Barnsley referee Darren England was the man at the centre of the attention as ten man Spireites went down 3-0 at home to Mark Robins’ Scunthorpe United.
There were two match defining moments centred around Mr England early in the second half that dumbfounded Chesterfield manager Dean Saunders.
The first was how Scott Wiseman did not pick up a second yellow card after two seemingly bookable challenges within a minute.
The second came soon after, when Dan Jones was red carded for what the man who was assistant referee in last season’s FA Cup Final felt was a goalscoring opportunity on the edge of the box.
Additionally a penalty was awarded, Paddy Madden scored it and what had been an extremely level game to that point subsequently became significantly weighted in Scunthorpe’s favour.
Saunders was clearly not impressed by the man who formerly worked at Barnsley FC Community Trust at the same time that Wiseman was player there and Robins was the Reds’ manager.
He said: “I’m just flabbergasted how he’s not sent Wiseman off; they brought him off right after it. He’s booked him and 20 seconds after he’s booked him, he’s got another big decision to make and obviously he felt the two incidents were too close together, which is wrong.
“He spends five minutes talking to him, telling him off and then they brought him off, which tells you everything; he shouldn’t have been on the pitch.
“We played okay but ten minutes after half-time we’ve come out and I thought we were bang on top and I thought we were going to go on and win the game.
“We get a free-kick, the keeper gets it and punts it down the pitch, we have a miskicked clearance that leads to a through ball, debatable whether he is in the box, McSheffrey uses all of his experience, Dan’s a bit naive, he’s still got to go through and beat Tommy, so he should have got out of the way but Dan said he couldn’t get out of the way.”
Following the penalty, McSheffrey rifled in a quality box-edge half-volley from a nod down by sub Jordan Clarke, who replaced Wiseman immediately after the first goal and he was lucky to have picked up only a yellow for an extremely nasty foul on Drew Talbot, whilst Madden hit a second from a Scott Laird pass, his shot deflecting beyond Tommy Lee.
Ahead of the goals, play was even.
United had worked Lee a little harder than Spireites had tested Luke Daniels, but the chance and possession counts were similar. Jay O’Shea shot within a whisker in the first half and hammered the bar from a free-kick between the second and third goals whilst strikers Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Lee Novak both had made the Iron keeper work.
Lee had to palm a McSheffrey shot away for Charlie Raglan to clear and the keeper had to make a double save from a McSheffrey free-kick and the follow up shot from Jack King.
Whilst Chesterfield’s performance lacked the fluidity of the midweek win over Southend, they looked more than capable of grinding out some sort of points tally before Mr England became the man Spireites’ fans will remember.
Chesterfield travel to Fleetwood Town on Saturday.
Chesterfield: Lee 7, Talbot 6, Hird 6, Raglan 6, Jones 5, Gardner 6, Morsy 7 (Ariyibi 86), Herd 7 (O’Neil 86), O’Shea 8, Novak 6, Ebanks-Blake 6 (Simons 69, 6). Subs not used: Cairns, Banks, Dieseruvwe, Humphreys.
Scunthorpe: Daniels 6, Wiseman 5 (Clarke 57), Mirfin 7, Wallace 6, Laird 7, Bishop 7, King 6, Rowe 8, McSheffrey 7 (Williams 71), Madden 7, Hopper 5 (Lolley 81). Subs not used: Anyon, McAllister, van Veen, Henderson.
Goals: Madden (pen) 56, 78, McSheffrey 67.
Referee: Darren England (Barnsley).
Booked: Morsy (Chesterfield), Wiseman, Clarke, Bishop (Scunthorpe)
Dismissed: Jones (Chesterfield).
Attendance: 6340 (635 from Scunthorpe)