MATCH REPORT: Season's best as Spireites stun leaders
Chesterfield produced their performance of the season to nullify the many threats of freescoring league leaders Luton and beat them 2-0.
The Spireites belied their form and their position in the table to end a six-game winless streak and move out of the drop zone with a fine Joe Rowley goal and Jak McCourt’s penalty.
But it was the defensive performance that secured the points, a back four that stood firm all afternoon and reduced Luton to long range efforts that Aaron Ramsdale fielded comfortably.
In midfield Town were dogged and intelligent and up top on his own Chris O’Grady worked his socks off throughout.
The hosts started brightly, Josh Kay, Zavon Hines and McCourt all involved in some promising attacking play, without being able to muster a shot on goal.
Luton were quiet by comparison but when they did attack they looked purposeful, Andrew Shinnie forcing Ramsdale into a smart save at his near post.
A miserable seven hours and six minutes without a Chesterfield goal came to an end in wonderful fashion.
Hines came in from the left and played a perfectly weighted ball to Robbie Weir on the right and he played it straight into the feet of Rowley, the teenager supplying a brilliant first time finish.
The Hatters looked for an instant response, winning a corner on the right, but found themselves straight back on the defensive as Town broke, McCourt ignoring free men streaming through the middle to find Kay who could only win a corner.
On 25 minutes Chesterfield were in dreamland and Luton were rocking.
Hines attacked from the left wing and was felled as he entered the area by James Justin, referee Carl Boyeson pointing to the spot.
McCourt took the spot kick, after Justin was yellow carded, and sent it low and hard into the bottom right hand corner to send the Kop into raptures.
There was a nervy moment when Sid Nelson sold his keeper short with a back pass and Ramsdale had his hurried clearance blocked, but the ball bounced to safety and the Spireites broke again, McCourt’s long range shot saved.
Ramsdale should have been forced into action again when the ball was sent into the feet of Shinnie six yards out yet he spooned it over the bar.
Shinne was in the thick of it again when Town gave him too much time and space outside the area, Ramdale was equal to the resulting shot however.
Having reached the break two goals to the good, Chesterfield made a solid start to the second half, only a flicked header from Elliott Lee in the opening 10 minutes causing concern, before Ramsdale plucked it out of the air.
At the other end Marek Stech had to be alert to punch clear a dangerous Weir cross and then palm out Louis Reed’s bouncing 25-yarder.
Town frustrated the visitors by being rock solid at the back and keeping their shape in midfield, then putting the ball in behind Luton and forcing them to turn and go back, repeatedly.
The expected onslaught from the title hopefuls never really arrived, Ramsdale saving a fierce Jordan Cook save in the only moment of real quality from Luton in the latter stages.
Five minutes of injury time were dealt with relatively comfortably before a deserved win was celebrated by three sides of the Proact.
Chesterfield: Ramsdale, Weir, Talbot, Nelson, Maguire, Reed, McCourt (Dimaio 90), Hines (Binnom-Williams 82), Kay, Rowley, O’Grady. Subs: Parkin, De Girolamo, Kellett, Ofoegbu, Wakefield.
Luton: Stech, Justin, Potts, Mullins, Famewo, Rea, O. Lee (Cornick 29), Berry, Shinnie (Ruddock 83), Collins (Cook 83), E. Lee. Subs: Stacey, Senior, D’Ath, Shea.
Referee: Carl Boeyson. Assistants: Alf Greenwood, Isherwood.
Goalscorers: Rowley 19, McCourt 25
Yellows: Maguire 36; Kay 17, Lee 87
Attendance: 5,715 (1,244 away)