Chesterfield kicked off 2014 with a comprehensive victory over ten-man Bury, beating them 4-0.
Gary Roberts, returning from injury, gave Chesterfield the lead just before the half hour mark. And as the end of the half approached, Danny Mayor was dismissed for a high tackle on Matty Brown.
Second half goals from Jay O’Shea, Marc Richards and new signing Dan Gardner capped off a dominant display from the Spireites but other results in the league prevented the Spireites moving up the League 2 table.
The North Derbyshire side made seven changes to the side that drew with Dagenham & Redbridge before the New Year, including returns to the starting 11 for injured trio: Jimmy Ryan, Samy Morsy and goalscorer, Roberts.
It was Roberts that had the first couple of opportunities for the Spireites, early in the game. After just dragging his first effort wide, the winger smashed a volley just past the post.
In a feisty affair, the referee handed out three yellow cards within the opening 20 minutes of the game. Shakers defender Nathan Cameron was booked for a tug back on Marc Richards whilst Nathan Smith and Ryan both received yellow cards for cynical challenges.
Soon afterwards, Chesterfield’s pressure paid off as they took the lead. O’Shea twisted and turned on the right hand side before delivering an inch-perfect cross onto the foot of Roberts, who volleyed home past Bury goalkeeper, Brian Jenson.
As the game started to liven up, the Spireites looked to keep up the pace. Richards was presented with a sight of goal just before the half hour mark, but Cameron recovered well to nick the ball over the bar when a goal looked the most likely outcome.
With the game heading into half time, the visitors were struggling to get hold of the ball in forward positions as they failed to muster any real chances of note in the first half.
Seconds before the break, Mayor was dismissed for a very late tackle on Matty Brown. As both players went for the ball, Mayor’s tackle was high and the referee took no hesitation in brandishing the red card.
The second half started in similar fashion as the Spireites looked to dominate proceedings. Banks had a strong penalty appeal turned down by the referee after a challenge with James Burke.
Ritchie Humphreys was introduced to the game ten minutes into the second half in place of left back, Smith.
Just before the hour mark, Chesterfield were presented with three openings of goal in quick succession. After neat work in midfield by Chesterfield, the ball fell for O’Shea who thundered a shot towards goal, but unfortunately it went the wrong side of the post.
Shortly afterwards, Banks took aim after a one-two with O’Shea but the midfielder's shot wasn’t troubling Jenson then a Morsy effort was deflected wide as Chesterfield applied the pressure.
That pressure paid off as the home side doubled their lead. O’Shea ran at the defence and unleashed a screamer from 25 yards out that rifled past the goalkeeper and in off the post.
The Spireites thought they had added to their lead soon after as Roberts bundled the ball over the line, but the linesman’s flag halted celebrations.
Celebrations were started again minutes later as Richards headed home at the back post to extend Chesterfield’s lead. Initially the linesman ruled the goal out but the referee overruled him to the delight of the home support.
Armand Gnanduillet and new signing Gardner were brought into the action in place of Banks and goalscorer Roberts.
The new signing nearly started his Spireites career in perfect fashion but was foiled on both occasions by the Shakers stopper. A superb save from the goalkeeper denied Gardner a goal within a minute of his debut and his header only seconds later was tipped away from goal.
Those missed chances didn’t deter the striker and he opened his account for the club in fortunate circumstances. The forward was given acres of space to run into and unleashed a thunderous shot which Jensen got a strong hand to, but couldn’t prevent it from crossing the line.
Gnanduillet nearly rounded the match off in spectacular fashion as a looping ball fell to him at the back post, the striker turned and attempted an aerobatic overhead kick but his shot fell agonisingly wide.
The referee then signalled the end of the game, sending the Spireites fans home delighted.
Chesterfield: Lee; Talbot (c), Brown, Cooper, Smith (Humphreys 56'); Ryan, Morsy, O'Shea, Banks (Gnanduillet 70'), Roberts (Gardner 79'); Richards.
Subs not used: Dunbavin, Togwell, Darikwa, Doyle.
Bury: Jensen, Hinds, Cameron (Soares 45'), Procter (Obedeyi 72'), Miller (c), Forrester (Grimes 81'), Sedgwick, Mayor (Sent off 45+2'), Nardiello, Burke, Veseli.
Subs not used: Roberts, Harrad, Harrison, Charles-Cook.
Goals: Chesterfield (Roberts 16', O'Shea 64', Richards 75', Gardner 86') 4 - 0 Bury
Attendance: 6,053 (663 Bury)