MATCH REPORT: Chesterfield FC 0-1 Barnet - Spireites beaten by wonder strike
The ghost of the last three seasons came back to haunt Chesterfield at the Proact Stadium, as a late Barnet goal left them empty handed.
Having bombarded their visitors for much of the afternoon and almost completely dominated the second half, the Spireites went down to a 90th minute wonder strike.
It was a moment reminiscent of many suffered by Town since the end of the Paul Cook era and on the balance of play, undeserved.
While the football played by the men in blue was by no means sparkling or even at times very entertaining, they were firmly on top and created more than enough chances to win it.
Barnet’s snatch and grab raid lifted them out of the drop zone and handed the Spireites their third consecutive defeat.
Chesterfield had the brighter start to the game, sending several decent balls into the Barnet box, all of which were well defended.
It was the Bees who forced the first save of the game and it was a beauty, Callum Burton hurling himself through the air to tip Charlee Adams’ long range screamer over the bar.
Bar a Kyel Reid shot that ran well wide, there was little action of note for a spell, neither side really finding their rhythm although the Spireites played some nice stuff in fits and starts.
With 24 minutes gone Town threatened with yet another cross into the box, Drew Talbot swinging it to the back stick where Laurence Maguire looped a header over keeper Mark Cousins and the crossbar.
Some lovely link-up play between Town’s tricky twosome Reid and Zavon Hines finally unlocked the Barnet defence, but when Reid found his team-mate in the area, a Barnet boot prevented a shooting chance.
The home side began to assert their dominance on the half hour mark, Bradley Barry and Curtis Weston knocking the ball backwards and forwards around the edge of the Bees box before Robbie Weir hammered a shot goalwards and forced a brilliant save from Cousins.
From the resulting corner, the Spireites worked the ball to Reid who also had a blast, this one just clearing the bar.
Having weathered a mini storm Chesterfield ended the half on top, Hines skinning Dan Sweeney and drawing a foul and a booking, beore Maguire’s inviting free-kick was nodded wide by Michael Nelson.
Martin Allen’s men started the second half as well as they ended the first, putting a lot of pressure on the carded Sweeney through Hines, Reid and Marc Antoine-Fortune, who hadn’t really imposed himself on the game as much as he’d perhaps like.
Not long after the hour mark Allen made his first chance, replacing Barry with the fit-again Gozie Ugwu and switching to a three-man attack.
The replacement looked set to score the opener with 20 minutes remaining but when Hines found him with a pass across the box, despite Cousins seemingly wrongfooted, the ball was somehow scrambled clear.
From the resulting corner a mad scramble in the box saw two efforts blocked and Weston then blazed over the top.
Town’s only real concern was getting hit on the break and it very nearly happened after the Bees cleared a corner and raced upfield, Chesterfield’s struggling to get back and relieved to see Burton come to the rescue, denying Tutonda with his legs.
Seconds later the keeper’s quick reflexes kept the game goalless, a ball fired into the area redirected goalwards from close range by Sweeney, Burton making the save of the game.
Quickly back on the attack, the Spireites won yet another corner and Will Evans met it at the back post, heading wide under little pressure.
Sam Muggleton made his entrance for the final 10 minutes and quickly put Barnet under pressure with his throw in, forcing a save from Cousins with it.
Chesterfield: Burton, Talbot, Maguire (Rowley 73), Nelson, Evans, Weir (Muggleton 80), Weston, Reid, Barry (Ugwu 63), Hines, Fortune. Subs: Jalal, Hollis.
Barnet: Cousins, Alexander, Johnson, Robson, Tutonda, Sweeney, Fonguck, Mason-Clark (Taylor 73), Adams, Harrison, Barham (Coulthirst 70). Subs: Matrevic, Sparkes, Payne.
Goalscorers: Taylor 90
Yellows: Sweeney 45
Attendance: 4,685 (134 away)
Referee: David Rock. Assistants: Andrew Dallison, Kenwyn Hughes.