Jay O’Shea’s seventh goal of the season gave Chesterfield their first ever win over Morecambe on home soil.
The Spireites were solid if not spectacular as they passed the final test in League Two prior to Wembley. Chesterfield go into Sunday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy showdown in good spirits after only a second win in seven.
The result, on Ritchie Humphreys’ 700th career appearance, kept the Spireites three points behind leaders Rochdale.
Chesterfield manager Paul Cook made four changes to his 11 which began Saturday’s stalemate with bitter rivals Mansfield Town. Jimmy Ryan, Mason Bennett, Eoin Doyle and O’Shea were recalled to the line-up.
Cook had warned his players were feeling a little flat and they began the game in similar fashion. The visitors saw plenty of possession during the opening exchanges with Ryan Williams looking to dictate play in Morecambe’s midfield. It was Shrimps who had first sight of goal when Padraig Amond found space in the six yard box only to direct his header at Tommy Lee.
Out of the changes for Chesterfield, O’Shea was the busiest. He twisted and turned on the edge of the area but launched a shot into orbit. The Irishman made a deft contribution to release Bennett inside the area, who fired the ball across goal for Doyle racing in on the slide.
The striker was inches away from breaking the deadlock. A second opportunity was soon coming after O’Shea fed Doyle. This time the former Hibs man dragged his shot wide of Barry Roche’s right hand post when he may have at least hit the target.
Doyle, eager to make amends, set up O’Shea for the breakthrough with a precise delivery which the winger headed back across Roche.The goal seemed to have the desired effect as the hosts settled into their passing game. Ryan and Sam Morsy had a growing impact.
Roche, who made more than 100 appearances for the Spireites from 2005-08, denied Doyle twice in quick succession after the break. O’Shea was instrumental in setting both chances up for the striker, who, on another day, could have added to his nine goals this season.
Ryan forced Roche into a save at his near post before the keeper held on to a Dan Kearns cross under pressure from Ian Evatt. Cook threw on Gary Roberts and Marc Richards as Chesterfield searched for a second goal.
Jim Bentley’s visitors had other ideas and Kevin Ellison had Spireites hearts in mouths when he let fly from range only to miss by a whisker. Morsy had earlier sent a spectacular effort narrowly over before he smacked the bar with his next attempt from similar range.
Morecambe lobbed balls up top as they went in search of an unlikely equaliser but Chesterfield held on for a much-needed three points.