Match report: Chesterfield FC 1 Millwall 3
Clinical finishing was the difference between Chesterfield and Millwall this afternoon at the Proact as the visitors ran out 3-1 winners.
All three of the Lions’ goals came before the interval and they were all impressive efforts from outside the area.
The Spireites, who hit back after the break through Sam Hird, weren’t entirely blameless, slack marking, poor passing and indecision assisting the Millwall goals - a double from Man of the Match Steve Morison and a Shane Ferguson strike.
A crowd of just 5,630 watched as the Spireites fell to their first home defeat of the season, given a lesson in finishing by one of League One’s promotion hopefuls
The game got off to a blistering start with golden chances for both sides inside two minutes.
Shaun Williams rattled the Chesterfield crossbar after 40 seconds with a fierce half volley from 30 yards.
The Spireites went straight down the other end where Ched Evans miskicked eight yards out, the ball finding Gboly Ariyibi at the back post who was foiled by keeper Jordan Archer.
In the same attack the home side had a decent shout for a penalty but had to settle for a corner, Ariyibi’s cross apparently blocked legally by Joe Martin.
It was Danny Wilson’s men who bossed the early possession, Jon Nolan pulling the strings and providing their next chance for Evans with a lovely through ball, the striker turning and dragging his shot past the near post.
Against the run of play, Chesterfield found themselves a goal down, Millwall breaking out of defence, Steve Morrison knocking the ball down and Shane Ferguson, in acres of space, drilling it into the far corner of the net.
A minute later the Spireites came close to an equaliser, Dan Gardner slamming a half volley just wide of the left hand upright.
On the half hour mark Chesterfield cleared a Millwall corner and broke with speed, Nolan haring through the middle and screaming for the ball, O’Shea unable to play the pass quickly enough as a defender got back to challenge Nolan.
A last ditch tackle denied Evans just six yards out, Chesterfield unable to scramble the ball home and spurning another great position with 10 minutes left in the half.
But yet again, clinical finishing from Millwall stunned the hosts and turned the game entirely entirely in favour of Neil Harris’ men.
Dion Donohue’s pass for Evans was poor and easily cut out by Bryon Webster who fed Morison, the striker hammering the ball past Fulton from 20 yards.
Three minutes later Millwall were 3-0 to the good, a ball over the top releasing Morison who, with Fulton caught in no man’s land and Ian Evatt unable to recover, lobbed the ball home from a long way out.
At the interval Millwall replaced Fred Oyedinma, who had only come on in the 39th minute for Joe Martin, with Sid Nelson.
Chesterfield forged two good chances at the start of the second period, a Nolan free-kick headed out of his own goalmouth by Morison and a corner sent back across goal by Evatt, narrowly over the top.
Morison continued to show his threat, leaving Evatt in his wake with a step over and trying to find Aiden O’Brien in the middle, Sam Hird clearing the danger.
The centre-half then made an even better contribution at the other end, rising to nod down Nolan’s curling free-kick, past Archer and into the net.
Millwall’s goalkeeper earned the first yellow card of the game for his protests after being challenged by Evans with no free-kick ensuing.
The men in yellow had a chance to put the game beyond Town, on the break, Fulton having to save smartly from O’Brien as the defence struggled to recover.
Reece Mitchell was lively for the hosts after taking Gardner’s place on the left, getting down the line and taking men on before testing Archer late on with a low drive.
Town huffed and puffed in the latter stages, getting into good positions but letting themselves down with the final ball or the finish, before Millwall celebrated victory in front of almost 500 traveling fans.
Chesterfield: Fulton, McGinn, Donohue, Hird, Evatt, Nolan, Gardner (Mitchell 52), Ariyibi, O’Shea (Dennis 59), Evans. Subs: Allinson, Raglan, Daly, Dimaio, Simons.
Millwall: Archer, Romeo, Martin (Onyedinma 39) (Nelson 46), Webster, Craig; Worrall, Ferguson (Butcher 82), Williams, Thompson; O’Brien, Morison. Subs: Wylde, Abdou, Philpot, King.
Referee: Mr Lee Probert
Assistants: Mr Christopher Akers, Mr Akil Howson.
Goalscorers: Hird 65; Ferguson 13; Morison 38, 41
Yellows: Archer 68, Williams 71
Attendance: 5,630 (489)