Goals from Kelvin Etuhu and John O’Sullivan in either half won the game for Carlisle United, but the main talking point for the Spireites came between the goals, on 71 minutes, when Louis Reed’s superb shot was controversially ruled out for off-side.
Jack Lester made three changes from the side that started in midweek against Cambridge United. Louis Dodds and Giles Coke joined the ever-lengthening injury list whilst Laurence Maguire switched to a six-man bench, which also featured Andy Kellett, back after injury. In came Jak McCourt, Josh Kay and the fit-again Sid Nelson.
Carlisle boss Keith Curle had two ex-Spireites, Gary Liddle and Jamie Devitt, in his starting XI with Jamal Campbell-Ryce on the bench. Former Horley Town striker Ashley Nadesan was making his first league start at the age of 23, some 16 years younger than defender Clint Hill, who had a trial at the Proact last summer.
McCourt saw a long-ranger blocked and Hill almost scooped a cross into his own goal as the Spireites won the game’s first corner from which Reed had a box-edge shot blocked as the game started at a decent tempo.
Rowley again found space on the left of the box after decent play by Josh Kay but his cross was headed clear and United attacked with Hope’s delivery again eluding Nadesan at the far post.
Chesterfield fell behind in the 19th minute when the ball was cleared only as far as Etuhu, who was poised just outside the box and his first-time hit was positioned perfectly to beat Aaron Ramsdale.
Kay almost levelled within a minute, but his 20-yard shot was an inch or two wide and during that attack the Carlisle scorer picked up an injury and was replaced by the experienced Mike Jones, whose shot was deflected over from his first touch after a set-up by Devitt. Cole Stockton headed the resulting corner kick over the bar.
Hope received from Stockton but his shot was straight at Ramsdale, who gathered safely to his chest and the keeper also halted an angled Devitt shot as the hosts looked bright around the Spireites’ box.
McCourt’s cross flew out for a right-sided corner after Rowley and Kay had combined well, but the flag-kick was badly struck and caused no problems for the hosts. Bradley Barry joined the list of visitors who’d seen efforts blocked and as United cleared, Liddle fouled Reed and was booked. The influential Chesterfield midfielder continued but was clearly in some discomfort as the fourth official signalled four extra minutes at the end of the first half.
Referee Stockbridge asked Nelson to leave the field for treatment to what appeared to be a head cut and whilst down to ten, United earned a corner that came to nothing and Nelson reappeared for the final seconds of the 45.
Stockton flicked a shot high and wide at the start of the second half and Hope had an effort blocked ahead of Robbie Weir’s cross earning a throw-in from which McCourt received but his shot was well wide of the target.
Alex Whitmore hesitated on the ball, Nadesan nicked it and teed up Stockton in a great position, but he made a hash of things and shot tamely wide when a second home goal looked inevitable.
Barry delivered into the box but United cleared too easily. The Spireites were finding it difficult to build any sustained periods in home territory, Weir’s cross from the left being caught by Jack Bonham, a rare piece of action for the keeper.
Kellett came on for Rowley and immediately had his name taken for a foul on Mark Ellis. Jerome Binnom-Williams replaced McCourt, slotting in at left-back with Weir moving into midfield. Binnom-Williams received from Reed, made solid ground down the left before passing to Kay whose shot flew agonisingly wide.
O’Grady’s cross earned the second half’s first corner and a second rapidly followed as the 237 travelling fans continued to sing their hearts out. They erupted when Reed volleyed in a crackerjack but the effort was controversially ruled out for off=side with the celebrations in full-flow. Whitmore and O’Grady, though not touching the shot, seemingly being deemed to be seeking to gain an advantage.
Devitt had a shot blocked by Whitmore and Hope’s follow-up on the rebound was saved by Ramsdale who shortly afterwards had to make a top drawer block to parry away a Liddle shot.
Kellett from a free-kick and Barry from the clearance delivered into the box but United dealt with both balls well. Jacob Brown came on for his Spireites debut with ten minutes remaining, replacing O’Grady. United brought on O’Sullivan, who scored his first goal of the season with his first touch after stabbing home a loose ball from Devitt’s right-sided corner, Carlisle’s first flag-kick of the second half, to all but wrap up the points.
Hope hit the side-netting in the first of five added minutes and then curled a shot wide as the game petered out to leave Chesterfield without a point in four games.
Carlisle: Bonham, Liddle, Hill, Parkes, Devitt, Ellis, Lambe, Etuhu (Jones 22), Stockton (O’Sullivan 80), Nadesan (Twardek 74), Hope. Subs (not used): Gray, Campbell-Ryce, Bennett, Brown.
Goals: Etuhu 19, O’Sullivan 81
Chesterfield: Ramsdale, Barry, Nelson, Whitmore, Weir, Rowley (Kellett 62), Reed, McCourt (Binnom-Williams 66), Kay, Dennis, O’Grady (Brown 80). Subs (not used): Parkin, Maguire, Ofoegbu.
Ref: Seb Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear)
Bookings: Barry, Kellett, Brown (Chesterfield), Liddle (Carlisle)
Attendance: 4,025 (237 from Chesterfield)