The concession of three first half goals saw Chesterfield lose 3-1 to Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium, the first defeat for Danny Wilson as Spireites boss.With the snow falling the Spireites were sluggish coming out from the traps and conceded to a fine 20-yard Max Power drive six minutes in. Chesterfield grew into things but a two-minute suckerpunch saw Reece James and Michael Jacobs net before half time to give the visitors a mountain to climb.
Spireites made two changes at the break and one of the substtutes, Ollie Banks, breathed life into an unlikely comeback with a low finish on 79 minutes, but the Spireites were unable to score again as they fell to their first defeat of 2016.
Wilson was forced to make one change for the Spireites against promotion chasing Wigan: Dan Gardner came into the side for the suspended Gboly Ariyibi who picked up a red card against Rochdale.
It was Wigan who came out quickly looking to take an early advantage. The hosts were dominating the midfielder cancelling out any Spireites attacks.
With just six minutes on the clock, Wigan took a deserved lead. Michael Jacobs made a great darting run cutting inside, and finding midfielder Max Power on the edge of the box. Power then unleashed a thunderbolt into the top corner of Lee’s net.
Chesterfield tried to respond to the early Wigan goal, but struggled. Gardner played a lovely ball to Ebanks-Blake but his cross was cleared by the Wigan backline.
The Latics were looking worthy of their early lead, and Power tried his luck from long range again, however his shot deflected wide.
It took a while for Chesterfield to get a foothold in the game, but they soon registered their first attempt whne midfielder Jay O’Shea collected the ball and had an effort from inside the box, which was spilled by Jussi Jaaskelainen but the Wigan defence cleared.
Five minutes later and Chesterfield were at it again. Dion Donohue’s long-range ball was met by Lee Novak, but the striker’s effort went wide.
It was all Chesterfield midway through the half. Experienced 'keeper Jaaskelainen misjudged his throw and O’Shea collected the loose ball, playing to Ebanks-Blake but his ambitious shot went well wide.
The Spireites chances kept coming when a Wigan free-kick was cleared upfield to Ebanks-Blake, who burst up the pitch with two Latics players on his back. The striker then found O’Shea who was unmarked centrally, but the pass gave O'Shea little time and O’Shea's shot was smotherd by the 'keeper to deny the Spireites an equaliser.
With seven minutes of the half left, the game sprung into life, and not to the visitor's advantage. On-loan right back Reece Wabara found James on the edge of the box and like the first goal James curled it into the right corner of the net.
Straight from the kick-off the Latics added another goal to the scoreline. Haris Vuckic made a direct run at the Chesterfield backline, then sent the excellent Jacobs through one-on-one with the 'keeper and slotted home to make it 3-0 to the hosts.
Wilson went for a double switch at half time to help reduce the deficit, Drew Talbot and Ollie Banks came on to replace Chris Herd and Dan Gardner.
The first opportunity of the second half fell to Wigan ten minutes in. Vuckic again making a darting run at the Chesterfield defence, then sending Power through on goal but the midfielder’s shot was weak.
Winger Jacobs was on the ball again causing all sorts of problems for right back Liam O’Neil. This time Jacobs got himself inside the area and released a shot but Lee saved easily.
Chesterfield were finally responding to the defecit, O’Shea played a nice ball through to substitute Rai Simons, but his shot was well saved by the Wigan 'keeper.
The momentum was beginning to change at the DW Stadium and Chesterfield were starting to camp in the Wigan half.
With 11 minutes to go the Spireites responded. Novak got the ball into the area despite being fouled, the ball fell to an unmarked Banks whose shot went low and in.
With groans from the home fans, Chesterfield sensed an opportunity for a comeback. O’Shea collected the ball and fired a shot but it went over Jaaskelainen’s bar.
After soaking up all the Chesterfield pressure, the hosts finally pushed upfield but were unable to create any clear cut chances at the end of the half.
A hard-fought second half from the Spireites wasn’t enough as they fell to defeat.
Wigan Athletic: Jaaskenlainen (gk) - James (Chow 85'), Perkins, Daniels, Power, Jacobs, Morgan (c), Pearce, Vuckic (Davies 70'), Hiwula, Wabara (Wildschut 80')
Subs not used: Nicholls (gk), Barnett, Hendry, Holt
Chesterfield: Lee (gk) - Donohue, Hird, Raglan, O'Neil - O'Shea, Morsy (c), Herd (Talbot 46'), Gardner (Banks 46') - Novak, Ebanks-Blake (Simons 65')
Subs not used: Chapman (gk), Gnanduillet, Harrison, Maguire
Wigan Athletic: Power 6', James, 38', Jacobs 39'
Chesterfield: Banks 79'
Attendance: 9,091 (1,058 away fans)