Chesterfield fall to a 3-1 defeat at the Crown Ground.
Lee Molyneux’s three goals in the first-half built up a comfortable and surprising lead for Accrington. The away side did pull one goal back in the latter stages of this contest, but failed to alter the outcome of this game against ten-man Stanley.
Spireites boss Paul Cook made one change from Monday’s 0-0 draw at home to Portsmouth, with Armand Gnanduillet taking the place of Eoin Doyle as the lone striker.
With only three minutes on the clock, the home side took the lead courtesy of Molyneux’s low free-kick from the right-hand side that evaded every other player inside the area and went straight past Chesterfield goalkeeper Tommy Lee. Gnanduillet squandered a glorious opportunity to level the scoreline following a low cross from Gary Roberts that the striker put wide of the target.
Stanley were awarded a penalty and had an opportunity to double their advantage only four minutes after going in front. Danny Webber stepped up to take it, but fired his effort straight at Lee who parried the ball straight into the path of Molyneux who reacted quickest and fired the ball into the back of the net.
Moments had passed before the away side had their own appeals for a penalty turned down, after Roberts was supposedly brought down inside the area. Molyneux thought he’d netted his side’s third quick-fire goal of the day, but the linesman’s flag was already raised for off-side.
Peter Murphy was shown a second yellow card on 30 minutes as a consequence of a late and forceful challenge on Dan Gardner, who was then replaced by Marc Richards due to injury. The sending off forced an alteration in style from the home side, with Chesterfield beginning to dominate possession.
Stanley were put under intense pressure in the final moments of the first period, but caught Chesterfield on the counter-attack and netted a third. Molyneux capitalised on a poor pass from Sam Morsy and finished smartly under Lee to seal a first-half hat-trick.
The home side made one change at the break, with Josh Windass taking the place of Webber.
After the restart, Gnanduillet directed his headed effort straight into the palms of Marcus Bettinelli following a lofted pass from Ritchie Humphreys. Just before the hour mark, the Spireites made a double substitution. Doyle replaced Gnanduillet and Jay O’Shea took to the field in place of Jimmy Ryan.
Richards met a Roberts free-kick from distance, but his header crashed straight into the side netting. On 71 minutes, the home side made a double substitution. Adam Buxton was replaced by Rob Atkinson whilst Kayode Odejayi took to the field in place of James Gray.
Molyneux showed impressive technique with an effort using the outside of his foot that just went wide of the post. The visitors’ Ollie Banks thought he’d pulled a goal back for his side with a calm finish from six yards, but much to his frustration the flag was already raised for off-side.
With five minutes left to play, Evatt did grab a consolation goal for his side courtesy of a superb effort on the half-volley from the edge of the area. Liam Cooper attempted a driven effort from range that Bettinelli held comfortably.
It was then announced that there would be five minutes of additional time.
O’Shea fired high and wide of the target, as Chesterfield left the Crown Ground empty-handed.