Rochdale 2 Chesterfield 1 (final score)

Armand Gnanduillet under pressure - Pic By James Williamson
Armand Gnanduillet under pressure - Pic By James Williamson

Spireites interest in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy was ended through Scott Tanser and Lewis Alessandra goals either side of an Ashley Eastham own goal, after a ball in from sub Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.

The two first time starters from the 2-0 win at Crewe, Mani Dieseruvwe and Rai Simons, had retained their shirts and Dean Saunders called up two more full debut makers, Jake Orrell and Dion Donohue who, last season, were playing for Gateshead reserves and Sutton Coldfield Town respectively.

Also coming in were Arman Gnanduillet, Sam Hird and 2012 JPT winner Drew Talbot; they replaced Chris Herd, Ian Evatt, Jay O’Shea, who was on the bench, two goal weekend scorer Dan Gardner and suspended skipper Sam Morsy. Hird took the armband.

Keith Hill rang the changes too, also making five changes after losing 3-1 against Bradford. The incomers were Eastham, Matty Lund, Alessandra, Tanser and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing but former Chesterfield favourite Donal McDermott kept his place.

Rochdale seemed to take to the rainy conditions a little better. Chesterfield’s inexperienced line up struggled to build up any head of steam before the break, indeed Spireites didn’t manage a single shot in the opening 45, whilst the hosts delivered 11 shots with the only one on target breaking the deadlock in the 18th minute.

Spireites had a throw-in in the left-back area, Dan Jones took it but Liam O’Neil shinned it straight out; Dale got the ball back live quickly, squared it for Tanser, appearing for the first time this season. He shot from just outside the box, the ball took a deflection to take it away from Tommy Lee for only the second goal of the full-back’s career.

Dale skipper Peter Vincenti had three first half chances, he blazed two wide from good positions and headed the other over under pressure from Lee. Not surprisingly, half-time saw changes with O’Shea and Ebanks-Blake coming on and the pair immediately livened up the visitors, though Mendez-Laing managed the game’s second shot on target, it was easy for Lee, who was then beaten by Alessandra but an offside flag denied the striker.

McDermott robbed O’Shea to set up Mendez-Laing and Lee had to block his angled shot as the hour marked passed with Spireites still to register a shot.

Then, out of the blue, Ebanks-Blake burst into the box to deliver a low cross; Dieseruvwe was in there as was O’Shea but after a pinball by the line, Eastham bundled the ball into his own goal. Within a minute Spireites were behind again. McDermott found space and forced a Lee save and Alessandra reacted quickest to the loose ball to drill it home, left-footed. O’Shea’s free-kick was pawed away by Jason Lillis before the game really opened out, Dieseruvwe missing a great opportunity to equalise with a far post header from Banks’ cross whilst Orrell had two shots blocked.

Lee had to make a fine save to deny Mendez-Laing and Vincenti’s rebound shot was deflected as Dale saw out the final exchanges.

Rochdale: Lillis, Cannon (Bennett 21 (Noble-Lazarus 53)), McNulty, Eastham, Tanser, Vincenti, Lund, Camps, McDermott (Barry-Murphy 84), Mendez-Laing, Alessandra. Subs: Diba-Musangu, Hooper.

Goals: Tanser 18, Alessandra 65

Chesterfield: Lee, Talbot (O’Shea HT), Hird, Raglan, Jones, Simons (Banks 79), O’Neil, Donohue, Dieseruvwe, Orrell, Gnanduillet (Ebanks-Blake HT). Subs: Cairns, Humphreys.

Goal: Eastham og 64

Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire)

Booked: Bennett (Rochdale)

Attendance: 1042