Chesterfield coach Kevin Lynch praised the attitude of the Spireites players after a second League One win in a row for Paul Cook’s men.
Whilst the scoreline makes this look like a close match, in reality it wasn’t.
Rarely can a 2-1 win have been so comfortable for the victors. A quick glance at the corner count, 12-0 in Spireites favour, gives a more precise assessment of how the game panned out.
That said, Paul Cook’s Chesterfield had to rely on a brace of penalties to see off fellow promoted side Rochdale, who themselves scored their first goal of the season from the spot.
“I thought from start to finish the attitude was first class, we had some great chances and we got our just reward, a pleasing day at the office,” said Lynch.
“Full credit to the players for the endeavour they showed, they never gave up, never got too disappointed and you just take the goals however they come whether penalties, set play or in open play.”
Dale’s consolation came eight minutes into second half added time after referee Carl Boyeson had only indicated the need for seven.
There was barely time to re-start the game after Ian Henderson had scored the game’s third 12 yarder, following a handball from skipper Ian Evatt from a rising ball in by Joe Bunney.
In-form Irishman Eoin Doyle was Spireites marksman. The top scorer from last season, fresh from signing a year’s contract extension to keep him at the Proact until 2016, confidently banged in a penalty in each half, each against a different keeper.
“Eoin works tremendously hard both on and off the pitch, he’ll play anywhere you ask him, he always gives 110% and through his hard work he gets his goals,” added Lynch.
Josh Lillis, whose Dad had led Huddersfield to an extra time Cup win at Chesterfield four days earlier, dived the right way on 39 but the power of the penalty, awarded after Joe Rafferty had clipped Jay O’Shea, was sufficient enough to give him no chance.
The Dale keeper twice had to receive treatment to his ankle after the break and, just after the hour mark, he became the second of three visiting players forced off the park through injury.
On came 16 year old Jon Diba Musangu for his senior bow and he could consider himself lucky to be facing Doyle from the spot on 75.
He rushed out of the area in an attempt to head a ball aimed at Doyle clear, but misjudged the clearance and ended up handling.
The referee considered the keeper’s fate for a long time, ultimately deciding that a yellow card was the right punishment. Those with a Chesterfield leaning were aghast whilst the Dale contingent was just relieved.
The young sub got his fingertips to Doyle’s 75th minute well struck penalty following Rhys Bennett’s tug on the man who subsequently scored from the reward.
Matt Lund left the battle seconds before half-time with what looked like a dislocated shoulder whilst soon after Lillis’s departure, centre back Scott Tanser limped off as well.
Life in League One and without Liam Cooper has started well for Spireites. They’re playing their impressive brand of passing football but they seem to have matured, no doubt aided with a silver pot in the cabinet, into a unit that is tougher and more streetwise, though without doubt the gossamer thin squad has to be addressed.
Chesterfield: Lee 6; Darikwa 7, Evatt 7, Hird 7, Jones 7; Ryan 7 (Onovwigun 90+7), Morsy 8; Boco 8, Roberts 7 (Banks 90+2), O’Shea 8 (Gnanduillet 85); Doyle 9. Subs (not used): Chapman, Johnson, Dawes, Raglan.
Goals: Doyle 39 pen, 75 pen
Rochdale: Lillis 6 (Diba Musangu 62, 6); Rafferty 6, Tanser 7 (Donnelly 66, 6), Bennett 6, Kennedy 7; Done 8, Henderson 6, Lund 5(Hery 46, 6), Dawson 7; Bunney 5, Andrew 5. Subs (not used): Allen, Eastham, Logan, Camps.
Goal: Henderso 90+8
Ref: Carl Boyeson (Hull)
Bookings: Roberts (Chesterfield), Henderson, Diba Musangu (Rochdale)
Attendance: 5682 (405 from Rochdale)