Chesterfield went into the game against Hereford United at the B2net Stadium this afternoon with a promising start under their belts, having won a good-looking point at Port Vale to add to the three from the opening day win over Barnet. New signing Dean Morgan came into the side for Derek Niven, while manager John Sheridan named seven substitutes for the first time this season.
There were team and personal records to keep up: Chesterfield had scored in each of their first three competitive fixtures for the first time in eight years, while Dwayne Mattis had become the first Chesterfield player since Terry Foley in 1960 to score in his first three appearances.
Chesterfield kicked off attacking the Printability Stand but the earliest action saw two corners at the other end. Colbeck won them both off Griffiths; from the first, Kovacs screwed a shot over and Hunt cleared the second to halfway. Chesterfield won their first flag kick on seven minutes: Morgan and Lester linked and Jack went round a defender before finding Whitaker, whose shot was tipped round by Bartlett in the Hereford goal. When the ball was put into the visitors' penalty area Lester went down under a challenge and Mr Brown, the referee, pointed to the penalty spot. It looked like Bartlett was booked but it wasn't his foul; attention shifted to DANNY WHITAKER, who ran up to smash the ball high and wide of the goalie, and into the top corner to give The Spireites the lead on 9 minutes.
A Colbeck cross was headed goalwards by Manset from close range on 13: Lee got up well to tip the ball over for another corner. This was punched out for a fourth Hereford corner but nothing came of this. Hereford were involved in the game, though, McQuilkin wasted a decent opportunity on 18 by firing over the bar from inside the box.
Chesterfield began to establish dominance as the halfway point in the first half passed. Hunt crossed from deep on the right and Morgan's header forced Bartlett to save at the expense of another corner. Hereford broke from this with Colbeck and he looked for the kiler pass inside to Manset, but the frontman was always just in an offside position as the break went forward, and Colbeck was unable to deliver before Talbot came over into the right-back position to tackle Colbeck for a corner that Hunt cleared.
Chesterfield extended their lead on 33. Lester picked up the ball some thirty-five yards out and threaded the ball through to DANNY WHITAKER: he took the ball into the box and between two defenders before firing a shot to the keeper's left, and into the net.
Three more corners came as Chesterfield kept the pressure on; from the first, Allott fired narrowly over. Hereford broke and Fleetwood struck a shot against the post, and out. As halftime approached Townsend went into the book after a foul on Lester.
Halftime: Chesterfield 2 Hereford United 0. Attendance: 4970 (219 away fans)
The teams obviously received some motivational stuff from their respective managers at half time and the start of the second half was held up by some sort of altercation involving several players from both sides. The referee sorted it out with a stern lecture to each captain but the bitterness lingered on into the second half.
Hereford had an early chance to pull a goal back when Lee pulled Manset down as he ran onto a pass in the box. Lee was booked. The referee took a while to get encroachers from both sides back around the "D" and, comically, insisted that Valentine, the penalty-taker, get ten yards back, too. Perhaps this effected the Hereford man's concentration for his penalty, when it came, was poor, and Lee had no trouble effecting as easy-looking a penalty save as you'll ever see. From the corner, Lee produced a terrific save with his leg to deny Kovacs on the goal line.
There was still an unpleasant "edge" to the game. Hunt brough Manset down near the corner of the box and the Hereford man got up quickly to get into Hunt's face and earn a lecture from the referee. When football broke out, Fleetwood curled a shot a yard wide of Lee's left-hand post.
With tempers settling down, Chesterfield were able to restore dominance on the hour. Townsend came well out of position to contest a header with Morgan and another team mate: the rush of blood left space behind and Lester chased the ball into it, but Bartlett came and saved with his feet. The ball broke to DANNY WHITAKER, who guided a shot home from just inside the penalty area. He thus became the first "proper" midfielder since Sean Parrish in our last promotion season to net a home hat-trick for Chesterfield.
Moments later, it was four. Whitaker was supplier this time, putting over the corner that SIMON FORD rose to meet with a clean, free and powerful header4-0.
With the points looking very much in the bag, Chesterfield allowed Jack Lester to receive some rest and a good reception when Jordan Bowery came on to replace him after 66 minutes. For Hereford, Canham was replaced by Stratford at the same time, although it wouldn't have made much difference to the outcome if he'd been replaced by the whole of East London. Niven came on for Allott with 74 minutes gone.
Manset couldn't quite put the day's frustrations behind him and went into the book on 75 after shoving Ford into the touchline advertisement boards. Morgan got a good reception as he was replaced by Boden on 77, and Hereford replaced McQuilkin with Malsom at the same time
The Bulls continued to be involved in Chesterfield's half, but there was no longer any real possibility that the home defence might creak, let alone crack.
Whitaker looked for his fourth goal but Kovacs blocked a shot that was so fierce that the ball went out on halfway. Niven came forward and shot powerfully, but just over. The game was finishing with the home side in charge: Whitaker broke through onto a Boden pass but saw his shot tipped past the post for corner and with the game deep in stoppage time, Talbot chipped into the keeper's hands after the ball worked to him from a Chesterfield corner.
Photos by Tina Jenner