Chesterfield start 2024 with stunning comeback against Solihull Moors - how the action unfolded

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Chesterfield started 2024 with a stunning comeback as they beat Solihull Moors 3-2.

The visitors led 1-0 at half-time through Matty Warburton and then Mark Beck doubled the lead on 53 minutes to give the Spireites a mountain to climb and put their unbeaten home record under-threat.

But it is a mountain they have climbed before, and they incredibly did so again much to the delight of the near 9,000 crowd, as three goals in five minutes from Tom Naylor, Ryan Colclough and Will Grigg completed a remarkable turnaround.

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Just like on Boxing Day, Solihull rode their luck massively, with both of their goals coming against the run of play, but the Blues’ never-say-die attitude shone through as they recorded a more than deserved victory which puts them seven points clear at the top of the table and they still have two games in hand.

Michael Jacobs in action against Solihull Moors. Picture: Tina Jenner.Michael Jacobs in action against Solihull Moors. Picture: Tina Jenner.
Michael Jacobs in action against Solihull Moors. Picture: Tina Jenner.

The Moors’ victory in the reverse fixture had been fortuitous, and it looked like they were going to do it again, so this three points will taste extra sweet for Chesterfield, who impressively secured their 14th straight home win in all competitions.

Paul Cook made four changes from the 2-0 defeat against the same opposition on Boxing Day. Branden Horton, Darren Oldaker, Michael Jacobs and Armando Dobra replaced the suspended Jamie Grimes, with Mike Jones, Ollie Banks and Liam Mandeville also dropping out. Naylor captained the side.

The first-half was an exact repeat of the second 45 in the reverse fixture as Chesterfield totally dominated but could not find the back of the net.

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Grigg had a header saved in the first five minutes but it would not have counted anyway as referee Richie Watkins had already blown for a foul against the striker.

For all the Spireites’ possession it was actually Solihull who had the first clear chance when they countered with Josh Kelly but his shot from a tight angle was well saved by Harry Tyrer.

But normal service soon resumed as Naylor forced Nick Hayes to parry after trying his luck from distance.

On Boxing Day, Solihull had cleared a couple of efforts off the line, and they did so again when James Clarke got back to hack away Dobra’s close-range finish before Hayes then saved the rebound.

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The visitors then took the lead on 34 minutes against the run of play when Kelly ran onto a long ball forward before squaring for Warburton to tuck the ball in.

As the half went on, Chesterfield had the Moors pinned back inside their own 18-yard box but they could not find a way through the yellow and blue wall as the away side refused to budge.

During two minutes of added-time, Clarke got back on the line for a second time to block Colclough’s header from going in, which ended a very frustrating half for Cook’s men. You wondered if it was going to be one of those days.

The second-half started in the same way, with Hayes saving from Grigg and Jacobs before Colclough hit the post, all in the first five minutes.

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But the Moors scored against the run of play again to double their lead on 53 minutes. They won a corner when Warburton’s drilled strike was judged to have taken a deflection on its way through. From the resulting delivery, Tyrer saved Kyle Morrison’s header but Beck pounced to nod in the rebound. It was a sucker-punch for Town.

But then came the stunning comeback. And it was fully deserved.

First, Naylor finished inside the area on 63 minutes after good work by Colclough down the left.

Two minutes later, Chesterfield were level as Colclough headed in Jeff King’s corner.

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And on 68 minutes, the Spireites had a third when Grigg scrambled home from close-range which lifted the roof off the SMH Group Stadium.

The game settled down after a breathless period, Chesterfield pushed for a fourth, before Beck headed wide late on.

There was a nervous gasp as seven minutes were added, but the Spireites saw the game out professionally to start 2024 in dramatic fashion, and they almost added a fourth through Dobra. Revenge is sweet.

Chesterfield: Tyrer; King, Palmer, Freckleton, Horton; Oldaker, Naylor (c); Jacobs (Banks, 76), Dobra, Colclough (Mandeville, 82); Grigg (Quigleyt, 86)

Unused subs: Sheckleford, Berry.

Attendance: 8,898 (171 Solihull Moors fans)