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Spireites Sweep Past Rochdale

16 August 2014

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Two Eoin Doyle penalties gave the Spireites a 2-1 win in a resounding performance over fellow promotees Rochdale at the Proact Stadium.

Ian Henderson pulled one back late on for the visitors, also from the spot, but a resilient Chesterfield held firm to take the three points. 

Summer signing Romuald Boco managed to carve out the first chance of the game when his cute through ball found Doyle, but his clever lob looped over Josh Lillis and bounced on to the crossbar to deny the Spireites an early lead. 

It was Doyle again who was causing havoc in the Rochdale penalty area, as his beautifully finessed effort from a narrow angle beat Lillis yet again, before the ball rebounded off the woodwork for the second time in as many minutes.

The Spireites continued to dominate the early exchanges against a physical Rochdale side, with the fluid front four troubling Dale’s backline frequently.

The chances continued to fall Chesterfield’s way in the first period, as a good piece of nimble footwork from Gary Roberts sparked another Spireites attack, before Sam Morsy’s close range effort was fantastically blocked by Tom Kennedy.

Frustration appeared to be setting in for the visitor’s midway through the half, and two quick fire free-kicks from distance were the best that the travelling fans were treated to, both of which were dealt with comfortably by Tommy Lee.

Those two strikes seemed to spark Dale into life, and against the run of play midfielder Matt Done’s fierce strike following a scrappy build-up looked destined for the top-corner, but his effort went the wrong side of the post. 

Despite Dale’s response the Spireites continued to press in their search for the opening goal, and it was Lillis again who was keeping Chesterfield at bay. Jay O’shea looked to have capitalised on some sloppy defending, but his rocket from range was saved well by Rochdale’s number one.

Lillis was a man in form between the sticks, but he was unable to do anything about Chesterfield’s opener as the Spireites’ pressure finally took its toll on Rochdale. Tricky footwork from O’Shea inside the area forced a clumsy challenge from Dale’s Rhys Bennett, leaving referee Carl Boyeson with no option other than to point to the spot, giving Doyle the opportunity to slot past Lillis which he expertly did.  

The goal put the Spireites in a commanding position before the break, but that position was nearly broken down instantly as Rochdale received a glorious chance to equalise. Neat work down the left from former Barnsley man Done created a free header for Calvin Andrew, but he could not direct his effort on target.

Rochdale entered the field after the break hoping to take the game to the Spireites following a poor first-half showing, and Keith Hill’s stern words looked to have done the trick as two efforts in a matter of seconds from substitute Bastien Hery nearly drew the visitors level.

However it was Chesterfield who thought they had grabbed the second goal of the day, as the post was rattled for the third time in the game. Morsy was able to intercept a slack throw from Lillis and he let fire from range, but his strike struck the inside of the post with Dale narrowly escaping yet again.

The momentum was firmly in the hands of the Spireites as they pressed in an attempt to double the lead, but Lillis was at it again in goal, handling a shot well from O’Shea following a swift counter attack.

Doyle was covering every blade of grass and it was his running which led to Chesterfield sealing the game. The forward gave chase to a clever Jones through ball before being grappled to the ground and the referee awarded the Spireites a penalty kick for the second time in the game. The Irishman then dusted himself down and fired home his and the Spireites’ second of the game.

Doyle’s brace left Rochdale staring at defeat as Chesterfield threatened to add a third immediately, with a speculative chip effort from Roberts unfortunately evaded the post as well as substitute goalkeeper Jon Diba Musangu.  

The Proact faithful roared their side forward in an attempt to see the game out in style, and the crowd’s patience nearly paid off when the marvellous Doyle was given the chance of an impressive hat-trick, but Diba spread himself well in the Rochdale goal to deny Doyle taking the match ball home.

A fabulous Spireites performance was slightly numbed down deep into stoppage time, as Rochdale grabbed a consolation goal, which was also from the spot. A curling Henderson effort was deemed to have rebounded off of the arm of Evatt, before Dale’s captain drilled the ball home and give the travelling fans something to cheer about.

Despite Henderson’s late goal, Chesterfield comfortably hung on to see out the game and earn maximum points for the second time in a week.

Chesterfield : Lee (gk) - D.Jones, Evatt (c), Hird, Darikwa - Roberts, Ryan (Onovwigun 90'), Morsy, O’Shea (Gnanduillet 86'), Boco (Banks 90') - Doyle

Subs not used: Chapman (gk), Raglan, Johnson, Dawes

Rochdale line-up: Lillis (Diba Musangu 60') - Rafferty, Bennett, Tanser (Donnelly 64'), Kennedy; Dawson, Lund (Hery 46'), Henderson (c), Done; Bunney, Andrew

Subs not used: Eastham, Allen, Logan, Camps

Goals:

Chesterfield – Doyle 39’ (pen), 76’ (pen)

Rochdale – Henderson 90’ (pen)

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