Chesterfield manager John Sheridan made one enforced change to the side beaten at Charlton last Saturday, for the visit of Colchester United to the B2Net this afternoon. Simon Ford was feeling the effects of knee and thigh problems, so Dean Holden came in to start the game, with Aaron Downes stepping up to the bench.
The game started off at a good pace, considering the gloriously unseasonal October sun. Chesterfield saw more of the ball in the opening period but the visitors defended in numbers behind a lone forward.
Chesterfield fashioned the game's first half-chance when Westcarr crossed to Clarke at the near post, on 7; his flick was blocked for a corner by Baldwin, and Clarke picked up a knock in the process. Mendy beat his fullback but his cross was blocked; it fell to Westcarr, who blasted the ball across but that, too, was blocked for another corner. This was played short to Johnson, who saw his shot blocked.
Colchester threatened on 11: Wordsworth crossed and Talbot repulsed Henderson's pressure to head behind at the back post for a corner, which was headed clear by Smith. Mendy went on a mazy run on 12 to beat Coker; taking the ball into the box, he shot across and just over Williams' bar.
Williams completely missed his kick from a backpass, and the ball narrowly missed going in; instead, a corner resulted. Holden rose well but headed wide. corner
Colchester had dealt comfortably with everything Chesterfield had shown them up to this point, and began to assert themselves more. Antonio ran into the box on 21 and pulled a cross back; this fell kindly for Henderson, who blazed wastefully over. Grounds was forced to hook a Coker cross away from under his own crossbar on 26, with Odejayi ready to pounce.
Antonio's cross was headed out by Grounds and finished off by Talbot on 29, for another corner. A poor clearance from this fell to Henderson; his shot was blocked but Antonio was well-placed to drive the ball through the area and under Fleming's body to give Colchester the lead, in the 30th minute.
Williams was doing the more difficult-looking stuff very well, and saved from Westcarr on the angle after the Chesterfield man had broke through on 32.
Mendy crossed and Westcarr attacked it but Baldwin came in to concede a corner on 39 Whitaker's kick found the head of Grounds, but he put it a yard or so wide. A poor Grounds clearance to Wordsworth was blasted wide from 25 yards on 40 minutes. Wordsworth wasted another good opportunity after a Grounds handball 25 yards out.
Williams produced a fine save to deny Westcarr after he took a return pass from Clarke.
Ht 0-1 Attendance: 6,295 (274 from Essex.)
Chesterfield made a more positive start to the second period, with Mendy being set free by John's vision; his dribble into the box led to a shot that was blocked by Williams before squirming out for a corner.
Johnson was booked foul on Izzet on 49. The Spireites' positive start was absorbed by a hard-working Colchester defence and well-packed midfield, and it wasn't long before Fleming had to beat away a Wordsworth free kick.
Chesterfield came closest to an equaliser on 53, when Clarke ran on to a Whitaker pass and stroked the ball goalward; it struck a post and flew back into the path of Coker, who diverted it behind, when he might just as easily turned it in.
Johnson was replaced by Mark Randall on 62, and things looked up a little for the home side. His first attempted pass nearly fell into Mendy's path but clipped a Colchester head and went out for a corner. Westcarr did very well to hold the ball through four challenges and find Mendy; his return cross found Westcarr's head but was placed a yard over the bar.
Westcarr was tackled on 70 as he was about to shoot and a corner resulted; placed wastefully too long, Grounds chased and retained the ball, launching into a goalward dribble before firing narrowly wide at the near post.
Clarke broke free and ran into the Colchester box before being bundled over, but play continued. Antonio went down injured by the East Stand touchline and was booked by a referee who thought he was over-egging the pudding in order to waste time. Although Colchester had begun to show a reluctance to get on with it as the final whistle neared it seemed as though Antonio was actually injured, for he limped off to be replaced by Duguid on 80. Boden replaced Whitaker at the same time. Within a minute, Duguid had clattered into Talbot, forcing him off for treatment for a nose bleed.
Wordsworth and Odejayi were both booked for time wasting as the game entered its closing moments, and Bowery came on for the injured Nathan Smith, but Colchester were able to hold out with a level of comfort that belied their increasing tiredness.