Match report - Chesterfield 0-0 Fleetwood Town
A swirling wind and driving rain made life difficult at times, but it was the two sides’ inability to really test either goalkeeper that told the story.
Niggly and lacking match winning quality throughout, the game saw more entertainment in the first half than the second, with possession and chances fairly even.
Gboly Ariyibi had Chesterfield on the attack from the kick-off, running right down the middle and drawing a foul from Jimmy Ryan 40 yards from goal. Ryan was yellow carded but the free-kick came to nothing.
Another foul, this time on Ollie Banks, saw Chesterfield break out of defence and Lee Novak charged down the right before sliding the ball into the six-yard box where Jay O’Shea was just beaten to it.
Amari’i Bell had Fleetwood’s first chance, getting on the end of Ashley Hunter’s cross that ran long, driving a shot goalwards only for Tom Anderson to block.
A brilliant piece of defensive chasing from the bandage wearing Sam Hird forced Stefan Scougall all the way back into his own half, where a loose pass gave Novak something to chase - and when keeper Chris Maxwell slid out of his box the striker went to ground, a yellow card for simulation was his reward.
Ashley Hunter’s lunge on Drew Talbot brought the game’s third yellow and a crossing opportunity wide left for O’Shea, but Hird was just beaten to the ball at the back post.
It was a gritty first 20 minutes, Talbot’s challenge on the breaking Hunter deemed a foul, and Chris Herd’s challenge on Scougall was spotted by the referee but advantage was played.
The best early chance arrived on 25 minutes and it was a simple, flowing move from the home side.
Tommy Lee’s ball to Talbot was hooked on for O’Shea who played in Banks and he found himself in the area with time and space but curled the ball just over the top.
On the other flank, Ariyibi slipped the ball into the feet of Liam O’Neil and the right-back clipped an effort past the far post.
Anderson picked up a yellow for a foul on David Henen that allowed the visitors to try out a training ground free-kick, Novak anticipating the final ball however and clearing.
Henen was a threat for Fleetwood and having ghosted past O’Neil drilled in a cross that Lee did well to deflect clear.
Hunter’s spin took him away from Talbot and again Chesterfield managed to get a body in the wa y when he shaped to cross.
Two crosses in quick succession had home hearts in mouths, Fleetwood taking over as the first half entered its final five minutes.
But Chesterfield ended the first period on top, Ariyibi’s deep cross was volleyed into the middle by O’Shea and Novak’s attempted flick fell just wide.
Jamal Campbell-Ryce replaced the ineffective Herd at the break, and immediately showed a couple of lively touches on the right, Ariyibi switching to the left.
It was Fleetwood who started the second half the brighter however, Henen firing just off target from 20 yards out and Forbes suffering the same fate from a similar distance.
Chesterfield had their best moment since the break when Campbell-Ryce sent O’Neil down the right and he found O’Shea inside, the midfielder blasting over the bar.
The game drifted for a period, both sides struggling with the swirling wind and defences well on top.
Some good work from Ariyibi put Chesterfield in a good position high up the field, before Banks crossed brilliantly from the right touchline, Novak inches away from connecting six yards out.
The strong wind ensured there was lots of scrappy play - Chesterfield’s next chance coming after the ball had bobbled around the Fleetwood box, Ariyibi seeing a shot deflected wide.
Hunter, who had a much quieter second half, sent a long distance effort whistling over Lee’s crossbar and then stung the goalkeeper’s hands on two very rare forays upfield.
At the other end Campbell-Ryce whipped in a cross and Novak went up for it, the ball flashing across goal and wide - the striker departing seconds later as Jordan Slew took his place.
There was little more in the way of notable action, both sides perhaps unwilling to risk finishing the game empty handed, and the final whistle ensured Chesterfield remain five points clear of the drop zone.
Chesterfield: Lee, O’Neil, Talbot, Anderson, Hird, Ariyibi, Liddle, Banks, Herd (Campbell-Ryce 46), Novak (Slew 88), O’Shea (Ebanks-Blake 80). Not used: Humphreys, Raglan, Chapman, Orrell.
Fleetwood: Maxwell, Jordan, Bell, Ryan, Forbes, Hunter, Ball, Nilsson, Scougall (Jonsson 83), Grant (Cole 60), Henen (Deacon 70). Not used: Pond, Nirennold, Haughton, Gogic.
Referee: Nigel Miller. Assistants: Michael D’Aguilar, Chris Isherwood.
Yellows: Novak 11, Anderson 30; Ryan 1, Hunter 17
Attendance: 6,435 (153 away)