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Spireites Cut Past Blades

4 October 2014

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Chesterfield deservedly took the local bragging rights in the derby as they recorded a 3-2 victory over Sheffield United.

A Jimmy Ryan thunderbolt gave the Spireites the lead before both Michael Higdon and Tommy Lee received red cards before the break, Gary Roberts was able to double the lead heading into the half time period.

Eoin Doyle notched his 13th goal of the season midway through the second half, before late goals from Marc McNulty and Neil Collins prompted a late fightback from United, but Paul Cook’s men were able to fend off any sort of resurrection and claim the points.
The derby began in a typically frantic fashion with both sides looking to impress in front of a sell-out Proact crowd early on, but neither of the teams were able to settle comfortably on the ball.

Despite the pressures a big game brings with it, reality was restored when both sets of fans joined together in the eight minute in a minute of applause for club legend Ernie Moss- who is suffering from Pick's Disease, a form of dementia.

Following the applause, both sides appeared to be gathering momentum in the final third, and this was demonstrated when the visitors thought they had opened the scoring through Higdon. 

Midfielder James Wallace twisted and turned down the right-hand flank before delivering a perfectly-weighted ball for Higdon who made no mistake with his header, but luckily for the Spireites the linesman came to the backline’s rescue with an offside flag.

The Blades were carving out the better of the chances in the opening 20 minutes as wide man Jamie Murphy was becoming more of a threat every time United went forward, and it was Murphy whose direct run caused Chesterfield problems, but his deflected effort trickled into the hands of Lee.

Although the Blades had the better of the early opportunities, it was the Spireites who took the lead through a thunderous strike from the tenacious man in the middle, Ryan. 

Neat build-up play between Roberts and Daniel Johnson down the left created space for Jay O’Shea on the edge of the area, and he teed up Ryan perfectly before belting the ball past the diving Mark Howard and putting Chesterfield one up.

The goal sparked the Spireites into life and the home side were now passing around Nigel Clough’s men. Their task of maintaining the lead was made simpler when Higdon recklessly jumped into a tackle with Jones, leaving referee Mark Brown with no option but to brandish a red card.
The sides were soon evened up after an attempted back pass by skipper Ian Evatt was intercepted by Stefan Scougall, before the former SPL player was brought down by Lee, as Howard drew another red card from his pocket and left teenager Myles Wright to make his first ever professional appearance.

It appeared to be one moment of madness after another at the Proact, and after Lee’s dismissal Chesterfield doubled their lead just seconds before the break. 

United debutant Paddy McCarthy’s sloppy pass was intercepted superbly by Roberts who sprinted towards goal and was able to roll the ball in to the bottom corner and send the Spireites into half-time on a tremendous high.

It didn’t take Chesterfield long after the break to threaten once again and Collins was the saviour on the line for the Blades, his block underneath the crossbar from a Doyle header stopped United falling even further behind.

The Spireites’ free-flowing style of play was leaving the visitors chasing shadows at times, and the third nearly arrived in the 60th minute following an incisive Blues breakaway, but Sam Morsy’s curling effort beat both Howard and the post.

Chesterfield were the only side who were threatening the opposition goal, and Ryan had a glorious opportunity to score his second of the game and the Spireites’ third, but his effort following a Doyle cutback was fired over the bar.

After all the Chesterfield dominance the third goal eventually came, and it proved to be the goal that would claim the three points. 

Lovely approach play around the box resulted in a Johnson effort being blocked well, only for the ball to fall kindly for the top goalscorer in the Football League, Doyle, who tapped the ball home from close range.  

Drama was around every corner in this highly competitive game, and there proved to be another twist in the tail when the debutant Wright fumbled a hopeful through ball, leaving substitute McNulty the simple task of prodding the ball into an empty net.

McNulty’s goal gave the revived Blades a final bit of hope, and that hope soon grew even bigger when defender Collins rose highest in the Spireites penalty area and headed past Wright, cutting Chesterfield’s lead to just a single goal.

Despite late goalmouth action which saw Wright claim well numerous times under pressure, the Spireites blocked the comeback and the three points stayed in Derbyshire.

Chesterfield: Lee (gk) - Darikwa, Evatt (c), Margreitter, Jones - Ryan, Morsy, Roberts (Clucas 65’), Johnson, O’Shea (Wright 43’) - Doyle (Gnanduillet 73’)

Subs not used: Raglan, Banks, Boco, Gardner, Gnanduillet

Sheffield United: Howard (gk) - Alcock, Collins, McCarthy, McEveley (Harris 66’) - Murphy, Doyle (c), Scougall, Flynn (Campbell-Ryce 63’), Wallace (McNulty 49’) - Higdon

Subs not used: Turner (gk), Basham, Davies, Reid


Chesterfield: Ryan 27’, Roberts 45’, Doyle 72’

Sheffield United: McNulty 80’, Collins 90’

Attendance: 9,723 (away fans 1,957) 

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