Chesterfield’s worst run under Paul Cook came to an abrupt end as they eased by an indisciplined Fleetwood Town side that ended the game with ten men and their manager forced to watch from the stands as the Spireites went on to win 3-0.
After four straight defeats, the last two of them particularly disappointing, Chesterfield took a two-goal lead before Cod Army star Antoni Sarcevic argued that he’d been fouled in the build up to Sam Hird’s goal on 42 minutes.
The key midfielder was yellow carded by referee Pat Miller as he trudged back for the restart but he foolishly continued to show dissent and was almost immediately shown a second yellow combined with the inevitable red. Even then he continued to protest before eventually retiring to the dressing room.
Following Sam Morsy’s goal, visiting boss Graham Alexander was asked by the referee to watch the rest of the match from the stands; Mr Miller indicated afterwards that he banished the manager due to ‘misconduct in the technical area’ whilst Alexander said all that happened was “I clapped, I applauded a decision, I didn’t swear, I didn’t raise my voice and I was sent to the stand.”
Red card and manager relocation apart, Fleetwood also earned five more yellow cards, all for fouls, as they struggled to come to terms with a Chesterfield side that visibly gained confidence as the game went on and Fleetwood’s problems mounted.
Ollie Banks, back to his best after a long barren spell, hammered a box-edge shot goalwards and keeper Chris Maxwell tipped it over via the bar. Soon afterwards Spireites took the lead.
The impressive Tendayi Darikwa fed sub Gboly Ariyibi, on for the injured Dan Jones, and his targeted low cross was left-footed home by Owls loanee Caolan Lavery amidst a busy box.
Prior to that goal Tommy Lee had made a couple of regulation saves from Sarcevic and Nick Haughton, the Cod Army’s only two efforts of the game; after it, Chesterfield cemented their advantage against a side that started the game two points and two places better off.
As half-time approached Banks, who was given the bulk of the dead ball responsibilities, hit a right-sided free-kick in at a perfect height for Ian Evatt to firmly head. Maxwell scrambled left to make a good block but Hird reacted like a poacher to stab the ball home from close range for his first goal since the title-clinching match at the end of last season, against Fleetwood!
Before the next kick of the ball, Fleetwood were down to ten.
The second half was one way traffic as the hosts’ confidence grew and the only surprise was that they only added one more. Hird admitted that the half time talk was of “going out and getting five” but Paul Cook’s men had to make do with three.
Ariyibi received from Gary Roberts and cut inside to bamboozle the Fleetwood defence and he slipped the ball to Sam Morsy to guide the ball into the net on 63. Assistant Manager Leam Richardson said: “To a man the lads, with the effort and endeavour they put in, fully deserved the three points.”
Tomorrow night will provide a much tougher task.
After two 1-0 wins in the FA Cup at stadium:mk, Spireites travel to Milton Keynes hoping to recreate those cup results at the team in second spot. Karl Robinson’s side lost 2-1 at Coventry on Saturday so will be looking to bounce back.
Chesterfield (4-2-3-1): Lee 6; Darikwa 9, Evatt 7, Hird 7, Jones (Ariyibi 10, 8); Ryan 6, Morsy 7; Roberts 7 (O’Shea 75), Banks 8, Clucas 6; Lavery 7 (Harrison 75). Subs: Chapman, Humphreys, Raglan, Dieseruvwe.
Goals: Lavery 31, Hird 42, Morsy 63
Fleetwood (4-1-2-1-2): Maxwell 8, McLaughlin 6, Roberts 7, Jordan 6, Chicksen 7, Hughes 7, Sarcevic 5, Morris 6, Haughton 6 (Evans 78), Ball 5 (Murdoch 57, 5), McAlinden 5 (Proctor 57, 5). Subs: Springthorpe, Pond, Dobbie, Hunter.
Ref: Pat Miller (Bedfordshire)
Sent Off: Sarcevic (Fleetwood) 42
Bookings: McLaughlin, Hughes, Jordan, Evans, Roberts (Fleetwood)
Attendance: 6497 (112 from Fleetwood)