Chesterfield slipped to their third successive league defeat as they lost against Bradford City at Warminster Road on Saturday.
The Spireites went 3-0 down but captain Jack Broadhead scored a late consolation goal with a powerful header in the last few minutes but it was too late for the Blues.
Manager Dave Bentley is struggling with injuries and was forced into a change minutes before the game as midfielder Mark Fereday had to withdraw through illness and striker Fabien Johnson took his place. Striker Joe Mathers, defenders Thomas Colton and Regan Edridge are all still out injured.
In the first few minutes of the game both sides looked lively, but the Spireites fell behind in the sixth minute. Sloppy defending allowed City striker Louie Swain to win possession and he cross the ball for midfielder Nathan Curtis who couldn’t miss in the six- yard box with a good header.
Despite falling behind Bentley’s team responded well and striker Bradley Bowland nearly levelled the game a few minutes later after he did well to bring the ball down in the box but his swivel shot was superbly tipped wide by ‘keeper Jack Bentley.
Bowland proved a real handful for the Bantams defence in the first half as he did well to get into some good positions but saw one of his efforts go wide and another blocked by a defender as the Spireites looked to get back in the game.
Midfielder Joshua Scully found himself in plenty of room going forward but his long range effort was saved by Bentley who was the busier of the two goalkeepers.
As the Spireites ventured forward to try and level the match before half- time, City always looked a threat with the pace of Curtis and captain Connor Bower went close to doubling the visitors lead as his shot went just past the post.
City started the second half at a blistering pace as they went inches from increasing their lead as a thunderous volley from Curtis smashed off the post in the 48th minute.
Midfielder Alex Hewitt was brought on for Ben Partridge as Bentley looked to freshen his side up and get back into the game.
Just before the hour- mark, City increased their lead after a long ball punted up field was cleared by defender Tim Whittaker, only for the ball to ricochet off Bower who went clean through and beat ‘keeper Josh Barrington at the near post with a decent finish.
The Spireites thought they were back in the game just a few minutes later after a superb through ball from Hewitt was dinked over the City defenders to Bowland who flicked the ball past Bentley but went agonisingly wide.
The Bantams grabbed their third of the game in the 65th minute after a corner wasn’t cleared by the Spireites defence and the ball fell to Swain whose first effort was saved by Barrington but the ball bounced straight back to him and smashed it in the goal.
Things got even worse for Bentley’s side as Scully was forced off through injury, with defender Jamie McNicholas slotting into the centre of midfield to replace him.
In the final 20 minutes of the game Bentley’s side were dealt a slice of luck as striker Swain was forced off through injury after City had made all three subs, leaving them with ten men, but the Spireites struggled to test the City defence.
They did find the back of the net with only two minutes left on the clock after a superb delivery from the corner by Hewitt found Broadhead, who leapt the highest and nodded home with a powerful header.
With only injury time remaining a late rally cry from the Blues failed to cause any further damage after they created little in the second half and were poor in possession. The performance of the team frustrated Bentley who said.
“I never felt we got going really today. I am very disappointed with our organisation of commitment and the players need to have a hard look at themselves as too many of them aren’t performing how they should be.
“We created a few chances in the first 45 minutes but in the second half we didn’t really threaten and Bradford were the better team today, passing the ball better and deserved the win.
“There is no point in sulking about things, we need to work hard on the training ground and take it into the next game at home against Scunthorpe United,” he said.
Chesterfield starting Xl: Barrington, Slack, Whittaker, Broadhead, Clarke, Johnson, Scully( McNicholas 71), Partridge ( Hewitt 52), Brock ( Mullins 80), Bowland, Noel. Subs: Mason, McNicholas, Hewitt, Mullins.