Chesterfield banked a clean sheet for the first time since Hallowe’en and in the 88th minute they also managed to bag a crucial goal.
Under the cosh at the time, skipper Gary Liddle broke down a Southend attack, played the ball to the fresh legs of sub Jay O’Shea, he fed the ball to Ollie Banks, who had a superb game and he set up Lee Novak to angle in a low shot beyond Daniel Bentley to give Danny Wilson’s men a vital three points and a fifth unbeaten game.
It was beginning to look unlikely that the Spireites would pierce play-off chasing Southend United’s back-line, Bentley had to make smart saves to deny Banks and Novak whilst Tommy Lee had to smother an early David Worrell close ranger after the raider followed up the rebound from his post hitting header. Banks played his best match of the season, Liddle was calmness personified at the back and the back four as a whole looked together and solid, fully deserving that clean sheet.
Chesterfield sit six points above the bottom four and have some breathing space ahead of the visit of Walsall next week.
Southend: Bentley, White, Barrett, Bolger, Coker, Worrall Deegan, Atkinson (McQueen 66), Wordsworth, (Hunt 29), Payne, Barnett (Mooney 79). Subs (not used): Smith, Thompson, Timlin, Loza.
Chesterfield: Lee, O’Neil, Anderson, Hird, Donohue, Liddle, Banks, Dimaio, John (O’Shea 83), Ariyibi, Novak. Subs (not used): Chapman, Gardner, Talbot, Ebanks-Blake, Simons, Slew.
Goal: Novak 88
Ref: Darren Drysdale (Lincs)
Booked: Banks (Chesterfield), Coker (Southend)
Attendance: 7,518 (375 from Chesterfield)