Chesterfield rue missed chances as Wrexham make them pay in entertaining National League clash

Chesterfield paid the price for not taking their chances against Wrexham as they suffered their second successive home defeat.

By Liam Norcliffe
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 8:48 am
Chesterfield felt Wrexham's second goal should have been disallowed for handball.
Chesterfield felt Wrexham's second goal should have been disallowed for handball.

Akwasi Asante, Calvin Miller and Tom Whelan were all denied by an inspired performance from visiting goalkeeper Rob Lainton in the first-half at the Technique Stadium on Tuesday night.

And Lainton’s heroics proved vital as Ollie Palmer scored twice in 10 minutes after the break for the away side.

Town are now without a win in four and Paul Cook’s wait for his first win since returning stands at three matches.

The Spireites stay second in the league, six points behind leaders Stockport County.

ENCOURAGING

Let’s start with the positives and that very enjoyable first-half performance.

Chesterfield, playing a back four instead of a three, dominated play and deserved to go in front but could not find a way past the excellent Lainton.

Asante had the best two chances of the opening 45, including a one-on-one which Lainton blocked, while Miller and Whelan’s efforts both came from outside the box.

The Spireites played some really attractive football for the majority of the half, had Wrexham pinned in and nobody could have argued had the hosts been a couple of goals up at half-time.

It was some of the best football they have played for a while despite the Technique pitch not exactly being a carpet.

Wrexham’s best chances of the first-half fell to Aaron Hayden from set-pieces, but other than that they did not cause any problems in open play.

Town have been very clinical this season, but that ruthless edge in front of goal evaded them here. However, the fact they created some really good chances is promising and bodes well going forward.

Chesterfield have played a lot worse than this season and won.

Although the second-half did not go to plan, the first 45 gave a glimpse into what they have been working on under Cook and I think everyone can feel encouraged by that.

WHAT CHANGED?

I am sure I was not the only one in the stadium at half-time to say they had a feeling Wrexham would make Chesterfield pay for missing their chances and so it proved unfortunately.

The visitors made a change at half-time, bringing on Liam McAlinden for Dan Jarvis and that tactical switch helped swing the game in Wrexham’s favour.

The visitors by no means came out and played sparkling football and played Chesterfield off the park, but what they did do is press from the front more and they managed to get a foothold in the match by winning a series of free-kicks and corners and put the ball in the box from Ben Tozer’s long throw.

That stopped the Spireites from building up any momentum and they could just not get going.

Both of Wrexham’s goals came from balls into the box and Palmer finished twice from close-range. Goalkeeper Scott Loach was adamant the second should have been ruled out for handball but it was hard to see through a crowd of bodies.

It could have been a very different story had Asante, who did everything right on the night but score, equalised a minute before Palmer’s second. A cross from Laurence Maguire was flicked on by Joe Quigley and Asante was unmarked at the back post. The chance seemed to take him by surprise and he could not get the ball out of his feet properly and he ended up shooting straight at Lainton. Moments later Wrexham doubled their lead.

It was a classic game of two halves in which one team took their chances and the other did not.

INCOMINGS

Chesterfield were down to the bare bones for this one with nine players injured and two suspended. The squad was so stretched that young goalkeeper Dylan Wharton made the bench to ensure they had five subs.

Cook knows they need to bring in some additions and I would be surprised if we did not see one or two come in before Saturday's televised clash against Yeovil Town.

They will at least have one extra body back for the weekend with Jeff King returning from suspension.

TEAM

Loach; Williams (Rowley, 79), Grimes, Maguire; Whittle; Mandeville (Khan, 84), Kellermann, Whelan, Miller; Asante, Quigley (Denton, 75). Unused subs: Wharton, Kerr.