Chesterfield manager John Sheridan responded to the second-half collapse against Scunthorpe last Saturday by making three changes to the starting line-up for the game at Walsall. Mark Randall came into central midfield for Mark Allott, while Nathan Smith and Simon Ford replaced the injured Alex Mendy and Neal Trotman.
The Spireites lined up like this:
HURST, FORD, THOMPSON, RIDEHALGH
TALBOT, RANDALL, MOUSSA, SMITH
Subs: Whitaker, Ajose, Mendy, Boden, Juan.
An early mistake in the Walsall defence saw M Smith slice a clearance almost fell to Bowery but Grof intercepted to save. Chesterfield were slow to close a move down on 3 and that allowed Mantom a shot that flew over. Westcarr, on the penalty spot, got a head to Talbot's cross on 7 but the ball flew straight to Grof.
Randall set The Spireites moving on the counter on 13 by finding Westcarr, who carried the ball forward and found Bowery; his first-time effort was saved for a corner, which immediately produced a second one. This time, Grof saved easily. Bowery beat Butler and the offside trap on 16 and Grof did well to prevent the Chesterfield man in a one-on-one.
Ledesma curled a shot narrowly over the bar on 17. Chesterfield took the lead on 20 when FRANCK MOUSSA arrowed a header from a neat Ridehalgh cross into the top right-hand corner of the net, leaving Grof with no chance. Despite looking under the cosh, The Saddlers equalised within six minutes when a 20-yard shot from Ledesma stayed low and beat Lee. Kevan Hurst had a couple of shots within a few minutes, and Lee had to push the second away for a corner on 29. Since the equaliser the balance of play changed completely, and the unmarked Ledesma scored a second when he buried a shot with his left foot from a Cuvelier pass on 33.
Bowery's attempted cross was deflected behind by Butler on 37, and the Walsall man effected the clearance when the short corner was eventually crossed. Westcarr had a good chance on 39 but Manny Smith slid in to tackle.
Halftime: Saddlers 2 Spireites 1. Attendance: 4,051 (339 from Chesterfield.)
Westcarr broke clear of the last defender on 51 and shot from a tight angle; too tamely, as it turned out, but Grof didn't execute a clean save and a throw in resulted. Nicholls fell down while trying to get on to a Macken flick but the referee was not interested in penalty claims.
Chesterfield fashioned a fine equaliser on 53 when Talbot won a header on halfway; MARK RANDALL and Bowery swapped passes before the former Arsenal man finished crisply to beat Grof and record his first league goal for The Spireites. Parity lasted for just four minutes, though, when Mantom was played in on the right side of the box after a quick break and he slid the ball beyond Lee to make the score 3-2.
Hurst was penalised when his hand was struck by the ball just outside the box on 60 minutes. Bowery headed Ledesma's free kick clear. Nicholls should have made it four on 62 when Lee and Smith became confused; the Walsall man took the ball forward but Smith was able to pressure him and force him to shoot tamely wide.
Nicky Ajose replaced Nathan Smith on 66 and went to wide left in midfield, and Jamie Patterson came on for Macken a minute or so later. A loose pass to Ford put the defender under pressure on 81.
A foul on Ledesma left Walsall with a free kick just outside the box, but the ball was curled wide.
Walsall controlled the last quarter of the game and no real moments of anxiety were seen on either side. Jimmy Juan entered the game on 84, replacing Ford, while Boden came on for Westcarr, who looked to be carrying a knock, at the same time. Ledesma went down under a strong Juan tackle and did enough to earn a booking for the Chesterfield man.
Walsall replaced Hurst with Chambers on 88.