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Match Report


Posted Sat 17 Mar 12 at 18:56 PM

Spireites 1 Dons 1

Chesterfield made three changes to the side that came back from Stevenage last Saturday with a creditable, but disappointing, point. New signing Franck Moussa made his debut in place of Derek Niven, while Jack Lester and Danny Whitaker returned for Craig Westcarr and Alex Mendy.

The Spireites lined up like this:


Hurst, Trotman, Thompson, Ridehalgh

Talbot, Allott, Moussa, Whitaker

Lester, Bowery

Subs: Fleming, Westcarr, Ajose, Mendy, Ford.

Bowery put Flanagan under pressure in the second minute and forced the defender to concede a corner. This was taken short to Allott, whose return pass to Whitaker was swung to the back post. Trotman met the ball and headed down to DREW TALBOT, whose shot from twelve yards left Martin helpless and gave Chesterfield an early lead.

Bowery was a terror to the MK defence throughout. Lester sent through by a sublime flick-on from him; Flanagan looked to get a last-ditch tackle in but Lester got a shot away from around 12 yards, which was saved well by Martin. The roles were reversed moments later when Bowery and Lester exchanged passes and the irrepressible young forward was tackled as he shot, with a corner being the result. This wasn't properly cleared, and Thompson headed narrowly wide.

Nothing was seen of MK as an attacking force until the 16th minute, when Hurst made a clearing header at the back post to deny Ibehre, who was closing in to head goalwards. Trotman raced across the box on 18 to deny the lively McDonald, and Lee had to come out to concede a corner on 23 when the same player sought to burst through.

Bowery brought the ball down on 29 and shot from 25 yards on the half-volley - the ball flew a few yards wide of Martin's right-hand post.

MK made a tactical switch that saw O'Shea and Chadwick swap sides. Thereafter, they came much more strongly into the game, with O'Shea looking very dangerous down the Spireites' left. In the meantime, Lester crossed towards goal, looking for Moussa and Bowery, but Williams got a slice on the ball and Martin had to be alert to prevent the own goal.

Lee, at the near post, fell onto an O'Shea shot on 32. MK looked in control at this point but, for all that, they were still not able to fashion too many chances, and it was Chesterfield that came closest to scoring again, when Moussa shot a yard wide after bowery did very well to catch then hold up an imaginative pass from Lester on 39.

Halftime: Spireites 1 MK Dons 0 Attendance: 6,444 (433 from MK)

The Dons replaced Ibehre with Powell before the resumption. The second haklf began with Bowery again to the fore, forcing Lewington to hack out, but within seconds Powell's fearsome pace created havoc in the Chesterfield ranks, and only Lee stood between O'Shea and Powell's fierce shots and the Chesterfield net. When a Hurst pass to Allott was intercepted Chadwick tested Lee, and O'Shea saw another shot saved by the Chesterfield keeper on 51.

Eventually, under this sustained pressure, Chesterfield's defence cracked. On 56, O'Shea ran forward with the ball from 25 yards out and switched it on to his left foot before firing wide of Lee's grasp and into corner of net from the edge of the area. It was the least that O'Shea deserved for an eye-catching midfield display.

Scorer nearly turned provider on 63 when O'Shea found Powell, and he forced a great save from Lee.

Lester was booked as he was substituted on 64, after his challenge left Flanagan in a heap. Westcarr replaced him. Mendy also came on for the tiring Moussa, who had enjoyed an influential first half but had faded a little in the second period.

A chorus of boos met the second substitution and, for a while, Chesterfield looked ragged as they struggled to adapt to a five-man midfield that appeared to leave Bowery on his own up front. For a few minutes, MK in general and O'Shea in particular saw far too much of the ball; Chesterfield were careless about keeping it and it looked like a case of "How many?" rather than "If."

For MK, Hall replaced Chadwick on 70 minutes, and Danny Whitaker was taken off for Ajose on 72. The reaction to this from an element of the club's support is not one that should be remembered with pride. By the time that Whitaker reached the dugouts, the ironic cheering had subsided and it was clear that a significant proportion of the crowd found genuine applause for him.

Sheridan's substitutions allowed Chesterfield to go with a three up front that saw Mendy and Westcarr very wide, and Bowery in the middle. This clarified what was expected of the players, increased the home side's attacking threat and opened the game up.

Bowery continued to torment the Dons' defence and worked the ball out to Ajose, who fired a cross right across the face of the goal, and watched in agony as Trotman and Mendy just failed to make the necessary contact. Bowery got onto an Ajose pass on 75 but looked to have gone too wide; still he found the power to force Martin into a stinging near-post save, at the expense of a corner.

Although MK had been forced onto the defensive and seemed to accept that role with a curious relish, they weren't completely done for as an attacking threat, and Hall, the West Ham loanee, nearly crowned his debut with a goal, but his shot clipped Lee's bar and flew over. Talbot's pressure forced Powell to fire wide from twelve yards as the game entered its final ten-minute phase.

Trotman was brought down from behind but play continued; MK won the loose ball and both Lewington and McDonald forced Lee into a fine double-save. McDonald was allowed to play on from an offside position on 86 and O'Shea fired wide when well-placed. Hall was booked for kicking the ball away on 87 as the initiative swung back to the home side.

An Ajose shot from the edge of the box was held by Matin on 88 and Hurst, tired out and struggling with a groin injury, got forward gamely to shoot through a knot of defenders. Martin got down well to make the save. At the full-time whistle the Dons seemed to be the more relieved side. It was another game where the point looked good on paper, especially when stood up next to The Dons' away record, but the opportunity to take all three was there. There was little of the disappointment of last week, though, since the visitors had earned their parity, and The Spireites had finished the game looking for the winner. The result and performance gave hope that something might come, too, from the difficult-looking game against Huddersfield on Tuesday night.

Franck Moussa looked like a good replacement for David Davis and Tommy Lee had put in a match-saving performance in goal, but the "man of the match" laurels must surely have rested with Jordan Bowery, who looks ready to cast off the "promising youngster" tag in favour of something reflecting his status as a maturing and effective professional footballer.

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