Chesterfield end home campaign with defeat

Chesterfield, already relegated, ended their home fixtures by breaking the club record for the most league defeats in a season.

The 2-1 defeat to Charlton was Town’s 26th of the campaign.

And despite having no real meaning for either side, it was an entertaining game at times, particularly in the first half.

Gary Caldwell’s men, who went on a lap of the pitch after the game, ended the day bottom of League One thanks to Coventry’s win over Walsall.

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The Spireites did all the attacking in the first 10 minutes, Joe Rowley setting up Reece Mitchell in the area, the winger miskicking and allowing Charlton to get bodies in the way.

Mitchell was then upended on the very edge of the area by Nathan Byrne but Town wasted a promising set-piece opportunity with a training ground move that didn’t work at all.

It was down the left through Mitchell that the hosts had some early joy, the former Chelsea man getting into the box and putting a ball to the near post where a defender put past his own post.

Charlton’s first foray upfield should have resulted in a penalty, Tom Anderson handling as Josh Magennis went past him, referee Michael Salisbury deciding it was outside the area.

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The Addicks’ Declan Rudd had to be sharp to deny Dan Gardner, who beat his marker twice before stinging the stopper’s hands with a fierce drive.

His opposite number’s first save was even better, Thorsten Stuckmann hurling himself through the air to palm Ricky Holmes’ free-kick round the post.

It was an open start to the game and the chances kept coming, Magennis receiving the ball in acres of space inside the Town box only to snatch at his effort and poke it straight to Stuckmann.

The game settled down, neither team creating anything of note for a 15 minutes spell although there were periods of play in and around both boxes.

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But Chesterfield should have gone ahead when pressure from Gardner and Rowley forced a mistake and the latter danced away from three defenders to find Kristian Dennis eight yards out, the striker struggling to get the ball out of his feet before a tame shot was blocked.

Seconds later, Charlton did go ahead and it was all too easy.

Jake Forster-Caskey picked up the ball 25 yards out and with no one closing him down, struck a sweet drive that nestled in the bottom right hand corner of the net.

There was an opportunity for Town to hit back before the interval, a free-kick falling to Rowley inside the area but he couldn’t get enough on his shot to send it through a crowd of bodies.

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And immediately after the break it should have been level, Ezri Konsa going down and appealing for a free-kick that never came as Dennis nipped in to take the ball into the area before blasting high and wide.

Having squandered a number of set-pieces in good positions themselves, Town went 2-0 down when Sam Hird foul on Karlan Ahearne-Grant presented Charlton with a free-kick 22 yards out and Ricky Holmes curled it into the far corner, via a slight deflection.

Chesterfield were much less of an attacking force in the second half but did come close to a goal when the ball dropped to Dennis 15 yards out and he crashed a volley onto the crossbar.

The Addicks almost put the icing on the cake in the final 10 minutes when the ball reached Patrick Botaka at the back post but he blazed well off target.

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Dennis’ persistence was very nearly rewarded late on, the striker sticking at it to force the ball across the goalmouth, none of his team-mates were in position to benefit however.

With the game in injury time a consolation goal did arrive, David Faupala scampering clean through on goal only to be denied by Rudd, the ball falling to Mitchell who lifted it into the top corner.

The action wasn’t over, however, Charlton breaking and Forster-Caskey running into the area with just Stuckmann to beat before Nolan barged him over from behind.

The result was a spot-kick and a yellow card for Nolan, but Stuckmann produced yet another penalty save in what was the final act of the 2016/17 season at the Proact.

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Chesterfield: Stuckman, McGinn, Mitchell, Hird, Anderson, Maguire, Dimaio (Faupala 63), Nolan, Gardner (Brownell 88), Rowley, Dennis. Not used: Fulton, Ebanks-Blake, Wakefield, Grimshaw, Jones.

Charlton: Rudd, Byrne, Dasilva, Konsa, Pearce, Forster-Caskey, Crofts, Ahearne-Grant (Botaka 70), Holmes, Aribo (Novak 71), Magennis (Jackson 88). Not used: Barnes, Bauer, Diksteel, Phillips.

Goalscorers: Mitchell 90; Forster-Caskey 37, Holmes 57

Yellows: Dennis 90, Nolan 90; Aribo 17, Konsa 84

Referee: Mr Michael Salisbury. Assistants: Mr David Plowright, Mr Duncan Street.

Attendance: 5,657 (573 away)