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Sublime Spireites Sweep Past Southend

20 October 2015

A venomous Spireites attacking display was too much for visiting Southend United as Chesterfield secured a brilliant 3-0 midweek victory at the Proact.

Lee Novak got the Spireites off to the perfect start as within eight minutes he ran onto Dan Gardner's slide-rule ball, rounded the 'keeper and got just enough on his finish to beat Dan Bentley's despairing dive.

One became two eight minutes before the half time break when a delicious Spireites move saw Gardner shoot, Bentley save but Sylvan Ebanks-Blake pick up the pieces to double the home lead.

Ebanks-Blake netted his second and Chesterfield's third on 62 minutes as he was there sniffing as Ian Evatt headed downwards from a corner and the striker snaffled up the chance, the Spireites earning a wonderful victory over an in-form Shrimpers side.

Dean Saunders opted for an unchanged line-up following Saturday victory at then league leaders Walsall. Drew Talbot continued at right-back, while Ian Evatt played after an administrative error threatened to rule him out of the game.

It was the visitors who had the first chance of the game. David Mooney whipped a cross right to the back post, and defender Cian Bolger was inches away from getting a touch which would have given the Shrimpers the lead inside a minute.

Yet the first big chance fell to the Spireites. Drew Talbot was sent away down the right, he played a lovely ball into Gardner after Novak played him in, and Gardner's shot was superbly saved by Bentley.

But it didn't take long for Chesterfield to go in front as Gardner and Novak were at it again. The former's inch perfect through ball from the heart of midfield sent Novak through on goal and he did the rest by going round the visiting 'keeper and rolling the ball home.

It was the clear the pair had formed a strong early partnership as Novak raced away again before playing in Gardner. But this time his shot was well blocked for a corner.

Southend were rattled, and from a resulting corner Anthony Wordsworth almost flicked the ball into his own net.

It was the perfect start from the Spireites who had got straight at their opponents, who before the game were second in the League One form table.

And it was almost 2-0 on the quarter of an hour mark. Gardner this time used all of his trickery to hold the ball up on the edge of the box, before laying the ball of to Sam Morsy who hit a rasping drive inches over the bar.

However, Southend soon began to show the kind of display that had seen them win six of their last seven games before this fixture. Captain John White floated a ball over which Joe Pigott headed down for Mooney. Only a last-ditch Spireites boot prevented a goal.

Tommy Lee then raced 30-yards to meet a dangerous Myles Weston through ball when it looked like the visitors were in.

It was end to end stuff, and soon Pigott found himself in on goal, but his powerful effort was blocked, before he fired a rebound high into the Chesterfield fans behind the goal.

Morsy was again close to doubling the home side's lead after half an hour. He was picked out from a short corner, and after weighing up his options his moving low effort was spilled by Bentley before being cleared away.

Chesterfield were playing as strongly as they did during Saturday's 2-1 success at Walsall, and thought they'd doubled their lead minutes before half time. A Morsy free-kick was headed onto the post by Evatt, but the rebound from Novak was adjudged offside.

However, the Spireites did go 2-0 up just moments later. Novak raced away and played in Gardner, his low shot was blocked on the line by Bolger, and Ebanks-Blake was there the smash the follow-up into the roof of the net.

Chesterfield were good value for their lead, and their second goal took the sting out of Southend's attack. However, Dan Jones was alert to head a Mooney shot off the line with Lee beaten, before the keeper then held powerful Wordsworth volley after a spell of late pressure.

At the start of the second half Southend got straight at Chesterfield, with Weston finding his way into the box a number of times, only to meet his match in the shape of Charlie Raglan.

The visitors also had the firs big chance of the second period. Michael Timlin sent Pigott in on goal, but Lee raced out to meet him yet again as he hooked the ball away from the striker's feet.

The Essex club were now putting great pressure on their hosts, but Chesterfield soon began to re-find their feet, though, and a slick passing move down the right led to O'Shea hitting a deflected effort over the bar, resulting in a corner which they took full advantage of.

Jones found Evatt who rose tallest amongst the crowd of bodies, his header was blocked on the line and Ebanks-Blake nicked home the rebound from close range for his second of the game.

It was his first brace since he scored two against Birmingham City while playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers 30 months ago under Dean Saunders. The goal came very much against the run of play, as Southend had come out of the traps much quicker than the Spireites, but the third goal sealed the points to clinch a third win in four league games.

That goal stopped the Shrimpers in their tracks and the game soon became a somewhat scrappy affair. Chesterfield's defence were now seeing off the Southend front line with comparative ease, and then had chances to score four goals for the first time this season.

Substitute Mani Dieseruvwe saw a low shot saved by Bentley, before O'Shea had a looping cross tipped over the bar.

With minutes to go Evatt was shown his fifth yellow card of the season, meaning he will miss Saturday's visit of Scunthorpe United, a suspension also waiting for Herd who was booked during the game. While at the other end, sub Rai Simons did his best to stop any late Southend consolation by running the ball into the corner as the referee blew for full time, sealing a second win in four days for the Spireites.

Chesterfield: Lee (gk) - Jones, Evatt, Raglan, Talbot - Morsy (c), Herd, Gardner (Simons 75'), O'Shea - Novak, Ebanks-Blake (Dieseruvwe 72')

Subs not used: Chapman (gk), Hird, O'Neil, Banks, Ariyibi

Southend United: Bentley (gk), White (c), Coker, Wordsworth (Payne 63'), Prosser, Timlin, Mooney (Hurst 72'), Weston, Bolger, Leonard, Pigott (Williams 78')

Subs not used: Atkinson, Smith,  McLaughlin, Rea

Goals:

Chesterfield: Novak 8', Ebanks-Blake 37', 62'

Attendance: 5,703 (242 away fans)

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