Narrow defeat for Spireites

A freak goal consigned the Spireites to a 1-0 defeat at Moss Lane after neither side had produced much quality of note.

Chesterfield had failed to create a single clear opening in the first half and, despite plenty of promising approach work, it was late in the second before a real urgency was displayed.

Keeper Scott Loach joined the attack at the death but there was to be no fairy-tale ending as Alty saw out the game well to notch their fifth consecutive home win.

Altrincham impressed when they visited the Technique back on a chilly evening in November, coming back from two down to claim a deserved point. 

Since then their form has been patchy – a disappointing return in December and January but currently just two defeats in the last eight fixtures including victory in the last four home games with an impressive thirteen goals scored and none conceded. Not surprisingly Paul Cook will not have under-estimated Alty.

Both teams had tough opponents at the weekend;  the Robins came back from Essex empty handed after pushing form-side Southend all the way, while the Spireites claimed their first-ever three points from bogey-side Maidenhead.

Chesterfield made two changes from the Saturday starting line-up; in came Akwasi Asante and Joe Rowley as Calvin Miller and Tom Whelan made way.

An impressive beginning to the build-up as the teams emerged to the Ukrainian national anthem and Altrincham chose to wear their yellow and blue away kit in solidarity, the Spireites were equally supportive but sported their standard blue and white. 

The  Spireites started with their impressive support behind their backs and pushed forward strongly with Joe Quigley immediately receiving some strong-arm treatment.

Quite a call after eight minutes when Joe Rowley looked to have been brought down on the edge of the area; referee Greg Rollason thought otherwise and Rowley shrugged his shoulders and got on with play.

It was a very end-to-end contest on a crisp, clear evening with the ball seeming to zip quickly along the surface.

Despite it being even neither side seemed to be able to retain possession well and the momentum swung to and fro.

From a Jeff King corner the ball fell unkindly to Quigley who blazed over after he failed to take account of the pace.

Another flag kick from King , his best to date, saw Quigley head for goal and Rowley’s follow-up header got a block and gained yet another corner.

A great through ball found Quigley who connected but needed support, Khan backed up and received but his blast was wayward.

The first booking of the game came after Harry Perritt lunged wildly at Alex Whittle, sadly the resultant free-kick was just as wayward.

Laurence Maguire did well to claim the ball off Josh Hancock’s foot in a dangerous central position after Ryan Colclough had provided well. The clearance failed to create any danger as the first half ended level with the Spireites having had the lion’s share of the ball without once seriously threatening the home keeper, captain Tony Thompson.

The Spireites were kicking towards the packed ranks of the 784 Chesterfield supporters but they hardly had time to settle before Alty took the lead with a real freak of a strike. 

Matty Kosylo picked up and, from 30 yards, tried a speculative effort straight at Loach, sadly fate intervened and the ball struck a divot and the bounce gave Loach no chance.

Chesterfield pushed forward and Joe Rowley fed Liam Mandeville in the box whose ball across just failed to find a taker.

The goal seemed to have given the home side an extra spark as they looke to hold on to their lead.

A strong cross from the left gave Maguire an opening but his downward header flew to safety, moments later Paul Cook made his first change as Calvin Miller took over from Joe Rowley, who had shown promise but failed to threaten. Tom Whelan soon joined him on the park as Joe Quigley stepped aside. 

Frustratingly, Jim Kellermann made an unnecessarily robust challenge and earned himself a yellow that sealed a two-match suspension.

The lively Colclough jigged into the box and got in an on target shot that forced a solid block from Jamie Grimes.

A couple of Spireites corners caused danger but neither Maguire or Khan could capitalise.

Moments later Colclough received in the box and should have done better than fire narrowly wide, despite Jeff King’s vital touch.

A great ball in from the right created some head tennis in the box but the three headers lacked direction.

The Spireites were enjoying the bulk of the possession as the home side looked comfortable sitting back in numbers as Chesterfield struggled to find a breakthrough.

Asante failed to connect in the six-yard box as thefourth official advised of five additional minutes and within seconds Mandeville forced an alert save from Thompson.

The Spireites gained their tenth corner is in added time as Loach went up for the kick, a second followed that saw Mandeville go close but Alty stood firm and almost added a second as Colclough fired a strong effort narrowly wide of the right upright.

Overall a disappointing result and a lack-lustre performance in a game that displayed little quality from either side.

Chesterfield: Loach, Maguire, Asante, Mandeville, Kellermann (Weston 79), King, Grimes, Quigley (Whelan 66), Khan, Whittle, Rowley (Miller 63)

Substitutes not used: Williams, Gunning
Attendance: 2,042 including 784 Spireites