League One - Cool Mendy sends Spireites through

Tue, 06 Dec 23:34:00 2011

Alexandre Mendy held his nerve to fire home the winning penalty that sent Chesterfield to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Northern area final courtesy of a 4-2 shoot-out victory over Preston at Deepdale.

2011-12 FOOTBALL Noel Alexandre Mendy, Chesterfield - 0

The game finished 1-1 after normal time, Jamie McCombe heading in for the home side before Craig Westcarr responded.

In a breathless first half, McCombe gave the Lilywhites the lead after 16 minutes when he climbed highest to glance in Paul Parry's corner.

That goal shocked the Spireites into life and they were back level only 10 minutes later when Westcarr tapped into an empty net after Preston failed to clear their lines.

The game settled down after the break, but Tommy Lee had to be at his best to deny Neil Mellor a stunning winner with 15 minutes remaining.

And it was Mendy who proved to be the hero as he slotted home after the normally dependable Graham Alexander and Paul Coutts missed for the home side.

Oldham are one game away from Wembley after outclassing Bradford to win 2-0 in the other northern area semi-finals.

League Two strugglers Bradford went down to second-half strikes from Tom Adeyemi and veteran striker Shefki Kuqi, who bagged his 13th goal of the season.

Kuqi blazed over an early chance before Latics goalkeeper Alex Cisak was forced to save well from James Hanson. Josh Parker went close for Paul Dickov`s side and two openings were wasted before the break as Luca Scapuzzi volleyed off target and then shot straight at Jon McLaughlin.

The breakthrough came in the 61st minute when Scapuzzi cut in from the left and Adeyemi took over on the edge of the box, skipping past two challenges and slotting home from 10 yards.

Bradford substitute Ross Hannah tested Cisak, but only fine goalkeeping from McLaughlin denied Kuqi at point-blank range. There was no stopping Kuqi 10 minutes from time, though, as he sealed the Bantams` fate with an unstoppable six-yard header from Robbie Simpson`s right-wing free-kick.

Bradford Craig Fagan slammed a 90th-minute penalty atrociously high and wide after defender Jean Yves Mvoto was punished for handball.

Substitute Ronan Murray headed Swindon into the Southern area final as Southend lost 2-1 at Roots Hall.

Ipswich loanee Murray came on for Jake Jervis in the 80th minute and two minutes later, netted the winner to decide a match between npower League Two's form sides.

Matt Ritchie's corner from the right was put back into the box by Lander Gabilondo and Murray headed the ball into the top-right corner for his first goal for Paulo Di Canio's side.

The Shrimpers had taken the lead in the 62 minute when Sean Clohessy's diagonal ball from the right was bundled down by Luke Prosser and Blair Sturrock prodded the ball home from six yards.

But Swindon got on terms nine minutes later as skipper Paul Caddis scored with a great curling shot from just outside the box.

The result denied Southend a club-record 18-game unbeaten record and stretched Swindon's run to 13 matches without defeat. It followed a good few days for the Robins, who will tackle Barnet in the area final, after they knocked Southend's Essex rivals Colchester out of the FA Cup on Saturday with a 1-0 win.

Dean Brill's heroics earned Barnet a place in other southern area final as Brentford were beaten 5-3 on spot-kicks following a goalless draw.

Barnet clung on to remain deadlocked on 90 minutes thanks to goalkeeper Brill's three superb saves, but he was not called upon during penalties as Jonathan Douglas fired over and Danny Senda netted the winner.

Brentford started brightly and should have taken the lead after four minutes when Michael Hector slipped and Niall McGinn lobbed against the bar.

Brill was called into action for the first time 10 minutes after the restart, superbly denying Marcus Bean's point-blank header and Toumani Diagouraga's follow up.

The hosts threatened on the hour as Mark Marshall left two defenders in his wake, but could not find the target from distance.

Clayton Donaldson then beat the offside trap, though he was only able to find the grateful arms of Brill with the goal at his mercy. And Brill earned Barnet the shootout, beating away Harlee Dean's late strike, before his team-mates held their nerve, converting all five kicks, to set up a two-legged area final with Swindon.

PA Sport

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