Nightmare first half costs Spireites against League Two Accrington in EFL Trophy
Chesterfield failed to recover from a nightmare first half as they were beaten 4-1 at home to League Two opposition.
The EFL Trophy game, attended by just 976, got away from the Spireites long before the break, Accrington Stanley by far the better side.
A 3-0 lead at the interval was no more than Stanley deserved, against a Chesterfield side struggling to do much with the ball.
The six changes Danny Wilson made to the side who started Saturday’s game against Bradford might have played a part in the slow start, but in truth Town had enough quality and experience in the ranks to at least compete.
A brief resurgence followed the half-time break, Kristian Dennis coming off the bench to score what was ultimately a consolation goal, before the home side’s challenge fizzled out.
Dan Gardner welcomed Aaron Chapman back to the Proact with a fierce volley in the fourth minute, stinging the hands of the ex Spireites keeper from 22 yards.
Accrington Stanley forged their first chance through the quick feet of Jordan Clark, the winger skipping past Laurence Maguire and firing the ball to the back post and out of play.
The opening goal came from a recent Chesterfield trialist, Gary Taylor-Fletcher giving his new club Accrington the lead with a header over the stranded Lloyd Allinson from close to the byline, after a scramble in the six-yard box.
John Coleman’s men took advantage of some slack play in the middle and some hesitant defending to double their lead, Terry Gornell finding the top corner of the net from just outside the box midway through the half.
Keeping hold of the ball was Chesterfield’s big problem whenever they crossed the halfway line, the lack of striker in the starting line-up very evident as Dan Gardner, Gboly Ariyibi and Jay O’Shea struggled to impose themselves as an attacking trio.
Town had no sooner cleared off their line through a Ritchie Humphreys header than Allinson was picking the ball out of his net again, Accrington regaining possession and setting up Clark who arrowed a wonderful strike into the roof of the net from 25 yards.
The third goal came just before the break and left Chesterfield with a mountain to climb and seemingly little idea of how to even begin scaling it.
The half-time interval saw a double change, Danny Wilson sending on a pair of strikers in Ricky German and KRistian Dennis and taking off Gardner and Ritchie Humphreys.
Within two minutes of the restart German had introduced himself to the action, muscling a defender out of the way to run onto Gary Liddle’s header but firing well over once in a position to shoot.
Chesterfield dominated proceedings for the 15 minutes following the interval and deservedly got their reward when, after a nice passage of play, O’Shea touched the ball on for Dennis to rifle home, hard and low, from just inside the area.
They very nearly made it 3-2 two minutes later, O’Shea dancing across the area before scuffing a shot that Chapman had to tip wide of his left hand upright.
But Stanley relieved the pressure with one simple attack, working the ball to Gornell on the right hand side of the box, the striker drilling it under Allinson to restore the three-goal lead.
The game resembled a training exercise for much of the remainder, Chesterfield huffing and puffing but doing little to trouble their visitors, Accrington evidently settling for the 4-1 scoreline.