Spireites slip to defeat

Chesterfield’s 12-match unbeaten league run came to an end against an inspired Maidenhead United side who won 3-2 after seeing themselves pegged back after they had taken a 2-0 first-half lead.

The Spireites pulled a goal back on the stroke of half time and levelled early in the second period but just couldn’t turn their new-found dominance into goals and the home side bounced back with a late winner from the impressive Josh Kelly.

The sluggish start had given the Spireites a mountain to climb as they struggled to impose themselves on the physically dominant home side but fight back they did only to fail to hold on as Maidenhead maintained their hoodoo over the Blues.

The Spireites arrived at historic York Road looking to build on Saturday’s win in North London and reclaim pole position in the league but, despite the Magpies sitting just outside the relegation berths, their recent form has been impressive. 

They beat high-flying Bromley in their previous home game and drew away at Aldershot in their last fixture; 
James Rowe will have done his homework and he’ll have known they’d provide a stiff challenge, having yet to taste defeat against the Spireites in five outings to date.

There were just two changes  made from the side that started at The Hive, Alex Whittle and Jim Kellermann took over as Calvin Miller and Akwasi Asante started on the bench.

The conditions were good on a very cold and still night with a light covering of frost greeting the pre-match warm up.

The Spireites started the game kicking towards the Chesterfield fans who were, again, in good voice.

Charlee Adams had the game’s first shot at goal, from a free kick just outside the area, but his effort floated harmlessly into the arms of Scott Loach.

The Magpies broke the deadlock in the seventh minute as Josh Kelly picked up well and lashed his strike home from 20 yards, high to Loach’s left.

The Spireites almost levelled a few minutes later when Kellermann broke and beat the home defence with pace, he was through on goal but keeper Dan Gyollai managed to get a foot to the shot to clear to safety.

A contentious foul just outside the area in a central position provided the perfect opening and Dan Sparkes didn’t waste it as he powered home the free-kick low to Loach’s left to give the home side a two-goal advantage.

Not surprisingly, Maidenhead were playing with confidence as the Spireites were struggling to enjoy any consistent possession.

Goalscorer Sparkes had taken a knock and had to be  substituted by George Wells.

The Spireites went close after Kellermann squared a ball for Liam Mandeville who shot low and hard but, sadly, just wide of Gyollai’s right upright.

In time added on, Shaun Donnelley was fortunate to only receive a yellow card for a late tackle on Manny Oyeleke and the Spireites capitalised as Jeff King notched his second in four days with a stunning free-kick from 20 yards.

The half time whistle soon followed and, all of a sudden, things seemed a lot healthier after halving the deficit and giving Rowe the chance to refine the approach to the second period.

The Spireites made an immediate change at the start of the second half as Asante replaced Kellermann.

Immediately he threatened, picking up well from Luke Croll and trying his luck from 15 yards, sadly easily claimed by Gyollai.

It was a much more even contest after the break with both sides looking confident going forward.

It didn’t take long for the Spireites to level as Kabongo Tshimanga poked home his 21st league goal of the season after picking up Croll’s ball into the area. 

The equaliser change the whole dynamics of the game as Chesterfield continued to surge forward.

Tshimanga fired over from the edge of the area and Asante couldn’t quite connect with King’s corner from the left.

Maidenhead decided to go for broke and made their remaining two substitutions in quick succession in an effort to halt the Spireites’ progress.

Saidou Khan replaced Mandeville after 73 minutes 

Loach saved the day when Josh Kelly broke and shot well but the keeper read the situation and came out to snuff out the danger.

Moments later the Spireites conceded a corner on the left and from the flag kick Kelly picked up the back-flick from Alan Massey and headed home at the far post.

There was a last change for Chesterfield as Stefan Payne took over from Jamie Grimes.

Goals change games and the home side had found found their rhythm again and looked comfortable throughout the four minutes of additional time; an Oyeleke blast over from distance the last threat to come from the Spireites.

Chesterfield: Loach, Oyeleke, Weston, Mandeville (Khan),Williams, Kellermann (Asante), Tshimanga, King, Croll, Grimes (Payne), Whittle
Unused substitutes: Maguire, Miller

Referee: James Durkin

Attendance:1,232 including 323 Chesterfield supporters