It was a special match for Ritchie Humphreys, on the occasion of his 600th league appearance, and Chesterfield responded with a 2-0 victory to collect their first three points since the middle of September.
Chesterfield made Humphreys captain. The PFA chairman is Hartlepool’s leading appearance-maker but made his first league appearance at Sheffield Wednesday under David Pleat in September 1995.
Future Chesterfield manager John Sheridan played in the match in which Humphreys came on as a second half substitute for O’Neill Donaldson away to Queens Park Rangers.
Torquay United, out at the first hurdle of the FA Cup fielded former Spireite Aaron Downes in their line-up. The Australian had an eight year spell with the Spireites, but was released in 2012.
Former Spireite assistant manager Alan Knill took over from Martin Ling in the summer as his interim spell had kept the Gulls in the Football League.
Torquay made the early in-roads and McCallum headed over from Mansell’s cross.The Gulls were the more adventurous of the two sides in the opening exchanges. A Great cross from the right by Craig saw Lee scramble to claim at the foot of McCallum.
The Spireites opened the scoring when a cross by Humphreys from the left cannoned off Downes, BANKS picked up the loose ball and fired past Rice.
Four minutes later and Chesterfield went two up when Gnanduillet kept possession after a poor touch from Pearce, the ball inadvertly fell to O’SHEA, his initial effort was saved by Rice, but the Irishman followed up for his fourth goal of the season.
Talbot was booked for clipping the heels of former Sheffield United youngster Chapell.
A neat move from Torquay saw McCallum have the ball in the net but he was ruled offside. Hawley was late in a challenge with Hird and referee Sheldrake aimed a yellow at the striker.
A deep cross from Chapell went over the top of Lee and Evatt headed over from just underneath his bar and conceded a corner. From the set piece, Mozika shot wide after a penalty area scramble.
A teasing cross by Roberts from the left had the Torquay defence worried,
Gnanduillet fired a shot wide from 20 yards. A cross from the left, again by Roberts, led to another poor clearance from Downes which only found Gnanduillet, and this time his shot went wide of Rice’s right hand post.
Ryan followed up with a shot from 25 yards which also went wide.
A whipped-in free kick by Craig came to nothing for the Gulls and from that move Chesterfield broke with Ryan who squared to O’Shea and his shot was deflected over as the Spireites finished the half as strongly as they had performed throughout.
Banks continued his fine form after the break with a stinging drive which Rice did well to tip over.
A lovely interchange of passing between Roberts, Gnanduillet and Ryan saw the former Scunthorpe man try a chip over Rice which failed to test the Torquay stopper.
Spireites were proving a danger all afternoon and O’Shea again went close with a left footed volley from a Roberts cross.
Cook made a change on the hour mark when the hardworking Gnanduillet was replaced by Richards.
Banks won possession after a hesitant touch from Downes, his through-ball found O’Shea he squared into the box to Ryan who failed to test the Torquay defence.
It was the last thing that O’Shea did as Cook replaced him with Darikwa.
There were ronic cheers from the Torquay supporters as Craig tested Lee with a long range drive.
It was the Gulls’ first effort of the second half with just over 15 minutes to go.
The referee spoke strongly to Evatt and to Hird after Hird went in strong in a challenge on Mozika.
Torquay brought on Elliot Benyon for some attacking impetus, he replaced the ineffective McCallum. Some lovely football from Banks yet again, he found Darikwa in the box and his cross was turned against the post by Richards, but it would have been ruled for offside anyway. Roberts followed up with a low drive which was saved by Rice and Downes scrambled a clearance.
Spireites made their third change as well when Doyle replaced Banks.