It was Ollie Banks’ night at the Proact.
The man playing tier seven football for FC United of Manchester just a few weeks ago bagged a brace, sandwiching Armand Gnanduillet’s goal, all three provided by the back to form boot of Gary Roberts.
With half-time looming and Chesterfield without a score despite 45 minutes of domination, Banks headed in a Roberts cross from the second phase of a corner routine won by a typical Drew Talbot bursting run. It was the least Paul Cook’s men deserved.
Dale recovered early after the break, had one ruled out, before the 2011 winners regained control and put the result beyond doubt with a performance as close to their early season form as has been seen in many a week.
Banks started the game in fine style shooting across the face and just wide from 25 yards within the opening five minutes.
The recalled Jay O’Shea hit a halfway liner inches over in Beckhamesque style and long range chips were also tried by Talbot and Banks.
The opening quarter of an hour saw Chesterfield racking up chances galore, they then enjoyed some quality possession but were seen less frequently in the box. But as the break approached, top gear was again hit and, seconds after sub Michael Rose had Dale’s first shot of any sort blocked well away from the line, Banks struck his first goal for Spireites to give the hosts the lead their play justified.
Banks began after the break by hitting the side netting after Roberts had teed him up and Roberts then played a one-two with Gnanduillet who hit just wide from range.
In a rare break from the visitors Ian Henderson popped the ball into the net but a flag followed by a discussion between the ref and his assistant led to the effort being disallowed. The same man then hit the base of the post as Dale began to show as an attacking force.
Roberts curled just wide as the game stretched and Liam Cooper made a stunning block and from the corner routine Tommy Lee blocked an effort only for it to fall to Scott Hogan who scooped wide from a gilt-edged three-yards out position.
The effervescent Banks hit just wide after another Roberts burst forwards and Ian Evatt forced a tip-over save ahead of Gnanduillet’s tap-in from Roberts’ ball and the winger notched up a hat-trick of assists to lay it on a plate for Banks to kill off the tie 12 minutes from time.
Chesterfield (4-2-3-1): Lee 6; Talbot 8, Evatt 6, Cooper 6, Humphreys 7; Hird 7, Ryan 7; O’Shea 7 Doyle 87), Banks 9 (Darikwa 80), Roberts 8; Gnanduillet 7 (Richards 80). Subs (not used): Chapman, Togwell.
Goals: Banks 45+2, 78, Gnanduillet 72
Rochdale (3-5-2): Lillis 6; Eastham 7, Lancashire 7, O’Connell 6; Dicker 6, Henderson 7, Tutte 5 (Allen 65 / 6), Done 7, Vidal 5 (Rose 18 / 6); Hogan 6, Vincenti 5 (Cummins 54 / 7). Subs (not used): Thompson, Bunney
referee: Chris Sarginson (Staffordshire)