It's a rare match that kicks off nowadays with both sides unchanged, but that was the case at The B2Net Stadium this afternoon, when Chesterfield attempted to break a three-game losing streak against a sixth-placed Notts County. For The Spireites, Nathan Smith returned from duty with the Jamaican national side to take a place on the substitutes' bench.
County won a corner in the first 30 seconds when Fleming turned a speculative Bishop shot away. Allott and Westcarr combined to force the corner clear. A long throw was headed goalwards and Fleming had to get down to turn the ball away as County looked worryingly dangerous.
Randall saw a corner worked back to him; his excellent cross drifted over to Morgan, who shot over bar, sliding from close range. As it happened, the offside flag would have denied a better finish.
Kelly shot wildly over from close range when the ball dropped to him after Grounds appeared to shove Burgess on 17. The incident marked the beginning of another period of County dominance, though, that saw them take the lead.
Hawley won a corner after getting round the back of the Chesterfield defence on 19. It flew across the goal but caught a Chesterfield man on the way, and a corner from the other side resulted. Fleming did well to tip this one further on, and out for a throw-in via Grounds; From this, the ball was crossed to Burgess, who headed the ball into the top corner of Fleming's goal.
Chesterfield attempted to fashion some sort of reply. Mendy crossed after beating Sheehan but the ball was put out for a corner by Mahon on 26, and this was cleared as Downes closed in. The home side made a quick break from a County attack on 31 after Grounds cleared; Westcarr's cross was deflected back away from Clarke but it fell invitingly for Mendy, who leaned back as he struck it and sent it high over the bar.
Holden went off for treatment for a cut head after clashing with Hawley and was back on after a few minutes. The ball was played forward to Judge and he ran through the middle of the defence to get to it; Talbot came back to tackle but Judge just got there first, to power a shot through Fleming's attempted parry, and into the net to extend County's lead, on 38.
Mendy loses to Burgess whose tackle spliced the Chesterfield defence and fell to Hawley; with only keeper to beat he somehow contrived to put the ball wide. The miss kept the game just within Chesterfield's reach, but a substantial improvement would be needed from the home side to take anything from the game.
Halftime: Spireites 0 Pies 2. Attendance: 8342 (2031 from Notts)
Chesterfield were made aware of the need for improvement at halftime and that produced a more energetic and committed opening second half. Talbot crossed after a Randall shot was charged down and Westcarr met it well with his head but Nelson produced an excellent save. Ther Spireites pulled a goal back on 52 when Westcarr squeezed the ball in at the far post from a Grounds cross.
Hughes came on for Hawley after 55 minutes. Chesterfield's greater urgency and commitment was not sustained and County resumed control of the game. Downes was robbed by Hughes after electing to play the ball inside instead of clearing, and Sheehan's resultant cross clipped Talbot and went out for a corner, and The Pies had another when Bishop's curled effort struck Downes on its way out. Chesterfield were at least defending these better, though.
Bowery replaced Westcarr on 75 and Sodje replaced Mahon on 83. After much treatment, bandaging and doubt as to whether Holden could continue or not, Clay (who had been warmed up and stripped off for ten minutes or so) eventually replaced Randall, on 84.
Holden had to go off for more cleaning-up and another change of shirt. While he was off County broke; Hughes crossed to Sodje on the 6-yard box and he shot as Talbot slid in. Fleming made a good save but the rebound struck Sodje or Talbot and flew back past the keeper and into the net for County's third goal, on 87.
De Montagnac replaced Burgess 89. Judge ran forward to fire at goal from 25 yards but Fleming pushed the ball away well. Chesterfield went forward and Bowery won a corner from Grounds' pass, but the final whistle blew as the ball was on the edge of the County area.