Chesterfield triumph in top-of-the-table clash

Oxford United 0 - 1 Chesterfield: OXFORD United suffered their first league defeat of the season as Ritchie Humphreys’ classy strike claimed victory for leaders Chesterfield.

The hosts also had Andy Whing sent off midway through the second half, but came close to a dramatic late equaliser when Deane Smalley’s header was denied by a post.

Chesterfield had chances to kill the game off, but had to be content with Humphreys’ cushioned volley just before the half hour mark.

The meeting between the top two produced a fantastic atmosphere at kick-off.

The early exchanges of the contest did not disappoint either, with both sides playing some excellent football.

Chesterfield were the first to threaten when, on 11 minutes, Drew Talbot did well to cross for Tendayi Darikwa, whose shot was smartly turned round the post by Ryan Clarke.

Clarke needed to be on his guard to get a hand to a cross and prevent a tap-in for Darikwa.

But the goalkeeper was powerless to stop Humphreys opening the scoring on 29 minutes.

The veteran, making his 666th career appearance, brought the ball forward and after passing to Eoin Doyle he kept running. When the Irishman centred it was perfect for the 35-year-old to coolly steer a volley into the far corner of the net.

midway through the second half, United were reduced to ten men.

Whing came across to try and cut out a counter-attack, but Doyle got their first. Already committed, the stand-in skipper felled the striker at pace.

Referee Trevor Kettle had no hesitation in showing the midfielder a straight red card.

Wilder brought on Davies for Michael Raynes, switching to a 3-4-2 system in the hope of taking something from the game.

It left gaps at the back which Chesterfield exploited time and again, but they could not find a second goal to kill the game off.

Clarke made good saves to deny Jay O’Shea and Doyle as the home side stayed in the game.

Oxford tried to apply some pressure in stoppage time, but a free-kick which Davies struck over was their final chance to take something from the game.

Oxford Utd: Clarke, Hunt, Raynes (Davies 72), Mullins, Newey, Potter, Whing, Rose (Ruffels 90), Hall (Rigg 53), Kitson, Smalley.

Unused subs: Jalal, Williams, Shama, Bevans.

Chesterfield: Lee, Talbot, Hird, Cooper, Humphreys, Morsy, Ryan, Darikwa (McSheffrey 72), O’Shea (Devitt 90), Roberts, Doyle (Gnanduillet 83).

Unused subs: Chapman, Edwards, Evatt, Togwell.

Referee: Trevor Kettle.

Attendance: 7,187 (1,066 visitors).