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Novak Steals Game Late on from Chesterfield at the Valley

29 October 2016

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Lee Novak came back to haunt the Spireites as his late goal from the bench condemned Chesterfield to a fifth straight league deafeat, 1-0 at the Valley.

Both sides hit the post in a goal-less first half, Dan Gardner first with a right-footed shot in the area, before Nicky Ajose did likewise at the other end.

The Spirietes hung in well but were hit by the ultimate sucker-punch with only minutes remaining as substitute Novak steered a header home to win the game.

Charlton began the brighter of the two sides with Ademola Lookman claiming the home team's first effort on goal.

The winger attempted to weave his way through Chesterfield’s five-man defence but was unable to and instead struck it straight at Ryan Fulton.

The Spireites new-look 3-4-3 formation was providing them with more defensively solidarity, but appeared to be starving the front three.

The greatest early chance came in the shape of a long ball upfield and a 25-yard knock from Gboly Ariyibi that sailed over the woodwork.

A lack of options wasn’t to deter Ched Evans who charged up from the right-back position, he knocked it around his man and crossed for Dan Gardner, but the winger was unable to aim an effort goalwards.

A Charlton attack left the home side short in defence and when the Spireites countered Evans found himself one-on-one with Declan Rudd, but from the tightest of angles, and with a defender on his back, he couldn't beat the ‘keeper.

Charlton were unable to clear the resulting corner and Dan Gardner picked up the ball on the edge of the area, he faked right and drove left but his placed shot cracked the post and it drifted wide.

A mistake from Gary Liddle gifted Charlton a clear sight on goal, Nicky Ajose latched onto the loose ball and had only Fulton to beat, but Liddle’s blushes were spared as he curled the effort straight at the post, the ball rolling clear.

As suggested by their league positions, the game had been an even affair but Fulton was needed at full stretch to prevent Magennis’s header giving Charlton the edge, the forward jumping highest to meet Lookman’s freekick.

The second half began as evenly as the first finished, as both sides continued their failure to break the deadlock.

A Ricky Holmes cross looked to have done it, but Magennis’s header flew just past the post. Endangering Fulton’s goal again, Magennis’s second header in as many minutes was this time on target, but it was caught by the Spireites ‘keeper.

The Spireites defence was continuing to look more solid with the extra man, while attempting to get through a wall of Spireites, Magennis tumbled to the ground, but was booked for diving.

Ajose had finally been able to shake the Spireites' tight defence as the ball was delivered from the left, but despite being unmarked, the forward couldn't hit the target.

Focused almost solely on their defensive duties, a counter attack provided Chesterfield with a corner, the ball found Liddle, but the captain was too far out to trouble Rudd.

Countering once more, Ariyibi found space on the edge of the area, but his strike was weak and trickled into the ‘keeper's arms.

With minutes remaining, Chesterfield hearts were broken by former Spireites striker Lee Novak. The substitute made an instant impact when his header met a dangerous Holmes cross and nestled into the right of Fulton’s goal.

Moments later Novak almost doubled the Spireites mis misery, Botaka pulled the ball back to him just inside the area, but he scuffed his shot and didn’t trouble Fulton.

Desperate to get at least the point that their efforts deserved, Kristian Dennis and Ricky German entered the field, but the away side's final chance of the afternoon fell to Liam O’Neil. Rudd had spilled a corner, O’Neil pounced but Rudd caught his strike.

Charlton Athletic: Rudd (gk) - Bauer, Lookman (Botaka 70'), Crofts, Magennis, Ajose (Novak 81'), Holmes, Pearce, Ulvestad, Solly (c), Fox

Subs not used: Phillips, Foley, Jackson, Konsa, Lennon

Chesterfield: Fulton (gk) - Donohue, Hird, Evatt, Graham - Gardner (O'Shea 65'), Liddle (c), Dimaio, O'Neil - Ariyibi, Evans

Subs not used: Allinson (gk), Mitchell, Nolan, Dennis, Maguire, German


Chartlton Athletic: Novak 87'

Attendance: 10,153 (422 Chesterfield fans)

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