Graham Alexander praised his side’s efforts over the last 21 games after Chesterfield ended our record 20-game unbeaten league run.
Goals in either half from Andrew Kiwomya gave The Spireites a 2-0 win at The Proact Stadium, ending their run of 19 league games without a win.
However despite the loss the gaffer was keen to highlight the significance of the players’ achievements up to this point.
“They’ve been absolutely superb for four months now, and sometimes you need a little slap across the chops to remind us all about the realities of football and we’ll learn from today.
“But I can only give the players a load of praise for what they’ve done over the last three or four months, to go 20 games unbeaten is difficult at any level of football but they’ve shown great ability, great fitness, great focus to do that but it’s come to an end today.
“We have to make sure that when we come back to work next week we’re ready to win the next game.”
The Spireites hadn’t won since August in the league and there was a hostile atmosphere around The Proact Stadium as the game got underway, but that hostility turned into joy as Kiwomya gave the hosts an early lead by slotting in Levi Amantchi’s cross.
“Defeat’s always difficult to take. Obviously the start, going a goal down after 90 seconds or so, was poor timing for us but great timing for them.
“They’ve had a long run without a victory so to take a lead in the first minutes, instead of us coming here, quietening the crowd, and putting the frustration onto the home team, they’ve got a bit of a break from the clearance, the lad’s charged down a clearance, it’s fell nicely for them, they’ve finished it off and I thought it just gave them a bit of a confidence boost.
“We’ve come back from lots of losing positions already this season, we’ve spoken about that at half time and I think the players did as much as they could effort-wise to get back into the game, I think we had several chances around their goal, their keeper’s made a couple of fantastic saves, we’ve just missed a couple of good chances. When the ball was in play we were the better team in possession.
We take a break from the league as the FA Trophy begins next weekend with the visit of Gateshead to The Peninsula Stadium in our First Round debut, and Alexander believes it has come at a right time.
“I think it’s beneficial for us, there’s a lot of players in our team who’ve played every single game and I think a mental break has come at a good time.
“But it’s all about the next game for us, we want to have a good performance next week in the FA Trophy, a good result, then we focus on our next league game.
“I’m sure there’ll be a bit of frustration from the players because we’ve got a winning mentality, and I think every player in there is hurting, but I’ve told them just to get their heads up and be ready for the next challenge because they’ve done fantastic things over the last few months and I don’t see any reason why we can’t continue to do that.”