Brentford 2 Chesterfield 1
Chesterfield’s winless run continued at Griffin Park as Brentford, without a home win in two months and without a home goal in three games, scored first and last in a nervy game.
Sam Saunders hammered home a 25 yard free kick after Danny Whitaker had fouled Niall McGinn to give the Bees a deserved 25th minute lead.
Within two minutes, Leon Clarke bagged his eighth goal in ten games, stabbing in after an Alex Mendy cross had pinged around the box for a few seconds.
The equaliser was the prelude to the Spireites’ best spell which lasted to the break.
But a more open second half, when either side could have scored, was drawing to a close when Dale Bennett, on his debut after being borrowed from Watford, out-jumped Jonathan Grounds to head home the 82nd minute winner.
John Sheridan selected the same team that had done so well at Rochdale in midweek but they were almost immediately on the back foot as Uwe Rosler’s home side sought an early advantage.
McGinn hit the side netting in the opening minute, Bennett headed wide from a Saunders corner and Clayton Donaldson got behind the defence and was set to shoot when Aaron Downes dispossessed him, unfairly according to the Bees man, but that view was not shared by the referee.
Mike Grella hit high ahead of Saunders’ screamer which gave Greg Fleming no chance.
Clarke’s quick leveller led to a period of pressure from the relegation zone side.
Dean Holden saw a header cleared off the line by Blair Adams and Nathan Smith, from a great angled position, shot wide of the mark when a goal looked odds-on.
Whitaker and Mendy both had box-edge efforts ahead of the break as Chesterfield looked capable of picking up at least a point.
Despite kicking off at the start of the second half, Chesterfield had conceded a corner within seconds, an indication of the profligacy that has marred much of the season to date.
Whitaker again went close from range, Grella headed wide from a good position and Toumani Diagouraga got his head to a corner and his effort, albeit a weak one, forced Drew Talbot to clear off the line.
Jonathan Grounds hit wide from a Chesterfield corner as the game ebbed and flowed, though the Bees tide tended to be flowing a little more often.
Jonathan Douglas, playing against the Spireites for the first time since scoring the goal at Blackpool that kept them up in 2003, began to dominate in the middle after Craig Clay replaced Whitaker.
He forced Fleming to save, as did Saunders, while Craig Westcarr had a number of half-chances on the break for the visitors.
With time running out, Jordan Bowery replaced Lee Johnson and the Spireites moved to four in the middle, immediately handing the initiative to Brentford who subsequently ran the midfield zone.
Clarke volleyed just over moments before Bennett’s winner and after that, all of the meaningful attacks were from the home side who racked up a whole host of chances but they were extremely wasteful, especially League Two’s top scorer last season Donaldson who, overall, had a very poor game.
Yeovil Town’s visit to the B2net Stadium has now become a must-win game for the Spireites, who are hanging on to 22nd spot despite the appalling run of results.
Brentford: Lee, Logan, Bennett, Llera, Adams, Saunders (Eger 88), Douglas, Diagouraga, McGinn (Weston 83), Grella (Alexander 73), Donaldson. Subs not used: Woodman, Reeves.
Chesterfield: Fleming, Talbot, Holden, Downes, Grounds, Westcarr, Mendy, Johnson (Bowery 79), Whitaker (Clay 64), Smith, Clarke. Subs not used: Mattis, Morgan, Randall.
Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire).
Attendance: 4,566 (353 from Chesterfield).