With goalkeeper Tommy Lee sidelined by a thigh strain, Greg Fleming started his first Chesterfield match. The fit-again Danny Whitaker came in for Scott Boden, while recent arrival Adam Smith, the Leicester City goalkeeper, took his place on the bench. Carlisle United were unchanged from the side that won 2-1 at Tranmere on Tuesday to extend their away record to four without defeat in League One this season. Trivia fans will be enchanted by the news that both sides sported a player wearing number 13 in their starting line-ups - the first time this has ever happened in a Chesterfield game, as far as we can establish.
A well-constructed move gave the Spireites the lead after just two minutes. A Ford clearance towards Mendy became a fine ball up the right wing when the Frenchman slipped his full-back, leaving him statuesque. Mendy ran forward to aim a cross towards the penalty spot, but it was too strong for the onrushing LEON CLARKE; Westcarr controlled it on the left of the box, though, and slid a fine ball back inside to the Swindon man, who calmly slotted the ball home from around six yards.
Carlisle responded to this setback in a positive fashion and it took two determined blocks from Grounds and Ford to prevent an equaliser; when the second of these spun loose a Miller shot took a deflection to give The Cumbrians their first corner, which was put too long over, and ran away from danger.
Grounds again put his body in the way of a Miller shot, on 7. Berrett crossed and Noble headed back as the visitors pressed hard, but Ford tidies up and hooked the ball clear.
Some respite came after continued Carlisle possession when Clarke knocked the ball down to Westcarr on 9; he found Whitaker, whose shot was deflected for a corner. Danny's flag kick was blocked at the ner post with Clarke lurking, and another corner resulted; Whitaker's cross came back to him and he took the ball into the box before seeing a shot blocked.
Mendy raced onto a Johnson pass that looked too long, but he pressured Robson into giving away another corner. The ball came to Clarke, who saw a shot blocked.
Carlisle came back and fashioned an equaliser on 20. Ford cleared for a corner after Tavernier had advanced down Chesterfield's left and crossed; from the flag kick Miller got up to head the ball home. Chesterfield's bench joined Fleming in complaining that a man on the line had obstructed him, but the referee was in no mood for mercy.
Chesterfield pressed to re-establish the lead. Whitaker shot a foot wide after Clarke cleverly stepped over a Westcarr cross; the lead was restored on 26 minutes, though, when a Whitaker cross from the left towards the penalty spot was met by the head of LEON CLARKE, who ghosted in front of his marker to pick his spot with great accuracy, leaving the diving Collin without a hope.
This time, Chesterfield kept the pressure on and, at 2-1, looked after the ball with much more consideration than they did at 1-0. Mendy got onto Clarke's intelligent pass and crossed for Whitaker, whose shot deflected off Tavernier for a corner. Another Mendy cross was blocked for a corner on 33, and Collin gathered the flag kick well under pressure.
Chesterfield survived a scare when Thirlwell blazed over when unmarked from the edge of the box, on 36.
Lee Miller tweaked a groin and had to be replaced by Curran on 39. The sub immediately clahsed heads with Talbot, who continued after treatment. In the last action of the half a neat Allott shot was spooned away by the keeper but the offside flag went up as Clarke closed in with a hat-trick on his mind.
Halftime: Spireites 2 Cumbrians 1. Attendance: 6445 (563 from Carlisle.) (6447 announced on Tannoy.)
Mendy knocked a ball past Robson, who tripped, and brought Mendy down with him right on the edge of the box, but free kick and penalty claims were waved away to the confusion of home fans. Moments later Johnson's challenge on Robson left him hopping and earned the midfielder a yellow card.
Zoko produced a careless foul of frustration on Mendy on 50 minutes, some ten yards or so outside the box. The ball was hooked into the penalty area by Whitaker; it wasn't properly cleared and Grounds stabbed the ball back towards goal. LEON CLARKE reacted first, and pounced to fire the ball home from close range and record his first hat-trick in professional football.
A ball towards Talbot skimmed off his head for a corner to Carlisle. The cross was cleared as a foul was called on Ford, although the visitors mounted credible claims for a penalty in Ford's challenge. Great work by Mendy, Clarke and Westcarr allowed smith to come forward and drive fiercely over the Carlisle bar.
Carlisle made a double substitution on 57 minutes, bringing Welsh on for Noble and McGovern on for Zoko Welsh made a great impact on the game and won a corner after only a minute's action, but Murphy headed the ball well over the bar.
Chesterfield netted a fine fourth goal on 64 minutes. The ball was worked over from the right towards Westcarr, in the centre. He helped it on to Smith, coming up the left, and the full-back fashioned a lovely chipped cross that CRAIG WESTCARR met with his head, some ten yards out, turning as he met the ball to plant it into the net beyond Collin's reach.
Carlisle stuck to their task well despite the three-goal deficit, and that might have been reduced when Curran's sliced shot may have passed over the line before Fleming controlled it. A Curran shot flew inches over on 70.
Boden replaced the industrious Westcarr on 79, and Holden came on for the resolute Ford at the same time.Fleming held a strong Loy shot from 25 yards on 81.
Leon Clarke received a hero's send-off when Jordan Bowery came on to replace him with two minutes left, and the three added minutes were played out without alarm.
Full time: Spireites 4 Cumbrians 1. Spireites Player man of the match, for his maiden hat-trick, and for the exemplary way in which he worked hard for the side throughout: Leon Clarke.