MATCH REPORT: Chesterfield 0 Fleetwood 1

Fleetwood Town manager Uwe Rosler
Fleetwood Town manager Uwe Rosler
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Conor McLaughlin’s sweet strike lit up an ugly affair at the Proact Stadium as Fleetwood battled to a 1-0 win over Chesterfield.

It was a less than enthralling first-half with only Chris Neal’s early withdrawal and Alex Cairns’ debut the feature of the half until Conor McLaughlin and Jack Sowerby produced a moment of magic on the right.

They played a neat one-two before McLaughlin sweetly slid the ball into the left corner in the 40th minute.

The second half did not get any better in terms of prettiness but with Sowerby and David Ball going close but some last-ditch defending, Cairns’ foot and the woodwork ensured Town bagged all three points.

Rosler stuck with the same starting XI and 4-4-2 formation that beat Peteborough 2-0

The big news from the opposition was that Ched Evans had recovered from a heel injury to be named on the bench.

Ryan smashed the ball wide early doors and Chesterfield’s Dennis saw a deflected close range effort loop over.

Town keeper Chris Neal was involved in a collision with Gary Liddle in the six-yard box as Chesterfield bundled the ball over the line but the goal was chalked off with Neal left grounded and clutching his head.

After both physios assessed him it was signalled a substitution was necessary leading to Cairns making his first appearance for Town since his summer switch from Rotherham.

And just seconds into his Fleetwood debut he was beaten by Gboly Ariyibi’s curling effort from the right but fortunately it smashed into the left stick.

Jimmy Ryan slipped up against his former club as his back pass was too short and allowed Dennis to run one-on-one but he fired straight at Cairns in the 21st minute.

Hunter fired the ball straight at Fulton from outside the box but it was a less than thrilling first half of football in the pouring rain at the Proact Stadium as both sides cancelled each other out.

But Town nabbed the opener five minutes before half-time as Sowerby and McLaughlin carved opened Chesterfield on the right before the Northern Ireland full-back showed his international expertise with a finish made for the world stage as he blasted the ball into the left corner to net his first of the campaign.

The goal woke Town up and they started to look dangerous up top as Chesterfield pushed bodies up-field with Hunter slicing the ball just wide of the left stick and Ball curling the ball over the right corner as half-time approached.

Town oh so nearly made it two just after the 50th minute as Town robbed Chesterfield of possession in their own half with Ball sliding in Hunter who fizzed the ball towards the unmarked Sowerby at the back stick but his first-time effort was just palmed round the post by Fulton.

Town always looked a threat on the counter but the arrival of Evans off the bench just on the hour mark woke the home fans up as Chesterfield pushed forward.

Cairns lived to tell the tale after a goal mouth scramble.

And Ball had two chances to increase Town’s lead firstly Cole did well to slip him in but his effort was just stopped by Fulton and after he raced on to a loose ball his effort was just blocked in the box.

But as the clock ticked towards the 90 it was Chesterfield who looked most likely to score again as they pushed forward but time and time again their crosses and final balls were not up to scratch.

Evans’ deflected shot clattered into the bar and Cairns pulled off a fine save with his foot to thwart Jay O’Shea from close range.

Paul McGinn was booked for chopping down Bell on the left but some last-ditch defending by Town helped them over the line as they bagged all three points.

Fleetwood: Neal (Cairns, 9), McLaughlin, Pond, Eastham, Bell, Sowerby (Nirennold, 81), Dempsey, Ryan, Grant, Ball, Hunter (Cole, 67). Subs not used: Bolger, Jonsson, Jakubiak, Woolford.

Chesterfield: Fulton, Hird, Liddle, Mitchell (Evans, 60) O’Neil (McGinn, 76), Nolan, Donohue, Dennis (German, 54), Anderson, O’Shea, Ariyibi. Subs not used: Evatt, Gardner, Dimaio, Allinson.

Referee: Ross Joyce

Attendance: 4598 (54 away)