CHESTERFIELD’S fate looks to be sealed after defeat at Walsall.
Fit-again Jimmy Juan was selected on Spireites bench after a frustrating time since joining the club before Christmas.
Ex-Owl Dean Smith has guided Saddlers to just one defeat in 11 and have them thinking safety is more than achievable and they would be desperate to win this game to increase their breathing space.
Last weekend they led 2-0 at Rochdale but found themselves falling behind with time running out only for Andy Butler to head home an injury time leveller.
Yesterday fourth bottom Wycombe Wanderers, who visit the B2net on Monday, bagged a last-gasp leveller at home to Carlisle United whilst fellow strugglers Exeter City lost. This afternoon, Rochdale travelled to Yeovil Town in their bid for an escape.
In their green kit, Spireites defended the goal behind which a sparse but noisy visiting contingent was gathered.
Mantom shot wide from the edge of the box and Westcarr scooped a header up from a Talbot cross as both sides showed early determination.
Spireites switched Talbot and Smith to full-back duties meaning Hurst and Ridehalgh pushed up down the flanks but their efforts caught their forward colleagues offside a couple of times.
Kevan Hurst had a shot blocked and Ledesma shot well over as Walsall enjoyed a period of possession. Randall won the ball in his own half and set off a three on two attack. He found Westcarr who played in Bowery but Grof saved his angled shot at the concession of a corner that spawned a second that the keeper comfortably gathered.
Westcarr put Bowery through, he held off Butler but again saw Grof save from a great position as Chesterfield turned up the screw.
Ledesma shot just over from 20 yards as both sides looked capable of opening the scoring. Moussa and Westcarr carved an opening but Butler hacked clear.
Spireites took the lead on 20 minutes. A quick break forwards saw Westcarr play wide to Ridehalgh and his deep cross was headed home at the far post by MOUSSA.
Hurst hit an effort high as the home fans began to show their frustration.
With Dale behind at Huish Park, the live table showed Chesterfield third bottom, still a huge seven points from safety but with some hope remaining.
Macken flicked a Sadler cross wide ahead of the equaliser. Macken played through to LEDESMA who shot low from the edge of the box after finding far too much space in a dangerous area in the 27th minute.
Kevan Hurst then had two close calls, a 25 yarder was just too high before a low strike forced Lee to dive to save and concede a corner that was easily cleared.
Hurst and Talbot switched positions for Spireites before Saddlers took the lead. Nicholls burst down the right and slipped a perfect ball for LEDESMA to stroke it home after again finding space in the heart of the visitors’ defence 12 minutes before the break. Butler tackled Bowery for a corner that was cleared at the second attempt ahead of great blocks to deny Moussa and, twice, Westcarr, his second from a fine Talbot delivery.
Randall chipped wide and Westcarr was denied by Grof as Spireites looked to get back into not only the game, but the season.
Cuvelier blocked a Westcarr shot before a 54th minute equaliser.
Moussa and Westcarr chased the ball down and Bowery then played a lovely one-two with RANDALL who poked home from six yards to finish a good passing move.
Parity was short-lived. Just Four minutes later Walsall recaptured the lead when Cuvelier played a ball for MANTOM, a West Brom colleague of James Hurst, to run on to and score from the right side of the box, 10 yards out.
Nicholls almost wrapped things up when he took advantage of a misunderstanding between Lee and Nathan Smith but his stretched shot rolled inches wide.
With time running out, the 339 travelling fans were looking for a miracle. Ridehalgh’s curled in free-kick that was well defended as was Kevan Hurst’s cross moments later. Chesterfield were seemingly left clinging to the slenderest of hopes and an immediate return to the basement is only waiting for the maths to work through.