Spireites made to pay by Gulls

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TWO concessions in the opening eight minutes cost Chesterfield any reward on a ground they’ve not won on since 1984.

Josh Labadie and Rene Howe were on target and the two goal gap remained until Liam Cooper pulled one back, heading home Mark Randall’s free-kick. Spireites had chances to nick an unlikely point but United held on for their first win since January.

Nathan Smith’s injury kept him out of the side, his place in the line up was taken by Drew Talbot, who played wide on the left. Conor Townsend moved from that position to his favoured role at left-back.

United, one of five teams locked on 40 points at the foot of the table at the start of the game, are led by ex Spireites assistant manager Alan Knill, covering for the sick leave of boss Martin Ling. They’d drawn their last two games, both away, and Knill had indicated that their form was on the up.

Within eight minutes, the visitors were in disarray.

Labadie was all alone on the edge of the six yard box when Tom Cruise’s left wing cross came in and the midfielder neatly headed home.

If Cruise’s cross hadn’t made it mission impossible for Spireites, Howe’s short range tap in just about did. Townsend’s clearance from a Gulls corner was a poor one. Blades loanee Jordan Chapell received on the edge of the penalty box and his whipped in shot hit wood and United’s leading scorer was on hand to convert the loose ball.

Jay O’Shea, with a large portion of the goal to aim at as keeper Michael Poke was stranded, should have hit back straight after but his shot hit his own man Marc Richards and the Irishman’s head in hands reaction said it all. Poke had to tip-over Townsend’s 20 yard free-kick ahead of the break towards the end of a very frustrating 45 for Paul Cook’s visitors.

O’Shea’s cross across the face of goal was the closest a below par Chesterfield came to scoring ahead of Cooper’s header whilst a superb Lee Mansell challenge denied Jack Lester at the death.

n Torquay (4-4-2): Poke 6, Oastler 6, Saah 7, MacDonald 6, Cruise 6, Chapell 8 (Macklin 90), Mansell 7, Labadie 7, Jarvis 7 (Leadbitter 85), Benyon 6 (Craig 77), Howe 7. Subs (not used): Rice, Nicholson, Lathrope, Stevens.

n Chesterfield (4-4-1-1): Lee 6, Brindley 7, Trotman 6, Cooper 7, Townsend 5 (Whitaker 73), Darikwa 6 (Lester 46,6), Hird 5, Togwell 5 (Randall 57,6), Talbot 6, O’Shea 5, Richards 5. Subs (not Used): Barrington, Henshall, Clark.

n Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).

n Attendance: 2,047.