Chesterfield narrowly beaten by the champions

BASEMENT boys Chesterfield ended their season with a 3-2 defeat at champions Sheffield United.
United's players celebrate Kieron Freeman's goal.United's players celebrate Kieron Freeman's goal.
United's players celebrate Kieron Freeman's goal.

After a dismal season the Spireites showed some fight before eventually going down after being reduced to 10 men due to Dan Gardner’s petulant push.

The visitors looked like ending a calamitous campaign with a point after goals from Kristian Dennis and Paul McGinn cancelled out Kieron Freeman and Billy Sharp’s efforts.

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But it was not to be as Daniel Lafferty ensured the Blades finished with bang on 100 points.

Manager Gary Caldwell made one change to the side that lost against Charlton Athletic as Liam Grimshaw came in for Connor Dimaio.

A lot of the build up surrounded Ched Evans’ rumoured move back to the Blades, but both managers shied away from confirming the transfer in their pre-match press conferences.

Caldwell’s men formed a respectful guard of honour for the hosts after their dominant showing this season.

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It was end-to-end at the start as both sides had chances to draw first blood.

Early on Dennis fired wide for the visitors, before Leon Clarke’s strike flicked the bar on its way over.

Youngster Joe Rowley had back-to-back efforts with shot-stopper Simon Moore making a good save, before Rowley smashed a shot over a minute later.

However, those missed chances came back to haunt Caldwell’s side as defender Freeman scrambled the ball home after his first strike was superbly stopped by Thorsten Stuckmann.

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After a good move from the visitors, Reece Mitchell was hauled down by Moore, with Dennis hitting the spot kick low for his 10th goal of the campaign.

Eleven minutes after the restart Grimshaw slashed a venomous volley from outside the box wide.

On the hour mark goal machine Sharp handed the hosts the lead with a bullet header for his 30th goal of the season.

However, the visitors were only behind for a matter of minutes as Mitchell’s strike was blocked into Paul McGinn’s path with the Scot slotting home.

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Just a minute after equalising, Gardner received a straight red for shoving goalscorer Sharp during a fracas in the middle of the pitch.

With the man advantage the Blades began to burst forward with Sharp shooting wide of two separate occasions.

With seven minutes left the extra man paid off as Stuckmann let Lafferty’s strike burst through his fingers.

At the death David Faupala had the ball in the net from an offside position.

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Sheff Utd: Moore, Basham, Wright (Chapman, 69), O’Connell, Freeman, Coutts, Duffy (Carruthers, 53), Fleck, Lafferty, Sharp, Clarke (Hanson, 42)

Unused subs: Long, Wilson, Brooks, Done.

Chesterfield: Stuckmann, Hird, Anderson, Maguire, McGinn, Gardner, Grimshaw, Nolan, Mitchell (Faupala, 69), Rowley (Humphreys, 81), Dennis (Beesley 90+1)

Unused subs: Fulton, Kakay, Dimaio, Wakefield.

Referee: John Busby

Attendance: 31,003