jordan Bowery’s goal gave Chesterfield a vital win that lifts them off the bottom of the table.
Spireites meet Tranmere for the third time this season. Rovers managed a single goal victory on the opening day of the season at Prenton Park whilst Chesterfield won a 4-3 thriller in the JPT at the B2net on November 9.
Since then Les Parry’s side has won just once, at home to Bury at the end of December as they’ve plunged from the play-off zone to the edge of relegation.
Having lost their last twogames, without scoring, this game took on a vital importance for John Sheridan and his bottom placed side.
Spireites followers saw it as a must-win game; indeed three points would put the home side within just four points of Rovers, who sat in 17th spot at kick-off time.
Danny Whitaker made a start for the first time since scoring a pressure penalty in the first leg of the JPT Northern final against Oldham, won 2-1 by Spireites. In the eight games since then he’s played just 25 minutes off the bench despite being a sub in every subsequent game.
The game kicked off with a double rainbow above the stadium with the home supporters hoping the pot of gold would come in the form of three points, especially with this being the final game where last season’s League Two Championship Trophy was on display at the ground. It is being returned to League HQ in Preston when Spireites travel there on Tuesday. A scale replica will be given to the club in due course.
Lester scuffed a 25 yarder wide following some Rovers possession early in the game. Both sides were clearly nervy as neither team managed to stake any early claims for superiority and every player looked wary about making a mistake.
A Bowery header from Ridehalgh’s cross was easy for fon Williams but it meant Spireites were starting to string together a few moves.
It took a while to clear after a Brunt long throw but when the ball was cleared Bowery received in the box but failed to get in a shot when the defence opened up.
Lester almost got on the scoresheet after an error at the back by Rovers. Goodison and Taylor tangled to allow Lester in, the striker rounded the keeper and slid the ball goalwards only for Goodsion to have recovered and block the ball at full stretch from off the line. The resulting corner saw Trotman head just wide.
Lester’s shot hit a defender to take out the sting for the keeper as the home side approached the break in reasonable shape though Lee had to block a Welsh shot as he had a double chance to strike but the defence held firm. Ajose saw a 20 yarder well saved right on the whistle.
Chesterfield continued to enjoy the bulk of the play without looking odds-on to score. Ridehalgh’s cross went behind the line before getting close to the danger area as the time for substitutions for the hosts looked to have arrived.
Ajose had a left footer blocked following a Davis burst. McGurk’s cross was hacked away by Allott as Rovers reminded everyone they were still very much in the game. Mendy replaced Ajose much to the frustration of the fans who began chanting ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ towards the home manager.
McGurk forced a diving save from Lee and Welsh hit wide from the corner.
Davis was booked for a foul on the halfway line that prevented a Rovers break. Spireites then grabbed a desperately- needed goal on 75 minutes. Whitaker rolled the ball in to BOWERY who looked to have turned in too early but he held off his marker to calmly slot home left footed from 15 yards. The live table saw Spireites move up to 22nd.
Lester and Allott both went close in the same attack, set up by Mendy whose direct running had clearly lifted the home side.
Trotman made a vital, brave interception to block and Thompson had to hoof away a Robinson cross as Rovers threw everything forwards to try to draw level.