MATCH REPORT: Chesterfield 0-1 Stevenage - Spireites fail to build on back-to-back wins
Chesterfield's infuriating inconsistency reared its ugly head again this afternoon at the Proact as they lost to a single Stevenage goal.
The Spireites failed to follow up their wins over Luton and Yeovil with a third positive result and they still haven’t won three on the trot since April 2015.
What will be particularly galling is the manner of the goal conceded, another unfortunate goalkeeping error.
Aaron Ramsdale’s botched clearance kick gifted Boro their winner early in the second half and try as they might, Town couldn’t find a leveller.
Fortunately, Forest Green Rovers were also beaten and Jack Lester’s side remain a point clear of the drop zone.
The first half-chance came the way of the hosts, Joe Rowley linking up well with Josh Kay and scampering clear on the right before playing a dangerous ball across the face of goal and out of play.
After an opening 20 minutes devoid of quality or excitement, Stevenage came agonisingly close to taking the lead, a beautifully flighted Mark McKee free-kick headed onto the post by Danny Newton, before Fraser Franks scooped the ball over the top from three yards.
That moment brought a little life to the game, Louis Reed breaking through the middle and feeding Zavon Hines who cut in from the left and shot, only to see the offside Kristian Dennis deflect the ball wide.
Referee Mark Heywood was the centre of attention a number of times in the first half, mostly for keeping his yellow card in his pocket when both sides felt it should have been shown.
He did, eventually, bring it out and flashed it in Laurence Maguire’s direction, ironically for what looked like a firm but fair tackle.
Chesterfield finally seemed to click into gear in the final minutes of the half, Josh Kay shooting over from the edge of the box when a corner was half cleared before Robbie Weir’s drive was blocked after good work from Hines.
The referee was asked to make a big call early in the second half when Jack McCourt was scythed down very late on the touchline by Franks, but only a yellow was produced.
Disaster struck for Town three minutes after the break when Stevenage cleared downfield, Aaron Ramsdale came rushing out of his area and miskicked his clearance onto the legs of Ben Kennedy, the ball rebounding past the stopper and into the net.
The response to the goal was positive from the Spireites, Rowley winning a free-kick that Louis Reed fired on target, Tom King having to palm over.
McCourt then did well to get to the byline on the right and sent the ball right through the goalmouth but no one could apply the necessary final touch.
Andy Kellett, on to replace Hines, took play from one end to the other with a stirring run before feeding McCourt and when his ball found its way to Rowley, the youngster saw his shot deflected off target.
Stevenage did well to take the sting out of the game, however, and were very hard to break down which resulted in Chesterfield going long with no joy whatsoever.
Jack Lester sent Chris O’Grady on to try and hold the ball up and he very nearly found the equaliser.
The big striker won a corner and then got free of his marker to meet Kellett’s set-piece, the header flashing past the post.
Stevenage almost killed the game off through Tom Pett, the substitute running at the Town defence and curling the ball beyond Ramsdale but also beyond the far post.
The visiting keeper caused calamity in his area by failing to hold a Kellett free-kick but Dennis saw his shot blocked and O’Grady could only hook the ball over the top.
Kellett then swung in a corner and fellow Jerome Binnom-Williams headed wide at the back post.
Six minutes were added on by the referee but Stevenage held out to do the double over Chesterfield for the 2017/18 season.
Chesterfield: Ramsdale, Weir, Whitmore, Nelson, Maguire, Reed, Rowley, Hines (Kellett 62), McCourt, Kay (O’Grady 73), Dennis. Subs: Parkin, Binnom-Williams, Wiseman, Dimaio, De Girolamo.
Stevenage: T. King, Henry, Van Cooten, J. King, Franks, Wilmott, McKee, Smith, Newton (Wilkinson 83), Godden (Conlon 60), Kennedy (Pett 51). Subs: Fryer, Wade-Slater, Georgiou.
Referee: Mr Mark Heywood. Assistants: Mr Peter Gooch, Mr Andrew Newbold.
Goalscorers: Kennedy 48
Yellows: Maguire 30, Nelson 53, McCourt 89; Franks 46, Godden 57
Attendance: 4,981 (174 away)