Spireites Seal Second Consecutive Victory.
Chesterfield sealed their second 1-0 victory in the space of four days last night against Bradford City at Valley Parade, with Byron Harrison’s first-half finish ultimately handing all three points to the Spireites.
Paul Cook made two alterations from Saturday’s win against Walsall, as Ritchie Humphreys and Harrison took the places of both Ollie Banks and Jay O’Shea.
In the opening moments, Gary Roberts tried his luck from distance with Ben Williams in a vulnerable position and directed the ball disappointingly into the stands. Sam Clucas met a driven free-kick on the six-yard line and looked almost certain to open the scoring only for that particular move to be rendered meaningless by an off-side flag.
Involved once again, Clucas capitalised on a loose ball before firing low and wide of the post with a tremendous amount of force from a considerable distance of 25 yards. The first real attack of note on behalf of the home side culminated with a Jon Stead volley, which Tommy Lee held with relative ease prior to instigating another Chesterfield attack.
Looking for a penalty-kick, Rory McArdle went to ground inside the area but the referee signalled play to continue and judged the defensive challenge to be perfectly adequate. Moments prior to the half-time whistle, Harrison latched onto a neat through-ball and rounded the opposing goalkeeper before finishing with ease into an empty net to give his side a pivotal lead.
After the break, Sam Hird thought he’d doubled his side’s advantage with a finish from close range following a scramble inside the area only for an off-side flag to deny the defender a rare goal. A driven corner-kick was then met by Clucas, who directed the ball towards goal before being denied by a magnificent headed clearance.
Sam Morsy led a counter-attack deep into the hosts’ half of the field, but failed in the end to find that incisive pass to a fellow Spireite and ultimately allowed Bradford City to regain their defensive shape. With intent to find an equaliser, James Hanson struck from 20 yards and forced a save from Lee who reacted well to palm the ball to safety.
As we entered the closing stages, Tony McMahon made an instant impact from the substitutes’ bench with a low effort that was saved magnificently by a resolute Lee. Surprisingly, six minutes of additional time were signalled but the Spireites managed to thwart any Bradford City attacks to claim an important three points in the race for a play-off place.