Spireites Win At Exeter
The Spireites regained the Sky Bet League 2 top spot as they overcame Exeter City 2-0.
Ollie Banks and Marc Richards got the two second half goals in blustery conditions to send the Chesterfield faithful home delighted.
The Spireites made two changes to the side that beat Plymouth Argyle last weekend as Matty Brown and Armand Gnandiullet made way for fit-again Banks and Callum McFadzean.
The North Derbyshire side started brightly and Tendayi Darikwa almost opened the scoring in the opening minutes. The winger’s effort nearly caught the goalkeeper out at the front post but luckily he recovered to save the effort.
Only five minutes later, Richards found space behind the defence after a long through ball from Sam Togwell but his shot was expertly tipped wide by Artur Krysiak.
Chesterfield were forcing a lot of early corners in the game and McFadzean almost got lucky as his whipped in cross unfortunately evaded everyone and the ball went out for a goal kick.
Exeter found opportunities hard to come by but mid way through the half, winger David Wheeler had two chances to give the Grecians the advantage. His first effort smashed wide of the goal with his second not troubling Tommy Lee.
As the conditions started to dictate the play, Exeter began to gain a foothold in the game. Liam Sercombe had the home side’s best chance of the game as he found a lot of space in the area but his half volley rose over the bar and wasn’t troubling the goalkeeper.
With only a minute of the first half remaining, the Spireites went on the attack to force a goal before half time. Ritchie Humphreys’ left footed strike whizzed past the post and only a minute later, Darikwa was unfortunate not to score after Eoin Doyle’s superb cross into the box.
Chesterfield started the second half in perfect fashion as they took the lead. Banks rose above everyone to power a header over the line despite Craig Woodman's best efforts. It was McFadzean’s cross that landed on the head of Banks and that was the Young Player of the Month’s fifth goal of the season.
Exeter responded well and were unlucky not to get a leveller five minutes later. Arron Davies’ corner was headed just wide of Lee’s goal by defender Scot Bennett.
Just before the hour mark, Richards had a brilliant opportunity to extend the Spireites lead. Darikwa delivered a delicate cross straight onto the head of the striker but he powered it straight at the goalkeeper from 12 yards out.
After dislocating his shoulder on Saturday, Gnanduillet was introduced into the game in place of McFadzean as the Spireites went in search of more goals.
With 20 minutes of the game remaining, Richards doubled the Spireites lead. Neat football in the midfield saw the ball fall for Banks. His intricate touch led it into the path of the striker and he confidently finished past the onrushing Krysiak to extend Chesterfield’s lead.
The goal was the striker’s last piece of action as he was replaced by defender Brown who won his appeal midweek to play in tonight’s game.
The Spireites were nearly gifted a third through an Exeter error. Krysiak horribly sliced a kick but between Gnanduillet and Doyle they unfortunately couldn’t get a shot away.
For all of the Grecians pressure, through throw-ins and free kicks, they weren’t troubling Lee in the Chesterfield goal.
With five minutes of the game remaining, Doyle was replaced by fellow Irishman Jay O’Shea.
He instantly made an impact as he twisted and turned his defender but his shot was well saved at the front post by Krysiak.
Gnanduillet received a booking in added on time for a comical exchange with an Exeter defender. The striker took off his gloves and was cautioned for his actions. Soon after, the referee blew the full time whistle to send the Spireites top of the league.
Exeter City: Krysiak; Butterfield, Bennett, Moore-Taylor (Baldwin 69'), Woodman; Wheeler (Grimes 69'), Gill, Sercombe, Davies; Parkin (Gow 57'), Nichols.
Subs: Pym, O’Flynn, Gosling, Keohane.
Chesterfield: Lee; Talbot, Evatt (c), Hird, Humphreys; Darikwa, Banks, Togwell, McFadzean (Gnanduillet 60'); Doyle (O'Shea 85'), Richards (Brown 74').
Subs: Mason, Morsy, Devitt, McSheffrey.
Goals: Exeter City 0 - 2 Chesterfield (Banks 47', Richards 70')
Attendance: 3,449 (138 Chesterfield)