Exeter City slipped to a narrow 1-0 defeat away from home against Chesterfield in Sky Bet League Two.
Kristian Dennis' second half strike was enough for the home side to take all three points in a match where City failed to make the most of the chances they had created.
Match report sponsored by Speedy Freight
The Grecians went into the match in Derbyshire fielding the same side that won convincingly over Grimsby Town last weekend at St James Park.
It was the home side who created the first opportunity of the match within two minutes after good play on the left wing from Jerome Binnom-Williams, who squared up Pierce Sweeney, before teeing up Jak McCourt to shoot wide from the edge of the City box.
City’s first chance of the match almost came in exceptional style on ten minutes. After Dean Moxey regained possession and played a delightful ball out to Lee Holmes, the winger crossed and Pierce Sweeney’s delicate flick edged just wide of Joe Anyon’s right-hand post.
Moments later, the Grecians had two chances in quick succession when Holmes cut inside to shoot but saw his effort blocked by Ian Evatt before Liam McAlinden had a shot aimed towards the far post which deflected for a corner.
Jordan Moore-Taylor then had a free-kick from the edge of the Chesterfield box saved low by Anyon as the Grecians pushed for the advantage.
In an entertaining first 20 minutes or so, Joe Rowley then had a good chance for the home side when he challenged Craig Woodman at the far post but couldn’t keep his header on target as it nestled wide.
City then created a very good chance on 38 minutes when Jayden Stockley did well to beat the offside trap, but the striker was unable to set himself up for a clear attempt at goal as the Chesterfield defenders raced back. The forward eventually laid the ball back to Jake Taylor, whose effort was well blocked.
Rowley then had another chance for the home side, again with his head, as he rose well against the City defence but could only head over Christy Pym’s goal from Binnom-Williams’ cross meaning neither side would go into the break with the lead.
It was Chesterfield who started the better of the second period when they went ahead just five minutes after half time. A good ball in from Rowley on the right found Dennis who fired in left footed from close range to give the home side the advantage.
The Grecians had to ride out a spell of Chesterfield pressure after the restart, and they had Pym to thank just before the hour mark when a long ball towards Dennis saw him go through on goal, but for the City goalkeeper who was quick off his line to punch clear.
Paul Tisdale’s side created their first chance of the half on 65 minutes when, after a corner was cleared by the home side, Craig Woodman’s ball back into the box found Moore-Taylor whose header was saved at the far post by Anyon.
Moxey then got into a good position on the left after initial work from Holmes who ran at the Spireites’ back line, but the winger’s drilled cross flashed across goal with McAlinden unable to get a foot to it as he slid in.
Louis Reed almost doubled the hosts’ advantage on 79 minutes after finding space on the edge of the box. The forward hit a looping effort towards Pym’s goal but it edged just over.
Kyle Edwards almost made an instant impact after entering the field on 74 minutes, when the winger did well to get City up the pitch with Lloyd James before crossing towards Reid, but the striker was just offside as he tried to connect with the cross.
City then came close to scoring on 85 minutes when he hit a half volley from the edge of the box, but could only find the crossbar as the Grecians pushed forwards looking for a way back into the match.
But the home side had to finish the match with ten men after Scott Wiseman picked up two yellow cards in quick succession leaving referee, Martin Coy, with little option but to reach for his red card.
McAlinden then went through on goal in the dying moments of injury time and went down under pressure from the Chesterfield defence, but all claims for a penalty were waved away by the referee.
Chesterfield: Anyon, Barry, Evatt, Hird, Wiseman, McCourt, Reed, Kellett (Sinnott, 74), Binnom-Williams, Dennis (O’Grady, 90+2), Rowley (Weir, 77)
Subs not used: Parkin, Maguire, Girolamo, Dimaio
Sent off: Wiseman
Exeter City: Pym, Sweeney, Woodman (Reid, 74), Holmes (Edwards, 83), Stockley (James, 66), Moore-Taylor, McAlinden, Moxey, Taylor, Brown, Boateng
Subs not used: Hamon, Jay, Wilson, Storey
Attendance: 5,195 (322, away)