Chesterfield narrowly beaten at Coventry City
Scott Wiseman saw red as Chesterfield got their 2018 off to the worst possible start with defeat away at Coventry City.
Marc McNulty’s first-half goal proved the difference as the hosts ensured all three points remained at the Ricoh Arena.
The Spireites did have chances on goal with efforts coming from Andy Kellett and Laurence Maguire either side of half-time but their efforts were fruitless as Chesterfield fell to their fourth defeat in five league games.
Both sides had chances in the opening stages but it was the Sky Blues who broke the deadlock, McNulty curling an effort past Jake Eastwood from outside the area.
Kristian Dennis went close minutes later when played through on goal by Kellett, only to be brought back for offside.
Kellett forced a good save from Lee Burge after turning his man in midfield before firing left-footed towards goal but that was all Chesterfield could muster before the break.
The Spireites were forced into an early change in the second half as Maguire came on to replace the injured Sam Hird, and the defender was involved almost immediately, rising highest from a corner only to direct his effort wide.
As the game ticked past the hour mark, Coventry applied the pressure with Tom Bayliss and Devon Kelly-Evans both seeing efforts blocked while Chris Stokes brought a save out of Eastwood.
Chesterfield were struggling to find the breakthrough but Kellett tried his luck from inside the box only to see it go wide of the target.
And the task got even harder for the visitors ten minutes from time as Wiseman was given his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card for a late foul on Jordan Ponticelli. That came just 15 minutes after his first booking for pushing Bayliss off the ball.
Town reverted to 3-4-2 after the sending off but were unable to force the equaliser, instead having to defend against conceding further.
Coventry City (4-4-2): Burge, Grimmer, Willis, Davies, Stokes, Shipley (Haynes 79), Doyle, Bayliss, Dev. Kelly-Evans, McNulty, Biamou (Ponticelli 66)
Substitutes not used: O’Brien, Hyam, Di. Kelly-Evans, Maycock, Stevenson
Chesterfield (4-2-3-1): Eastwood, Weir, Hird (Maguire 45), Wiseman, Binnom-Williams, Reed, McCourt, Rowley, Dimaio (O’Grady 67), Kellett, Dennis (De Girolamo 74)
Substitutes not used: Mitchell, German, Parkin, Ofoegbu