Chesterfield made three changes for the hugely-anticipated clash with Rotherham United at the B2Net Stadium tonight. Jack Lester, Scott Griffiths and Mark Allott came into the starting line-up, for Kieran Djilali, Ian Morris and Derek Niven. The Millers made one change, from last Saturday's goalless draw against Bury, bringing Coid in for Tonge.
Chesterfield won the game's first corner on 56 seconds after Davies saw a fierce shot deflected. The ball was crossed deep towards Lester, but behind him, and it was hacked up the touchline to relieve the pressure.
Chesterfield continued to probe and Morgan saw a shot from a free kick punched away by the diving Warrington in the 4th minute. Smalley put a header from Whitaker's free kick onto the roof of the net. The Millers attempted to test Lee but were nearly punished on the break on 9, when Talbot raced onto Morgan's pass to cross for Davies to head narrowly over.
Smalley' pace was a continual heradache for Kennedy, and he broke on 16 to cross towards Davies, but the Spireites' leading scorer couldn't connect. Smalley decided to go it alone next time, carrying the ball forward and firing just wide of Warrington's right-hand post.
The Spireites edged closer to the game's opening goal. Morgan won a corner on 17 and his cross caused Marshall and Warrington to get in an awful muddle at the near post; Davies got a head to it but Marshall recovered sufficiently to knock the ball off the line.
During a rare foray up the other end Lee produced a fine save from Marshall at the expense of a corner, which Talbot headed convincingly away. On the break, Morgan spotted Smalley's run and tried to thread a pass through, but Warrington raced out to hack the ball away.
Coid conceded a 21st-minute corner under pressure from Davies. Morgan's flag kick was met with a poor clearance by Kennedy and it came back to Morgan; his cross was met on the six-yard box by DEAN HOLDEN, who buried a well-placed header into the net to give Chesterfield a deserved lead.
The Spireites' inventive play continued to trouble the visitors' increasingly confused defence. Two defenders went for the same clearing header from a 25th-minute corner that came from a hacked clearance. Another error led to the home side extending their lead on 30. Cresswell's terrible back-pass presented Chesterfield with a corner and, as Rotherham dithered with their organisation, Whitaker took it. The ball was headed on to CRAIG DAVIES, who got up above a defender to head the ball in from close range, for his 22nd goal of the season.
Andy Warrington produced a fine double-save to deny Lester on 36 while Lee got down well to save from Taylor's 18-yard drive on 44. Just as the half entered stoppage time, Chesterfield broke with pace again. Whitaker fed JACK LESTER and he turned a defender this way and that before placing the ball wide of Warrington and into the net for the Spireites' third goal.
Halftime: Chesterfield 3, Rotherham United 0. Attendance: 10,089 (2072 from Rotherham.)
Ronnie Moore brought Tonge on for Kennedy, who had suffered terribly at the hands of Chesterfield's rampant right side, before the second half started.
Rotherham enjoyed their best period of the game in the opening fifteen of the second half, although it was probably because Chesterfield were content to probe without greatly extending themselves further. The visitors won a corner a minute into the half, but Cresswell headed wide. Marshall was the most productive among the visiting side and his cross allowed Ryan Taylor to shoot narrowly over. Rotherham brought Omar Daley on for Ian Thomas-Moore after 63, but it didn't greatly increase their attacking threat.
Indeed, it was Chesterfield who began to threaten more as the half continued. Talbot's flying cross on the break found Lester but his head was just a little too far under the ball to produce a troubling effort on goal. Davies returned the ball, though, and it came to Lester again; he worked hard to retain it with his back to goal but found no support coming on, so the ball was cleared.
Allott fouled Ryan Taylor on 70, some 25 yards out; from the free kick the ball was lifted to back post but it was brought out by Morgan, under no real pressure from any forwards. Rotherham won another corner but this merely became a springboard for another Spireite break, and Coid was forced to hack a ball destined for Davies out for a corner.
Davies took the ball across the Millers' defence and switched it onto his right before firing fiercely at the goal; Warrington pushed the shot away. A Daley shot was fingertipped onto the bar by Lee on 78; Daley's shot from the corner was charged out for another but Law let the pressure off by slipping as he took it, and slicing the ball into a jeering Kop.
Henderson replaced Marshall on 80 minutes. Bowery replaced Davies at the same time and was on the pitch for a matter of seconds before setting up his side's fourth goal of the evening. He headed a ball into the path of JACK LESTER, who escaped Cresswell's desperate attempt to haul him back to go on and beat Warrington from the edge of the penalty area.
A Whitaker shot on 82 clipped a defender on its way out for a Chesterfield corner. Whitaker took the flag kick and found the unmarked JACK LESTER around six yards out, who steered a neat header into the Rotherham net for Chesterfield's fifth goal of the night. It was Jack's second "perfect" hat-trick of the season and he became the first Chesterfield player since Bryan Frear in 1958-9 to net two hat-tricks in the same season.
Mattis replaced Allott and Djilali replaced Lester with five minutes left. Whitaker hit a post from around the edge of the box but the offside flag went up against Holden as he went for the rebound. In the game's last action Rotherham came closest to scoring a consolation as Lee tipped Le Fondre's chip onto the bar and calmly waved defenders back to take the rebound. As the referee brought play to an end three sides of the ground rose to acclaim a terrific performance from the home side that had completely eclipsed their promotion rivals and royally entertained a record B2Net crowd and television viewers across Britain.