Report: Chesterfield 1-0 Bolton
Wanderers slipped to defeat at the Proact Stadium as a first half goal from Liam O’Neil proved to be enough to thwart Phil Parkinson’s men.
Despite creating a multitude of chances throughout the game and dominating large swathes, Wanderers weren’t decisive in front of goal and paid the ultimate price to O’Neil’s strike.
Wanderers started with the same 11 that demolished Gillingham 4-0 at Macron Stadium in front of the Sky cameras on Monday evening.
Gary Madine, buoyed by three goals in two games, continued to lead the line, ably supported by the attacking trifecta of Sammy Ameobi, Zach Clough and Josh Vela who have all been clinical in front of goal during recent matches.
Over 2,000 fans travelled down from Lancashire to get behind the White and were in fine voice throughout the contest.
The visitors’ attacking intent was apparent within seconds of the kick off and a smart passage of playing involving quick, sharp passing resulted in Vela narrowly volleying over Lloyd Allinson’s cross bar barely two minutes into the game.
A Clough drive from distance, trying to catch Allinson off-guard, was stopped by the Spireites’ keeper. But it was clear that Wanderers wanted to get an early goal.
The diminutive front man then went inches wide after good link up play on the right between Ameobi and Wilson.
Allinson thwarted Clough once again when he caught the Denton destroyer’s 25 yard free kick.
The opening goal came in the most unlikely of circumstances when Liam O’Neil caught everybody by surprised as he curled his effort past Ben Alnwick. Chesterfield hadn’t posed any attacking threat whatsoever up until that moment.
The goal spurred the hosts and even captain Gary Liddle tried an audacious attempt from distance off Ched Evans’ centre.
Madine went close to equalising when he snapshot had Allinson diving at full strength but Wanderers’ early tempo had been stymied by Chesterfield’s resurgence.
Clough should have equalised just before the break when he ran the length of the Chesterfield half with only Allinson to beat. However, the imposing keeper managed to block the chance to preserve his side’s slender lead going into the break.
The tempo wasn’t as frenetic as the opening minutes of the first period, as the hosts strove to maintain their lead and frustrate Wanderers.
Ameobi, whose stunning goal against Gillingham put the gloss on Wanderers victory on that occasion, saw a tame effort gathered by Allinson.
The hosts won the odd corner which kept the Wanderers back four on their guard as they battled in vain to get back into the tie.
Clough spurned another chance when put through by Thorpe. Although under pressure, he should have done better with his right foot as the ball blazed over the bar.
Chris Taylor was the first Wanderers substitute when he replaced Tom Thorpe in the 73rd minute.
Wanderers were getting into good attacking positions but just couldn’t get their efforts on target. Ameobi was another one who should have done better from 18 yards out.
The big attacker went closer a few moments later when his left footed curler – which has served him so well recently - went narrowly wide beyond the diving Allinson.
With time running out, Wanderers were getting more frustrated with unnecessary free-kicks being given away.
Parkinson made his last throw of the dice with five minutes remaining when he brought on Keshi Anderson and Jamie Proctor for Lawrie Wilson and Zach Clough.
With the game in its dying embers, captain Spearing summed up Wanderers' fortunes by blazing over when he charged on to the loose ball.