A scrappy first half goal from Michael Bostwick won the game for Posh in a game that will have Chesterfield connections wondering just how on earth they failed to garner any reward.
Paul Cook’s Chesterfield have won their last three visits to Peterborough United and with the Posh being one place and two points ahead of Paul Cook’s side, another win for the Spireites would provide a huge boost to the Proact side’s play-off aspirations.
Chesterfield have won three of their last four games and Posh four of their last five so both sides know how to bag maximum points but now the pressure’s really starting to bite, strange things begin to happen on the park, though there’s nothing strange about Cook’s team selection.
Midfield dynamo Sam Morsy is available again after a two-game ban and he comes in for livewire Gboly Ariyibi meaning Sam Clucas continues as the lone striker having scored two terrific goals in the stylish midweek 3-0 win over Gillingham, his first game for the club in that role.
Drew Talbot, recalled from his spell at Plymouth, retains the unfamiliar left-back role vacated by Clucas whilst Ollie Banks, back on form after a long haul back from injury, remains in the attacking midfield trio.
Peterborough, under the guidance of caretaker manager Dave Robertson, a 40-year-old with no playing or coaching experience at league level, who had previously been in charge of the youth team, lost 2-0 at second-placed Preston North End on Tuesday after winning at Doncaster Rovers last Saturday.
Robertson has continued the philosophy of former boss Darren Ferguson with Posh committed to passing and attacking, a combination that often brings the best out of Chesterfield.
Spireites, in their third kit of all red, won the game’s first corner from Banks’ cross from the right. The same player delivered and Alnwick caught. Hird fouled Washington and from Taylor’s free-kick, the ball pin-balled in the box before Darikwa cleared.
Banks had a shot deflected over after decent play by O’Shea, the corner was cleared, but soon afterwards O’Shea volleyed close from 20 yards but his next shot flew over the roof.
A poor Taylor free-kick led to a Spireites break and another corner, Alnwick caught from Banks’ right sider.
Chesterfield keeper Lee got his first touch after 14 mninutes, and that just to take a free-kick close to the halfway line. Alnwick made a superb double save to twice deny O’Shea and Bostwick blocked Roberts’ effort from the third shot of the attack.
Alnwick reacted quickly to grab the ball ahead of Clucas after Banks’ pass and Banks had to receive treatment after falling awkwardly.
Posh put in their first shot when James hit from the left and the outcome was a throw in but Bostwick soon headed close from a James centre.
Morsy’s shot hit Ntlhe as the game continued to see more possession from the visitors.
After 27 minutes Posh took an undeserved lead. Washington’s cross was cleared only as far as MICHAEL BOSTWICK whose shot along the ground seemed destined for Lee to gather but a wicked deflection intervened and the ball flew in.
Lee had to palm James’ angled shot out for a corner as Posh stepped up their game, it was the keeper’s first touch directly from a home outfield player.
Evatt blocked James cross to concede a corner, it fell for Bostwick whose hit was just too wide. Alnwick caught Banks’ cross as Chesterfield again began to attack more than their hosts.
Ryan’s turn and pass inadvertently fell for Washington whose run and shot led to Lee saving well and Hird finally clearing the danger.
Hird hacked a Taylor cross away as Posh began the second half as the livelier side, Taylor earning a corner, Newell took it but Bostwick was called for pushing.
Alnwick blocked an O’Shea shot and the ball rolled out for a corner, Hird’s spectacular mid-air back heel was tipped over by Alnwick and the subsequent corner was cleared.
Darikwa blocked Washington and from the break Santos headed out for a Chesterfield corner but Hird’s header flew wide.
Clucas’s cross was drilled out for a corner by Zakuani, Santos headed out for yet another and Roberts’ delivery earned a third on the bounce that Taylor cleared, six corners in 12 second half minutes for Spireites.
Santos was carded for a foul on Clucas, Taylor cleared the free-kick from O’Shea as the visitors again bossed territory and possession. Clucas was fouled on the box edge by Santos who saw a second yellow to reduce the hosts to ten men with 61 played. Ariyibi came on for Banks for Chesterfield and Brisley replaced Smith for Posh, who went 3-4-2. O’Shea’s free-kick hit the wall.
Hird and Morsy made solid tackles to break down Posh moves ahead of Ariyibi bursting forwards and drawing a foul from Taylor. Evatt and Talbot had shots blocked, the second flew out for a corner that came to nothing.
James did well on the right and centred for Washington whose bundled shot was saved by Lee as Posh refused to sit back despite being a man shy and in the lead.
Zakuani almost bagged an own goal as his back pass hit the post but Posh escaped. Jones came on for Darikwa, moving to left back with Talbot switching to the right. Jones ball in found Clucas but Alnwick dived in ahead of his second touch.
O’Shea’s cross earned a corner, Roberts delivered, the keeper caught. Roberts 20 yarder forced Alnwick to make a flying save for another corner; Alnwick caught Clucas’s flag-kick. Newell was booked for time wasting.
All the play was now in Posh’s half as Spireites introduced Dieseruvwe for Roberts. Morsy curled a foot wide from the edge of the box after Dieseruvwe caused consternation.
Big Dieseruvwe was causing plenty of problems but Spireites attackers lacked finesse when it was needed.
Peterborough (4-4-2): Alnwick; Smith, Santos, Zakuani, Ntlhe; Taylor, Payne, Newell, Bostwick; James, Washington. Subs: Henry, Brisley, McLean, Norris, Anderson, Beautyman, Vassell.
Chesterfield (4-2-3-1): Lee; Darikwa, Evatt, Hird, Talbot; Ryan, Morsy; O’Shea, Banks, Roberts; Clucas. Subs: Chapman, Humphreys, Onovwigun, Ariyibi, Carter, Dieseruvwe, Jones.
Ref: David Webb (Lancashire).