SPIREITES: Chesterfield FC 3 Crawley Town 0 match report

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Chesterfield moved in to the League One play-offs with a comfortable victory over Crawley Town at the Proact Stadium.

Eoin Doyle gave the Spireites a half-time lead before two goals in as many second half minutes all but finished the game as a contest.

Jay O’Shea doubled the home side’s advantage six minutes after the break before Doyle scored his 24th of the season moments later.

It wrapped up the win and meant Chesterfield go in to Saturday’s clash with Doncaster Rovers a point clear of seventh-placed Fleetwood.

Speculation surrounding Doyle’s future heightened prior to kick-off following the capture of striker Byron Harrison on Tuesday afternoon.

Doyle, Chesterfield’s top scorer, has attracted interest from a number of clubs this transfer window but was named in the line-up to face Crawley.

The signing of Harrison, who penned an 18-month deal from Cheltenham Town for an undisclosed fee, didn’t go through in time to make the squad.

Spireites manager Paul Cook, therefore, named an unchanged side to that which were knocked out of the FA Cup by Derby County on Saturday.

Chesterfield gave their supporters a lot to shout about on the day and another 5,329 were inside the Proact Stadium for this one.

Rock-bottom Crawley last tasted victory on October 21 of last year, some 16 games ago, and started like a team badly lacking in confidence.

Doyle had two sights of goal inside the first ten minutes, slotting home the first only for a linesman’s flag to intervene and blazing over from the angle.

It was one-way traffic during the opening exchanges. Armand Gnanduillet fired a free-kick in to the wall from 25 yards after he was fouled by Marvin Elliott.

The danger wasn’t cleared and, when Tendayi Darikwa picked up the pieces wide on the right and delivered to the back post, the striker’s header was saved.

Crawley, who had offered very little going forward up to that point, had the ball in the back of the net through Izale McLeod only for it to be chalked off.

Referee Stuart Attwell had spotted an infringement on keeper Tommy Lee when the ball was played in to the box by Anthony Wordsworth.

Former MK Dons forward, McLeod, was stopped in his tracks moments later by a well-timed tackle from Charlie Raglan after a swift break away.

The visitors had come to life and came close when Jimmy Smith rose to meet Wordsworth’s free-kick and looped a header that skimmed the top of the bar.

Gnanduillet’s presence caused Crawley plenty of problems and it was from his flick on that Doyle broke the deadlock in the 34th minute.

The Irishman cut inside two defenders and swept the ball in to the bottom corner of the net past a stranded Lewis Price in the visitors’ goal.

Penalty appeals were waved away when Sam Clucas was seemingly tripped in the area and Price was forced in to a save to keep out Sam Hird’s header.

Crawley had even given up running at one point as they struggled to find an outlet in attack. The Spireites were having no such problems.

Dan Jones advanced to the byline and the faintest of touches from Price prevented a second when he took the ball away from Gnanduillet rushing in.

Chesterfield started the second half where they had left the first, in the ascendancy and took full advantage of some rather wayward defending.

O’Shea cut in from the right unchallenged and made a shooting opportunity for himself, unleashed a curling left-footed effort beyond a helpless Price.

Spireites supporters hardly had time to catch their breath before Doyle capitalised on a defensive error to nip in and slot past Price for his second.

It was all too easy for Chesterfield who had the Crawley defence at sixes and sevens. The hosts had more than 35 minutes to get as many goals.

Ritchie Humphreys replaced Sam Morsy before former Chesterfield man Dean Morgan was introduced in place of Smith in one of two changes for the visitors.

And he had three chances in quick succession; forcing a smart save from Lee, inches from the second phase cross and then headed wide from a resulting corner.

Crawley almost gave their 51 fans inside the Proact something to cheer about when Gwion Edwards raced through only for Lee to beat him to the ball and clear.

The home faithful were on their feet once more before the final whistle to applaud Drew Talbot’s return from injury and his first appearance of the season.

Teams

Chesterfield (4-4-2): Lee; Darikwa (Talbot 80), Hird, Raglan, Jones; O’Shea (Gardner 83), Morsy (c) (Humphreys 60), Ryan, Clucas; Doyle, Gnanduillet

Subs: Wright, Evatt, Banks, Dieseruvwe

Crawley (4-4-2): Price; Oyebanjo, Walsh, Ward, Dickson; Young, Elliott (Bawling 65), Smith (Morgan 65), Wordsworth; McLeod (Harrold 75), Edwards

Subs: Bradley, Anderson, Tomlin, Dutton

Goals: Doyle 34 & 53, O’Shea 53 (Chesterfield); None (Crawley)

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

Attendance: 5,329 (51).