CHESTERFIELD had Jack Lester for rescuing a point against Walsall with a late strike.
Spireites will have been hoping that Walsall’s 120 minute and ultimately unsuccessful midweek FA Cup defeat against League Two’s bottom side Dagenham and Redbridge would work in their favour.
It remained goalless ahead of Dean Smith’s Saddlers seeing three players miss in the shoot-out to exit the competition.
Chesterfield were boosted by the return of crowd favourite Lester, his first start since September 3. After being out for the best part of three months with a badly broken arm, the striker picked up a virus that took some shifting and was in doubt for this match.
After earning just two points from the last 33 available, the pressure was firmly on the home side to add to that this afternoon and begin the recovery the board and the fans are demanding.
Spireites almost got off to a perfect start but Westcarr’s shot in a melee after just 40 seconds was saved by Walker with Lester inches away from making contact from the rebound.
The visitors took the lead on 29 minutes when more home passes went astray, Paterson gathered and passed perfectly for NICHOLLS to fire home from the edge of the box.
Westcarr had two chances in rapid succession. His first effort was blocked and the second, after the ball had only been partially cleared, was high from a tight angle.
There was no spark, no inspiration from the home side against opponents who were far from the best to have visited the B2net this season.
But Walsall looked hungrier and more together than John Sheridan’s side who were unable to warm up their supporters on a bitterly cold day.
Spireites 0 Saddlers 1
Chesterfield fans were hoping their heroes were on the end of some major criticism by the management team during the break as their opening 45 minute showing was well below the standard expected. Even allowing for the dreadful form of late, their first half level of performance was unacceptable.
In the live table, Spireites were five points off next-to-bottom Rochdale, so a turnaround was essential to avoid a miserable Christmas for Spireites.
Lester had a great chance but couldn’t bring the ball to heel after Morgan’s delivery, he turned the ball back to Mendy and he passed to Allott who was fouled by Taundry, who was booked.
Whitaker clipped the bar after a raid down the right. There was consternation amongst the home fans when Morgan, one of the more creative players, was replaced by Obadeyi. His pace and cross earned a corner that saw Mendy hit wide as Walsall began using every second to their advantage. The visiting defence was living a charmed life as Chesterfield heaped on the pressure, but right at the start of the 90th minute the pressure told. Whitaker’s shot was blocked and LESTER, back to goal, turned to slide the ball home from six yards.
For a full report, see the Green’Un