Spireites match report: Cheltenham Town 1 Chesterfield 0

It was a tale of two headers as the Spireites slipped to their first ever defeat against Cheltenham Town.

Armand Gnanduillet had a gilt edged chance just past the half hour mark but he fluffed his lines, heading Jay O’Shea’s pin-point cross down into the ground from where it bounced harmlessly into the arms of keeper Scott Brown.

Then, just when it looked like Paul Cook’s men had more than earned a point against a side that hadn’t lost a league game since September, left back Billy Jones delivered to the near post and Paul Benson was on hand to head home an undeserved winner.

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Prior to the goal, which lifted the Robins into third spot, Tommy Lee had observed from a position of virtual unemployment as Liam Cooper and Neal Trotman continued their excellent form at the heart of an increasingly mean defence.

However up front it was a different story.

Unchanged from the win at Dagenham & Redbridge, and Spireites played much better in this game, Gnanduillet caused problems and worked his socks off. He was exhausted when replaced nine minutes from time.

Partner Marc Richards, now without a goal in eight, could benefit from taking a few leaves from the Frenchman’s unfinished but promising book. The ex-Port Vale man glanced an early header wide from Conor Townsend’s cross but his replacement Jack Lester caused plenty of problems in his half hour or so on the park.

Lester volleyed left footed just over from the box-edge and the 37 year old almost won it for the visitors when he whipped a crackerjack of a shot inches wide from 20 yards.

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Gnanduillet forced Brown to save well early on from an angled shot on the right edge of the box, Drew Talbot saw Steve Elliott head over his own bar with a goal bound 30 yarder whilst Townsend and Sam Hird went close.

Marlon Pack, with a sixth minute header that flew high and Jason Taylor, who hammered over 13 minutes from time, had Cheltenham’s only real efforts ahead of the last gasp body blow.

Cook rued: “That was really disappointing. Was that their first shot on target? It’s hard for us because we’re just not scoring. It’s just not firing for Marc Richards at the minute so we’ve just got to stick in there and keep working. I’ve got no criticisms of our lads.”

Cheltenham: Brown, Lowe 7, Hector, Elliott, Jones, Taylor, Pack, Penn (McGlashan 65), Deering (Mohamed 86), Carter (Harrison 65), Benson. Subs (not used): Roberts, Duffy, Harrad, Jombati.

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Chesterfield: Lee, Talbot, Trotman, Cooper, Smith, O’Shea, Hird, Togwell, Townsend, Gnanduillet (Darikwa 81), Richards (Lester 62). Subs (not used): Barrington, Whitaker, Brindley, Randall, Clark.

Ref: Andy Woolmer (Northants)

Bookings: Richards, Smith (Chesterfield)

Attendance: 2195 (125 from Chesterfield)