Having achieved a fine win at Bournemouth last Saturday Chesterfield Manager John Sheridan must have fancied naming an unchanged starting line-up for the first time in nearly a year. While Simon Ford recovered from a bad-looking knock to the head to start, an injury to the influential Danny Whitaker prevented his playing, so Scott Boden was drafted into the side. This was the first time Danny had failed to take a playing part in a competitive, first-team game since he joined The Spireites, ending a run of 58 consecutive appearances. Remarkably, this would be Scott's first start at the B2Net; his last home start was as long ago as 27th March, 2010!
Bury's team showed many changes from the one that secured promotion here, just six home games ago. It featured two ex­-Spireites; Phil Picken skippered the side, while loanee goalie Trevor Carson came in for a debut.
Bury had slightly the brighter start. Bishop turned and shot from the edge of the box on 3 to win a corner, but this was defended well. Players had their personal battles and Smith and Worrall were spoken to after tangling as Smith shepherded the ball out by the corner flag.
An Allott pass to Westcarr on 7 was blocked but Mendy picked up the rebound and fed Clarke, but the striker couldn't get it onto his preferred foot to get a shot away.
Alex Mendy became more influential down the right as the game progressed and Chesterfield's passing game began to find its gear. Mendy brought the ball down and cut in on 19, leaving his marker statuesque; his long shot was deflected for a corner. The flag kick was drilled in by Johnson to Ford, who shot narrowly over.
Johnson was at the hub of some fine football on 25 that set Westcarr up, albeit wide; his cross shot was blocked. Sodje was booked for foul on Westcarr after the defender's poor control allowed the Chesterfield man a sight of the ball.
Mendy's marker was so much a spectator in the first half that the stewards should have made him sit down to watch. Great work in the air from the Frenchman saw him get the ball down, come inside and exchange passes with Westcarr; a cross looked on as Clarke drifted free of his man in the box but in his eagerness, Mendy toe-poked the ball out for a goal kick.
Bury mounted only an occasional threat at this stage, and Lee forced his way past two Bury men to claim a lofted free kick on 32; a Bishop lay-off to Sweeney was driven wide.
Boden and Mendy switched sides on 35 but soon switched back; When Boden went up front and Westcarr dropped back, though, both players began to offer much more. A lovely move closed the half: Mendy found Westcarr, who fed Clarke and he deftly slipped the ball into Boden's path. Carson had to beat the ball away to make the save.
Halftime - Spireites 0, Shakers 0. Attendance: 5,727 (218 from Bury.)
Johnson & Sweeney were booked for altercation on halfway after Mendy was fouled on 48, although the offence caused by the chesterfield man remains a bit of a mystery. The sting was taken out of a Clarke shot on 50 by a deflection, and Carson was able to gather.
Boden was causing problems to the Bury rearguard and glided a good ball into Clarke on 53; Sodje just got back so Clark passed to Westcarr, whose drive flashed a foot wide.
Talbot managed to work the ball back towards Lee under pressure and it looked like a poor decision to give Bury a corner after Lee kept the ball in. Thankfully, nothing came of it.
Sweeney fouled Smith from behind as the fullback was set to break through on 56. The foul reflected a period in which Bury rather tested the limit that the referee could be pushed to, and the Bury man must consider himself fortunate not to have received his second yellow.
Harrad fashioned a weak shot on the hour from 25 which was comfortably held by Lee.
Boden injured his head in forcing Carson to fumble on 62. When Lee's next clearance was flicked to him by Clarke, Scotty switched the ball back to LEON CLARKE in fine style. The on-loan forward took the ball on a couple of paces on before burying the ball past Carson from twelve yards or so, to give Chesterfield the lead.
Within a minute, it might have been two. Mendy chased and shut down Carson, forcing the keeper to lose the ball; he crossed but Boden rather swished at air in the box. The ball ran to Westcarr, who shot a foot or so wide.
Bury made a double substitution on 68, bringing Coke and Cullen on for Byrne and Harrad. For a while, the Shakers threatened to get back into the game. A scramble in the Chesterfield box saw the ball saved, headed away from under the bar and blocked by a defender before being forced clear by Ford. An even greater let-off followed: Lee was forced by Bury pressure into spilling the ball to Cullen; with the goal at his mercy the Bury man somehow contrived to aim a weak shot straight across the goal towards the grateful Lee. After this, Bury rather lacked the conviction to get as close to scoring again.
Ford was replaced by the experienced Holden on 75, while Bury brought John-Lewis on for Jones two minutes later. A lovely Allott ball found Boden unmarked and onside, but the Chesterfield man's control let him down.
In kicking clear in the 80th minute, Tommy Lee immediately felt his groin. Bishop was booked for elbowing the impressively undemonstrative and businesslike Grounds on 81, and when Lee fell to the ground attempting his next clearance a minute later, he was soon replaced by Greg Fleming.
Chesterfield's outfield players did their job well, and the substitute keeper was a spectator for much of the remainder of the game. Bury won a corner on the stroke of full time but put it out for a goal kick.
Giles Coke was booked for pulling Westcarr back on halfway in the second minute of the four added on. Mark Randall replaced the fanatically hard-working Johnson in the closing minutes and produced one remarkable, jaw-dropping pass to Boden that left the frontman in the clear. He found Westcarr, whose shot was cleared off the Bury line in the last action of the game.