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Narrow Defeat in Final Match

30 April 2017

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The Spireites ended the season with a narrow 3-2 defeat at champions Sheffield United after twice fight back to draw level.

It took goals from Kieron Freeman, Billy Sharp and Daniel Lafferty for Sheffield United to defeat a stubborn Chesterfield in the final match of the Sky Bet League One season. 

Kristian Dennis and Paul McGinn twice levelled the score for the Spireites but Dan Gardner’s sending off left Gary Caldwell’s men with too much to do as his side succumbed to defeat. 

The Spireites made one change for their final fixture of the season, Liam Grimshaw replaced Connor Dimaio in the centre of midfield as Caldwell looked to silence the Championship-bound side.

The Blades knew that a win would secure them an impressive 100 points tally for the season and were attacking from the off, with Paul Coutts sending a looping cross just over the head of Leon Clarke. 

Dennis demanded more of himself in the pre-match interviews, speaking about the necessity for him and his team-mates to take their chances and he nearly scored in the opening ten minutes, fizzling a strike just shy of the post. 

The forward was set free again shortly after, Joe Rowley headed a ball over the top of the home backline and Dennis struck at Simon Moore on the half-volley, but the stopper pushed it wide. 

The Blades broke the deadlock in the 20th minute when Freeman broke into the box and fired at Thorsten Stuckmann, the ball bounced off a defender and ricocheted around the area before the full-back slotted home second time around. 

Chris Wilder’s men were in control, but Chesterfield remained determined to spoil their promotion party and Dan Gardner curled a free-kick from the left-wing into the box, but United headed clear. 

The Spireites continued to create chances, Reece Mitchell’s in-swinging corner found the head of Jon Nolan whose effort was cleared. 

The Blades nearly doubled their lead on the counter when Freeman slipped a ball between Sam Hird and Laurence Maguire that found Sharp and the striker went to shoot but Hird recovered in time to clear. 

Continuing their assault on the Spireites defence, Mark Duffy and Clarke linked up inside the area, the latter blasted at Stuckmann but Gardner slid in to block. 

Chesterfield levelled from the spot on the brink of half-time. Dennis had dinked a ball over the top of the defence which Mitchell collected and the winger tried to round Moore, but the keeper brought him down for a penalty.

Dennis (45) stepped up and placed the ball to the left of Moore for his tenth goal of the season,  ensuring the Spireites went into half-time at 1-1.

The Blades returned from the break looking to regain the lead and Freeman cut inside on the right and cracked a shot from 25 yards that sailed past the post. 

Liam Grimshaw picked up the ball just inside the United half and darted past three Blades defenders before pulling it back to Dennis on the byline, the forward lashed a shot at Moore but his effort went wide. 

Sharp (59) headed the Blades back in-front for his 30th goal of the season, leaping highest to meet a cross and nod past Stuckmann. 

McGinn (65) pulled the Spireites level again. Mitchell had darted between two Blades and blazed a shot at Moore that bounced off a defender and fell for McGinn, who placed his shot into the bottom left corner. 

Gardner was then sent off a minute alter after an off-the-ball altercation. 

Sharp almost put United back in front shorty after the re-start when he collected the ball inside the area and sliced a shot across goal that narrowly missed the target.

The forward had another chance minutes later, bringing the ball down just inside the area and twisting to strike at Stuckmann on the bounce, but again it sailed narrowly wide. 

Ritchie Humphreys replaced Joe Rowley and almost scored with his first touch, attempting to dink the ball over Moore from 20 yards after spotting that the keeper was off his line. 

The hosts finally broke ten-man Chesterfield with just seven minutes remaining when Lafferty (83) beat Stuckmann despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball.

Stuckmann, McGinn, Hird (C), Gardner, Mitchell (Faupala 70), Nolan, Dennis (Beesley 90), Anderson, Maguire, Grimshaw, Rowley (Humphreys 80)

Subs not used: Fulton, Dimaio, Kakay, Wakefield

Sheffield United: 
Moore, Fleck, O’Connell, Basham, Sharp (C), Wright (Chapman 69), Coutts, Freeman, Duffy (Carruthers 52), Lafferty, Clarke

Subs not used: Long, Done, Hanson, Wilson, Brooks

Attendance: 31,003 (597 away supporters) 


Sheffield United: Freeman (20), Sharp (59), Lafferty (83)

Chesterfield: Dennis (45), McGinn (65)

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