Tendayi Darikwa’s first goal of the season was enough for play off challengers Chesterfield to defeat Crewe Alexandra at the Proact Stadium on Monday 6th April 2015.
It was a fourth consecutive victory for the Spireites, who opened up a four-point gap on 7th place with victory on the Easter Bank Holiday.
It had been a fantastic couple of weeks for Chesterfield, who appeared to have hit form at just the right time. A home victory over Walsall a little over a week ago was followed by two important away wins – 1-0 over promotion rivals Bradford City and 3-2 against Yeovil Town, after trailing 0-2.
This excellent form saw the Spireites move into the top six once again. A three point gap between themselves and seven place looked promising, but with six games left anything could still happen and every match was massive now – starting with the visit of Crewe this afternoon.
For the visitors, this game and the remainder of the season was just as huge for very different reasons. The Alex were finding this campaign a tough one and sat just two points above the drop zone, having been on the end of some big losses in recent weeks including 4-0 to Rochdale and 5-1 to Preston.
They were desperate to get three points this afternoon and their first ever at the Proact Stadium – drawing 5-5 in a remarkable contest on their only previous visit.
Chesterfield created a glorious opportunity to open the scoring early in the contest when Darikwa’s cross fell perfectly to the feet of Gboly Ariyibi at the far post. But the youngster somehow scuffed the first effort and his second stab at it was blocked by experienced ‘keeper Paul Rachubka – Gary Roberts forcing it to be a double save before the danger was finally cleared.
Crewe were creating opportunities of their own at the other end. Uche Ikpeazu, who had already faced Chesterfield once this season playing for Doncaster, looked a threat and almost created a dangerous chance after some fancy footwork, but Tommy Lee managed to smother the ball quickly before the chance was capitalised on.
Finish striker Lauro Dalla Valle then almost found the net with a spectacular bicycle kick, but his acrobatic effort flew just inches wide of the target in front of relieved home supporters in the Kop.
But it was the in-form Spireites who were first to find the net on a sunny afternoon in Derbyshire.
Some intricate build-up play between Ariyibi, Jay O’Shea and Roberts resulted in the latter firing a dangerous cross towards the far post. And it was full-back Darikwa who jumped highest to loop the ball over Rachubka and into the net, giving Chesterfield a lead in the 26th minute.
The home side weren’t content with just the one goal though it seemed, as they piled forward in search of another.
Sam Clucas wasted a decent chance by firing into the arms of the goalkeeper when he had options at either side. Roberts then missed an even better opportunity, charging through one on one before somehow poking his effort wide when the whole stadium expected him to find the net.
Crewe didn’t let the Spireites have it all their own way though and almost levelled on the counter attack. Bradden Inman raced forward from his own half before picking out Ikpeazu, who curled an effort just wide of the target.
The blues almost added a second towards the end of an entertaining half. A corner was fired towards the far post and met by Drew Talbot, but he couldn’t repeat the action of his fellow full back and failed to find the target.
The second half was less action-packed than the first. The sides created a few chances but rarely looked like truly threatening the two goalkeepers for the majority.
It wasn’t until near the end of the match when the Spireites really looked dangerous as they looked to put the game beyond doubt.
O’Shea thought he’d found the net with a driven effort until Rachubka got a last gasp hand to it to direct the ball onto the post.
The Irishman midfielder then turned creator as his ball across the face of goal was just a fraction too quick for Dan Gardner to reach, knowing he would have been almost certain to score had he done so.
But in the end, the one goal was enough for Chesterfield to take all three points from the contest and make it a remarkable four wins in ten days.
The result had big ramifications for both teams. Crewe slipped into the bottom four following defeat, although only on goal difference and incredibly they re only two points behind 15th placed Walsall!
Meanwhile, Chesterfield’s lead on 7th place increased to four points and the play off dreams are beginning to look more and more likely with each passing game. Only five more to go!
Chesterfield 1–0 Crewe Alexandra
Lee, Darikwa, Evatt, Hird, Talbot, Morsy, O’Shea, Ryan, Roberts (Humphreys’90), Ariyibi (Garnder ’73), Clucas
Rachubka, Leigh, Tate, Davis, Turton, Ness, Jones (Colclough ’65), Atkinson, Inman (Haber ’89), Ikpeazu (Ajose ’73), Dalla Valle