Spireites FT: Accrington Stanley 3, Chesterfield 1

Chesterfied players protest to the referee after a foul on Dan Gardner sees the striker leave the field on a stretcher
Chesterfied players protest to the referee after a foul on Dan Gardner sees the striker leave the field on a stretcher

Chesterfield remained top of the League Two table despite a shock 3-1 loss to struggling Accrington Stanley, who finished with ten men.

Stanley boss James Beattie has had a virus spread through his camp over the last few days so the former Blade had to make five changes to the side that narrowly lost at Burton last weekend.

Tommy Lee saves the initial penalty kick but concedes from the rebound by Tina Jenner Accrington Stanley v Chesterfield

Tommy Lee saves the initial penalty kick but concedes from the rebound by Tina Jenner Accrington Stanley v Chesterfield

He was also without suspended one time Miller Nicky Hunt.

Beattie drafted in last minute loan signing Adam Buxton from Wigan for his league debut at right back, whilst Danny Webber - another former Bramall Lane man - came in along with Will Hatfield, James Gray and back from suspension left-back Laurence Wilson.

Chesterfield had no sub keeper as Ian Dunbavin, borrowed from Stanley, was ineligible whilst back-ups Aaron Chapman (Chester) and Cameron Mason (Long Eaton) are out on loan.

Gray got the game’s first cross in but there were no Stanley men central to take advantage. Roberts stumbled as he got behind the home back line after an Evatt header forwards and a great chance was lost. Stanley moved forwards after that miss and won a free-kick out on the right. MOLYNEUX took it, seemingly mis-kicking along the ground, but the effort deceived the defence and the ball rolled in at the near post to give the hosts a fortuitous fourth-minute lead.

Molyneux had a chance immediately after following a Darikwa slip but he hooked the ball wide, as did Gnanduillet at the other end moments later but then, Humphreys clipped the heels of Hatfield, an a penalty was awarded. Webber took it, Lee saved but MOLYNEUX followed up to hit in off the bar from five yards to make it two after just 8 minutes.

Chesterfield enjoyed plenty of possession as they tried to work their way back into the contest but they were lacking quality in the vital areas of the park, Gnanduillet being guilty of a poor header from a Humphreys cross and Darikwa just over-running the ball after good build-up play.

Murphy was booked for failing to retreat at a free-kick as Stanley continued to work hard and press their loftier opponents. Lee had to save from Gray and Roberts had a close-ranger blocked on the line before he was seemingly shoved over from the rebound but referee Mathieson, who’d not officiated a Chesterfield win since 2007, waved ‘play-on.’

Murphy picked up a second yellow for a foul on Gardner on the half-hour to earn his marching orders and after a long break, the Chesterfield man was stretchered off.

Richards came on and Banks hit high from the second phase of the free-kick.

Spireites camped in Stanley’s half during the seven minutes of stoppage time, and Darikwa was convinced he was tripped in the box, but in a rare hosts’ break, Morsy gave the ball straight to MOLYNEUX who completed his hat-trick six minutes into added time.

The teams left the park with clashes between players and staff on the way to the dressing rooms, following a late Banks challenge.

Windass replaced Webber at the break and Paul Cook was missing from the away dugout; he was standing on the away terrace, seemingly sent-off for the third time this season. Goalkeeping coach Eric Nixon appeared to be acting as a go-between.

Richards and Gnanduillet headed efforts straight at Bettenelli as Chesterfield looked for a miracle. Doyle and O’Shea came on for Gnanduillet and Ryan.

Richards headed into the side-netting from a Roberts delivery but Spireites were struggling to create any real pressure on their opponents’ goal.

The situation called for desperate measures and skipper Evatt pushed up as a fourth forward as Chesterfield, with 601 fans in attendance, sought to get on the scoreboard.

Molyneux shot wide in a rare home raid whilst Chestefield began to delivery plenty of crosses, but invariably they were gathered by Bettinelli.

Banks had the ball in the net but O’Shea was flagged for offside ahead of his aborted assist and Evatt headed just wide from a fine Roberts cross as Spireites continued to camp in Accrington’s half without playing with any verve.

Bettinelli caught O’Shea’s corner, Banks half-volleyed close from a box-edge Evatt knock down and the keeper was positioned well to gather in O’Shea’s shot as Paul Cook’s side continued to toil in the final third.

EVATT pulled one back on 85 with a left-footed shot from 10 yards. Cooper’s low effort from range was saved as confirmation that Scunthorpe had only drawn at home with Northampton to ensure Spireites remain top.