This Sunday will serve up a compelling FA Cup second-round tie with the run-away National League leaders Chesterfield hosting mid-table League One side Leyton Orient at the SMH Stadium. Both teams will be looking to book their place in the third round of the competition.
The Spireites currently sit 11 points clear of Bromley at the top of the National League standings with a game in hand. Paul Cook's men have won a staggering 17 out of 21 matches this season, with them all set up for a return to the Football League.
In their last five games in all competitions, they’ve managed four wins in five, only Southend United have been able to tame them who gave Chesterfield a 2-1 defeat. In their last outing, Will Grigg and an Ollie Banks brace secured a 3-2 win over Eastleigh in the league, with the latter goal being the 53rd team goal of the season. Despite the visitors scoring two late goals through Paul McCallum and Scott Quigley, they managed to hold on and race further clear of the chasing pack.
In the FA Cup, Chesterfield thumped Non-League Premier side Kettering Town 5-0 at home. Goals spread across the team from Banks, Grigg, Darren Oldaker, Ash Palmer, and Tom Naylor comfortably seeing them qualify for a first-round proper tie against League One promotion contenders Portsmouth, where Paul Cook would return to face his former club. This intriguing game saw a Naylor goal narrowly beat Pompey in impressive fashion, which was one of the shocks of the tournament due to John Mousinho’s side being almost unbeatable until the Spireites dispatched them.
Orient will be satisfied with their start to life back in the EFL’s third tier and currently occupy 16th place. They sit six points clear of Fleetwood who sit in the final spot in the relegation zone but are winless in their last five fixtures. After losing three on the spin to the league’s early pacesetters in Portsmouth, Oxford, and Lincoln, they’ve managed consecutive draws against Wigan and Bristol Rovers respectively.
Last time out in the league, a 93rd-minute Tristan Crama own goal secured a valuable point for the O’s, after Grant Ward gave the Gas a late first-half lead.
The FA Cup has seen Orient comfortably beat fellow League One side Carlisle United, who also got promoted from League Two. Joe Pigott, Aaron Drinan, and Ruel Sotiriou bagged the goals to ease past United, despite veteran forward Joe Garner responding with a goal for the visitors.
Historically, the Spireites came within a whisker of featuring in the FA Cup final in 1997 and were on the verge of beating Premier League side Middlesborough but the game ended 3-3, in what was an intense encounter. Boro went on to win 3-0 in the replay. Orient’s best performances in the FA Cup have seen them reach the semi-final stage in 1977-78 and they haven’t reached them heights ever since.
Between the two sides, Leyton Orient have come out on top in the last five matches, winning three times, drawing once, and losing once. The last time these two met was in 2018 when Orient came out as 3-1 victors. You’ll have to go back to 2014 when Chesterfield last registered a victory against Orient, which was a 2-1 away win.