Spireites boss Dean Saunders has described the first half at Rochdale on Tuesday as ‘the worst 45 minutes of football I’ve ever been involved in’.
Saunders said: “We didn’t win headers at the back and we didn’t win headers up front.
“We lost battles all over the park, we didn’t even do the basics properly and we didn’t manage to have any shots at all.
“I know we had a young team out there but to me it shows that the team we put out for league games is the right one.
“We had some energy and fresh legs out there but I can’t find any excuse for the first half performance.
“Thank goodness we had Jay O’Shea who came on at half time and showed how it should be done, he ran the second half and the team played much better.
“We could have nicked a draw to take it to penalties when Mani (Dieseruvwe) missed a great chance, heading wide from a perfect Ollie Banks cross. Banks looked sharp when he came on as did Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.”
Chesterfield went down 2-1 to Keith Hill’s Rochdale, the winner coming just a minute after Spireites’ scrambled equaliser, given by all at the time as an Ashley Eastham own goal,
Saunders, however, felt that Dieseruvwe should be credited with the effort, which came from a huge scramble on the line following Ebanks-Blake’s ball in.
But straight after Spireites lost concentration at the back and Lewis Alessandra fired home a loose ball after Tommy Lee had made a decent save.
Saunders said: “I hate losing any game in any competition. The fans had travelled a long way and they could see that it wasn’t right in the first half and then Jay O’Shea showed everyone what standard is needed when he came on.”
Spireites host fourth placed Gillingham on Saturday, League One’s leading scorers.