Spireites win at Scunthorpe

The Spireites won 2-1 at Scunthorpe, coming from behind to claim all three points with Joe Quigley scoring both goals.

Scunthorpe’s recent form has been poor but they gave an in-form Chesterfield a hard game.

The hosts  took the lead through ex-Spireite Caolan Lavery but only held it for six minutes after Quigley hit a cracker, across goal, into the far bottom corner.

Chesterfield came out much livelier at the start of the second half and soon raced into the lead after Quigley slotted Jeff King’s ball to feet home at the far post.

Dobra also hit the upright late on to make it three times the ball had whacked the woodwork.

The Iron really pressed hard in the latter stages but Chesterfield held firm to clinch their first league win over Scunthorpe for 27 years.

It was over two weeks since both teams had played National League football, due to freezing conditions and FA Trophy precedence. Both sides were in need of  maximum points in the only Christmas fixture  – for very different reasons: United one point adrift at the foot of the table and the Spireites keen to narrow the gap between themselves and the top two.

Chesterfield, unlike United, fielded a weakened side in their midweek Trophy fixture; the outcome was the same – an early exit that allows both teams to focus on the bigger picture.

The Spireites, backed by a noisy sell-out support, made three changes to the starting X1 from the side that defeated Dorking in their previous league fixture. In came Tim Akinola, Quigley and Mike Jones  as Ollie  Banks, Kabongo Tshimanga and Akwasi Asante had to settle for a place on the bench.

The conditions were perfect for a lively Boxing Day encounter, the pitch was showing little sign of serious wear and had just enough “give” in the turf to not be a concern. Chesterfield, sporting all-green, started the game defending the end that housed the packed Chesterfield supporters.

Branden Horton was called into early action with a well timed tackle as Rob Apter looked to break into the penalty area.

A great Spireites’ flowing move almost came off but Quigley was unable to control the Liam Mandeville low ball in from the right. Moments later, from another flowing move, Mandeville’s snap-shot struck the left upright.

As the half approached the mid-point Jacob Butterfield picked up the games first yellow card for a late challenge on Akinola.

Chances at both ends followed. A neat Alfie Beestin ball in from wide left reached Lavery, who looked to back-heel in from close range but he failed to connect cleanly.

Moments later Darren Oldaker tried his luck from 22 yards, it looked to be going in only to strike that same left upright. The United keeper, 17 year old Owen Foster, pulled up after stretching in the move and had to be replaced by Marcus Dewhurst.

A lovely move on the left saw Oldaker provide a gem of a ball for Mandeville who hit recklessly wide.

In terms of possession the game had been pretty even but United made their next spell count. It was the same duo that caused the danger: the ball was dinked in for Beestin, on the edge of the area, he chested the ball down and played an incisive ball to  Lavery who coolly slotted home from close range.

The lead didn’t last long as Armando Dobra fed Quigley just outside the area; he turned his man and hit a peach of a 25-yard angled drive across the face of the goal into the bottom left corner.

United pushed forward again and Jacob Butterfield hit a strong effort from 30 yards that Ross Fitzsimons claimed comfortably.

The Spireites gained a free-kick just outside the area, at the end of the six added minutes, up stepped Jeff King. This time there was no trade-mark finish as replacement keeper Dewhurst held well.

The second half resumed under the floodlights with no changes made and a need to find a way to grab the vital breakthrough.

That breakthrough soon arrived. United lost possession cheaply and from the break Mandeville found King on the right edge of the box, his ball to the far post found Joe Quigley who poked home with ease for his second of the game.

Moments later Dobra picked up centrally and set off on a mazy run that ended with a shot that, almost inevitably, clattered the left upright.

Scunthorpe made the game’s first change as the lively Blackpool loanee, Rob Apter, made way for Marcus Carver.

Paul Cook was unhappy with a decision from  referee Scott Simpson and told him so; his comments earned him a yellow card but he continued to air his views and received a red card just moments later.

United were still a threat and had the ability to break quickly. Tom Pugh received from such a break and tested Fitzsimons from 30 yards.

The Spireites made their first substitution as Banks replaced Akinola.

United substitute Cameron Wilson almost levelled with just over ten minutes to go. A great ball from Beestin found Wilson who burst confidently into the box, cut into the six yard area and hit goalward only to be denied by Fitzsimons who spread himself well to avert the danger.

Armando Dobra claimed a foul just inside the area but the referee disagreed, to such an extent that he awarded a yellow card for simulation. Jez Uchegbulam replaced Dobra a minute later.

Lavery went close from a United corner. His bicycle kick was heading for goal only for a vital block to save the day.

The Spireites saw out the five added minutes to claim another crucial win; sadly both Wrexham and County won decisively too.

Chesterfield: Fitzsimons, Horton, Grimes, Palmer, King, Jones, Oldaker, Akinola (Banks 75), Dobra (Uchegbulam 89), Mandeville, Quigley

Substitutes not used: Maguire, Tshimanga, Asante

Referee: Scott Simpson

Attendance: 4,156