Exeter City’s poor run of results continued as they suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to Chesterfield. In a close game a first-half header by Chris Atkinson was enough to claim all three points for the visitors at St James Park. Both sides wasted a host of chances with City going close late-on in the second-half through Guillem Bauza and Scott Bennett. The visitors had goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell to thank after the keeper produced a series of fine saves to earn Chesterfield all 3 points.
City manager Paul Tisdale made a host of changes from the 3-0 defeat to Northampton last Saturday. In goal Polish goalkeeper Artur Krysiak replaced former England Under 21 international Rhys Evans. Experienced left-back Craig Woodman made way for young full-back Jordan Moore-Taylor. In midfield Liam Sercombe came in from the bench to start on the right side of midfield. Tommy Doherty also moved into the starting line-up with Kevin Amankwaah dropping to the bench. A switch in the midfield saw Scot Bennett drop into the centre of defence at the expense of Pat Baldwin. Despite making a second-half appearance against Northampton, striker Alan Gow did not make the squad due to a thigh injury.
Both teams exchanged possession early on with striker Jamie Cureton having a shot from outside the box but the ball flew yards wide. New Chesterfield winger Luis Boa Morte tested Grecian Steve Tully but the former Fulham player couldn't get past the experienced defender.
City’s first chance came down the left from John O’Flynn. The striker who has scored four goals this season put a fizzing ball across the box but the chasing Cureton and Aaron Davies couldn’t make contact with the ball.
Davies went close again moments later, neat build-up play between O’Flynn and Davies led to the former Yeovil winger getting his shot away from 12 yards but the ball was blocked by the incoming Sam Hird.
Soon after centre-back Danny Coles had to be alert when Chesterfield striker Craig Westcarr bulldozed his way through on goal, defender Coles was able to hook his foot around Westcarr to claim back possession for the Grecians.
Chesterfield’s first effort on goal came on the 14th minute when Westcarr took aim from outside the box, Krysiak had to be alert to watch the ball as it dipped late into his arms.
City had a penalty claim in the 20th minute after a through ball from Oakley put 9-goal striker Cureton through on goal, Chesterfield defender Terrell Forbes made contact but was adjudged not to have made sufficient contact with the striker for City to win a penalty.
Moments later O’Flynn crossed in from the right, his searching ball found winger Davies but the Wales international couldn't find the target as his shot fired yards wide of O’Donnell’s goal.
Chesterfield striker Westcarr went close after a clever spin inside the box. The striker’s powerful shot from 8 yards went straight into the arms of the newly-installed Krysiak.
On the half-hour mark defender Coles got away with a poor back-pass which led to Tendayi Darikwa getting a shot away. The shot was tame and allowed Krysiak to launch a City counter-attack resulting in a corner for the home side.
City's defence was breached on the 32nd minute after Chris Atkinson’s powerful header was neatly dispatched from 6 yards. City backed off defensively allowing Darikwa to put in a powerful cross from the right wing. Atkinson managed to get in front of his man to put the Spireites ahead.
The half-time whistle came with the Grecians looking vunerable in defence after letting Chesterfield in on goal on a number of occasions. The Grecians went into half-time with only Cureton and Davies going close.
As the teams reappeared for the second-half, Cureton was replaced by Spanish striker Guillem Bauza. The striker was instantly involved, playing a searching ball out to Sercombe but the right sided midfielders touch let him down on this occasion. City came under pressure early in the second-half as the lively Darikwa raced past left-back Moor-Taylor down the right wing. The midfielders cross was inviting but captain Coles was there to clear.
City midfielder Doherty made way for Amankwaah on the 60th minute. As Amankwaah made his way onto the pitch Sercombe put in an inviting cross from a corner for Scott Bennett but the unmarked central defender headed over the bar from 6 yards. The chance represented the Grecians best opportunity to get back on terms.
City began to apply increasing pressure to the Chesterfield defence. Substitute Bauza was denied by Forbes, the Chesterfield defender got in a last minute block as Bauza went to unleash a shot at goal
Substitute Mark Randall almost scored with his first touch after good work down the right by Boa Morte allowed the former Arsenal midfielder to get on the end of an inviting pass to shoot first time. Grecians goalkeeper Krysiak dived well to his right to push the ball away for a corner.
Young winger Elliott Frear replaced Davies with 20 minutes to go and almost got himself on the score sheet as O’Fylnn battled well with Hird but the ball fell kindly to Frear but the youngster could only hit the side netting.
Chesterfield almost doubled there lead after good work again by Darikwa down the right wing, the Chesterfield player crossed to Boat Morte but Amankwaah covered well. Moments later City had Krysiak to thank after the impressive Darikwa was involved again, this time teeing up Westcarr from outside the box but Krysiak was equal to it, producing a superb diving save to keep the score at 1-0.
Chesterfield and Mark Randall applied more pressure to the Grecian goal, this time the midfielder volleyed from outside the box but Krysiak was equal to it.
With 10 minutes left and City in search of an equaliser substitute Bauza tested goalkeeper O’Donnell with a superb 30 yard strike from the left side. The Spanish striker turned well to get away from Hird before firing a fierce shot at goal. Chesterfield goalkeeper O’Donnell had to back step before tipping the powerful strike over the bar.
With 83 minutes on the clock Darikwa found himself one-on-one with Krysiak but the impressive Polish keeper narrowed down the angle to keep out the winger.
In the closing moments including 4 minutes of injury-time City went in search of an allusive equaliser but as Chesterfield began to get deeper the Grecian forward line began to dictate the play. Matt Oakley fired a shot from 20 yards resulting in a corner and Bennett’s powerful header was blocked on the line, but the City pressure didn’t end there as Sercombe’s fierce 18 yard drive was superbly saved by O’Donnell. The Chesterfield goalkeeper’s late save ensured Chesterfield left St James Park with all 3 points as the final whistle blew.
Attendance: 3668 (192 Away)