Spireites slip to defeat

Chesterfield’s promotion hopes suffered a setback as Halifax secured their fifth consecutive home win thanks to a dominant second half performance that saw them break the deadlock with just nine minutes remaining to win 1-0.

Sadly, the Spireites put in a lacklustre performance that didn’t at all resemble some of the recent quality performances.

Paul Cook afterwards admitted “we were poor and lacked the cutting edge” and was understandably disappointed that the unbeaten run ended along with the record of having scored in every game.

The Spireites arrived at The Shay with six straight wins behind them but knowing that a game against the Shaymen would be another tough test.

Halifax have suffered postponements already this season due to the weather and the state of the pitch but today’s game was never in doubt and the pitch looked in good condition apart from one heavily sanded penalty area. 

The rivalry between the two clubs goes back a century and has always been close-run. The Spireites hold the upper hand in terms of number of wins but recently it’s been Halifax who have the edge, they remain unbeaten in the last six league fixtures between the two sides although Chesterfield edged past the home side in last season’s play-off clash. They suffered a narrow defeat at Huish Park last weekend but have won well in their last four home games.

There were no new injury problems for Cook; in fact he had the good news that Tyrone Williams was again available for selection; he chose to retain the same starting X1 as the team that began in the win against Wimbledon in the FA Cup, with Williams resuming and Ash Palmer having to settle for a place on the bench.

Two ex-Spireites featured for the home side as Mani Dieseruvwe started and Jordan Slew was considered well enough recovered from a hamstring injury to warrant a substitute place.

Another large following of Spireites greeted the team out loudly. In the first attack of note Liam Mandeville whipped a great ball into the box, from the right; Joe Quigley connected but couldn’t get any direction to his header.

The Shaymen went close when a super ball from the wing found Kian Spence through; thankfully Williams’ well timed tackle and clearance averted the danger. Moments later a powerful ball across the face of the goal from Taylor Golden forced Fitzsimons to claim well on the ground.

At the half-way mark neither side were controlling the game with both teams having chunks of possession without creating clear-cut openings.

The game’s first yellow card went to Festus Arthur who clattered Darren Oldaker to the floor, wide left. 

On the half-hour, Armando Dobra laid off a perfect angled ball for Quigley to run on to; sadly his effort flew wide of Sam Johnson’s right upright.

In time added on Halifax went close again as Dieseruvwe received on the penalty spot, juggled the ball and volleyed over the crossbar. It was the last effort of the half that saw the home side end the stronger at the interval.

A misplaced Dobra pass set up a home break and a pin-point Angelo Cappello cross found Dieseruvwe at the far post. He was given offside but his header flew wide of the goal.

An early Luke Summerfield corner caused danger in the Spireites’ penalty area and forced Fitzsimons to punch clear.

At the other end the Spireites won a free-kick 22 yards out. Oldaker took but hit narrowly wide.

A Summerfield free-kick from 35 yards took a couple of connections before it fell to Kian Spence who hit over from the edge of the area.

Halifax made the game’s first change as Matty Warburton replaced Jamie Cooke.

Tom Whelan’s deflected shot brought the Spireites’ first corner kick. The dead ball kick forced Johnson into a low down grab.

Cook made his first changes after 74 minutes when Tim Akinola took over from Tom Whelan and Kabongo Tshimanga replaced Quigley.

Halifax struck in the 81st minute after Fitzsimons could only palm away a strong Matt Warburton free kick; Rob Harker was on hand to poke home the loose ball.

Immediately Cook made his final change as Jez Uchegbulam replaced Armando Dobra.

The Spireites pushed hard in the five minutes added but when Johnson held Uchegbulam’s ball into the box with the five almost over there was to be no comeback as the Shaymen saw the game out for a deserved win.

Chesterfield: Fitzsimons, Grimes, Mandeville, Williams, Dobra (Uchegbulam 82), King, Oldaker, Quigley (Tshimanga 74), Whelan (Akinola 74), Clements, Jones

Unused sustitutes: Palmer, Asante

Referee: Andrew Miller