Spireites edged out at Notts

The Spireites’ 2020/21 season came to a heart-breaking end as they fell to a late 3-2 defeat to Notts County in a National League play-off eliminator.

Manager James Rowe made one change to the side that secured a play-off spot last Saturday as Alex Whittle came in for Joel Taylor.

The hosts came close to taking the lead within the first minute; Gavin Gunning’s header was short and Kyle Wooton stole in but James Montgomery did well to smother the ball.

Chances were few and far between for the opening stages in the game with the home side having the possession and the crowd behind them.

However, just before the half-hour mark Chesterfield were awarded a free-kick 30 yards from goal. Danny Rowe lined it up and rocketed the set-piece past Sam Slocombe and into the top left corner.

Notts were level just two minutes later. Gunning’s clearance was charged down by Ruben Rodrigues, who rounded Montgomery and allowed Wooton to slot home from close-range.

With the half drawing to a close, the Spireites reclaimed the lead. Rowe provided some great hold-up play before sliding in Jack Clarke. The playmaker whipped in a low cross and Mandeville guided the ball home.

The second half started with the home side continuing to have the majority of possession as Chesterfield defended resiliently.

There was soon trouble as Montgomery went down with an injury. He was okay to continue but Manny Oyeleke was forced off with an injury and replaced by Jak McCourt.

Notts continued to provide constant pressure and came close when Wooton headed over from Enzio Boldewijn’s cross.

The hosts eventually found themselves back on level terms with just under 20 minutes to go when Wooton prodded home from the corner.

Despite Montgomery clearly struggling, Chesterfield had a golden chance to once more go in front. Substitute Nathan Tyson broke the offside trap and only had Slocombe to beat but the keeper did well to deny the striker with his feet.

The Spireites defended with everything they had but were undone as the game went into added time. Rodrigues floated a deep free-kick to the back post where Mark Ellis headed home.

Chesterfield came so close to taking the game into extra-time as a goalline scramble was eventually cleared off the line. However, the full time whistle soon sounded to bring to an end an incredible season.

Chesterfield: Montgomery, Carline, Evans, Gunning (C), Maguire, Whittle (Taylor 77), Weston, Oyeleke (McCourt 58), Mandeville, Clarke, Rowe (Tyson 66).

Unused Substitutes: Whelan, Yussuf.

Attendance: 4,569