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Paul Cook expressed his pride in his side’s efforts and commitment after the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final defeat to Peterborough at Wembley on Saturday.
The 3-1 scoreline was far from an accurate reflection of a dominant Spireite display which disguised the division gap between the two sides.
First half goals from Josh McQuoid and Shaun Brisely sent Peterborough in front before Eoin Doyle gave the Spireites a lifeline, only for Britt Assombalonga to ensure the win for Darren Ferguson’s side from the penalty spot.
Cook heralded his side’s boldness in possession. The 47-year-old said: ‘I though today against a strong Peterborough side for long long spells we matched them. We looked equally as good as them; we created chances and I thought we did everything that you could ask for from the team in a game at Wembley.
‘I thought when they scored on 35 minutes we were totally in the ascendency in the game. We missed a couple of great chances, we had the ball in good areas but then we conceded the second.
‘I’m disappointed for our fans today because we’re a small town, we travel in great numbers and we’ve got fantastic supporters. You want to win every game but unfortunately football is not like that.
Chesterfield’s nightmare start to the final could have been averted had Eoin Doyle’s penalty claim been awarded with only three minutes gone.
The Liverpudlian said: ‘You get a little bit disappointed about the penalty decision after two or three minutes because I don’t think there are many people in the stadium who don’t think it’s a penalty. Unfortunately these are the big decisions that sometimes go against you but the referee is a senior referee and he’s a good referee.
The Posh were reduced to ten men on 66 minutes when Joe Newell saw red for kicking out at Sam Morsy, and Cook expressed his frustration at not capitalising on the numerical advantage.
He added: ‘I felt that we dropped off our pace when they went down to ten men. I felt it affected us more than it affected them.
‘I really felt when we got back to 2-1 we could go on and win the game. We were playing well, I thought we were vibrant, we know we’ve got good fitness levels. I felt we had substitutions that could win us the game but when the sending off came we just stopped, we stopped moving the ball quickly and we weren’t as penetrative as we wanted to be.
The defeat leaves Chestefield focused on ensuring automatic promotion from SkyBet League Two, with the Spireites currently third in the table sitting five points clear of the promotion places.
Cook affirmed his side’s league desires with six games left: ‘We’re in a strong position in the league as we speak so if we were to be back here for the play-offs it would be a little bit disappointing because obviously we’ve got a five point gap with six games to go.
‘We feel we’ve got a very strong squad and we’ve got a good mentality towards football so we want to be up via the automatic promotion.
‘I think we must congratulate Peterborough and it’s not our day today.’
Chesterfield return to league action on Saturday with the visit of Newport to the Proact, where Cook’s side will look to return to winning ways to reignite the promotion campaign.