Chesterfield ended 2016 with back to back away defeats after a narrow loss at Vale Park.
Jerome Thomas’ deflected effort was all that separated the two sides in a game where both of teams were guilty of a lack of end product.
The Spireites started well and Gboly Ariyibi looked bright down the left hand side early on, he showed great skill to beat two men and his cross found Reece Mitchell who was denied a possible tap in by a Vale defender.
Despite having most of the possession, the visitors couldn’t conjure up a clear shot on goal, in truth neither side did in what was a scrappy first 35 minutes repeatedly interrupted by fouls, the majority of which were awarded to Chesterfield. One of those provided the first effort on goal when Sam Hird headed a deep cross at the back post just wide.
The Valiants sparked into life ten minutes before half time. Rigino Cicilia wriggled his way into the box and managed to test Ryan Fulton with a rifled shot which the keeper turned behind the post. Sam Kelly then fired over the bar from inside the box after the resulting corner as Danny Wilson’s men withstood late first half pressure.
Chesterfield should have taken the lead on 39 minutes after Jay O’Shea’s shot was spilled from Vale keeper Jak Alnwick, Ched Evans reacted quickly but his attempted back heal was stopped by the recovering keeper.
The second half began differently as both sides made openings. The Spireites had early appeals for a penalty as Evans went down in the box after Remie Streete’s challenge but the referee waved it away. The Valiants went straight down the other end and Anthony Grant found space in the box but blazed his shot over the bar.
Vale were starting to grow more into the game and were stringing some nice moves together as Ryan Taylor got on the end of Kelly’s through ball but his effort was straight at Fulton.
The home side then took the lead when Thomas picked the ball up on the right and his cross-shot took a nick of Ian Evatt, went over Fulton and into the top corner on 61 minutes.
Chesterfield responded well and Reece Mitchell looked the most creative outlet on the right and he put in another low cross which was nearly met by Jay O’Shea but Ben Purkiss turned the ball away from danger.
Wilson brought on Conor Wilkinson and Rai Simons to try and bring more potency in attack. And with 13 minutes left, Liam O’Neil's free kick dropped for Simons just inside the area, but he fluffed his lines as his first time shot soared over the bar.
Vale were proving tough to break down and threatened themselves on the counter attack. Chesterfield didn’t give up though and Evans carved a chance for himself when he had the ball on the left, he cut inside after beating his man but his shot just went wide of the near post.
It nearly got worse for the away when Vale substitute Dan Turner ran into the box and looked to be one on one but Turner dwelled on it and his shot deflected wide.
Defeat sees Chesterfield remain in the bottom four and Wilson will be hoping for better in 2017, particularly away from home. Chesterfield begin the new year at home to MK Dons on Monday, January 2.
Port Vale: Alnwick, Purkiss, Streete, Knops, Kelly (Kiko), Thomas (Turner), Smith, Cicilia, De Freitas (Amoros), Taylor, Grant.
Subs not used: Santos (gk), Hart, Pereira, Shalaj
Chesterfield: Fulton, Liddle (C), Evatt, Hird, Donohue, O'Neil, Nolan, Ariyibi (Simons), Mitchell (Wilkinson), O'Shea (Gardner), Evans.
Subs not used: Allinson (gk), Anderson, Beesley, Morrison