Chesterfield 1-4 Accrington (match report)
Chesterfield failed to recover from a nightmare first half as they went down 4-1 to League Two opposition.
The Group B North game in the Checkatrade EFL Trophy, attended by just 976, got away from the Spireites long before the break, Accrington Stanley by far the better side.
A 3-0 lead at the interval was no more than the Lancashire visitors deserved, against a thoroughly disjointed Chesterfield side.
The six changes manager Danny Wilson made to the side who started Saturday’s game might have played a part in the slow beginning to the game, but in truth Town had enough quality in the ranks to at least compete.
A brief resurgence followed the half-time break, Kristian Dennis coming on to score what was ultimately a consolation goal, before the home side’s challenge fizzled out in the 4-1 loss.
Dan Gardner had welcomed Aaron Chapman back to the Proact with a fierce volley in the fourth minute, stinging the hands of the ex Spireites’ keeper.
Accrington Stanley forged their first chance through the quick feet of Jordan Clark, the winger skipping past Laurence Maguire and firing the ball past the far post.
The opening goal came from a recent Chesterfield trialist, Gary Taylor-Fletcher.
He gave his new club Accrington the lead with a header over the stranded Lloyd Allinson after a scramble in the six-yard box.
John Coleman’s men took advantage of some slack play in the middle and some hesitant defending to double their lead, Terry Gornell finding the top corner of the net from just outside the box midway through the half.
Keeping hold of the ball was Chesterfield’s big problem, the lack of striker in the starting line-up more than evident as Dan Gardner, Gboly Ariyibi and Jay O’Shea struggled to impose themselves on the match.
Allinson was picking the ball out of his net again when Clark sent a wonderful strike high into the net.
That third goal just before the break left Chesterfield with a mountain to climb.
The half-time interval saw a double change.
Danny Wilson sent on strikers Ricky German and Kristian Dennis, taking off Gardner and Ritchie Humphreys.
Within two minutes of the restart German muscled a defender out of the way to run on to Gary Liddle’s header but fired well over.
Refreshingly, Chesterfield went on to dominated the 15 minutes following the interval.
And they deservedly got their reward when O’Shea touched the ball on for Dennis to rifle home.
They very nearly made it 3-2 two minutes later, O’Shea scuffing a shot that Chapman had to tip wide.
But it was not to be.
And Stanley relieved the pressure when Gornell drilled under Allinson to restore the three-goal lead and end the game as a contest.
Chesterfield: Allinson, Ofoegbu, Maguire, Evatt, Anderson, Humphreys (German 46), Liddle, Nolan, Gardner (Dennis 46), Ariyibi, O’Shea (Mitchell 65). Subs: Simons, Beesley, Daly, Parkin.
Accrington Stanley: Chapman, Hughes, Clark (McCarten 78), Gornell, McConville, Jones, Taylor-Fletcher (Eagles 55), Lacey (Davies 57), Hewitt, Sykes, Donecien. Subs: Pearson, Boco, Webb, Parish.