Spireites Fall to First-leg Defeat Against Preston North End.
Chesterfield fell to a 1-0 defeat at the Proact Stadium on Thursday night in the first-leg of this year’s play-offs and as a result, will travel to Deepdale on Sunday with the aim of over-turning this deficit firmly in their minds. Jermaine Beckford netted the only goal of the game, with his first-half strike ultimately being the difference between the two sides on the night.
Paul Cook named an unchanged side from last Sunday’s draw against Sheffield United for this particular encounter.
Just six minutes had been played before the visitors took the lead, as a defensive error allowed Beckford the freedom to run towards Tommy Lee and finish past the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation. Involved for a second time in a matter of minutes, Beckford aimed a through-ball at the feet of Joe Garner who took one touch before firing straight into the arms of Lee from a fairly awkward angle.
Lurking on the edge of the area, the ball eventually fell to Sam Morsy who struck on the half-volley only to be denied in the end by an impressive defensive block on the six-yard line. Tendayi Darikwa connected with a driven cross, then played the ball back towards the penalty spot and Jay O’Shea latched onto it prior to firing low and ultimately wide of Sam Johnstone’s post.
From a free-kick, Gary Roberts fed a short pass to O’Shea who tried his luck once again but ended up directing the ball straight into the stands and out of play for a goal-kick. On the stroke of half-time, Dan Gardner attempted a speculative effort from approximately 30 yards and managed to force a save to the left-hand side by Johnstone who ended up pushing the ball to safety.
After the break, Paul Gallagher took up free-kick duties just outside the area and directed the ball straight into the arms of Lee who saved with relative ease. Roberts took matters into his own hands with an individual run that culminated in a low effort that never troubled Johnstone in the slightest.
Moments later, Scott Laird got in on the act with a drive forward from his left-back position that ended with a thunderous strike that narrowly avoided the post. Sam Clucas rose to meet Gardner’s lofted pass on the six-yard line, but all the forward was able to do was direct his header wide of the post to the disappointment of the home support.
In a glorious position to net a second for his side, Beckford went through on goal and failed to by-pass Lee with his left-footed effort and the goalkeeper claimed possession before instigating an attack for the Spireites. For the full five minutes of additional time, Cook’s men continued to press for that all-important equalising goal but to no avail and will now travel to face Preston North End on Sunday with the aim of over-turning a 1-0 deficit.