Chesterfield returned to winning ways in style on Tuesday night with a 4-1 victory at Cheltenham Town following a devastating four-goal burst inside seven first-half minutes.
Goals from Dan Gardner, Ollie Banks, Eoin Doyle and Liam Cooper saw the Spireites cruise into a 4-0 lead at the break. Cheltenham managed to pull a goal back early in the second half through Byron Harrison but Chesterfield comfortably saw the rest of the game out to bounce back from the defeat at the weekend.
In a slow start to the game it was Cheltenham who had the first effort of the game when, from just outside the area, Terry Gornell had a shot on goal which Tommy Lee saved comfortably. Chesterfield had their
first shot just before the 15-minute mark when Gardner shot wildly over.
The Spireites were playing some nice football in the middle of the park but it was again Gornell who found himself in space just outside the Chesterfield area but his shot was excellently blocked by Cooper.
Chesterfield took the lead with an outstanding finish from Gardner in the 22rd minute. The goal came from a brilliant counter from an attack in which Cheltenham themselves might have taken the lead when Ashley Vincent’s cross led to a scramble in the Chesterfield area before Gornell shot tamely at Lee. On the break Gary Roberts was sent clear past the halfway line before crossing low for Gardner to smash home a wonderful half-volley.
Just minutes later, Chesterfield doubled their lead when Doyle was sent clear by Banks and after making his way into the area he calmly dinked the ball past Cheltenham keeper Scott Brown at the near post.
Cheltenham nearly pulled one back when their only real attacking threat, Gornell, again forced Lee into a smart save.
Banks put the Spireites further ahead when he curled an unstoppable effort past Brown in the 26th minute after capitalising on a defensive mix-up.
It wasn’t long before the Spireites added a fourth when Gardner whipped in an enticing corner and Liam Cooper rose the highest to beat Brown with a near post header. With 28 minutes on the watch, Chesterfield were well in control.
They nearly added a fifth from another dangerous Roberts corner. His centre was cleared as far as Evatt who turned neatly in the area, but his goal bound shot was blocked by the Cheltenham defence.
The Spireites were in full control of the game and were dominating possession, putting together some very impressive passing moves which were a joy to behold. Cheltenham did manage another effort on goal when Ashley Vincent down the left caused problems with a darting run and after receiving the ball back he shot low but only managed to find the side netting.
The second half, like the first, began quietly. Cheltenham went very close to pulling a goal back when Jermaine McGlashan was sent clear into the box but his effort was saved well by Lee.
Cheltenham did eventually pull a goal back in the 57th minute when McGlashan’s corner ended up at Harrison’s feet and he found the back of the net from six yards.
Just before the goal, Armand Gnanduillet replaced Banks and Chesterfield made their second substitution just after the hour-mark with another goal scorer making way, this time Gardner exiting the field to be replaced by Sam Hird.
Chesterfield had managed to halt a mini Cheltenham revival before Sam Morsy stung the fingertips of Brown with a fierce effort which the keeper turned over.
Cheltenham were starting to look more threatening and another excellent chance came their way when McGlashan was found down the right. His low cross was met by Vincent whose shot was scuffed and straight at Lee and Cooper managed to clear the danger.
Roberts had an excellent chance to restore the four-goal cushion when put through on goal but his effort went inches wide. The next chance fell to Cheltenham when a cross into the box was cleared and then played back into area, finding an unmarked Gornell who shot wide from around six yards out.
With nine minutes remaining, Jimmy Ryan made way for Sam Togwell and he soon had an excellent chance to put Chesterfield further ahead. Morsy found himself in space down the left hand side and he moved the ball on to Roberts whose cross found Togwell but the midfielder failed to steer the ball on target from close range. His effort went straight back across the goal and another cross into the box was met by
Gnanduillet but he could only fire over from a difficult angle.
At the other end, Gornell was given the ball in space 30 yards out and he fired in a shot which Lee did well to tip over the bar. Cheltenham couldn’t force a second goal and Chesterfield held on to pick up another three points.
The Spireites next face Portsmouth at the Proact Stadium on Monday night in front of the live Sky Sports cameras.
Cheltenham Town: Brown, Elliott (c), Deering (Taylor 85'), Harrison (Cureton 75'), Gornell, McGlashan, Richards, Vincent (Kotwica 75'), Braham-Barrett, Ihiekwe, Brundle.
Subs not used: Roberts, Jombati, Williams, Lucas.
Chesterfield: Lee; Darikwa, Evatt (c), Cooper, Humphreys; Ryan (Togwell 85'), Morsy, Gardner (Hird 65'), Banks (Gnanduillet 56'), Roberts; Doyle.
Subs not used: Dunbavin, Smith, O'Shea, Richards.
Goals: Cheltenham Town (Harrison 57') 1 - 4 Chesterfield (Gardner 22', Doyle 23', Banks 26', Cooper 28')