John Sheridan named an unchanged starting-line up for the visit of Barnet today. Rob Page, displaced by Danny Hall last week, came back to the bench at Kevin Austin's expense.
The Bees made much the better start, looking as powerful and well-organised as home fans might have predicted, and playing with plenty of purpose and belief. Adomah, down their right, posed the greatest threat in the build-up, and much of their best work of the half came through him. Gregor Robertson stood up to the challenge well, on the whole, despite being left without the close support of team-mates at times during the first half.
Adomah won the game's first corner on 5, when Robertson denied him; Perkins challenged the lively winger on 9 for Barnet's second flag kick And the visitors racked up a third corner when Breckin headed a Bolasie cross away on 11. All this before the Spireites had got the ball into Barnet territory in anything like a threatening manner.
Chesterfield won a free kick in a dangerous position through Lester on 12, and McDermott stepped up to blast one off the training ground. Niven, in the wall, perhaps forgot his part in the move and took Donal's kick fully in the abdomen, leaving him winded for a moment or two.
Perkins had to head a Jake Hyde effort from a corner off the line on 23, without knowing that the whistle had gone for a foul on Lee. Robertson fouled Adomah near the Barnet dug-out on 30 and was booked by the referee, who didn't need to stream of advice coming from the Barnet technical area to assess the foul as serious enough to warrant the card. The visitors won a corner from the free kick and Adomah flashed this across goal, just eluding the stretching foot of Yakubu.
The game began to turn after this. Barnet began to stand off a little, but enough to give our midfield a little breathing space, and a little of their belief seemed to be lost as it became clear that, for all their effort, they hadn't really yet troubled Lee in Chesterfield's goal. Indeed, it was the home side who came closest to going in ahead when Hughes earned a yellow card with a foul on Perkins from behind, on the "D," on 40. Lester drove the free kick through the wall and forced Cole into a decent save low, to his left.
Halftime: 0-0. Attendance: 3,585 (158 visitors.)
The second half had barely started before McDermott went down after a clash of heads with Gillett. The barnet man was first up and continued for now, but Donal, who laid worryingly still for a minute or two while having treatment, had to leave the pitch for stitches to the back of his head. After ten minutes Sheridan brought Scott Boden on, removing Derek Niven, shifting Perkins central, pulling Talbot to right midfield and pushing McDermott over to the left. The changes immediately gave Chesterfield a more balanced look and the home side began to express themselves with more purpose.
Gillett suffered a delayed reaction to his earlier injury and was replaced by Deen, on 62. Five minutes later, Chesterfield edged in front. Little's long clearing header was flicked on by Lester into the path of SCOTT BODEN, and he slipped the ball past the advancing Cole before finishing neatly into the bottom corner of the Barnet goal, from ten or twelve yards.
Lester persevered on 72 when the ball went long and robbed the hesitant Breen on the Barnet goal line and crossed, but the ball was cleared. As Barnet sought a way back into a game that they might feel they shouldn't have been losing, Lee tipped a Hughes drive over. O'Flynn and Jarrett came on for Jake Hyde and Bolasi with 73 on the clock.
John Sheridan's substitution and tactical changes allowed Chesterfield to stretch the visitors' rearguard, while the lively Boden showed a decent spring in getting up to win headers against Barnet's tall defenders. Boden and McDermott linked well to feed Lester on 80 but his shot was saved. A minute later Jack wrestled off Yakubu's challenge to feed Perkins, whose shot ripped just over the bar.
By the time that the game entered its final ten, Barnet ran out of ideas and steam. The fourth official announced four additional minutes but by then it was the home fans who wanted the game to continue, sensing that there might be more goals in it. The Spireites played the stoppage time out intelligently, and in control, to emerge victorious from a hard-fought game.
At the final whistle a thousand or more home fans stayed behind to applaud Donal McDermott from the pitch in what was, for now, his final Saltergate appearance. As he came past the main stand on his mini lap of honour the young Irishman seemed moved by the warmth of his reception. Who knows? That sort of thing might just make a difference if the lad is offered a choice of clubs in the next transfer window.