Chesterfield went into Friday night's home match with AFC Bournemouth sporting an unchanged line-up from that which brought the points home from Colchester last Saturday. There was one change among the substitutes, where Alex Mendy replaced Jacob Hazel.
Hurst, Trotman, Thompson, Robertson
Talbot, Allott, Davis, Ridehalgh
Both teams had enjoyed improved form coming into the game, and both seemed to start with the utmost respect for their opponents as a result. Certainly, Chesterfield were keen to give nothing away, and the visitors might have made something of this, but were intent on seeing what the home side had got, to begin with, rather than pushing on themselves too much. MacDonald screwed a shot wide from central on the edge of the area on 7 and Daniels got forward effectively, but Lee caught everything that came over from his side.
The Cherries began to push forward with more intent and Thomas forced a corner off Thompson on 21. Fogden's cross from the corner went miles out of play on the other side, though. Fogden left a foot in on Robertson on 23 and Ridehalgh took the free kick but it flew just over heads of Trotman and Thompson. Ridehalgh tried to force his way through the Bournemough defence on 31 without ever really having full control and Flahavan was able to gather as the ball ran through.
Hurst tried to direct a header back to Lee on 33 but it deceived the keeper and went out for a corner that Pugh took; wickedly swung at pace under the home crossbar, Thomas looked certain to score but somehow Lee, making his 150th competitive start for The Spireites, pulled off a fine save to deny him. Daniels played the next won short and Allott robbed him and appeared to win a goal kick, but another corner was awarded. Lester cleared this; to even things up, the linesman gave Chesterfield a throw when the ball was clearly played off a blue shirt and out by a Bournemouth man.
A good Bournemouth move on 36 carved a slot in the defence for Fogden to run into, but Thompson tracked and pulled off a fine tackle to deny him, winning a goal kick in the process. Chesterfield finished the half the stronger: Francis fouled Ridehalgh on the left on 38 and was booked for it, and Thompson headed a couple of yards over from the free kick. Lester worked hard to force a Zubar error on 42 and bore down on goal, but Flahavan saved well with his left foot.
Halftime: 0-0. Attendance: 6958 (599 from Bournemouth)
Bournemouth were quick out of the blocks with Pugh and Daniels combining down the left. Thompson was in place as the cross came over to do enough to force Fogden to head wide.
Lester was given a yard outside the box on 52 and turned; his shot was destined for the corner of the goal but Flahavan threw out a hand to turn the ball round the post. Within a minute, though, Chesterfield were in front. The corner wasn't completely cleared and The Spireites won the ball back. It came to LIAM RIDEHALGH on the left-hand corner of the Bournemouth area; he pulled out a stunning half-volley to send the ball thundering across Flahavan and into the opposite corner. It was his first goal in senior football and, quality-wise, was well worth the wait!
The goal was just reward for the fine start that Chesterfield had made to the second half with Allott, in particular, in storming form. Of course, it would have counted for little if Chesterfield had allowed their application to wane. Robertson was solid and reliable down our left, while Hurst and Talbot battled away to keep a lid on Pugh and Daniels. Long before the end of the game the visitors were reduced to the sort of speculative lob that Pugh tried on the hour mark after (and this stands greatly to his credit) not going down over Talbot's leg in the penalty area.
Bournemouth brought Symes on for Purches on 63; a signal, perhaps, that they were about to commit more to attack. Neal Trotman came to the fore, though, and remained impressively committed and aware; the fact that much of his defending was done with determination should not mask the intelligence behind it.
The visitor plugged away but came no closer to securing an equaliser. Nervous home fans were grateful for their side's forays into Bournemouth territory even if they, too, couldn't muster a serious threat on Flahavan's goal at this stage. Nerves were further stretched by the obvious discomfort that James Hurst was battling through; just as Alex Mendy began to warm up, suggesting that Talbot might drop back to replace the West Brom lad, Talbot himself began to creak a little. In the event both men were left on, and both came through the pain.
Steve Fletcher came on for MacDonald as Bournemouth defended a corner on 75 and received his usual good reception from Spireites fans. Bowery replaced Boden three minutes later and immediately raced away down the left after a clearance, bringing relief to a hard-pressed defence. Bournemouth came back and Ridehalgh did well to prevent Fletcher getting anywhere near a cross.
To have conceded an equaliser at this point would have felt like a crushing defeat, but Chesterfield remained resolute and, with the cushion of three points behind them, may well reflect that the clean sheet was kept if not with ease, then with certainty. It was the side's first shutout since September 13th - the game after the 3-0 win at Bournemouth - and it lifted Chesterfield from the bottom of the league for the first time since Bonfire Night.