Chesterfield remain in command at top after hard-fought win against Hartlepool United - report

Chesterfield visited Victoria Park on Saturday.Chesterfield visited Victoria Park on Saturday.
Chesterfield visited Victoria Park on Saturday.
Chesterfield remain eight points clear at the top of the league after battling to a hard-fought 1-0 win at Hartlepool United.

Armando Dobra’s deflected volley on five minutes turned out to be the winner at a wet and windy Victoria Park.

It had been quite an action-packed and entertaining first-half, with chances for both sides, but Town were professional after the break and didn’t give the Pools a sniff.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was gritty, at times ugly, but it was the sort of win that, whisper it quiely, champions get.

This was the Spireites’ fifth successive win in all competitions and it keeps them in a commanding position at the top of table and they still have two games in hand.

Paul Cook made nine changes from the win against Southport in the FA Trophy. Only Ryheem Sheckleford and Joe Quigley kept their place in the side. Jeff King was involved in a matchday squad for a league game for the first time in more than two months. Mike Jones served the final suspension of his two-match ban.

It was nearly a nightmare start for Chesterfield in the first 30 seconds after some indecision between Harry Tyrer and Jamie Grimes allowed former Spireite Mani Dieseruvwe to nip in but he rolled the ball wide with the goal gaping.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And the hosts were made to pay on five minutes. Liam Mandeville’s corner was only cleared to the edge of the box but Dobra’s low, left-footed volley took a deflection and found the bottom corner.

Another set-piece led to a chance for the Blues but Ollie Banks hooked a volley over the bar after Ash Palmer won a header from Mandeville’s free-kick.

Dobra, Chesterfield’s star man on the day, looked full of confidence and he came close twice more with another volley which was blocked after smart link-up play with Mandeville. Later on, he got a shot on target from inside the area but it was straight at goalkeeper Joel Dixon.

But that was about as good as it got for Town in the first 45 as Hartlepool battled their way back into the game, much to the delight of the home faithful, who were encouraged by what they were seeing.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Pools continued to exploit Chesterfield’s high defensive line and that led to another huge chance for Dieseruvwe. With Dobra claiming he was fouled, referee Aaron Bannister allowed play to continue, and the Pools striker was slid in one v one with Tyrer but he put it narrowly past the far post.

The game had a bit of an edge to it, with Hartlepool’s Callum Cooke, and Chesterfield pair Quigley and Branden Horton yellow carded, but the away side managed to stop the home pressure and get in ahead at the break.

The Spireites started the second-half on the front-foot, winning four early corners, but they couldn’t make any of them count.

Dobra had the ball in the net again on 55 minutes but it was ruled out for a foul by Banks on Dixon. It looked to be the correct decision and there were no complaints from the visitors.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Chesterfield continued to be on top as the game reached the hour-mark. They went close again when Grimes hit the side-netting from Mandeville’s deep corner and then Banks tested Dixon after more good work by Dobra.

Referee Bannister added more names into his book with Ciaran Brennan and Joe Mattock for the Pools, and Darren Oldaker and Tyrer for Town.

With 20 minutes remaining, Cook made a double change, with Miguel Freckleton and James Berry replacing Horton and Banks. That meant that Dobra moved into the ‘10’ behind Quigley.

Will Grigg came on for Quigley on 80 as Chesterfield continued to be in control. Hartlepool had not threatened at all after the break but the Spireites’ lead remained slim.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As the clock ticked towards 90, Mandeville had a good chance blocked, and then Tom Naylor saved the day with a last-ditch tackle to deny Cooke. Back down the other end, Naylor had a goal ruled out for offside, perhaps wrongly, after some pinball in the box from a corner.

Four minutes were added, but Chesterfield saw the game out professionally. Oh what fun it is to see the Spireites win away!

Chesterfield: Tyrer; Sheckleford, Palmer, Grimes, Horton (Freckleton, 70); Oldaker, Naylor; Mandeville, Banks (Berry,70), Dobra; Quigley (Grigg, 80).

Unused subs: King, Jacobs.

Attendance: 4,611 (989 Chesterfield fans).