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Penalty shootout decides National League Playoff Final between Chesterfield and Notts County

A penalty shootout decides the 2023 National League Playoff Final between Chesterfield and Notts County, and what a tense game it was.

Coming into this, Notts County finished second in National League with 107 points, four points behind champions Wrexham.

Chesterfield finished third, but 23 points behind the Magpies, with the latter favourites going into this, but as we all saw in the semi final, anything could happen.

Notts County came from 2-0 down to beat Boreham Wood in semi-finals while Chesterfield edged past Bromley.

Notts County were looking to return to EFL after four seasons away and the Spireites have been in National League for five seasons.

So how did the National League playoff final play out?

It was a penalty to Chesterfield on four minutes, after Notts County keeper Sam Slocombe came out to meet the oncoming Andrew Dallas on the fringe of the area but takes him out.

It took just five minutes for the deadlock to be broke, Andrew Dallas made no mistake, smashing the ball from the spot into the bottom right corner.

Andrew Aloia (BBC Sport at Wembley Stadium): “Incredible scenes at Wembley right now.

“There are nervy starts, then there is this calamitous beginning Notts County have made.

“Andrew Dallas is the calmest man in the ground as he puts Chesterfield ahead from the penalty spot.”

Mark Stallard (Former Notts County striker on BBC Radio Nottingham): “It’s unbelievable. Twice in the opening five minutes Chesterfield have put balls in the left channel.

“It’s a calamitous start for Notts but there’s plenty of time left.”

Then in the 88th minute, just when it looked like Chesterfield were on course to win promotion, Notts County were gifted a free kick.

John Bostock stepped up on the far side of the pitch and scored with, a low stinger to the near post instead of a cross and keeper Ross Fitzsimons managed just a hand on the ball, not being able to keep it out.

Lee Turnbull (Former Chesterfield striker on BBC Radio Sheffield): “Two goalkeepers have gifted goals in this game.

“He’s had one save to make in the first half and now it’s gone in the net.

“Ross Fitzsimons has got to save that.”

Mark Stallard (Former Notts County striker on BBC Radio Nottingham): “How has that gone in? Only Ross Fitzsimons will know.

“It is a footballing howler. Do we deserve it? Probably not. But what a moment.”

Three minutes into the first half of extra time, the Spireites wee back in front, with Armando Dobra scoring an unbelievable goal.

From the left channel, working in space, dribbling toward the Notts County box, he switched the ball from his left to his right and curled it into the top far corner.

Lee Turnbull: “Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

“He curls it into the top bin. That is fantastic from Armando Dobra.

“Now they need to go on and win it.”

Mark Stallard: “That is a quality finish.

“Is extra time going to mirror what we saw in the 90 minutes where Chesterfield take an early lead and Notts have it all to do?”

107 minutes in, the second half of extra time, and Notts County again fought back to go level.

A cross came in and Ruben Rodrigues was there on the penalty spot smashing the ball into the ground and it loops over the keeper and into the net.

No more goals could be scored as 120 minutes come to an end at Wembley. Take a look below at how they played out…


Chesterfield ✔️
Notts County

Chesterfield ✔️
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Chesterfield ✔️❌✔️
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Chesterfield ✔️❌✔️❌
Notts County ✔️✔️✔️

Chesterfield ✔️❌✔️❌
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Chesterfield ✔️❌✔️❌✔️
Notts County ✔️✔️✔️❌✔️

“We have no regrets about the game, our lads gave everything they have got,” Chesterfield boss Paul Cook said, as per Derbyshire Times.

“Our lads are down today, we have got to feel that pain, that is what football is about, you must feel pain, and we are feeling it at the minute. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day for our club.

“I don’t think no one can begrudge Notts County promotion this year.

“It is not right that only one team gets automatic promotion from this league. I think that needs looking at, it is not fair, it is a really competitive league.

“Rather than dissect the game today, I would rather say well done to Notts County and say congratulations to Luke and his team.”


Notts County boss Luke Williams described his side’s campaign as incredible and praised the mental resilience of his team.

He said: “Having quality with your feet and being able to play brilliant football is one thing, but the half is the mentality.

“These guys (Wrexham), every time they thought they were there, we came back. There was a lot of pressure for Wrexham and we became added to that storyline so there is a lot of pressure for us as well.

“We were ready for this occasion (playoff final) because of the obstacles we have had to overcome.”

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