Spireites Victorious at Gillingham.
Chesterfield sealed a 3-2 away victory over Gillingham at Priestfield Stadium yesterday, courtesy of goals from Sam Clucas, Leon Legge who turned the ball into his own net and a tremendous second-half strike from Jimmy Ryan. The hosts managed to find the back of the net twice prior to Ryan's winner, with Cody McDonald and John Egan getting on the scoresheet but in the end for no meaningful reward.
In the opening moments, Armand Gnanduillet had his forceful header cleared off the line following a driven cross from Gary Roberts. Showing a great deal of individualism, Doug Loft gathered possession and cut inside prior to firing straight at Tommy Lee who saved with relative ease.
With only 22 minutes on the clock, the Spireites took the lead through a fortunate deflection after Clucas's hopeful attempt bounced against the leg of an opposing defender and past a helpless Stuart Nelson. The home side aimed to net an immediate equaliser, but on this occasion Egan's header from a corner-kick sailed waywardly wide of the post.
Humphreys tried his luck on the half-volley from distance, although Nelson was equal to it and gathered possession before instigating a Gillingham attack with a long goal-kick. On the stroke of half-time, Lee held a dangerous ball that was fired into the area, capping off an end-to-end first 45 minutes.
Just after the break, Gnanduillet spurned a glorious opportunity to feed Roberts on the six-yard line as the striker's attempted pass was simply out of reach for the enigmatic winger. Ryan showed more intent to strike from range when provided with an opportunity, only this time around Nelson got down well to his left-hand side in order to save and keep the ball within his grasp.
On 54 minutes, Cook's side doubled their advantage courtesy of another deflection which was influenced by Darikwa as the right-back shot against the leg of Legge and watched the ball sail into the bottom left-hand corner of the net. Just five minutes had passed before the home side reduced the deficit, as McDonald rose above everybody else to head past a flailing Lee from around eight yards.
Two minutes later and the scores were level, as Egan sensed an incoming delivery and gambled which ultimately paid off as he directed the ball low with his head from a similar range to net a quick-fire second for the hosts. With 21 minutes left to go, Ryan produced the most impressive finish of the night with a ferocious drive from 25 yards that beat Nelson all-ends-up.
Humphreys tried and failed to emulate his fellow midfielder’s heroics with a volley that was always rising into the stands. No doubt, the best opportunity to score fell to McDonald in the final moments of the four minutes played of additional time, as he went one-on-one with Lee before firing low and wide of the post to send the travelling support back to Derbyshire in buoyant mood.