These are frustrating times at the Proact Stadium.
Chesterfield were far from dreadful and Gillingham were a very ordinary side but Spireites most worrying problem is conceding goals, particularly at home, and that disturbing trend continued with three more concessions to take the tally to eleven against in the last four Proact matches.
Justin Edinburgh’s lofty Gills had just four shots on target and scored three goals, though they did hit the woodwork as well in the build-up to earning a rare corner that ultimately led to their third goal.
John Egan opened the scoring, reacting quicker than marker Liam O’Neil to prod home from short range after Tommy Lee had made a rare mistake, failing to hold on to ex-Spireite loanee Brennan Dickenson’s right wing free-kick.
Spireites were soon back in the game after Dan Jones took advantage of some Egan hesitation, he fed Dan Gardner and the quick passing move flowed through Sam Morsy to Rai Simons.
The Bermudian international making only his second League start, composed himself well to drive low beyond Stuart Nelson to register his first senior goal.
The 19 year old, named after the Brazilian International and ex Paris St Germain midfielder Rai, the younger brother of the more famous Socrates, was delighted to have scored but said; “I’d trade the goal to have got the three points.”
The home side then began to look the more comfortable and Gills second came from their first attack of the second half, Jermaine McGlashan picking out Rory Donnelly who, from 15 yards, headed in his fifth goal in three appearances.
Simons went close to a second before Gills wrapped the scoring up. Gardner was caught in two minds in his own box and his clearance ultimately found McGlashan who rattled the upright, the ball then fell for Josh Wright and his 20 yarder was pushed for a corner by Lee.
Spireites won the first phase header but Wright’s run from box-edge to goal line was unchecked, he dinked the ball back in and Gillingham won two headers, the second from big defender Harry Lennon taking the ball over the line. That marked the Charlton loanees’ first ever goal.
The final quarter of the game was open as Chesterfield pushed forwards much more.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake had three decent chances, Jay O’Shea had a good effort blocked, Gills cleared off the line and saw the keeper save but they stood firm to return home with the prize.
Chesterfield boss Dean Saunders was as frustrated as anyone with the result but pleased with his side’s efforts, all bar the concessions.
The manager gave his take on the game: “Strangely enough I thought we played much better than we did at Crewe where we got three points.
“They scored from three set plays and in between their goals we were excellent at times, probably the best we’ve played this season for actually passing the ball.
“We had some good individual performances out there but we just can’t keep the ball out of our net at the minute.
“Tommy (Lee) doesn’t normally drop crosses, but he’s dropped one today and the lad just poked it over the line; we were good up to that point.
“Then after they scored we got back on top again, we’ve had 61% possession and that possession should have won us the game but they got to the ball first in both boxes.
“The second goal was from a throw, we were set, they’ve thrown the ball 30 yards, one bounce into the striker’s chest, something we should have stopped, they got a cross into the box where it was one v one and Liam O’Neil, who’s a young lad, lets the winger get inside him.
“H still had a lot to do with the header and it looped into the only place it could do Tommy in the far corner so against the run of play they score.
“After they scored the second, we got back at them again and I felt we could still win the game, but then they score from a corner which we initially head clear, it was chipped back in and their centre half gets a free header.
“Even at 3-1 I still thought we had enough to get something out of the game, we must have missed eight or nine chances in the last ten minutes.”
Four points from the last 21 available shows clearly that results need turning round and turning round quickly.
With another very tough fixture round the corner, next up is a visit to leaders Walsall, Saunders’ side has got to work on its defence, the area that Dean Smith’s Saddlers have excelled in this term with just six concessions to Spireites 19, a number not helped by the fact that there’s been no consistency at right back this season.
Chesterfield: Lee 5, O’Neil 5, Evatt 7, Raglan 7, Jones 6, Morsy 6, Herd 7 (Dieseruvwe 73), Gardner 7, O’Shea 5, Simons 7, Ebanks-Blake 5. Subs (not used): Chapman, Talbot, Donohue, Orrell, Humphreys, Hird.
Goal: Simons 34
Gillingham: Nelson 6, Egan 6, Ehmer 5 (A.Morris HT, 6), Lennon 6, Dickenson 6 (Garmston 76), Wright 6, Dack 6, Hessenthaler 6, McGlashan 7 (Osadebe 80), Donnelly 6, Norris 5. Subs (not used): G.Morris, Houghton, Williamson, McDonald.
Goals: Egan 26, Donnelly 53, Lennon 72
Ref: Nicholas Kinseley (Essex)
Booked: Herd, Morsy (Chesterfield), Hessenthaler (Gillingham)
Attendance: 6026 (396 from Gillingham)