Fleetwood 0 Chesterfield 1: Match analysis

Sylvan Ebanks-Blake celebrates his winning goal. Photo: James Williamson
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake celebrates his winning goal. Photo: James Williamson

A controlled performance by Dean Saunders’ Spireites was enough for them to earn a fifth away win of the season on a ground where they’ve never lost.

Sylvan Ebanks-Blake’s sixth goal of the season, and fourth in four, poached on the half hour mark separated the two rivals.

Sam Hird, Jay O'Shea and Chris Herd celebrate Chesterfield's fifth away win of the season. Picture:  James Williamson

Sam Hird, Jay O'Shea and Chris Herd celebrate Chesterfield's fifth away win of the season. Picture: James Williamson

Chris Herd delivered into the box from the right towards Dan Gardner, who did enough to force defender Dion Teixeira to head the ball onto his own bar; keeper Chris Maxwell, given his senior bow as an 18-year-old at Wrexham under Saunders, was unable to get any contact on the ball which dropped down for the Chesterfield striker to prod home.

The goal had been coming; Ebanks-Blake had forced two saves in the preceding few minutes as Spireites began to dominate possession and keep the ball well, indeed one of Ebanks-Blakes’ saved efforts, a downward header, came at the end of a slick multi-passing move which covered the whole pitch.

Whilst many of Spireites victories this season have featured stunning performances from Tommy Lee, to earn this win the keeper only had to dip into the top drawer once, at 0-0, to stretch to palm away a David Ball angled shot.

Though the Cod Army mustered a number of shots, they were all regulation fare for the long serving No 1; indeed not until the fifth minute of stoppage time at the end of the game did Steven Pressley’s side force a corner kick, an indication of Spireites’ comfort.

Saunders had a selection headache in the build up to the game, how to cover for suspended left-back Dan Jones and he had another thrust upon him on matchday morning when striker Lee Novak withdrew after becoming a father to a baby girl overnight; “I’ll tell his wife she picked a bad time,” the manager said with tongue well in cheek!

Rai Simons was given the responsibility to partner Ebanks-Blake and he passed the mantle on to Mani Dieseruvwe for the majority of the second half; both performed more than adequately.

In the back-line, Drew Talbot moved from right to left-back, Sam Hird switched from centre to right-back and Ian Evatt returned from suspension to partner Charlie Raglan and the makeshift back four were solid enough to keep a clean sheet without too many scares and without any yellow cards.

They were tested the most in the opening minutes of the second half when Fleetwood built up their one and only sustained spell of pressure, Ball bundled the ball in from an offside position, but within ten minutes, normal service was resumed and the home side were back to occasional raids and little impact.

“We did what good teams do,” said Saunders, “Come away and win games, that’s five now and we’ve one of the best away records in the league now, so that’s excellent. I’m proud of the players, they were magnificent, all really trying, as a manager all you can ask for is that when you look into the player’s eyes you know they’ve done as much as they can doing what you’ve asked them to do and all pulling in the same direction, they did that and that’s how you win games away from home.”

Not since Nicky Law’s controversial promotion winning side 15 years ago have five road wins by the end of October been witnessed.

Fleetwood: Maxwell 6, McLaughlin 6 (Davis 69, 6), Teixeira 5, Pond 5, Jonsson 5, Grant 7, Sarcevic 6, Sowerby 6 (Haughton 74), Bell 8, Proctor 7, Ball 7 (McManus 66, 6). Subs (not used): Gocic, Jordan, Matt, Della-Verde.

Chesterfield: Lee 6, Hird 7, Raglan 7, Evatt 7, Talbot 7, Gardner 5 (Ariyibi 75), Morsy 6, Herd 8, O’Shea 6, Simons 5 (Dieseruvwe 51, 6), Ebanks-Blake 7. Subs (not used): Chapman, Humphreys, Wood, Banks, O’Neil.

Goal: Ebanks-Blake 30

Ref: Trevor Kettle (Berkshire).