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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 14 Apr 12 at 17:55 PM

Pools 1 Spireites 2

Chesterfield manager John Sheridan rewarded the side that blew Wycombe away last Monday by posting an unchanged line-up for the visit to Hartlepool today.

The Spireites lined up like this:

LEE

TALBOT, FORD, THOMPSON, RIDEHALGH

WESTCARR, RANDALL, JUAN, MOUSSA, MENDY

BOWERY

Subs: Allott, Whitaker, Boden, Smith, Ajose.

An early slip in the Hartlepool defence nearly let Mendy in, but the home side got back in numbers to make amends. Ford denied Noble a cross on 4 and the ball flew away for the game's first corner, which Tommy Lee claimed without alarm.

Hartlepool played some neat stuff, keeping the ball well, while lacking the final ball to trouble the visitors. Austin took the ball off Bowery as he set himself to capitalise on Moussa's 12th-minute pass.

Thompson deflected the ball out for Hartlepool's second corner, on 16. Austin's kick found Hartley's head, but Lee wasn't greatly troubled by the effort. Moussa's skill created a chance on 22 by lifting it over Austin's challenge but Flinders dealt with the danger; up the other end, Lee went out into a ruck of players for the ball, and clashed with Sweeney, and play was briefly held up for treatment to the pair.

The game lapsed into a fairly tepid, end-of-season affair, in need of one side or the other to get a grip on proceedings. Juan's foul gave Hartlepool the chance to play out a "training ground" routine from a 27th-minute free kick; Juan redeemed himself by spotting the plan and breaking it up, and the ball rolled away for a goal kick.

Lee was forced into a fine save on the half hour at the expense of a corner when Noble robbed Randall, who went down and needed treatment. Ridehalgh cleared but the ball came back, since Chesterfield had left no-one up; Sweeney sidefooted well wide to end the move.

Sweeney headed Randall's cross out for a corner on 32, which Moussa took, and the ball was headed away from the near post. Lee got down well to push a Noble shot away for a corner on 34. Randall tried to play Westcarr in on 35 but the ball was on his wrong foot; he cut inside and shot, but his effort was blocked away by an attending defender.

Liddle gave Hartlepool the lead from a yard or so on 37 minutes after the defence didn't really get a strong enough challenge in on Noble, whose cross left his team-mate with the simplest of tap-ins.

Chesterfield re-shaped a little, playing Westcarr as a striker with Bowery and going to four in midfield, and won an injury-time corner which Randall took, but Hartlepool cleared; Talbot returned but Juan couldn't quite get a head on it.

Halftime: Pools 1 Spireites 0. Attendance: 4,004 (206 from Chesterfield)

From Chesterfield's kick-off a ball was played over the top for Westcarr to run on to, but an offside flag stopped play. Noble fired straight at Lee after Austin's good work on 47. Ford came back to deny Sweeney a crossing opportunity but a corner came of it; Juan headed the flag kick clear. Chesterfield were struggling to clear and Noble had another chance, but scuffed a shot and Lee pounced to claim the ball.

Noble squandered another chance on 51, heading weakly at Lee. Chesterfield brought Boden on to play alongside Bowery, replacing Westcarr on 51. The switch to 4-4-2 was finalised by bringing Whitaker on for Juan after 55; he went left, Mendy went right and Randall and Moussa took up station in the middle.

A great run down the wing from Bowery on 58 saw the Chesterfield man sling over a cross and DANNY WHITAKER applied a cool finish with only his second touch of the game to bring the scores level. Sweeney missed a chance from six yards on 64; Whitaker found Randall a minute later and his ball to Bowery was precise, but the forward had started his run just a moment too soon, and was flagged offside.

JORDAN BOWERY completed the turnround on 68 when he met Scott Boden's cross and headed past Flinders from close range. Whitaker was influential and played Randall in for a shot on 73 that curled wide.

Hartlepool replaced Murray with Boyd on 74. Chesterfield continued to try to play football, rather than resorting to desperate defending, although there were moments; Ford's header on 85 went backwards into the area but Tommy Lee was alert, and ran out to claim the ball. With Bowery making intelligent, ball-carrying runs into the Hartlepool half, Chesterfield were able to exert a measure of control that made the game's closing minutes rather less of a nervy ordeal than might have been expected.

Hartlepool replaced Liddle with Rutherford on 89. Chesterfield saw the game out comfortably, with the last action seeing the Spireites take time to complete a corner kick.

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