Paul Cook lead Chesterfield for the 100th time in a competitive fixture this afternoon. He had seen his side win 46 of those games compared to 28 losses.
After two terrific performances in the last two games, but with just one point garnered from the trips to Preston and Doncaster after falling behind early on in both games, the manager has indicated he’s going to try and gain the early initiative for the Spireites and he’s selected a side to attack from the off.
Chesterfield paraded a 4-4-2 formation with Armand Gnanduillet joining 12-goal Eoin Doyle up front, defender Georg Margreitter is back after concussion to play in defence alongside Ian Evatt and Sam Clucas starts at left-back in the attacking line up. The hamstring trio of Sam Morsy, Gary Roberts and Dan Jones all missing from the bench too, even though they’ve all indicated they are fit. Jay O’Shea and Ollie Banks also start.
The Magpies have drawn their last three games.
Notts went into the game without influential midfielder Gary Jones but former Manchester United and England man Alan Smith was recalled.
Ex-Blade Shaun Derry, whose side has drawn their last three games, selected a starting 11 that featured half a dozen men who were just 21 or younger, though with Smith and another former Red Devil, 36 year old Roy Carroll in goal, there was experience in there too.
Sheffield-born former Barnsley man Nicky Wroe lined up in a five man Magpies midfield with Wolves loanee Jack Cassidy the lone striker.
Lee had to make a fine save in the opening minute to palm away Ismail’s header following Hollis’s nod on from Thompson’s long throw. Clucas headed the resulting corner away.
Notts were seeing plenty of the early ball but their play was hurried and a little scrappy and was generally dealt with well by Spireites’ back line.
Chesterfield were limited to long balls up towards Gnanduillet as they looked to gain control of possession and territory but County were successfully forcing the home front men to feed off scraps.
Wroe drove a shot low across the face of goal, it took a slight deflection and from the quickly taken corner left back BLAIR ADAMS rifled home his first ever league goal from just outside the box with 15 minutes played.
Clucas got forward for the first time and delivered a cross in for O’Shea but the Irishman’s touch was unable to sufficiently change the direction of the ball in a positive way.
O’Shea’s shot hit Smith in the face and went out for a corner and that prompted a long spell in the Notts box for the trailing Spireites. Gnanduillet had a shot blocked, Carroll punched an effort away, Doyle hit the post and Evatt headed over in a pinball attack that came amidst three quick home corners, the sort of start Paul Cook had hoped for in the first half.
Johnson hit just wide from the box-edge as the Spireites players got the crowd going with some neat play. Wroe blocked another Spireites raid as the hosts began to function really well.
Cassidy was booked for kicking the ball away as Notts struggled to get any sort of foothold in this half.
Harrod replaced Wroe after 58 minutes as County looked to find an additional outlet alongside Cassidy. Carrol juggled a Darikwa cross but eventually gathered and that led to a rare Notts attack, Harrod’s shot was blocked by Evatt.
Big Spireites shouts for handball in the box were soon followed by a corner that saw Margreitter hit the bar with a header, Carroll saved the rebound from Banks and then from the next corner made another terrific save to deny Gnanduillet. Another corner, this time brought success, as Johnson’s delivery was headed home in emphatic style by Georg Margreitter at the far post with 61 minutes on the clock.
Chesterfield: Lee; Darikwa, Evatt, Margreitter, Clucas; O’Shea, Banks, Ryan, Johnson; Gnanduillet, Doyle. Subs: Wright, Raglan, Humphreys, Boco, Gardner, Dawes, Lamb.
Notts County: Carroll; Cranston, Hollis, Laing, Adams; Ismail, Smith, Wroe, Thompson, Noble; Cassidy. Subs: Speiss, Murray, Thompson, McKenzie, Haynes, Traore, Harrod.
Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northants).