Spireites match report: Fleetwood Town 1 Chesterfield 3

Jay O'Shea rides at challenge at Fleetwood by Tina Jenner Fleetwood Town v Chesterfield
Jay O'Shea rides at challenge at Fleetwood by Tina Jenner Fleetwood Town v Chesterfield

A brace from Marc Richards helped Chesterfield to a vital three points away at Fleetwood in a must win game for Paul Cook’s men.

Armand Gnanduillet opened the scoring just before the break and Andrew Mangan got a consolation for the hosts in an end to end encounter.

Sadly, it wasn’t enough for the Spireites in the push for the League Two play-offs as Bradford City beat Burton Albion.

It was a game Chesterfield couldn’t afford to lose though their win, ultimately, came in vain.

While their home form has left a lot to be desired this month, with draws against Port Vale and Bradford City followed up with the midweek defeat to Plymouth Argyle, Paul Cook’s side have excelled on the road.

The Spireites have won four out of their last five away in a run of results that revived their chances of sneaking into the top seven.

Both teams had an outside chance of reaching the play-offs prior to the game but were dependent on Bradford losing both their remaining games, starting with a home game against Burton Albion.

Chesterfield began was the same side which took to the field to face John Sheridan’s Plymouth on Tuesday with two changes on the bench.

Goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell, fresh from a loan spell at Stockport County, and Danny Whitaker returned to the first team squad.

Graham Alexander’s Cod Army were quick to stamp themselves on the game and Alan Goodall was first in the book for the hosts within the first minute.

A simple ball over the top exposed Junior Brown at left back for Richards to run on to. The striker drew the challenge from keeper Scott Davies but both referee and the linesman on the near side remained unmoved and a goal kick was given.

Mark Randall’s needless clip on Jamille Matt 20 yards from goal presented Brown with a chance to try his luck, but a mix-up with team-mates Gareth Evans and Paul McKenna nullified any potential threat.

In a carbon copy of Richards first chance, another ball from Brindley released the lone front man down the inside right channel. Richards got his shot off this time but Davies was equal to it.

After a midfield battle, the ball broke for Fleetwood striker Jamille Matt who skillfully turned Neal Trotman but the defender recovered well to block the striker’s shot.

Brindley forced a good save from Davies at his near post before Liam Cooper headed narrowly over from Conor Townsend’s resulting in swinging corner.

Matt then got the better of Cooper and forced an important save from Lee before the Chesterfield stopper made an unbelievable double save to keep his side in it.

Ryan Crowther’s curling effort was heading for the top corner before Lee made an acrobatic save to push the ball out. It went only as far as Gareth Evans, but the keeper reacted instinctively to dive backwards and prevent Fleetwood from taking the lead.

Crowther had another chance moments later when he placed one just wide of Lee’s left hand post.

David Ball tested the Spireites stopper from range before the midfield man got the better of Randall, who was booked.

It signalled a change in personnel and shape for the visitors who had faded after a bright start.

Gnanduillet replaced Brindley with Talbot shifting to right back and Jay O’Shea slotting in at right midfield as Cook opted for a 4-4-2 formation.

Randall brought down Ball again 30 yards from goal but Evans’ drive was blocked by the wall.

A deep cross from Talbot was cleared by Goodall and from the resulting corner Chesterfield went ahead.

Townsend’s delivery was challenged by Trotman and when the ball broke for Gnanduillet the substitute powered his header past Davies from eight yards.

It was a lead the visitors soon doubled through Richards’ drive after a long ball forward broke to the striker on the edge of the area.

Chesterfield went in at the break 2-0 up while a James Hanson goal gave the Bantams a slight advantage over ten-man Burton Albion.

Gnanduillet drove at goal to force a good save from Davies early in the second before Togwell and O’Shea tried their luck from distance.

Matt should have scored moments later when he latched on to a long ball but could only watch as his looping effort dropped the wrong side of Lee’s post from a Fleetwood perspective.

It turned out to be the powerful striker’s last action as he was pulled off in place of Andrew Mangan, much to the dismay of the home support and the delight of the travelling contingent.

Mangan had sight of goal after a good interchange with Ball, but the striker had strayed marginally offside.

Richards was then soon on hand to get his second of the game. O’Shea threaded a neat ball through to Togwell, who saw his shot blocked by an onrushing Davies, but the danger wasn’t cleared and Richards was on hand to curl one beyond the Fleetwood defenders into an empty net.

The hosts pulled a goal back moments later when Ball’s long ball released Mangan, who broke the offside trap and rolled the ball under Lee.

Mangan then had Spireites hearts in mouths when he picked the ball up and fired one from 20 yards, which sailed just wide of Lee’s left hand post.

A neat pass then sent Richards through and the striker’s shot was blocked by the recovering centre half.

Shaun Beeley’s clip forward gave Mangan another sight of goal but his shot cleared Lee’s bar from a promising position. Ball then forced Lee into another smart save down at his near post.

Crowther had a shot blocked and Fontaine forced a comfortable save from Lee as Fleetwood pressed but to no avail.

Spireites: Lee; Brindley (Gnanduillet 33), Trotman, Cooper (c), Townsend; Darikwa, Togwell, Randall (Hird 72), Talbot; O’Shea (Henshall 83); Richards

Subs not used: O’Donnell; Henshall, Whitaker, Clay, Boden

Fleetwood: Davies (c); Beeley, Matt (Mangan 52), Brown, Goodall, McGuire, Crowther, Ball, Edwards, Evans (Fontaine 81), McKenna

Subs not used: Lucas; Barry, Pond, Nicolson, McLaughlin

Bookings: Goodall 1, Brown 55; Randall 33

Referee: Andy Davies

Attendance: 3,705