SPIREITES JOY AS CITIZENS ARE SENT PACK­ING

The Football League Paper - - MIDWEEK ROUND-UP - By John Lyons

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.

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