance, and we would like to wish Chesterfield the very best of luck in the semi-final.
Team: Myles, Leggett, Rawdon, Bowles, Weaver, Ward, Taylor, Cotton (Smith 70), Thomas, Simmons (Helsdown 85), Rice. Subs not used: Walker, Green, Barr-Rostron.