Billy Clarke’s crackerjack won it for Bradford City on 59 minutes, just three minutes after the game turned with a red card for Spireites Sam Morsy, adjudged to have used his arm illegally on Andy Halliday.
City disposed of Dartford last Sunday, 4-1 in the FA Cup, a game that followed on from a 3-1 home win over Leyton Orient.
Chesterfield haven’t managed to beat Bradford in any of their last five visits to North Derbyshire, four of those games have been drawn, but Paul Cook’s men are unbeaten in six and come off one of their best performances of the season, the 1-0 Cup win at MK Dons, a result that could be over turned on Monday as Spireites travel to Wembley to explain why they played Georg Margreitter despite not lodging the required written permission. Bradford did similar a couple of years ago and ended up with a £1000 fine but were, after an appeal, allowed to carry on in the cup.
Margreitter starts in what will be his last game on loan from Wolves.
Cook keeps the same eleven that performed so well at stadium:mk, so Armand Gnanduillet gets another relatively rare start, just the 17th for the club in the league. Eoin Doyle will be hoping to make the 20 mark for the season, he’s on 19, to become the first Spireite to reach that mark before Christmas in 88 years.
Right back Tendayi Darikwa plays his 99th league game for the club on his 23rd birthday.
Bradford, two places and one point ahead of Spireites, feature ex-Blades pair Jon Stead and Billy Clarke up front. Stead has already scored at the Proact this season, in the Capital One Cup in Huddersfield’s 5-3 extra time win in August.
James Meredith played one game for Chesterfield in 2007, he’s left back for City whilst former Spireites keeper Ben Williams is on the bench.
Morais won the game’s first corner and immediately a second came along, Davies headed and Lee caught. Stead headed just over after Yeates’ cross as Bradford looked the more dangerous side in the opening minutes.
Morsy burst forwards, fed Roberts and his cross was hacked out by Darby for a corner that O’Shea was unable to make count but from the second phase O’Shea’s cross was excellent and Gnanduillet headed over.
Stead got in a shot but Margreitter blocked but his clearance was poor and Yeates failed to take advantage of what was a gift. Gnanduillet headed over again from another O’Shea cross as the game’s pace picked up.
Clucas’s ball almost found Doyle at the far stick as Spireites started to enjoy the bulk of play. Keeper Pickford nicked the ball off Doyle’s feet after solid O’Shea work.
Yeates was given too much room to make rapid progress and his shot from the box-edge deflected for a corner which Gnanduillet cleared. Ryan hit low from 25 yards, Pickford saved with Doyle looking for the poach.
Clucas and Morais had a few handbags right at the feet of Paul Cook, the referee gave them both a warning.
O’Shea shot from range, it deflected for a corner, a training ground move saw Doyle air shot it and that allowed Bradford a 3 on 2 break but Yeates shot was blocked. Halliday hit just wide from range as City enjoyed their best spell since early in the game.
Morsy’s holding role was taken over by O’Shea with Doyle dropping into midfield.
McArdle’s long ball forward was received by CLARKE who turned on the box-edge to beat Lee with a cracker on 59 minutes.
Knott replaced Halliday, who was roundly booed by the home fans for his part in the Morsy red card. Clarke got in behind the back line and put it on a plate for Stead but the man on loan from Huddersfield managed to miss, only hitting the post from 5 yards with the goal gaping.
Morais found himself one on one with Lee as Bradford started to run riot but the home keeper won the battle and saved the winger’s effort.
McArdle blocked Doyle’s low cross and Darby did well to put off Roberts as Spireites started to show some spirit after their travails of the early part of the half.
Darikwa won a corner and Davies blocked Margreitter’s header whilst Pickford make a fine save to beat away O’Shea’s shot for a corner, another followed, but City remained solid. Pickford saved from Roberts as Spireites really bossed play in a bid to get back on level terms.
Davies was booked for kicking the ball away after a hand ball, the free-kick failed to prize open the visiting defence which, on the whole, looked solid.
Gardner and Boco came on for Darikwa and O’Shea whilst Hanson replaced Stead.
City earned a corner, Ryan headed away and Yeates hit high and wide as Spireites threw men forwards in the final minutes to try and rescue something. Ariyibi came on for Roberts for the final 3 minutes.
Another City corner kept Chesterfield at bay, Davies headed over.
Six minutes of added time gave the hosts some hope. Zoko replaced the scorer Clarke. Boco worked an opening but Pickford saved low down.
As the game entered the final minute of the six extra, City won a corner, kept the ball in that vicinity to see the game out.
Chesterfield: Lee, Darikwa, Raglan, Margreitter, Clucas, O’Shea, Ryan, Morsy, Roberts, Doyle, Gnanduillet. Subs: Wright, Evatt, Hird, Humphreys, Boco, Gardner, Ariyibi.
Bradford: Pickford, Darby, McArdle, Davies, Meredith, Morais, Liddle, Halliday, Yeates, Clarke, Stead. Subs: Williams, Hanson, Sheehan, Zoko, Kennedy, Routis, Knott
Ref: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)