Champions - Chesterfield took the League Two title today after hitting back to beat Fleetwood.
After the highs of last Sunday’s promotion-winning game at Burton Albion, a packed out Proact Stadium arrived in hope of seeing Chesterfield lift the League Two title.
Fleetwood, at team who have won both of their previous games at the Proact, stood in their way from capping off an already memorable season for Paul Cook’s Spireites.
Three sides of the stadium were on their feet to greet Chesterfield on to a sun-kissed pitch to a chorus of cheers and chants of ‘Paul Cook’s Barmy Army’ from the Kop.
Fleetwood, who hope to join the Spireites in League One next season via the play-offs, did their best to unsettle the hosts and had the first effort on goal early on.
A well-worked move down the right resulted in the ball dropping to Schumacher on the edge of the area, only for the Cod Army skipper to blaze a shot high and wide of the target.
Chesterfield responded with an attempt from Ryan, who dragged his shot wide of Maxwell’s right hand post, after he had cut inside from the left of the penalty area.
Fleetwood clearly hadn’t read the script and went ahead in the 11th minute through a fine individual effort from BLAIR, who battled his way through a handful of half-hearted challenges, before slotting under Lee from eight yards.
The home faithful continued to chant in support of their team and when O’Shea fed Doyle at inside right the noise levels heightened once more only for the striker to flash a first time shot wide of Maxwell’s right hand post from wide of the area.
Fleetwood continued to counter in an end-to-end encounter and it was Blair again the thorn in Chesterfield’s side. He got away from Smith and squared for Parkin who took too long on the ball before offloading to Morris to shoot over.
Ryan found space and headed over from Roberts’ left wing delivery before Smith wasted a good opportunity to cross unchallenged and O’Shea likewise from a free-kick.
The league’s player of the year, Roberts, had clearly seen enough and tried his luck with a fizzing effort from range which flew high and wide over the bar.
The influential winger was then fouled 25 yards out, though, rather than take the kick himself, Ryan blasted into the wall and O’Shea curled the follow-up over.
Fleetwood continued to look dangerous on the counter-attack and from another one Evans flashed an effort wide of Lee’s left hand post via a deflection. Cresswell got to the resulting corner but headed just wide at the back post.
Spireites came flying out for the second half and turned the game on its head inside nine whirlwind minutes. Chesterfield simply blew Fleetwood away.
Last week’s two- goal hero, O’Shea, turned provider when he sent a cross to the back post for HIRD to head past Maxwell and draw Chesterfield level.
O’Shea, in particular, looked a different player at the start of the second half. His quick feet and vision released Smith whose cross was blocked from the byline.
The ball was shifted to Ryan who set his sights, moved within range, took aim and unleashed a thunderbolt towards the top corner, Maxwell pushed it around the post.The resulting corner wasn’t cleared and when Evatt put the ball back into the danger zone, Hird was involved in a goalmouth scramble before ROBERTS curled a sweet strike across goal and in to the top corner to spark more wild scenes.
Spireites had to settle and Smith was on his toes to win the race against Blair and complete a well-timed tackle to prevent the winger from getting a shot off. Smith forced Maxwell into a strong save when he fired over a cross-come-shot from wide of the area.
But the danger wasn’t cleared and Humphreys was first to the second ball only to have his legs swiped away from underneath him by Blair on the edge of the area.
O’Shea took responsibility from the resulting free-kick and sent a dipping effort which only narrowly missed the top corner of Maxwell’s goal.
Roberts, like Talbot and Doyle before him, received a standing ovation when he was substituted five minutes from the 90. Gardner fired into the side netting from an angle as Spireites chased a third to put the game beyond doubt and secure the title.