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Spireites Held at Home

21 January 2017

Gary Caldwell began his Chesterfield career with a goal-less draw despite a dominating display which saw the Spireites extend their unbeaten home league run to five games.

It’s now just one defeat in four Sky Bet League One fixtures, and back-to-back clean sheets for the Blues who've showed real signs of improvement in recent weeks. 

The Spireites started brightly and were getting joy on the left hand side. Dion Donohue pulled a shot wide three minutes in and Rai Simons had a shout for a penalty turned away by the referee after half-hearted appeals. 

The best chance of the first half came 24 minutes in, Simons made a positive run from out wide, bursting towards the area. He switched it to Gboly Ariyibi who teed up Dan Gardner who tried to score a similar goal to the one he bagged against Coventry last weekend but this time his driven effort went just wide. 

The Dons began to get into the game and came close to scoring on the half hour mark when Charles blazed the ball over the bar from close range after Chesterfield failed to clear a corner. 

Four minutes later, Jay O’Shea threaded a lovely through ball to Ched Evans who cleverly turned onto his left foot, beat the defender but the angle was just too tight and he hit the side netting. 

Caldwell’s men were growing in confidence and it showed in their build up play. Donohue played a lovely cross field ball to Jon Nolan, who did well to control it despite slipping. He found Evans who then fired and absolute rocket from the edge of the box but it went just over. 

Ariyibi then came close with a low effort which was deflected inches wide of the post as the Spireites really cranked up the pressure before half time. 

Chesterfield started the second half with the same intensity as they did the first. Ariyibi’s through ball found Evans who was forced wide but he managed to cut it back to Nolan who tried to turn the ball goal-wards but his effort was caught by the keeper. 

The tempo changed though after that and became a midfield battle with little between the teams. Caldwell brought on Reece Mitchell with 20 minutes left to try inject a bit of pace. 

After a series of corners, the Spireites finally carved out another effort on goal when Gardner set up Mitchell but his shot was comfortably saved. 

The game was dwindling away but Ariyibi did everything in his power to spark it back into life with some exquisite skill at the by-line, beating two defenders but his low cross missed agonisingly missed everyone and ended up away from danger. 

It was the Spireites who looked the more likely to get a late winner and were throwing everything they could at the Dons but their defence stood firm and dealt with all the crosses that were coming into the box. 

In the end it was frustration for Caldwell on his first game in charge but there was plenty of positives for him to build on, particularly the high tempo which they began both halves with. 

He now has two weeks to work with the players before they face Oldham Athletic at the Proact on Saturday, February 4. 

Chesterfield: Fulton, O'Neil, Hird, Evatt (C), Donohue, Ariyibi, Nolan, O'Shea (Mitchell), Gardner, Simons (Dennis), Evans.

Subs not used: Allinson, Angel, Ebanks-Blake, Beesley.

AFC Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Kelly, Egan (Francomb), Charles, Robertson, Beere (Bulman), Barnett (Oakley), Poleon, Whelpdale.

Subs not used: McDonnell, Kaja, Owens, Sibbick.

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