Spireites FT: Chesterfield 3, Oxford United 0

Gary Roberts celebrates after scoring a penalty against Oxford

Gary Roberts celebrates after scoring a penalty against Oxford

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Chesterfield remained top of the League Two table with a comfortable 3-0 win over Oxford United.

Rose’s free kick wasn’t cleared and from a resulting corner Lee was called in to action to tip over Hunt’s rasping volley from the edge of the penalty area.

Chesterfield

Chesterfield

It was as clean a volley as you’re likely to see and brought out the best of Lee, who was making his 250th appearance in all competitions for the Spireites.

The visitors had started slightly the better of the two sides, whereas the hosts hadn’t settled. They looked uncharacteristically shaky in possession.

Newey was first to another in-swinging corner from the left and bundled an effort just wide of the Chesterfield keeper’s right hand post from the angle.

The Spireites began to get a handle on the game shortly after, seemingly having weathered the storm, and Roberts was tripped by Rayned 25 yards out.

The winger picked himself up, dusted himself down and sent a curling effort towards goal that had Clarke at full stretch as the ball dropped on to the roof of the net.

And, with their next effort, Chesterfield took the lead. Banks judged the flight of the right wing cross better than Hunt and tucked the ball past Clarke from close range.

Former Rotherham United youngster Banks, who was signed from non-league FC United of Manchester earlier in the campaign, bagged his ninth of the season.

The Spireites didn’t have to wait long to make it two after Roberts, again, was bundled over. His resulting centre was aimed for Evatt, who was pushed in the back by Newey.

It was a clear penalty and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Roberts took responsibility and blasted his penalty strike into the top left corner.

Roberts’s tenth of the season knocked the stuffing out of the visitors, who were staring down the barrel of a fourth defeat from their last six in the league.

A third was on the cards when Richards battled through a trio of challenges and fed O’Shea inside the area.

The Irishman twisted and turned and opted to shoot rather than square the ball to Morsy, who was in acres of space to have surely made it three before the break.

A combination of Raynes and Wright blocked O’Shea’s shot. Chesterfield were bright and quick in the challenge after the re-start.

Richards nipped in ahead of Wright who handled and O’Shea curled the resulting free-kick over the bar.

Oxford were, in contrast, loose in possession and, after a sequence of misplaced passes, Mullins gave it away to Roberts who got past one but was tripped by the second.

And, just when the game looked to be slipping away from the visitors, Williams broke the defence and raced clear only to be thwarted by Lee when faced one-on-one.

Oxford were quick on the break and showed their directness moments later when Williams sprung into action once more.

He shifted the ball to Potter whose effort was blocked.

The visiting side piled on the pressure as Potter went close with a deflected shot and, from the resulting corner, Lee was called into action. He fumbled Rose’s delivery in a challenge with Smalley and, when the ball dropped seven yards from goal, Mullins looked to have the easy task of tapping into an unguarded net only for Lee to make amends.

Cook threw on Derby County loanee Bennett, for the last 20 minutes in place of O’Shea and he looked lively on the left side of midfield.

Evatt sent a header against the top of the bar from Roberts’ right wing free-kick before Oxford were reduced to nine men to all but end the contest.

Newey was shown a straight red for a late, robust challenge on Banks from behind before Raynes picked up a second booking for a foul on Roberts.

The frustration left the visiting support demanding for a manager from the stands. Kearns made his home debut as he replaced Banks five minutes from time.

Oxford finished the game with eight men on the field after Mullins was stretched off as the clock approached 90 minutes.

Evatt and Doyle went close before Roberts raced clear and chipped over Clarke for his second and Chesterfield’s third to wrap up all three points.