Rochdale fell to a 2-1 defeat at the Proact Stadium on Saturday afternoon in a game where all three goals came from the penalty spot and Dale lost three key players to injury.
Eoin Doyle netted from the spot in the 38th minute, before doubling Chesterfield’s advantage in the 75th minute. Ian Henderson halved the deficit nine minutes into stoppage time.
There were four changes to the eleven that lined up against Preston North End in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night. Stephen Dawson and Tom Kennedy, who penned deals midweek, were handed debuts, replacing Peter Vincenti and Michael Rose. Matty Done shook off an ankle injury to return, while Joe Rafferty was also named. The injured Olly Lancashire missed out, as did Bastien Hery, who dropped to the bench.
In the opening exchanges, the home side’s Doyle was denied twice by the woodwork.
In the fifth minute, his cross-come-shot, rolled across the bar before dropping out of play. Just four minutes later, he curled an effort goal-wards, this time he was kept out by the cross bar.
Much of the Spireites attacking play was coming through the Irish man and with quarter of an hour played, he was again though on goal. He should have perhaps struck an effort himself, but decided to cut the ball back into the path of Sam Morsy, whose shot was blocked before being cleared.
Despite, Chesterfield twice coming close, the game remained relatively open with both teams playing attacking football, but Dale’s best opportunities in front of goal were limited to set-pieces.
In the 18th minute, Joe Bunney was brought to ground in a central position just outside the area. The young forward stepped up to take the resulting free-kick, but could only curl an effort over the bar.
Eight minutes later, some excellent play from Dale saw Kennedy float a set-piece into 18-yard box. Andrew headed down into the path of Done, who smashed a powerful effort past the post.
On the half hour mark, Josh Lillis was on hand to push a long range O’Shea effort round the upright, before denying Doyle’s volley with his legs five minutes later.
In the 38th minute the Spireites were awarded a penalty, after the referee adjudged that Rafferty had tripped O’Shea.
Doyle stepped up to the take the resulting spot kick, and powered a shot beyond Lillis.
GOAL: CHESTERFIELD 1-0 ROCHDALE (O’Shea, 38 mins)
Four minutes later, Dale had a chance to level, however, Andrew was unable to steer a cross from Done into the top corner of the net, and his header went over the bar.
In the dying moments of the half, a grounded Lund look in pain as he received treatment on his shoulder from the Dale physio. He was unable to continue, but with just seconds of the half remaining, the substitution waited until after the interval, with Hery replacing the injured midfielder.
HT: Chesterfield 1-0 Rochdale
Rochdale started the half brightly, but were limited to two efforts from distance. Done first of all fired over the bar in the 47th minute, before Hery’s attempt from outside the area, was also sent off target.
With 52 minutes on the clock Chesterfield were again denied by the woodwork, but as the players scrambled in an attempt to get the ball across the line, Lillis went over on his ankle.
After a lengthy spell of treatment, the ‘keeper got back to his feet, albeit gingerly, and continued in nets.
That was short-lived, however, and moments later, in the 58th minute, he was forced to come off, paving the way for 16-year-old Johny Diba to make his debut.
The game had just got back underway when Scott Tanser required treatment. He too was unable to continue and was replaced by George Donnelly.
In the 72nd minute there was a heart in mouth moment when Diba came well off his line and looked to have handled outside of the area. After much deliberation and conversation with his assistant, the referee produced a yellow card.
Three minutes later and the Spireites were awarded their second penalty of the afternoon. Doyle made no mistake in doubling their advantage as he slammed spot kick past the right hand side of Diba.
GOAL: CHESTERFIELD 2-0 ROCHDALE (Doyle, 75 mins)
Chesterfield went in search of a third as they looked to put the young ‘keeper under pressure with efforts from distance, most notably as Roberts tried his luck from range by attempting to chip Diba. His effort was wide of the mark.
The youngster did well to deny Doyle, who was sent through one on one with the stopper. He got two strong hands to the effort, to push it away from goal.
And in injury time, Romy Boco struck a powerful effort narrowly past the upright.
Following the injuries to Lund, Lillis and Tanser, seven minutes of stoppage time were added, and it was late injury time that Dale halved the deficit.
Andrew had an initial effort closed down, and as Hendo followed up on the re-bound, he was blocked by a Chesterfield hand.
Henderson took the resulting spot kick, and slotted beyond Tommy Lee.
GOAL: CHESTERFIELD 2-1 HENDERSON (90+9)
It finished Chesterfield 2, Rochdale 1.