Chesterfield miss chance to win EFL promotion after conceding four in defeat to Halifax

Chesterfield missed the chance to clinch the National League title and promotion to the Football League after losing 4-2 at play-off chasing Halifax.
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The Spireites, backed by a vocal 2,300 away following, only needed a point but they fell to defeat in West Yorkshire. However, they will have another opportunity to get their hands on the trophy when they host Boreham Wood on Saturday.

Will Grigg gave Town the lead just after the half-hour mark but three Halifax goals in 15 minutes before half-time, including a double from Rob Harker and one from Andrew Oluwabori, gave the visitors an uphill task on a dreadful pitch at The Shay on Wednesday night.

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And any prospect of a promotion party was well and truly over when Aaron Cosgrave made it 4-1 on 66 minutes despite substitute James Berry pulling a goal back with 10 minutes remaining. Town applied some pressure late on, but couldn’t find a third to make it an exciting ending.

Chesterfield were defeat at Halifax on Wednesday night.  (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)Chesterfield were defeat at Halifax on Wednesday night.  (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
Chesterfield were defeat at Halifax on Wednesday night. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Halifax were clinical and played the difficult pitch better and deserved the win. Although it won’t matter this season, the four goals conceded here and at Bromley and Dorking Wanderers, as well as the two at Oldham Athletic, will probably give manager Paul Cook food for thought next year.

There were seven changes from the 2-2 defeat against Oldham on Saturday including Liam Mandeville and Bailey Clements coming into the full-back areas. Ryan Colclough made his first start since January after injury, and Grigg returned up top. Bailey Hobson retained his place after scoring on his first league start at Boundary Park.

This match was in doubt earlier in the day but the boggy surface passed an afternoon inspection.

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The hosts started brightly with Oluwabori forcing Harry Tyrer into an early save from distance and then Kane Thompson-Sommers saw an effort cleared off the line by Jamie Grimes. Had the pitch not been a mud-bath it probably would have gone but it seemed to get stuck in the sludge.

Chesterfield, meanwhile, had got into some good areas but their final pass let them down. The returning Colclough looked dangerous, with one dribble and shot just going past the post, before another turn and shot was deflected behind.

Town took the lead just after the half-hour mark when Colclough cut inside and cracked the post, but Grigg was there to tuck away from close-range. There were jubilant scenes in the away end, but they were cut short just a minute later as the game was turned on its head.

Halifax equalised instantly on 33 minutes with a clever finish from Harker, who then added a second seven minutes later when he ran through and clipped the ball over Tyrer. And the home side grabbed a third in added-time when Oluwabori was slipped in, again one v one, and he slotted in.

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Chesterfield had come from behind many times this season, and they would need to again if they were to get the point they needed to clinch the title and promotion.

Harker went clean through on goal early in the second-half but he stood on top of the ball and the chance was lost.

Berry replaced Colclough on the hour, who possibly picked up a knock, as Hobson drilled wide from 18 yards, and then Grigg missed a glorious chance to notch his second but he slid wide from Clements’ cross.

And Chesterfield were made to pay when Cosgrave tapped-in a swift counter-attack.

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And it was never going to be the Spireites’ night when Grigg had a one v one saved by Sam Johnson.

Berry raced through to make it 4-2 to give Chesterfield a glimmer of hope, and they threw the kitchen sink at Halifax in the closing stages, but it wasn’t to be.

As well as possibly Colclough, there were potential injuries to Tyrone Williams, who had to come off with 15 minutes left, and Grigg, who hobbled off down the tunnel before the full-time whistle

The huge away following went home disappointed, but they could get their day on Saturday when they entertain Boreham Wood.

Chesterfield: Tyrer; Mandeville, Williams (Palmer, 75), Grimes, Clements; Naylor, Banks; Dobra, Hobson (Quigley, 82), Colclough (Berry, 59); Grigg.

Unused subs: Jones, Jacobs.