The Non-League Football Paper - - FA TROPHY SECOND ROUND - By John Brind­ley

TOM DEN­TON’s last-gasp win­ner de­nied un­der­dogs Bed­ford Town a no­table re­play and gave new Spire­ites boss John Sheri­dan a win­ning start.

The teams kicked off sep­a­rated by three di­vi­sions but Bed­ford de­fended more and more com­fort­ably as this FA Tro­phy tie pro­gressed and looked set to get a sec­ond chance.

Den­ton’s crisp fin­ish af­ter he had chal­lenged in the air for Jonathan Smith’s loop­ing right wing cross al­lowed Sheri­dan to look on the bright side but there was prob­a­bly more to en­cour­age Bed­ford as at­ten­tion re­turns to the league for both sides.

Bed­ford as­sis­tant boss Nathan Abbey said: “I thought we de­served a draw. We grew into the game as it pro­gressed and the late goal is a bit­ter pill for us.

“The Tro­phy has been good for us. We’ve had a great run and beaten higher teams – now we plan to get our pro­mo­tion chal­lenge back on course.”

Ch­ester­field dom­i­nated through­out an un­event­ful tie with­out cre­at­ing the open­ings that looked likely from the open­ing stages when Jones made ex­cel­lent div­ing saves to deny Joe Row­ley and Kyel Reid.

Jerome Bin­nom-Wil­liams saw an ef­fort de­flected into the side net­ting and striker Marc An­toine For­tune blazed over when well placed be­fore Cal­lum Don­nelly struck Bed­ford’s first shot just over.

The ex­pected sec­ond half on­slaught never ma­te­ri­alised how­ever with Bed­ford hav­ing spells of rea­son­able pos­ses­sion. Reid’s shot dis­ap­pear­ing out of the ground and last week’s hero Will Evans mak­ing a hash of a throw in high­lighted Ch­ester­field’s grow­ing frus­tra­tion. The con­test be­tween Free­stone and the per­sis­tent Lee Shaw on the Ch­ester­field right was a rare high­light as the game looked to be drift­ing to­wards a stale­mate. But Den­ton’s eighth cup goal of the sea­son in the 89th minute fi­nally gave Ch­ester­field the break­through. Re­lieved Sheri­dan said: “It’s a big bonus to have a clean sheet and a win­ning start, although I thought we should have scored more goals. “A 1-0 win is as good as a 5-0 and it was a great fin­ish. “It’s my first ex­pe­ri­ence of the Tro­phy but if I was a player I’d be do­ing ev­ery­thing I could to do well in it. The fi­nal’s at Wem­ble. “Full re­spect to Bed­ford. They made life very dif­fi­cult for us and full credit to the man­ager and the team.” Sheri­dan added: “I’ve only been work­ing with the lads for a cou­ple of days but hope­fully they will get used to the way we want to play. “We want to get points on the board quickly and I’m con­fi­dent of bring­ing in new play­ers to help us do that.”

STAR MAN: Lewis Free­stone (Bed­ford) ATT: 2,213 EN­TER­TAIN­MENT: ★★★★★ REF­EREE: Si­mon Mather 6/10

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