Spireites Fall to Second-leg Defeat Against Preston North End.
Chesterfield’s play-off campaign came to an end against Preston North End at Deepdale on Sunday afternoon, as the Spireites fell to a 3-0 defeat on the day and by a 4-0 scoreline on aggregate. Jermaine Beckford netted twice during the 90 minutes and the prolific Joe Garner also got on the scoresheet to break the hearts of the vast travelling support.
Paul Cook made one alteration from the first-leg encounter on Thursday, with Ollie Banks taking the place of Dan Gardner in a midfield position.
In the opening moments, Sam Clucas capitalised on a loose ball before firing low and narrowly wide of the post from just outside the area. A driven cross made its way towards Gary Roberts on the left-hand side, who played the ball back towards Jay O’Shea who ultimately failed to make any contact on the six-yard line.
From range, Paul Gallagher attempted a speculative effort that sailed straight into the arms of Joe Murphy who held with relative ease. Garner was then deservedly awarded a yellow card, after a late and supposedly deliberate aerial challenge reduced Ian Evatt to the ground.
Clucas broke free of the defence and found himself in a one-on-one situation with Sam Johnstone, only to waste this glorious opportunity by shooting against the body of the goalkeeper who pushed the ball to safety. With 38 minutes on the clock, Beckford opened the scoring and doubled his side’s advantage on aggregate with an impressive scissor-kick from around eight yards that Murphy was absolutely powerless to stop.
After the half-time break, Neil Kilkenny fired a lofted pass from deep towards Beckford in the final third only for Evatt to rise and connect before directing the ball out of play for a throw-in. On 61 minutes, Daniel Johnson broke free and was brought to ground by Murphy just inside the area which preceded a ferocious finish from the penalty spot by Garner into the top left-hand corner of the net.
O’Shea fed the ball to Jimmy Ryan, whose low effort from around 20 yards struck an opposing defender and bounced wide of the post by a considerable distance. A driven cross from the right-hand side was met by Garner, who directed his header waywardly wide of the post and Murphy readied himself for a goal-kick.
Just three minutes of normal time were left to play when Beckford netted his side’s third and his own second goal of the afternoon with an astonishing effort from over 40 yards that ultimately caught Murphy off his line and out of position. For the full four minutes of additional time, the Spireites continued to push but to no avail and ended their season with a disappointing play-off defeat.