Chesterfield safely and comfortably bagged the victory they desperately needed to open up a four point gap over seventh placed Rochdale.
Tendayi Darikwa headed home from a delightful Gary Roberts chipped pass on 26 minutes and from then on it was almost total home domination but Spireites, as they frequently have done this season, were unable to turn that command into more goals.
Jay O’Shea hit the inside of the post and he also saw a string of shots saved, blocked or just miss the target whilst fellow midfielders Roberts and Gboly Ariyibi also had glorious chances to add to the scoreline, as did striker Sam Clucas, but it was one of those days where sublime ole football didn’t generate the number of goals Chesterfield deserved, but it put smiles on the faces of anyone wearing blue.
Relegation-threatened Crewe had their moments, mainly early on. Former Doncaster loanee Uche Ikpeazu forced Tommy Lee into action on a couple of occasions and Lauri Dalla Valle overhead kicked just wide but after the goal, Spireites put on a terrific show without further reward.
Cook said: “The lads were excellent, they played really well against a side that came and caused us some problems, especially in the first half. Crewe were bright and intelligent and got in some good situations but fortunately for us they never hurt us.
“We had some good chances in the second half and the only disappointment was that we didn’t get another goal. If we’d have got a second our fans and our bench may have enjoyed the game a little bit more but we can look back at a very strong team performance.
“It was like a carnival atmosphere, the fans were like a 12th man, but you can guarantee there’ll be some twists and turns to come, we need to keep our feet firmly on the ground and try and make these people proud of us.”
The victory marked the club’s first four straight wins in the third tier since 1998 and with several other results going well for Paul Cook’s side, Spireites and their connections are in for an exciting final five, starting on Saturday at Oakwell. Cook concluded: “I’ve no interest in anything other than the game at Barnsley now and I imagine we may just take a few there on Saturday and if we get beaten at Barnsley we’ll move on to Colchester and then Oldham, we’ll just keep on going.”
With seven wins in the last nine games, Spireites will be hoping to complete their first win double over Barnsley since the Arthur Cox-led 1979-80 side when Chesterfield finished fourth in the pre-play off days.
Chesterfield (4-2-3-1): Lee; Darikwa, Hird, Evatt, Talbot; Morsy, Ryan; O’Shea, Roberts (Humphreys 89), Ariyibi (Gardner 72); Clucas. Subs (not used): Flatt, Harrison, Gnanduillet, Raglan, Banks.
Crewe (4-3-3): Rachubka; Turton, Davis, Tate, Leigh; Atkinson, Ness, Jones (Colclough 65); Dalla Valle, Inman (Haber 89), Ikpeazu (Ajose 72). Subs (not used): Guthrie, Ray, Stewart, Nolan.
Booked: Ness, Jones (Crewe).
REFEREE: Kevin Johnson (Somerset).
ATTENDANCE: 6,942 (389 from Crewe).