Chesterfield cruise to a 3-0 home victory over Oxford.
An Ollie Banks volley and a brace from Gary Roberts sealed a comfortable victory over the Us, who suffered two second-half dismissals as they continue to drop further off the pace in a bid for a top three finish.
Spireites boss Paul Cook made one change from Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Wimbledon, with Marc Richards taking the place of Eoin Doyle.
The first real chance of the game fell to the feet of the visitors’ David Hunt, but the midfielder’s effort was tipped superbly over the crossbar by Chesterfield goalkeeper Tommy Lee. With only six minutes on the clock, the Spireites took the lead. Ollie Banks met a Jay O’Shea cross with his chest and rifled the ball past Ryan Clarke from close range.
Eight minutes after going in front, the home side were awarded a penalty following an infringement on Ian Evatt. Gary Roberts stepped up to take it and fired the ball into the top left-hand corner of the net, sending Clarke the wrong way. After a pretty frantic start to the game, the pace slowed dramatically and very few opportunities were created for either side in the time that followed.
On the stroke of half-time, O’Shea’s effort from just inside the area trickled low and disappointingly wide of the post.
After the restart, the hosts’ appeals for a penalty were turned down after a supposed hand-ball by ex-Spireite Deane Smalley. A poor back-pass from Jimmy Ryan was intercepted by Ryan Williams, who drove forward towards goal before shooting straight at Lee.
The Us started the second period brightly, restricting the home side to their own half of the field. On 67 minutes, Richards was replaced by Doyle.
Two minutes had passed before Oxford’s James Constable took to the field in place of Smalley. The home side made their second substitution of the day with 72 minutes on the clock, as recent loan signing Mason Bennett entered proceedings at the expense of O’Shea.
Evatt’s thumping header crashed against the crossbar, after the defender rose highest to meet a driven Roberts free-kick. Moments later, Oxford made two alterations. Sean Rigg replaced Josh Ruffels whilst David Connolly took to the field in place of Alfie Potter.
With just over ten minutes left to play, the away side were reduced to ten men as a consequence of Tom Newey’s late and forceful challenge on Banks. A mere three minutes had passed before the Us had yet another player sent off, after Michael Raynes was shown his second yellow card for a foul on Roberts.
On 85 minutes, Daniel Kearns replaced Banks. An injury sustained by Johnny Mullins left Oxford with only eight players on the field, as they had already used all three of their changes.
It was announced that there would be three minutes of additional time.
Chesterfield added a third goal in the final few seconds of this contest, courtesy of a fantastic chipped effort from Roberts that Clarke was helpless to stop.