FT Spireites: Chesterfield 1 Accrington 0

Jay O'Shea in action against Accrington
Jay O'Shea in action against Accrington

Chesterfield went two points clear at the top of League Two with a 1-0 home win over boss Paul Cook’s former team.

Chesterfield welcomed Accrington Stanley looking to maintain their unbeaten start.

In a game where Chesterfield were expected to see a lot of the ball, they didn’t disappoint and found their stride immediately.

The first opening fell to Roberts, who came in from the left touchline and bundled his way through a couple of half-hearted challenges before Winnard stepped in to prevent the forward from getting a shot off from just inside the area.

The Spireites almost took the lead moments later when Humphreys’ deep cross from the left had Bettinelli back-peddling at speed. The Accrington keeper pushed the ball out before clattering into the post, but reacted quickest to smother the loose ball inside his six yard box.

It was all Chesterfield and Ryan attempted to inject a little pace into proceedings with a burst from midfield that caught the visitors flat-footed. He found space inside right position and floated a raking ball to the back stick that flicked off the top of Winnard’s head, at full stretch, with Richards lurking.

Roberts’ resulting flag kick wasn’t cleared but Accrington broke at speed. Mingoia attracted two blue shirts and fed Webber whose first time shot took a slight deflection and Lee had to be on his toes to tip the ball around the post.

Webber caused the Spireites defence problems when he held the ball up and squeezed out a shot that was blocked.

Hird went close to breaking the deadlock when he found a yard of space from Ryan’s left-footed cross. The defender brought the ball down expertly on his chest before turning on a sixpence to volley the ball a whisker wide of Bettinelli’s right-hand post.

Accrington were finding their feet and stemmed the Spireites’ tide with periods of possession and attempted to slow the game down at every opportunity.

A flowing move down the right from the visitors saw Richardson link up with Webber, who returned the favour to set the midfielder racing towards goal. Talbot forced Richardson wide and his resulting cross was cleared at the near post by Hird.

Ryan fired a shot from distance that failed to test Bettinelli when there were probably better options .

Richardson was sent clear by Hatfield only to fire into the side netting from an angle. O’Shea sent a rising shot over.

HALF-TIME

Chesterfield..............0

Accrington............... 0

The home support had barely got back to their seats after half-time when Chesterfield took the lead through Darikwa.

The ball fell for Richards, who twisted one way then the next and curled a right-footed shot that smacked the upright with Bettinelli well beaten. Darikwa was first to react and slotted the ball beyond the keeper’s despairing dive.

O’Shea was next to have a sight of goal when he was sent through from Roberts only for Aldred to get a toe and divert the ball for a corner.

Hird stole a yard to meet Roberts’ resulting flag kick but he bundled the ball just wide at the back post.

Cook’s side looked more assured and the manager introduced Gnanduillet just before the hour-mark.

The in-form striker sent a powerful header wide of the target when he rose to meet Humphreys’s cross, which Atkinson looked favourite to clear for Accrington.

The hosts nearly doubled their advantage when Talbot met Roberts’ out-swinging corner, but the skipper’s fierce header was cleared off the line by Miller.

Darikwa picked the pocket of Aldred and shifted the ball wide to Roberts whose left-footed drive was deflected over. Gnanduillet forced Bettinelli into a routine stop from the resulting corner.

Darikwa tested Bettinelli diving low to his right from an angle as the Spireites looked to make the points safe.

With Gnanduillet and Doyle, who replaced Richards, on the pitch the home side went a little more direct in search of the second goal that would almost certainly see off the visitors.

Accrington began to find one or two pockets of space and when Talbot lost out to Hatfield on half way, Mahoney’s cross just evaded two red shirts.

Gnanduillet dispossessed Joyce and played a one-two with Doyle before sending a low shot across goal that Bettinelli got down well to keep out.

The visitors were not out of it and when Hatfield latched on to a long ball his drive only just went over.

Bettinelli had to be quick off his line to cut out Doyle’s searching ball aimed at Gnanduillet, who was clean through.

Accrington had a claim for a penalty waved away after a goal-mouth scramble before Mahoney skipped past two challenges and fired a crisp shot towards goal that Lee comfortably held.

Gnanduillet headed Roberts’ in-swinging corner over the bar as the clock approached 90. Doyle hit the bar with a chip in injury time but Togwell’s follow up hit Gnanduillet and the chance to make the game safe went begging.