REPORT: Chesterfield v Vale
Chesterfield v Port Vale
Saturday 8th April 2017
At the Proact Stadium
Attendance 5,527 including 743 visiting supporters
Despite bossing much of the opening forty-five minutes, Vale didn’t do enough to threaten the Chesterfield goal and were to regret that in the second half when the home side went in front.
The game was more evenly balanced after the interval, with the home side looking more of a threat and Joe Rowley struck for the Spireites in the 54th minute.
Vale huffed and puffed, but in truth lacked the quality in the final third of the pitch and rarely looked like an equaliser was on the cards.
Results elsewhere didn’t go Vale’s way and the Valiants found themselves in 21st spot, when they had expected to have made some progress against a side second from bottom.
Michael Brown made the two expected changes, each of them enforced, as Vale looked to prove themselves worthy of avoiding the drop as they faced Chesterfield at the Proact Stadium.
In at left back came Kiko, with the sad news that the club are expecting Kjell Knops to be out for nine months with the injury picked up at Rochdale in midweek.
With Danny Pugh suspended after being sent off in the game at Spotland, there was an opportunity for Anthony de Frietas, back in the starting eleven, to stake his claim to a regular place.
Vale were having a lot of the ball in the opening stages of the game, though home ‘keeper Stuckmann didn’t see too much of the ball.
Vale did go close in the 6th minute when a raking cross from the left by Kiko picked out the head of Sam Foley towards the back post, but the Vale midfielder couldn’t quite get his header on target.
Any thought sof complacent were soon put to bed when a minute later Kristian Dennis was allowed to cut inside an shoot from just outside the box, but thankfully for the c=visitors his effort failed to trouble Deniz Mehmet, going wide of the target.
There is no doubt Vale were having the better of things, with much of the play taking place inside the Chesterfield half, but it was too easy for the Spirites ‘keeper, who was little more than a spectator.
Stuckmann finally had a save to make when a superb cross-field ball from Foley fell at the feet of Hooper on the left.
Hooper controlled, steadied himself then hit a fierce shot low to the keeper’s right, but Stuckmann got down well to save at the foot of the post.
The first half continued in a similar pattern, with Vale playing inside the Chesterfield half, but with a lack of quality in the final third, where it really mattered.
Vale put pressure on their hosts early in the second half and went within a whisker of taking the lead when Hooper played the ball low into the area and Sam Foley hit it first time, only for the ‘keeper to get the slightest of touches – enough to put the ball over the bar.
GOAL: Two minutes later Vale fell behind when Joe Rowley fired home from close range, completely against the run of play.
As if to rub salt in Vale’s wounds, Andre Bikey was forced to go off just a minute later. He was replaced by Billy Reeves, with Ben Purkiss coming inside to play at centre back.
Vale were looking second best, with the home side threatening a second goal, when Michael Brown sent on a striker in the form of Dan Turner, with Anthony de Frietas going off.
Mehmet reacted well to push a shot from Dan Gardner over the bar as the home side went looking for a second goal which would have given Vale very little chance of recovering from.
Sadly for the visitors, they rarely threatened the Chesterfield goal, despite their approach play, and many of the Vale supporters seemed resigned to League Two football next season.
CHESTERFIELD: Thorsten Stuckmann, Paul McGinn, Joe Rowley, Kristian Dennis, Tom Anderson, Dan Jones, Sam Hird, Dion Donohue, Laurence Maguire, Dan Gardner, Conor Dimaio. SUBS: Ryan Fulton, Kaje Beesley, Angel Martinez, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Reece Mitchell, Rai Simons, Liam Grimshaw.
PORT VALE: Leo Fasan, Billy Reeves, Dan Turner, Scott Tanser,Paulo Tavares, James Gibbons, Gexim Shalaj.SUBS:Deniz Mehmet, Ben Purkiss, Kiko, Ryan Taylor, Rigino Cicilia, JJ Hooper, Sam Foley, Anthony de Freitas, Nathan Smith, André Bikey, Chris Eagles.