chesterfield after lifting silver at Wembley on Sunday felt the force of Iron deposits at home this afternoon.
THE Johnstone’s Paint Trophy was paraded around the B2net ahead of kick-off, the reminder of a successful knockout campaign that culminated in the Wembley win.
However John Sheridan has now got to lead his side to an equally impressive run in the bread and butter of the league. Spireites were 17 points short of the 50 mark which generally leads to safety, so five wins and two draws or six wins are needed to reach that target.
The final four home games realistically all need to be won, starting with this one against an Iron side that has lifted itself a few points away from the trap door. The JPT run spawned five wins and a draw in its six fixtures, so a repeat – plus a bit – of that form is needed if the drop is to be avoided.
Jon Parkin’s absence from the lineup provided a pre-match boost for Chesterfield who almost broke through after just 30 seconds.
Allott fed Bowery, he skipped by Reid who then cynically tripped the striker on the touchline as he was set to run alone on goal. Referee Haines spoke to United’s skipper, who was wearing a protective face mask, but unbelievably didn’t book him.
From the free-kick Spireites couldn’t quite conjure up an opening but soon after Moussa headed a Mendy cross wide as the hosts started well. Mirfin had to make a fine tackle on Bowery to concede a corner but Moussa’s delivery was too high.
Spireites took the lead they deserved when WESTCARR held off the challenge of Mirfin to slot the ball home in the 21st minute.
The lead was short-lived. McAleny pulled the ball back from the left with huge shouts of ‘handball’ ringing from the Chesterfield supporters nearby, and the ball was perfect for ROBERTSON to hit home from 15 yards.
Barcham burst through but Ridehalgh and Thompson did enough to halt the dangerous raid. Mendy had an effort blocked by Byrne as the pace and tension picked up.
Despite the host’s dominance, they were still only level whilst Walsall, fifth bottom at kick-off, led 2-0 at Rochdale.
Trotman headed a Moussa free-kick across the face of goal ahead of a double United corner, the second of which spawned a huge scramble that eventually saw Walker shoot well over.
Ridehalgh almost burst through after good hold- up work from Bowery as Spireites turned up the pace though Mirfin headed just over from a Walker free-kick.
Spireites fell behind on 65 minutes when McAleny pulled back the ball, in a similar fashion to his previous assist, and WALKER hit home to leave Spireites 12 points off safety in the live table as Bury and Walsall both were leading.
Hurst and Moussa had shots blocked as the home bench began to fill in the substitute forms, indicating a change was coming up. Ajose and Randall came on for Mendy and Allott.
Moussa kept battling but the United defence were more dogged than ever and the referee continued to incense the home fans with a series of bizarre decisions, one of which had skipper Trotman remonstrating with the official. The destination of the points looked certain with 15 minutes left when ex-Blade ROBERTSON curled in a shot from 20 yards, his second of the afternoon but only his third of the season. The sunshine and celebrations of last Sunday seemed an age away.
Having dominated much of the first half and being in the lead, Spireites only had themselves to blame for the disappointing turnaround of the game. Ajose, who appeared for Scunthorpe on loan earlier this season, shot just wide before BARCHAM wriggled through a static defence to slot in an 81st minute goal that prompted hundreds of home fans to head for the exit. The stunned silence around the thre sides of Chesterfield fans indicated that they’d all but consigned themselves to relegation.
Closing a gap of a dozen points in just six games would be the most spectacular comeback in the long history of the Spireites.