Match report: Cheltenham 1 Chesterfield 4

Eoin Doyle scores past Cheltenham's 'keeper. Pic by Tina Jenner
Eoin Doyle scores past Cheltenham's 'keeper. Pic by Tina Jenner

An outstanding first half performance from League Two leaders Chesterfield saw them steamroll Cheltenham Town.

Dan Gardner, Eoin Doyle, Ollie Banks and Liam Cooper were on target for the Spireites who ran riot at Whaddon Road.

It was as confident a performance Paul Cook’s side have produced all season as they consolidated their position at the top. Byron Harrison pulled one back but the visitors saw the game out with a swagger.

Chesterfield had made two changes to the side that lined up at Wycombe Wanderers with Gardner and Banks in for Sam Hird and Jay O’Shea. Gardner, in particularly, looked hungry for the ball from the off. He stepped inside from his right wing position as the trio of attacking midfielders rotated at will.

The hosts who could have taken the lead, however, when Terry Gornell drew a smart save from Tommy Lee after a swivel from six yards out. Banks, Jimmy Ryan and Gardner all tried their luck from range but failed to test keeper Scott Brown.

Gornell wasted a chance on the edge of the area, with Ashley Vincent free to his left, before Chesterfield made them pay in a whirlwind eight minute spell.

It began with a devastating break when defending a corner, which saw Vincent attempt an acrobatic volley. Lee bowled the ball out to Gary Roberts on halfway. The winger swung in a pinpoint cross for Gardner at the back post to fire in a first time volley.

Gardner’s technique was admirable. Yet the Spireites didn’t rest on their laurels and doubled their advantage when Doyle pounced.

Banks was the architect to clip a delicate ball into the striker who lashed a strike into the roof of the net from 10 yards. The provider then had the chance to become a goalscorer he didn’t pass up when he capitalised on to a poor clearance and curled one into the far corner.

Chesterfield went about their passing game with consummate ease before Cooper got in on the act with a powerful header. It came from Gardner’s in-swinging corner from the left, Cooper ran across his marker and planted his header into the bottom corner.

Spireites’ club captain Ian Evatt almost made it five from Roberts’ corner but his effort struck the post.

Every pass was greeted with a cheer by the visiting support of 200.

Lee dived to deny a fierce drive at the feet of Jermaine McGlashan. But, from the corner, Cheltenham pulled one back. Matt Richards sent in a centre that was bundled home from inside the six yard box by Harrison.

Cook re-shuffled the pack. Hird was introduced to in midfield before Brown was called into action to push Sam Morsy’s shot over. The hosts sprung forward at every opportunity. Vincent, on another day, could have had a hat-trick if it were not for Lee.

The Chesterfield keeper made a stunning point blank stop from the winger to keep his side’s lead safe. Roberts and Togwell came close to extending the visitors lead still further.