Whilst all of the talk was about who will be managing Chesterfield in Saturday’s game with Barnet, a competitive, but ultimately disappointing game broke out.
Fleetwood scored early through Steven Gillespie and right at the end through a Chris Atkinson own goal. Between those efforts, Tendayi Darikwa levelled with a firecracker. To make matters worse, Marc Richards returned after a month out but lasted just minutes before limping off with a hamstring problem.
With Paul Cook tipped to be Spireites’ next permanent manager, Tommy Wright named what could be his last line-up as caretaker. The Scot brought Jack Lester and Danny Whitaker in for Craig Clay and Craig Westcarr.
Fleetwood, whose speed on the counter attack was breath taking, took a lead with a goal from nowhere. A partially cleared corner fell for Gillespie whose box-edge turn and low shot beat Richard O’Donnell. Spireites’ keeper had to make a terrific reaction save from a deflected Tom Barkhuizen’s shot before the hosts got into the game. Luis Boa Morte’s cross was knocked onto his own post by Barnsley loanee Rob Edwards and Chris Atkinson’s header was inches wide after another deflection.
Parity was restored when Boa Morte’s corner was headed clear only for Darikwa to volley homefrom 20 yards, a Goal of the Season contender.
Sam Togwell came into his own after the break seeing a long ranger saved by Scott Davies and soon after the midfielder acrobatically got to a Drew Talbot cross but the ball flew wide. Sub Westcarr had a great chance to win it but his shot was smothered.
Then, at the death, Jamie Milligan’s long range free-kick found Brown and his header hit the woodwork only for Atkinson to turn the ball over the line.
Throughout the evening, speculation was rife that Accrington boss Cook is set to be named as Chesterfield manager with Thursday the likely day. The former Wigan/Wolves midfielder, 45, moved to the Crown Ground after five years at Sligo Rovers.
From a financial viewpoint, should his switch to Derbyshire be confirmed, it would make sense for Chesterfield to retain the services of Wright and Mark Crossley. Especially as it’s believed that former manager John Sheridan will, starting this week, be seeking compensation for his removal from the hot-seat.
Chesterfield (4-5-1): O’Donnell 6, Talbot 6, Forbes 6, Hird 7, Ridehalgh 6 (Smith 78), Darikwa 7, Togwell 8, Atkinson 6, Whitaker 7 (Richards 78 (Westcarr 83)), Boa Morte 7, Lester 6. Subs (not used): Wilson, Trotman, Evans, Randall. Goal: Darikwa 44
Fleetwood (4-4-2): Davies 6, McLaughlin 7, Edwards 6, Mawene 6, Howell 8, Marrow 6 (Nicholson 90+1), Fowler 6 (Milligan 70, 6), Brown 6, McGuire 7, Gillespie 7, Barkhuizen 7 (Ball 62, 6). Subs (not used): Maxwell, Parkin, Goodall, Kinsella.
Goals: Gillespie 6, Atkinson (own goal) 89
Ref: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire). Bookings: Boa Morte, Atkinson (Chesterfield), Brown (Fleetwood) Attendance: 4,372.