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Spireites Gather a Point at Coventry

28 December 2014

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Chesterfield held on to claim a 0-0 draw with Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena, as the Spireites moved within one point of the play-off places.

In a game of few chances, referee Darren Handley grabbed the headlines when he decided to back-track on his decision to award Coventry City a penalty in the first half, as after consultation with his assistant he eventually deemed Tendayi Darikwa's trip on Frank Nouble to be outside the area.

Gary Madine came close to stealing all three points late on, but his free-kick attempt smashed off the post.

The Spireites travelled to Coventry's Ricoh Arena for the first time as Paul Cook's side were looking to record their third win on the bounce, a result which could have seen Chesterfield jump into the play-off positions.

Despite the possibility of occupying a top six spot, it was the home side who began the brightest, as veteran strike Simeon Jackson forced Tommy Lee into a smart save early on.

The Sky Blues continued their early assault on the Spireites goal as Lee was called into action for the second time in a minute, when he denied Frank Nouble's stinging long range drive, shortly before John Fleck hit an wide from 30-yards.

Chesterfield struggled to get in to their groove in the opening stages, but following quick link-up play between Sam Clucas and Gary Roberts, Roberts was able to have the Spireites' first meaningful attempt on goal from 18-yards, but his weaker-foot shot was straight at Ryan Allsop.

Roberts' opportunity gave the Spireites a much needed lift in confidence, as the country's leading goalscorer, Eoin Doyle, was denied his 22nd goal of the season by a brilliant save from Allsop.

Impressive Chesterfield pressing in the final third resulted in Roberts winning the ball and breaking down the left before slipping the ball through to Doyle, but the Irishman was unfortunately stopped in his tracks by City's 'keeper.

As the half-time whistle edged closer, drama surrounded referee Handley when he initially awarded the hosts a penalty-kick after Darikwa tripped the onrushing Nouble, but following consulting with his assistant, Handley retracted his decision and signalled that the foul was outside of the area.

A tactical shift at the break saw Clucas move up the field on to the left-hand side as Dan Jones entered proceedings replacing Armand Gnanduillet, and the chance nearly had an immediate effect on the game, when Clucas marched forward and delivered for Romy Boco, but the former Plymouth man dragged his shot wide.

The change appeared to set the game alight at both ends, as City were a matter of inches away from opening the scoreline, as a rasping effort from Jackson looked destined for the back of the net, but a diving Lee was able to see the effort drift narrowly over.

Both sides continued to press forward in pursuit of the opening goal, and it was the substitute Jones who nearly broke the deadlock with a thunderous drive from range, but a slight deflection took the ball off target.

The contest was becoming a game of half chances, three of which had fallen to Boco, and the Benin international had another opportunity to get on the score sheet, but he blazed his striker high and wide of Allsop's goal.

However the finest save of the match came ten minutes before the end of play, as unsurprisingly it was Lee who pulled off a tremendous save to keep the scores deadlocked, with City's towering defender Martin unleashing a piledriver from 30 yards out which Lee was equal to.

City came close to grabbing all three points late on following Madine's free-kick, but as he drilled the ball past Lee, the woodwork came to the Spireites' rescue as the ball cracked off of the post, leaving the travelling 1,600 Spireites fans to be content with a point.

Coventry City: Allsop (gk) - Webster, Pennington, Haynes, Martin - C. Thomas, Fleck, O'Brien, Nouble - Madine, Jackson

Subs not used: Burge (gk), Willis, Pugh, Swanson, Tudgay, Finch, G. Thomas

Chesterfield: Lee (gk) - Darikwa, Evatt, Raglan, Clucas - Humphreys, Hird (Banks 83'), Roberts, Boco (O'Shea 76') - Doyle, Gnanduillet (Jones 46')

Subs not used: Wright (gk), Gardner, Banks, Talbot, Ariyibi

Attendance: 10,166 (Chesterfield, 1,640)

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