Clarke celebrates first hat-trick

Chesterfield 4 Carlisle United 1

Leon Clarke registered his first ever senior hat-trick, a ‘perfect’ one featuring strikes with both feet and his head.

His attack partner Craig Westcarr finished off the scoring, heading home a Nathan Smith chipped-in delivery on 65 to end Carlisle’s unbeaten League One away record.

The visitors battled on to the end and will consider themselves unlucky to have lost by such a wide margin.

They were on top when Lee Miller bundled in a 20th minute equaliser following a James Berrett corner, though keeper Greg Fleming felt he was fouled as the ball came in.

Miller’s departure from the game before the break was a major turning point in the game.

Chesterfield’s win was their third on the trot and a points tally of ten from 12 has really got their season off to a belated start.

John Sheridan made two changes from the midweek win over Bury.

Fleming, as expected, took over from the injured Tommy Lee.

Leicester’s 18-year-old loanee Adam Smith was cover keeper on the bench.

Danny Whitaker returned after his first Spireites career absence, coming in for the unlucky Scott Boden who’d played well against the Shakers.

Whitaker, who had several shots go close, notched up another assist, his left wing cross was the basis for Clarke’s second goal, on 27, a 15-yard header that was perfectly positioned in the far corner.

The home side took an early lead. With just seven seconds of the third minute played, Clarke left-footed in a Westcarr square ball from five yards.

But it was winger Alex Mendy that played the biggest part in the goal.

He used his speed to turn left back Matty Robson and then power forwards from his own half to a crossing position, from where he found Westcarr.

Carlisle notched up several corners before their leveller, which incensed the home fans in the Karen Child Stand as Fleming fell to the floor in a challenge with Miller, Spireites first concession in over 4½ hours.

Clarke scored again soon after before Miller’s exit.

Francois Zoko upended Mendy as he ran by him and from the subsequent free kick from Whitaker, Jonathan Grounds shot, it clipped Westcarr and Clarke reacted quickest to complete his hat-trick on 51.

His five in three marks the best scoring start to a Chesterfield career since Dennis Woodhead did the same, though his hat-trick came on his club debut.

If Clarke manages to score at The Valley on Saturday, he’ll be the first man since Colin Cook in 1932 to score in his first four Spireites games.

Westcarr headed in to all but seal the destination of the points and from then on it was all about avoiding any silly mistakes, which was successfully achieved.

Clarke received a standing ovation as he was subbed at the death, a deserved reaction to a fine start to his B2net career.

Chesterfield: Fleming; Talbot, Grounds, Ford (Holden 80), N.Smith; Mendy, Allott, Johnson, Whitaker; Westcarr (Boden 80), Clarke (Bowery 89). Subs not used: A.Smith, Randall.

Carlisle: Collin; Tavernier, Murphy, Michalik, Robson; Noble (McGovern 57), Thirlwell, Berrett, Zoko (Welsh 57); Loy, Miller (Curran 39).

Referee: Nigel Miller (Co Durham).

Booked: Johnson.

Attendance: 6,445.