Chesterfield suffered a 4-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup after taking the lead through a Kristian Dennis penalty. The hosts hit back with goals from Steven Fletcher, Gary Hooper, Barry Bannan and Sam Hutchinson.
Manager Gary Caldwell made four changes to his starting line-up with summer signings Bradley Barry and Jak McCourt making their full debuts for the Spireites. There were also recalls for Laurence Maguire and Kristian Dennis, who came off the bench to score in the opening day defeat at home to Grimsby Town.
Skipper Ian Evatt missed the game through suspension after being sent-off on Saturday while Jordan Sinnott was ruled-out through injury with Charlie Wakefield and Robbie Weir named among the substitutes.
The home side were the first to threaten when Gary Hooper fired over from just outside the area after receiving the ball from Sam Hird’s mis-placed pass.
Joe Anyon then came to Chesterfield’s rescue with a double save to deny Steven Fletcher.
Hird stretched to cut out Adam Reach’s low cross from the left as the hosts continued to press.
Chesterfield’s first effort came from Gozie Ugwu, who cut in from the left before putting a rising shot over.
Anyon was called into action again, comfortably saving a 25-yard effort from Reach.
Wallace tried his luck from distance, putting his shot wide of Anyon’s left-hand post.
In Wednesday’s next attack, Fletcher failed to direct his header on target, heading over.
Former Spireites loanee Jack Hunt made a darting run into the right-hand side of the area, but Hird was well-placed to intercept his pull-back and clear the danger.
Barry Bannan was the next to fire in a long-range shot, putting his effort over.
The Spireites took the lead very much against the run of play. When Chris O’Grady challenged for the ball from a Dennis cross, Daniel Pudil was adjudged to have handled the ball and referee Ross Joyce awarded a penalty which was calmly despatched by Dennis (38).
Wednesday equalised just five minutes later when Almen Abdi’s deflected cross was finished by Hooper at the near post.
In first-half stoppage time, the home side took the lead when Hunt’s cross from the right was met by a thumping far post header from Fletcher.
Just after the re-start, Bannan put a 20-yard effort over.
At the other end, McCourt played a good ball to Dion Donohue who looked to find Dennis with a low cross from the left, but keeper Joe Wildsmith was off his line smartly to claim.
There was a chance for the Spireites just after the hour-mark when Louis Reed found the unmarked Dennis and the striker’s shot from the edge of the area was turned over by Wildsmith.
There was another opening moments later when Ugwu slipped a great ball through to O’Grady who advanced into the right-hand side of the area before trying a shot which hit the side netting.
It was a good spell for the Spireites with Dennis seeing his shot turned wide by Wildsmith after playing a one-two with Donohue and Reed then firing wide.
Reed also shot well over from just outside the area as Chesterfield continued to press forward in search of an equaliser.
It was the hosts who scored, however, to virtually kill off Chesterfield’s hopes of staging a revival.
Bannan (75) made a strong run through the heart of the defence and produced a fine finish.
Substitute Sam Winnall threatened moments later with a low shot which was touched wide by Anyon.
Hutchinson (83) added a fourth after bursting into the box and firing past Anyon.
O’Grady fired then fired in a thumping drive which was well saved by Wildsmith.
Spireites line-up: Anyon, Barry, Wiseman, Hird, Maguire, Donohue, Reed, McCourt, Dennis (Brewster 69), O’Grady (Mitchell 90), Ugwu (German 80).
Unused substitutes: Lee, McGinn, Wakefield & Weir.