SPIREITES: Chesterfield FC 2 Coventry City 3 match report

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Chesterfield suffered a narrow defeat at home to Coventry City in a result that put a dent in the Spireites’ hopes of climbing in to the League One play-offs.

A powerful Marcus Tudgay header put the visitors in to a ninth minute lead before Jay O’Shea’s deflected effort levelled the score just before half-time.

Sanmi Odelusi and Frank Nouble put Coventry in to a favourable position with 15 minutes to go before Gboly Ariyibi reduced the arrears five minutes from time.

Chesterfield pushed forward in search of an equaliser and Caolan Lavery brought the best out of the visitors’ keeper Lee Burge right at the death.

The Spireites slipped one place to eleventh in the table and results elsewhere has seen a five-point gap emerge from sixth-place Barnsley who beat Oldham.

Chesterfield manager Paul Cook made just the one change to his starting line up from that which took to the field, and overcame, at MK Dons ten days ago.

Defender Dan Jones returned from a two-week spell on the sidelines through injury and slotted in at left back in a move that allowed Sam Clucas to push forward.

Sam Morsy, so often the driving force for the Spireites this season, picked up his tenth yellow card of the campaign and served the first of a two match ban.

It meant a change in personnel which saw Ollie Banks partner Jimmy Ryan in the home side’s engine room, supporting the advanced three in 4-2-3-1 formation.

Banks and Jay O’Shea showed good touches early on as Chesterfield enjoyed much of the possession and went about trying to find holes in the visitors’ defence.

But it was Coventry who struck first when Adam Barton’s cross from the right was only partially cleared by Chesterfield skipper Ian Evatt to the feet of Jordan Willis.

The right back swung in an inviting centre to the back post where Tudgay had stolen a march and got above Tendayi Darikwa to power a header in to the bottom corner.

Tommy Lee, in the Spireites goal, dived to his left but could do nothing to prevent the visitors, without a win under new manager Tony Mowbray, from taking the lead.

O’Shea got away from two half-hearted tackles before offloading to Banks, who in turn found Caolan Lavery through the inside left one touch and forced a save from Lee Burge.

The Coventry keeper was able to hold on to that one but couldn’t moments later when Lavery let fly from 20 yards and the ball squirmed under and fractionally past the post.

Chesterfield had to withstand a spell of pressure from three Coventry corners in quick succession. Banks deflected Barton’s strike over his own bar after a pre-planned routine.

Lee was forced to back-track to keep Grant Ward’s in-swinging corner from dropping under his own bar from the second but the Spireites stopper clasped at the third.

Chesterfield were on level terms when O’Shea found a pocket of space, side-stepped past one Sky Blues shirt and unleashed a left-footed shot from 20 yards.

His effort took a huge deflection and wrong-footed Burge, with the away side’s keeper scrambling back the way he came, but couldn’t keep the ball from finding the net.

Both sides threatened again before the break, Dominic Samuel forced a save out of Lee and Lavery demonstrated a flurry of step overs before his shot deflected over.

A change at half-time by Cook saw Ritchie Humphreys replace Jones, Clucas moved to left back, Humphreys in central midfield and Banks moved slightly forward.

But it was Coventry who had the first meaningful foray forward when Frank Nouble skipped past two and forced a corner off Ryan, who had tracked his run from half way.

Chesterfield, however, had the first effort on goal when Lavery muscled past Aaron Martin and showed a couple of step overs to make space for a shot inside right of the box.

The striker, on loan from Sheffield Wednesday for the rest of the season, looked to have put the hosts ahead but Burge got a hand down and turned it around the post.

Coventry introduced Odelusi just shy of the hour for Samuel and he put the visitors ahead just five minutes later after the Spireites failed to clear their lines defensively.

The ball eventually found its way to Ward on the top right of the penalty area, who sent a driven cross-come-shot between Lee and defence for Odelusi to tap in from close range.

Ariyibi was thrown on in place of Banks and he demonstrated his attacking menace with a drop of the shoulder before Stokes got a block to his powerful shot.

The danger wasn’t cleared and Evatt rose to meet a resulting corner to force Burge in to a save diving low to his left. Coventry then gained a two-goal cushion.

Nouble, the former West Ham United man, got the better of a bouncing ball with Humphreys on half way and strode towards goal before slotting a composed finish past Lee.

The Spireites looked for an immediate response and Lavery drilled a shot straight at Burge after Roberts’ through ball. Lavery later hit the byline but failed to pick anyone out.

Chesterfield set up an interesting finale when Roberts wriggled away from two challenges and found Ariyibi unmarked to drill a shot in to the corner of the net.

Substitute Mani Dieseruvwe, the Spireites’ third and final sub for Evatt, glanced a header wide of the target from Ariyibi’s cross. Then Burge made the save of the match to keep Lavery’s header out in injury time.

Teams

Spireites (4-2-3-1): Lee; Darikwa, Evatt (c) (Dieseruvwe 84), Hird, Jones (Humphreys HT); Ryan, Banks (Ariyibi 70); O’Shea, Roberts, Clucas; Lavery

Subs not used: Chapman, Carter, Raglan, Onovwigun

Coventry (4-3-2-1): Burge, Willis, Martin, Pennington, Stokes; Barton, Ward, Fleck (c); Tudgay, Nouble (Jackson90+1); Samuel (Odelusi 59)

Subs not used: Webster, Thomas, Turgott, Finch, Charles-Cook

Goals: O’Shea 42, Ariyibi 85 (Spireites); Tudgay 9, Odelusi 65, Nouble 75 (Coventry)

Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire)

Attendance: 7,205 (1,164)