Wycombe Wanderers 1 Chesterfield 2
A fine Wycombe performance was ruined by sloppy defending which gifted the Spireites a victory they didn’t deserve on the balance of play.
The game had barely started when Gareth Ainsworth charged into his first full-blooded tackle of the afternoon to set the tempo and let the visitors know they were up against a confident Wycombe side who weren’t about to roll over.
Playing some of their best football of the season so far, the Blues poured forward in search of an opener and both Stuart Beavon and Kevin Betsy forced saves from Chesterfield keeper Tommy Lee within the first ten minutes of the match.
Beavon was looking particularly sharp, and with twelve minutes gone he collected a pass from Ainsworth, turned on a sixpence and rifled in another low shot which beat Lee only to be cleared off the line by defender Simon Ford.
Only an offside flag denied Wycombe the breakthrough they deserved after 25 minutes when Lee couldn’t hold a Matt Bloomfield shot and Beavon pounced to slot home the rebound.
It had been all Wycombe but they hadn’t made the pressure count and a minute later they were 1-0 down.
Blues’ defender Andy Sandell gave the ball away cheaply in a dangerous area and from the resulting cross an unmarked Craig Davies nodded the ball past keeper Nikki Bull.
It was the only shot on target the Spireites had during the first-half, their other two efforts having soared over the Valley terrace roof.
Wycombe’s best chance of an equaliser before half-time was squandered by Alan Bennett who headed a Matt Bloomfield corner over the crossbar when perfectly placed to score.
The Blues’ continued to boss the game immediately after the break and created several chances with their best effort coming from Lewis Montrose whose 25 yard-screamer was brilliantly turned wide by Spireites’ keeper Lee.
It was a superb shot from Montrose who had earlier been brought down inside the penalty area only for the referee to bottle it and give a free-kick just outside.
Things almost got worse for the Blues when Jordan Bowery easily skinned the unimpressive Danny Foster and charged towards goal only to be be denied by Bull at the near post.
But just when it seemed nothing was going Wycombe’s way, Striker Ben Strevens finally found the net to level things up after 64 minutes. Matt Bloomfield’s corner was headed goalwards by Chris Westwood and when the ball was blocked, there was Strevens to lash it home in fine style.
The goal came as a great relief to the home fans. Wycombe had been by far the better side and there was every reason to be optimistic that they would now go on and win the game.
But no. In the midst of more woeful defending, Chesterfield substitute Jack Lester found Davies who took full advantage of the Blues’ hesitation to slot home his second goal of the game after 72 minutes.
The setback saw Wycombe wilt for a while and Davies almost completed his hat-trick when he waltzed past Foster again and fired a shot against the crossbar with keeper Bull well beaten.
The Blues rallied and got back on top, but for all their pressure they couldn’t find another goal and the game was up.
Man of the Match
Chris Westwood – The only defender who inspired confidence.
Bull, Foster, Bennett, Westwood, Sandell, Betsy, Montrose, Bloomfield, Ainsworth (Davies 85), Beavon, Strevens