Paul Cook cut a disappointed figure after Chesterfield’s 2-0 defeat at home to Preston North End that saw the Spireites slip out of the League One play-off spots.
Tuesday night’s game at the Proact Stadium promised to be an entertaining match up of two of the division’s in-form sides but it seldom lived up to the pre-match billing.
The sending off of Chesterfield defender Sam Hird inside the opening three minutes of the encounter meant an early re-shuffle of the pack for Cook and his management team.
The Spireites battled to remain in the contest but were beaten by a goal in each half from the impressive Joe Garner who partnered ex-Blue Kevin Davies in attack for Preston.
“Our lads stuck at it extremely well but you have to respect Preston and the quality they have in their side and when you’ve got ten men for so long it’s always going to be an uphill battle,” said Cook.
Hird pulled back Garner when the Preston striker was clean through on goal but replays offered up the question of whether he was offside before the incident occurred.
There was also a feeling from the Spireites camp that keeper Tommy Lee was impeded when coming to clear a corner that led to Garner’s second on the night ten minutes from time.
“Referees and linesmen make mistakes, it’s the nature of the game, whether they’re right or wrong it’s irrelevant.
“We’ve been beaten 2-0. It’s a difficult game but what we must be able to do is speak our minds.
“Once the sending off came it was always going to be difficult.
“I can’t fault the players for their effort and application.
“I thought the crowd stuck with us on a difficult night when you’ve only got ten men.
“It’s disappointing that as a contest it was over quite quickly,” added Cook, who will be without the suspended Hird for Saturday’s visit of bottom side Leyton Orient.
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