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Match Reports

REPORT: Oxford Too Good for Spireites

25 February 2017

A hat trick from Conor McAleny and a Rob Hall strike, condemned the Spireites to a 0-4 home defeat to Oxford United this afternoon.

The Spireites remained unchanged from their midweek draw with Millwall and were looking to halt a run of last-minute defeats at the Proact. Meanwhile, Oxford had lost just once in their last five matches and were keen to keep up their assault on the play-offs, lying just six points off 6th place with two games in hand. 

The visitors were the more clinical of the two sides as the Spireites struggled to score, McAleny did not have the same issue and fired a hat-trick of goals into the Chesterfield net following Hall’s opener. 

Neither side had been able to take control of the opening exchanges and both sides struck from distance early on. Liam Grimshaw cut in from the right and thrashed a strike past the post before McAleny's long-range effort was held by Thorsten Stuckmann. 

It was Oxford who drew first blood following a mistake from Evatt, Chris Maguire snatched the ball from the skipper and squared it for Hall (17) who tapped it past Stuckmann. 

The hosts looked to react instantly, Reece Mitchell charged at the Oxford defence from the left-wing, but his cross couldn't make it past the full-back. 

The Spireites had awoken and Kristian Dennis was one-on-one with Simon Eastwood after a through ball from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, but his strike was palmed wide. 

Oxford appeared content with defending their lead, but Ebanks-Blake’s dipping 25-yard effort looked like it was heading goal-wards but drifted just above the cross bar. 

The away side made the Spireites pay for pushing too many players forward and doubled their advantage following a thunderous strike from McAleny (36) that flew into the top corner. 

The second had silenced the hosts and Oxford continued to pile on the pressure as the match edged closer to half-time, but saw three penalty calls waved away by the referee. 

Oxford returned for the second half confidently and forced Stuckmann into an early save, the stopper denied Hall a second from a corner. 

Sam Hird’s diving intervention then stopped what looked like a certain third for Oxford, McAleny had ditched his marker and ran freely into the box but Hird slid to block. 

Ebanks-Blake’s marauding cross-pitch run freed up space for David Faupala, however the Frenchman couldn't connect with his through ball. 

McAleny (60) notched his second of match with a strike that was identical to his first, curling the ball past Stuckmann from 25-yards and into the right corner. 

Dan Gardner attempted his own long-range effort after cutting in from the left, but flashed his effort wide.   

The introduction of Ched Evans briefly sparked the home side back into life, the Welshman latched onto Osman Kakay’s through ball but his attempt was blocked by the Oxford defence.  Evans then netted moments later after Kristian Dennis’ cross, but was called back for offside.

McAleny completed his hat-trick with 21 minutes to go, a mistake from the Chesterfield defence left Stuckmann four-on-one with Oxford’s attack and McAleny slotted it past the stopper. 

Still fighting despite the four goal deficit, Ebanks-Blake cut through the Oxford defence but his strike was held by Eastwood. 

Chesterfield: Stuckmann, Jones (Kakay), Hird, Evatt (C), Gardner (Evans), Angel, Ebanks-Blake, Mitchell, Faupala (Simons), Dennis, Grimshaw.

Subs not used: Allinson, Anderson, Humphreys, Brown.

Oxford United: Eastwood, Skarz (C), Nelson, Sercombe, Maguire, McAleny, Martinez, Rufflels, Edwards, Hall (Rothwell), Dunkley.

Subs not used: Stevens (gk), Hemmings, Ribeiro, Ledson, Lundstram, Johnson.

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