Chesterfield made fewer changes than perhaps might have been expected for their game against Notts County at Meadow Lane tonight. There was a first start of the season for midfielder Craig Clay, but every other member of the side had started at least one of the twelve games completed so far. Clay's was one of five changes to the starting line-up for the Colchester game; the others saw Bowery, Downes, Morgan and Randall come in for Clarke, Smith, Westcarr and Allott. Westcarr was rested to the bench against the club we bought him from, while Derek Niven made a welcome return to the substitute strength.
A bad back-pass allowed Bowery a shot on 2 but his effort had the sting taken out of it by a kind deflection that allowed Nelson to take the ball in comfort. Morgan got a shot in on 4 but that was blocked in a busy penalty area and the ball again ended up in the welcoming arms of the goalkeeper. Formation-wise, Jordan Bowery seemed to be playing up front on his own, with Morgan appearing to have a free role in a midfield five.
Clay and Morgan exchanged passes after the young midfielder ran intelligently onto a Mendy pass on 12 and appeared to have won a corner off Ravenhill, but a goal kick was given.
Notts County made a double substitution on16; The injured Edwards was replaced by Sam Sodje, while Curtis Thompson came on for Pearce.
Johnson fouled Judge after 22 minutes and was amazed to see the referee pull out a red card for what was a high kick, but lacked anything resembling malice.
Fleming made a decent save from Ravenhill on 25 as Notts tried to make their numerical advantage count. Ishmael De Montagnac went into the book on 25 for a foul, giving Morgan a sight with a free kick some 35 yards out, and central. Morgan's shot went some way over the bar.
Notts won their first corner on 27 when Talbot turned a Spicer effort behind. Bencherif's header went wide and out for a goal kick. Bowery checked to meet a lovely Randall through ball but Nelson blocked with his knees for a corner. This quickly became two, which Randall took, then three; Morgan took the last and Notts were able to clear.
Grounds intervened to deny Hawley in the area on 34 as The Spireites battled well to overcome their numerical handicap. Hawley gave County the lead on 42 with a shot that Fleming was perhaps surprised by. Holden went into the book seconds after the restart for a foul on the goalscorer. A Talbot cross in stoppage time went out for a corner which was cleared by Sodje.
Half time: Notts 1 Spireites 0
Chesterfield won a corner early in the second half and Mendy flicked on Randall's kick, but it flew across the goal and out. A low Bowery shot caused Nelson to spoon the ball out, but he was able to claim the loose ball before a Chesterfield man could capitalise. Judge fouled Talbot late on 52 but escaped any censure; indeed, the officials saw fit to award only a throw-in to Chesterfield.
Another Chesterfield corner came on the hour mark and was taken quickly, to the surprise of both sides, allowing County to clear. Chesterfield continued to belie their numerical disadvantage, however, and MARK RANDALL struck a fine shot past Nelson's left hand from the edge of the area to level the scores on 65.
DEAN MORGAN followed Randall's lead on 67 by dragging the ball across a covering defender before looking up and almost passing the ball into the bottom corner of the net to give Chesterfield the lead. County immediately cashed in their insurance policy by bringing Lee Hughes into the game for Spicer. Bowery drove into the box before seeing Bencherif block his shot for a corner on 69. Grounds played a fine free kick forward to Morgan and he looked set to score, but was too heavy with a first touch and Nelson as Chesterfield continued to impress.
Another Chesterfield corner was played short and finally produced a result as JORDAN BOWERY met Morgan's fine cross to bury a header into the net on 76 and make the score 3-1.
Hughes turned and shot from six yards on 81 but saw his shot cannon back off the crossbar. Chesterfield replaced Jordan Bowery with Craig Westcarr after 84 minutes.
Mendy was booked for a late challenge on Judge on 85, as Scott Boden came on to replace Dean Morgan. Mendy was fouled by Harley, who needed two goes to stop the Chesterfield man. Tendayi Darikwa came on for the influential Clay as four additional minutes were announced. A late County corner was played out safely as the referee brought a close to a fine comeback win by the Spireites that should see confidence carried into Saturday's game.