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Coventry Defeat the Spireites

14 March 2015

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Chesterfield were unable to make it three wins in three as Coventry City ran out 3-2 winners in their first ever visit to the Proact Stadium.

Marcus Tudgay netted for City in the opening stages to put the visitor’s one up, but a deflected Jay O’Shea strike levelled it up for the Spireites just before the break.

Substitute Sanmi Odelusi was on hand to stab home from close range to restore the Sky Blues’ lead after the interval, as Frank Nouble then added another for the visitors with a smart one-on-one finish.

Despite a late Gboly Ariyibi goal for the Spireites - the first goal of his professional career - Paul Cook’s side were unable to mount a successful late comeback.

Coventry City arrived at the Proact hoping to deny the Spireites from claiming their third win on the bounce. Now under the guidance of Tony Mowbray, the Sky Blues were seeking their first victory under the former West Brom and Celtic manager.

Plenty was at stake for both clubs at both ends of the table, with the Spireites remaining in the play-off mix, but it was the relegation threatened City who took the lead after just seven minutes in Derbyshire, as a vicious delivery from full-back Jordan Willis located experienced forward Tudgay before he was able to steer a precise header back past Tommy Lee.

Chesterfield reacted well to the early setback, with the ever-energetic Caolan Lavery linking up well with Ollie Banks in the final third, but following Banks’ blocked effort, the Sky Blues’ number one Lee Burge was on hand to deny Lavery from a narrow angle.

The Northern Irishman continued to cause Coventry’s back four problems as he fearlessly drove forward at every presented opportunity, and the forward nearly levelled the scoreline through this approach, as he picked up the ball from range before striking the ball, but Burge was able to squirm the ball away for a corner.  

Despite the Spireites creating the better of the first-half chances, Coventry nearly doubled their lead in fortuitous circumstances, as Spurs loanee and Sky Blues debutant Grant Ward stood over an in-swinging corner, and his wind assisted delivery struck the crossbar before falling to safety. 

However a revitalised Chesterfield dragged themselves back into the game moments before half-time with their own slice of luck, O’Shea swivelled with the ball 25 yards out and let fire, his effort deflected off John Fleck and crept into the back of the net at the near post.

The Spireites carried their momentum forward with them into the second period, as Lavery yet again started strongly. He twisted and turned inside the Coventry penalty area, before forcing a great diving save from Burge, ten yards out.

With tempers beginning to flare from both sides, the Sky Blues were able to capitalise on a good five-minute phase of play from the visitors, as Ward picked up the ball on the edge of the area, drilling the ball goalwards - with substitute Odelusi there to poke home and regain the lead for City.

Mowbray’s men had the bit between their teeth as they looked to condemn Chesterfield to their first defeat since losing at Rochdale last month, and when the ball broke kindly for Chris Stokes in the penalty, area, he perhaps should have done better than firing straight at Lee.

Just minutes after Stokes’ miss, the defender was nearly made to regret that wasted opportunity when skipper Ian Evatt rose highest to direct O’Shea’s corner kick rowards goal, but Burge did well to smother the effort.

However, another sucker punch then came from the visitors, as after Gary Roberts’ misplaced pass was pounced upon by Nouble, he calmly strolled through to finesse the ball past Lee and send the travelling Coventry fans into raptures.

Ariyibi made sure of a tense finish to the contest as he was slipped in by Roberts, able to smash the ball into the bottom corner from ten yards and give the Spireites hope of a dramatic late comeback.

Despite Lavery forcing a stunning late save from an instinctive flicked header, the Spireites struggled to fathom a real goal scoring opportunity to level the match in the dying moments,and Coventry snatched all three points from the Proact.

Chesterfield: Lee (gk) - Jones (Humphreys 45’), Evatt (Dieseruvwe 86’), Hird, Darikwa - Ryan, Banks (Ariyibi 70’), Clucas, Roberts, O’Shea - Lavery

Subs not used: Chapman (gk), Carter, Raglan, Onovwigun

Coventry City: Burge (gk); Willis, Pennington, Stokes, Martin - Fleck, Barton, Samuel (Odelusi 58’), Ward - Nouble (Jackson 90’), Tudgay

Subs not used: Webster, Thomas, Jackson, Turgott, Finch, Charles Cook

Chesterfield goal scorer(s): O’Shea 42’, Ariyibi 89’

Coventry City goal scorer(s): Tudgay 9’, Odelusi 66’, Nouble 75’

Attendance: 7,205

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