Spireites Fall to Second Consecutive Defeat.
Walsall sealed a 1-0 victory at Banks’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon and confined Chesterfield to a second away defeat in succession, with the only goal of the game coming courtesy of the club’s top scorer Tom Bradshaw who recently returned from injury.
Even from the beginning, it was evident that Bradshaw was the go-to man for the home side in terms of action in the final third, although the forward failed to get a shot away from a matter of yards on this particular occasion. Dan Gardner drove forward before playing a neat through-ball to Eoin Doyle, but the Irishman’s weak cross failed to reach a fellow member of the attack.
Possibly the best opportunity of the first-half came the way of Bradshaw, with his headed attempt from around six yards held by Tommy Lee. Jimmy Ryan drove forwards before trying his luck from range, but all Richard O’Donnell was required to do was watch the ball trickle out of play for a goal-kick.
Romaine Sawyers released a curled effort from distance that Lee watched warily as it flew past his post. On the stroke of the half-time whistle, Sam Clucas released a ferocious shot on the left-hand side that forced O’Donnell into a magnificent one-handed save.
Immediately after the break, Clucas was involved once again in testing the reactions of the former Chesterfield goalkeeper, who once again saved well following another through-ball from Gardner. Moments later, Sam Morsy took up free-kick duties just outside the area before firing narrowly wide of the post.
On 62 minutes, the Saddlers took the lead courtesy of Bradshaw’s pile-driver of a shot past Lee following an exchange of intricate passes on the edge of the penalty area. Bradshaw looked to net an immediate second for both himself and his side, as he rose to meet a lofted pass from the left-hand side that was intercepted by Georg Margreitter who reacted quickest to flick the ball away from danger.
The Spireites were then caught out by a Walsall counter-attack which was eventually halted by Tendayi Darikwa, who brought Sawyers cynically to the ground and ultimately received a yellow card. After running into a wide area, Doyle aimed to feed Clucas but the Irishman’s cross was simply too high for the former Mansfield midfielder.
With only moments of normal time left to play, Malvind Benning squandered a fantastic opportunity to seal the three points as he directed the ball straight at Lee who parried with the help of his legs. Late in the five minutes of additional time, Gary Roberts managed to fluff his effort from close range as the Spireites left with nothing.