Goals from Romuald Boco and Eoin Doyle gave Chesterfield a 2-1 win and the perfect start to their Sky Bet League 1 campaign away at much-fancied Leyton Orient.Debutant Boco set Chesterfield off to a flying start before Doyle was able to double the lead after the break. Substitute Darius Henderson pulled one back late on for the hosts but the Spireites held strong to deny any possibility of a comeback.
Chesterfield began their first season back in the Sky Bet League One on the front foot, with vicious deliveries from Daniel Jones and Gary Roberts testing the Orient backline.
Chesterfield’s early pressure from the off then took its toll on the hosts, as a speculative Jimmy Ryan effort deflected into the path of Boco, before he was able to volley home a neat finish into the corner past a stranded Adam Legzdins.
The Spireites’ goal appeared to spark the London club into life, as a short passage of play led to a David Mooney strike from the edge of the area, but the effort was comfortably dealt with by Tommy Lee.
Despite Orient’s response, it was Chesterfield who nearly grabbed the second goal of the afternoon following a tricky run by lone striker Doyle, but his clever dink over goalkeeper Legzdins hit the wrong side of the post and trickled out for a goal-kick.
As the clock ticked on, the game appeared to become more stretched, and this resulted in a golden opportunity for Orient to draw level, but an outstanding double save by Lee kept both Dean Cox and Kevin Lisbie at bay in their search for the equaliser.
Orient were able to maintain their momentum following Cox’s chance, and a neat exchange between Cox and Mooney looked to have released the pair down the left flank, but a fabulous challenge from Tendayi Darikwa stopped them in their tracks.
A promising Orient attack then turned into another wasted opportunity, as Bradley Pritchard steamed into the Spireites’ penalty area to meet Elliot Omozusi’s cross, but he could only head wide.
As the half-time whistle approached it was Chesterfield who nearly raced into a two goal lead, with Roberts’ long range strike deflecting off of team-mate Doyle and creeping inches wide.
With the home crowd getting restless, Lisbie added to the fans’ frustration when he had another brilliant opportunity saved by Lee, as Orient skipper Nathan Clarke’s ball in to the box was fumbled by Lee, but the Spireites ‘keeper was able to redeem himself and deny the big striker from close range.
The Spireites started the second half with the same mentality as the first, with Jones carving out the first opportunity after the break, but his teasing delivery was headed over at the back post by captain Ian Evatt.
Doyle was becoming a real menace at the heart of the Orient defence, and the forward nearly doubled Chesterfield’s lead shortly after the break, as Roberts’ hard work down the right resulted in a good chance for Doyle, but his shot was saved well by Legzdins.
That chance forced home manager Russell Slade to ring the changes, with Jobi McAnuff and Jay Simpson being summoned from the bench in an attempt to swing the game Orient’s way. Slade’s substitutions appeared to have no effect on the game as the Spireites continued to dominate proceedings, with Doyle again going close as he was inches away from getting on the end of Ryan’s cross.
Doyle had run tirelessly all game, and the striker did eventually get his well-deserved goal in the 79th minute. An Evatt clearance evaded everyone in the Orient defence, leaving Doyle to run in behind and lob the ball over a helpless Legzdins in the host’s goal, giving the Spireites the cushion their performance had warranted.
Orient needed a quick response if they were to get anything out of the game, and that they did, courtesy of a set-piece. Cox’s well-placed free-kick was saved well by Lee, but he could only parry to Slade’s final substitution Darius Henderson to prod home in the 82nd minute.
Cox’s goal gave Orient fresh hope, but other than a late Henderson header, the Spireites were able to hold firm to deny last season’s play-off finalists a winning start to the campaign, as Paul Cook’s men recorded maximum points in the opener.
Leyton Orient: Legzdins (gk) – Omozusi, Clarke (c), Lowry, Baudry – Cox, James, Pritchard (McAnuff), Vincelot – Mooney (Henderson), Lisbie (Simpson)
Subs not used: Sawyer, Batt, Bartley, Woods (gk)
Chesterfield: Lee (gk) – Darikwa, Evatt (c), Cooper, Humphreys – Roberts, Morsy, Ryan, Boco, Jones – Doyle
Subs not used: Chapman (gk), Hird, Raglan, Johnson, Banks, Dawes, O’Shea
Leyton Orient - Henderson 82'
Chesterfield - Boco 7’, Doyle 79’