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Tommy Rues Missed Opportunity

20 March 2013

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Goalkeeper Tommy Lee revealed that the 2-1 defeat against Torquay was a missed opportunity for the Spireites after they failed to close the gap on the League Two play-offs to just five points.

A disastrous start on the English Riviera saw his side concede two goals in the opening nine minutes to hand the struggling Gulls only their second win in 19 attempts and move Alan Knill's side two points clear of the Football League trapdoor.

Liam Cooper reduced the areas with just over 15 minutes to go at Plainmoor, but it wasn't enough as Town failed to make up ground on the division's top seven.

"It was a shocking start," Tommy told Spireites Player.

"It's unlike us, we have defended really well of late. It's criminal to give two goals away in the first 10 minutes and it was an uphill task from there on.

"They were two soft goals. I think the second one is a little bit lucky, but that's football.

"In the second half, we got ourselves back in the game and looked like we were going to nick an equaliser but it wasn't enough."

The resurgent Spireites had been in good form before the trip to Devon, clinching three wins out of four and having conceded just one goal in their last five games.

Joss Labadie headed home Thomas Cruise's cross inside two minutes before Rene Howe doubled the hosts' advantage when he deflected Jordan Chapell's powerful drive with a deft flick that flew in off the post.

Manager Paul Cook introduced Jack Lester at the break before Mark Randall and Danny Whitaker came on, but in spite of a smattering of late pressure with both Cooper and Lee himself in the opposition penalty area in the dying seconds, the home side held on to clinch a vital three points.

"We've been there ourselves last season. It's difficult when you concede a goal and you are trying to hold on.

"We created a lot of chances, Jay O'Shea had a good chance and so did Jack [Lester] but if you concede two it's an uphill task.

"We were scrapping until the end to try and get an equaliser, it probably complicates a little bit sending defenders and goalkeepers up there but we all wanted to win.

"We were always in the game in the second half, they were sitting a little bit deep. When Rands and Whits came on we started playing a little bit and getting chances and creating things but it wasn't to be tonight."

The Spireites now have seven games remanning, starting with the return of former manager John Sheridan and his struggling Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

Southend United and Fleetwood Town both suffered defeats last night against Argyle and Barnet respectively, but Lee is hoping for a reaction after his side missed out on a perfect opportunity to apply some pressure on local rivals Rotherham United and move into eighth place at Plainmoor.

"We've got to try and win every game now.

"We had a chance tonight looking at other results after the game. A lot of teams above us didn't get a result and we could have put a bit of pressure on.

"We bounced back from conceding a late goal at Cheltenham with two wins so all we can do it look to Plymouth on Saturday.

"It will be nice to see John [Sheridan] come back again, he did a lot for this club but that all goes out the window when the whistle blows on Saturday."

You can watch Tommy's interview in full exclusively on Spireites Player.

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