Spireites: Injury blows, vital dropped points and nightmare November cost Dean Saunders his Chesterfield job

Chesterfield vs Swindon Town - Lee Novak challenges for a header - Pic By James Williamson
Chesterfield vs Swindon Town - Lee Novak challenges for a header - Pic By James Williamson
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A fourth straight defeat in a row for Spireites proved to be the final straw as Dean Saunders was axed from his manager’s job.

Swindon Town, who had lost their last six away games, cruised to a comfortable 4-0 win to take the points home.

Chesterfield vs Swindon Town - Daniel Jones is fouled - Pic By James Williamson

Chesterfield vs Swindon Town - Daniel Jones is fouled - Pic By James Williamson

Goals in the opening 14 minutes from ex-Spireite Nicky Ajose and Louis Thompson set the scene before Jon Obika added a third early in the second half.

But the fatal wound came ten minutes from time when Ajose converted after Fabien Robert’s dart forward.

That goal led to the afternoon’s first and very loud ‘Saunders Out’ chants coupled with fans voting with their feet with a mass dash for the exits.

Chairman Dave Allen took decisive action and just over two hours after the end of the drubbing, it was announced that the Welshman had left the club after just 20 league games plus three in cup competitions.

Chesterfield vs Swindon Town - Ollie Banks getsa shot on goal - Pic By James Williamson

Chesterfield vs Swindon Town - Ollie Banks getsa shot on goal - Pic By James Williamson

It is the shortest spell as a Spireites supremo since Alec Campbell 88 years ago who led the club into just 15 games.

Assistant Manager Brian Carey has also been relieved of his duties.

In a short club statement Allen said: “We will not be rushed into making a decision on a new manager.” Spireites have no midweek game this week ahead of the visit of Walsall in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Ajose’s second was the 12th goal conceded in the quartet of defeats during which only three have been scored in what has been a pointless November though ironically Saunders was on the short list for the divisional Manager of the Month Award for October.

The man who replaced the successful Paul Cook in May had to contend with losing key players Tendayi Darikwa and Sam Clucas for big money plus playmaker Gary Roberts and midfield dynamo Jimmy Ryan whilst his key midfield signing, Angel Martinez, picked up a cruciate ligament injury after just three games. Left-back Dan Jones was stretchered off on Saturday with what is thought to be a serious ankle injury.

Saunders’ signings Liam O’Neil has yet to find his feet at the Proact Stadium, season loan man Lee Novak has had a stuttering start with a number of minor injuries whilst Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Chris Herd have been battling back to full fitness having joined the club on the back of playing very little football in the previous couple of years.

Latest recruit, defender Richard Wood, made a successful start in the FA Cup win at FC United of Manchester, but he was left out of the Swindon game after seeing the side lose the next three games.

His initial appointment was greeted mainly with apathy but the likeable Saunders and the equally affable Irishman Carey presided over a decent pre-season and a solid, come from behind opening day win over Barnsley which surprised many with its stylish content.

August results were mixed but performances were promising, particularly comfortable away wins at Shrewsbury Town and Millwall but the following month was blighted with late, costly concessions in three home games.

Wigan were dead and buried and two down before three in ten to win it. A week later ten man Chesterfield were 3-1 up against Colchester but a last gasp leveller saw two more points slip away before another injury-time blow saw a 1-0 lead over then table-toppers Burton end in defeat.

It was eight points blown in three home games which sandwiched a low grade loss at Coventry and preceded a loss at a team that had forgotten how to win in Blackpool.

Three away wins and a rare home victory, a fantastic performance and 3-0 triumph against Southend looked like Saunders had got the team on an even keel, but a nightmare November saw him exit the building.

Chesterfield: Lee 5, O’Neil 5, Evatt 6, Raglan 6, Jones 7 (Herd 57, 6); Banks 6, Morsy 6; Simons 7, O’Shea 6, Ariyibi 5; Novak 5 (Dieseruvwe 51, 7). Subs (not used): Chapman, Hird, Ebanks-Blake, Gardner, Wood.

Swindon: Vigouroux 7, Barry 6, El-Abd 7, Turnbull 6, Ormonde-Ottewill 6 (Brophy 82), Rodgers 7, Thompson 8 (Iandolo 78), Robert 6 (Balmy 86), Gladwin 9, Obika 6, Ajose 8. Subs (not used): Belford, Ojamaa, Stewart, Hylton.

Goals: Ajose 3, 80, Thompson 14, Obika 48

Ref: Darren Bond (Lancashire).

Booked: Evatt, Morsy, Dieseruvwe (Chesterfield) El-Abd (Swindon).

Attendance: 5540 (255 from Swindon).