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FC United's dream of creating an FA Cup upset to rival that of neighbours Salford City was ended in emphatic fashion by League One Chesterfield at Broadhurst Park on Monday night.
Early goals from Gboly Ariyibi and Lee Novak and late efforts from substitutes Rai Simons and Ollie Banks saw Dean Saunders' side cruise into a home second-round tie against Walsall with a 4-1 win.
The home fans had to wait until injury time for something to shout about when Luke Ashworth bundled a consolation goal after a late spell of pressure in the Chesterfield box.
A near-capacity 4,000 crowd had rolled up on a blustery Lancashire night in the hope the National League side could mark their first season at their brand new stadium with a momentous upset.
But the gulf in class between the two sides was immediately evident as United - currently in the midst of a six-match league losing streak - found themselves two goals down inside the opening quarter of an hour.
Saunders' men exploited the space on both flanks to seize control and they could have gone ahead even earlier when Ariyibi set up the first chance for former Manchester United academy graduate Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
But the Spireites did go in front in the ninth minute when the lively Ariyibi converted the simplest of chances after Ebanks-Blake did the hard work by wriggling in from the left touchline.
The hosts responded with a long-range effort from Tom Greaves which never looked likely to trouble visiting goalkeeper Tommy Lee, and soon afterwards Chesterfield doubled their lead.
Jay O'Shea started the move down the left flank, his snaking pass finding Dan Jones who took time before crossing towards Novak, who flicked a superb finish past Dave Carnell in the home goal.
Sam Sheridan had another long-range effort easily saved by Lee but things threatened to get even worse for United when O'Shea found more space on the left side of the box but fired over from a tight angle.
Mercifully for the home side the Spireites' assault petered out as the first period progressed, but while the non-leaguers enjoyed plenty of possession they seldom looked likely to challenge Lee.
There was certainly no faulting the hosts' heart, and an attacking start to the second half almost saw them reduce the deficit when visiting defender Richard Wood came close to turning a Jerome Wright cross into his own net.
But Chesterfield weathered the brief storm and sealed victory in the 74th minute when substitute Simons raced onto a Sam Morsy through-ball and slotted the third under Carnell.
In a brief spell of action in injury time, Banks sneaked the visitors' fourth past Carnell but there was still time for Ashworth's effort to earn the loudest cheer of the evening from the hosts.
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