Chesterfield go three points clear of second place after a 3-1 victory at home to Bristol Rovers.
Sam Morsy opened the scoring within the first five minutes after he calmly finished from close range. The Pirates put themselves back on level terms through Lee Brown’s magnificent curling effort with little time left in the first-half.
The home side regained their lead at a pivotal time before the break. Gary Roberts crossed low for Ollie Banks to smartly finish across Steve Mildenhall. With play back underway in the second period, the hosts’ tempo was reminiscent of the first. Eoin Doyle’s first touch let him down but the Irishman recovered well to score Chesterfield’s third and final goal of the day.
Spireites boss Paul Cook named an unchanged side for the third fixture in a row, as Bristol Rovers visited the Proact Stadium.
The home side opened the scoring with their first attack. Doyle received the ball on the left-hand side and passed it on to Roberts, who fed the ball into the path of Morsy to send the ball past Mildenhall. Dan Gardner attempted a chipped shot with little success, as the ball sailed dismally over the crossbar.
Chris Beardsley drove into the hosts’ area, but his low cross was tame and the danger was cleared. Tom Parkes had a shot from distance that was held comfortably by Chesterfield goalkeeper Tommy Lee, as the away side pressed whilst opposition defender Liam Cooper was temporarily absent due to receiving treatment for a head injury.
The visitors levelled the scoreline with 36 minutes on the clock, courtesy of a superb curling effort that went in off the crossbar from Brown, which would have had any goalkeeper beaten. Only seven minutes had passed before Chesterfield went back in front, as Ollie Banks neatly finished inside the area after service was provided by Roberts.
It was then announced that there would be two minutes of additional time at the end of the first period.
Immediately after the restart, the Spireites doubled the advantage. Roberts capitalised on a defensive error and played a defence-splitting pass to Doyle, who slotted the ball underneath a hapless Mildenhall. On 51 minutes, Ellis Harrison replaced Kaid Mohamed.
Banks took over free-kick duties on the left-hand side of the area and forced a strong diving save from Mildenhall. Tom Lockyer headed disappointingly wide of the post following a driven cross from the right-hand side.
Ollie Clarke rifled a shot from distance that just evaded the crossbar. With just under 20 minutes to go, Chesterfield made a double substitution. Armand Gnanduillet replaced Doyle, whilst Marc Richards took to the field in place of Banks.
On 75 minutes, the visitors’ David Clarkson replaced Matt Harrold. Four minutes later, Jay O’Shea entered proceedings at the expense of Gardner.
Roberts intercepted the ball 30 yards from goal and drove forward, before eventually releasing a ferocious shot that just went wide of the post when he should have played the ball to the available Richards in a much better position.
It was announced that there would be three minutes of additional time.
The final opportunity fell to the feet of the unpredictable Gnanduillet, although his effort was well blocked as the referee brought the game to a close.