Chesterfield made four changes to the side beaten at Notts County for the visit of league-leaders Charlton Athletic to the B2Net Stadium.
The Spireites lined up like this:
Thompson, Ford, Trotman, Ridehalgh
Westcarr, Davis, Allott, Ajose
Subs: Fleming, Smith, Whitaker, Boden, Mendy.
Charlton were unchanged from the side that beat Stevenage 2-0, which meant that Leon Clarke, Chesterfield's leading scorer this season, was on their bench. The game enjoyed a measured start, with neither team obviously in the ascendancy, although the visitors' class was evident. Charlton might have taken the lead as early as the 8th minute, when the ball came over Trotman and through to Wright-Phillips in the box with only Lee to beat, but the forward stumbled and Lee was able to clear up.
Both sides exchanged corners on the quarter hour without either troubling the defences. Lee was forced to make a decent, clawing save to prevent Kermogant's close-range header from beating him on 19, and the same player ran through onto a pass on 22 before shooting well over.
The Spireites found it difficult to make headway against a fine Charlton defence. A decent ball down the right wing set Bowery free and he beat a couple of men with a neat turn before crossing; Lester dummied for Ajose but he slipped a little and was unable to deliver a firm enough shot. Bowery himself had a shooting chance on 30 but could not find the power to trouble the keeper. This was a better period for Chesterfield; Ridehalgh found a couple of crosses, but both were too deep, and Westcarr shot wide on 36, but the Spireites' first-half work was undone on the stroke of halftime. There was an air of good fortune for the visitors about Green's shot from the corner of the area clipping a defender; that took it just far enough away from Lee to mean that the keeper's hand could only help it onto the post. The ball appeared to rebound and cross the line before spinning back out to Wright-Phillips, who tapped in to claim the goal.
Halftime: Spireites 0 Addicks 1. Attendance: 6,405 (710 from Charlton.)
The Spireites tried to make some early headway in the second half and there were shouts for a penalty when Lester went down under a defender's challenge on 51. It can be assumed that the referee thought Lester had made a meal of it, but there was no warning for "simulation."
With that decision still fresh in the team's mind Charlton were gifted a second by a poor decision that seemed to allow Wright-Phillips to come from an offside position to beat Lee from Close range, on 56. Two minutes later it was three, and this one was a decent goal, with Jackson stealing in to score from close range after Morrison's throw was worked in to the near post.
With a mountain to climb, Chesterfield made a couple of substitutions that might have had the next game in mind, as much as this one, with Westcarr making way for Mendy on 61 and Whitaker replacing Lester four minutes later. Within a minute of that, Charlton made it four, when Trotman and Wright-Phillips both slid in for the ball; the last touch seemed to come from the Chesterfield man, but the goal was awarded to the Charlton player.
Leon Clarke replaced Kermogant on 67, with the swapping of Cort for Morrison making it a double substitution. Haynes replaced Wiggins on 77 as the game struggled for passion and urgency. With pride alone to play for Chesterfield tried to move the ball around and Ajose was noticeable in a striker's role. There were a couple of further incidents, both in the Charlton goalmouth; a quick Davis break and cross saw Bowery plant a header against the bar, and Mendy appeared to be held as he found a shot from the rebound that was blocked.
On the stroke of fulltime Ridehalgh took the ball from in front of Clarke & powered forward; the ball came to Whitaker, whose shot across the keeper was palmed away for a corner. By then, however, Charlton were comfortable victors. The 4-0 scoreline was probably unfair on a side that looked like being overwhelmed only once, when distracted by the second, offside goal, but it is pertinent to wonder how much more the visitors had to offer. "Quite a bit," is probably the answer since, with their greater quality in all areas guaranteeing victory, Charlton seemed comfortable throughout and were worthy winners.