Chesterfield HC still searching for that winning formula

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Chesterfield could count themselves unlucky to come away empty handed from a trip to Staffordshire to play promotion hopefuls Stone.

The visitors from north Derbyshire created a handful of openings but the final ball was always just out of reach from the intended target in this Midlands Division One clash.

Adam Bointon and Chris Cowley just missed out on through balls from Christian Battye, as both sides’ best opportunitities came from penalty corners.

Matt Lloyd, in the Chesterfield goal, repelled any shots and Billy Fouflias was unable to put a crucial touch on Battye’s shot to deflect it past the Stone ‘keeper.

A Stone defender was sinbinned just before the break for illegally taking down an overhead pass, but the visitors were unable to take advantage of the extra man.

The second half was more entertaining as the game began to open up, with both sides committing more players forward in the hope of finding the breakthrough.

Chesterfield’s best chances came from penalty corners again and Tasos Varsimidis saw three drag flicks finely saved by the Stone stopper. Stone created chances at the other end, but Lloyd made two great saves from shots at tight angles to keep the scores level.

Both sides were temporarily reduced to ten men, both for cynical obstruction to prevent forwards from advancing towards the circle, but the scores remained level despite a few frantic moments in the Chesterfield ‘D’.

The critical moment came mid-way through the second half when Ben Curley was perhaps harshly judged to have made a stick tackle inside the circle to concede a penalty corner. Despite Lloyd saving the initial effort the rebound fell kindly for the Stone forward who could not miss an open goal to go one-up. Chesterfield pushed forward and could have been awarded two penalty strokes for deliberate interference by the Stone defenders, but the visitors were only awarded penalty corners which they failed to convert.

Chesterfield’s best chance came when Stephen Hubbard intercepted the ball outside the Stone circle and put Adam Bointon through on goal, but his early shot was met by the outstretched left foot of the goalkeeper and rolled wide.

The visitor’s continued to push forward and Cowley was once again put clean through by Battye but his first touch let him down at the crucial moment. To rub salt into the wounds, Stone converted a penalty corner with a drag flick into the corner right on the final whistle to give the score line an unfair impression of the game.

Bointon said: “We created a number of quality chances but once again we failed to convert. The difference between the two sides was that Stone were much more clinical while we wasted opportunities. They are a top four side and we can take pride in our efforts, although we’ve come away empty handed.”