SPIREITES JOY AS CITIZENS ARE SENT PACKING
MANCHESTER City may be beating all-comers this season, but their Under-21s won’t be getting their hands on the Checkatrade Trophy. City’s young guns were one of the casualties as the group stages finally drew to a close in midweek. With Bradford already through from Northern Group F, Chesterfield and City met to try to bag second spot. Rotherham, who had already finished their matches, also still had a sniff. Sub Joe Rowley headed home to put the Spireites ahead on 74 minutes, and almost immediately they were a man up, too, when City’s Charlie Oliver was red-carded for a tackle on Andy Kellett. However, the ten men drew level with four minutes left, courtesy of an Ed Francis free-kick and looked to have won through when Lukas Nmecha struck two minutes later. But Chris O’Grady fired home deep into stoppage time to make it 2-2 and force a penalty shoot-out, which Chesterfield won 4-3 to earn the extra point. The reward is a trip to Fleetwood on Tuesday in the last 32. In Southern Group C, Wycombe beat West Ham U21s 2-0, but the Hammers, along with Swindon, qualified for the knockout stages. In Group D, Yeovil and Chelsea U21s won through. In the final round of matches. Yeovil edged out Plymouth 2-1 and Chelsea triumphed 3-1 at Exeter. In Group A, Fulham U21s won 3-1 at Crawley in a dead rubber, while, in Group F, Barnet beat Tottenham U21s 2-1 in another match between two sides already out of contention. Meanwhile, Rochdale became the first team into the last 16 with a 5-4 penalty shoot-out success after a 1-1 draw against Doncaster in the second round. Matty Gillam put Dale ahead from the spot, but Liam Mandeville levelled to force spot-kicks. Josh Lillis saved from Tommy Rowe in the shootout to earn Dale victory.