Match Report: Crewe Alexandra 2 Chesterfield 0

Crewe Alexandra v Chesterfield. Chesterfield captain Drew Talbot at the final whistle
Crewe Alexandra v Chesterfield. Chesterfield captain Drew Talbot at the final whistle
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Sheridan shrugs off setback as derby showdown looms

CHESTERFIELD slumped to only their third travelling defeat of the season on a less than perfect Gresty Road pitch.

However, the disappointment of the blank was tempered somewhat when none of the top six at kick-off time managed a win. That means that John Sheridan’s men are still 15 points clear of fourth-placed Rotherham United, visitors to the B2net Stadium on Friday.

Alex, with just one win in their previous eight games, opened the scoring when Shaun Miller chipped a ball forwards for Clayton Donaldson to chase. The Crewe man used a neat bit of skill to get wide of Drew Talbot before stabbing the ball under the body of Tommy Lee to register his 20th goal of the season.

The visitors looked the more likely next scorers for much of the rest of the game, without ever looking like runaway leaders, but it was Dario Gradi’s men who scored to wrap up the points with just three minutes remaining.

Gregor Robertson fouled Miller outside the box and sub Danny Shelley drove a low free-kick straight through a looselyconstructed defensive wall beyond Lee’s reach to confirm the home win.

With Dean Morgan, Kieran Djilali and Ian Morris in for the rested Jack Lester, though he did come on as a sub, Mark Allott and Scott Griffiths, the Spireites were slow starters against a side renowned for their pleasant football.

Donaldson had clipped the post with a lon- ranger before the scoring started as the game ebbed and flowed but infrequently thrilled.

Deane Smalley headed just over for the Spireites who fell behind on 36 minutes with a disappointing concession.

Craig Davies was putting himself about plenty, but the chances that came from his boot and head were never quite good enough to threaten Rhys Taylor in Alex’s goal.

Taylor dived low to rob the ball off Danny Whitaker before Allott replaced Derek Niven, who’d been playing with a bandaged head after picking up half a dozen stitches in midweek. Lester came on for Djilali which prompted Morgan to switch from striker to left wing, but he rarely showed the class that has had the Chesterfield fans drooling when he’s been fit.

Whitaker came close to equalising when he rattled the post and Lester, in a decent position, fluffed his lines when a leveller looked likely.

Sheridan wasn’t too downbeat about the defeat. “I thought we played quite well actually. We’ve lost the game and I’m expecting us to win every game, but I was happy with the performance up until the second goal. I thought we were the better side without creating a lot of chances; we tried to play pretty well on a tricky pitch,” he said.

“The first goal came through just laziness on the half wayline. I thought we were the better side and if we’d have scored I think we would have scored one. Tommy Lee, who’s been excellent, said that he shouldn’t have been beaten in that area but it was one of those things.

“We’ll take it on the chin; results have gone our way. We tried to play football on a bobbly pitch and we were taking the game to them when Danny hit the post. We had the momentum then and were doing things right.”

Looking forward to the next game against Rotherham United he concluded: “It’s a big match on Sky TV against one of our closest rivals and I’ll be trying to get a positive result again.”

The Millers visit the B2net on Friday evening (7.45pm) with a record league crowd set to attend.