The Hatters’ fourth contest of the season with Chesterfield, and their 100th against the ‘Spireites’ in all competitions over more than 120 years, saw them end a goal drought that had stretched through four games and achieve their first ‘double’ in 2020/21.
Second-half goals from James Jennings and Alex Reid overcame the in-form Derbyshire side to move County back up to third place by 5pm.
Late February was stealing a march (so to speak) on the following month, as, having ‘come in like a lion’, it ‘went out like a lamb’ – courtesy of a bright, warm, Spring-like afternoon at Edgeley Park. Simon Rusk named an unchanged starting 11 from that which had taken to the field in SK3 against Notts County four days earlier – while County’s two recent arrivals on loan from Chorley, Harry Cardwell and Elliot Newby, were named among the substitutes. One-time County trialist Alex Whittle, meanwhile, featured on the visitors’ bench.
The match had almost reached its half-hour mark before the first attempt on goal was made – with Marcus Dinanga’s low shot from outside the box taking a bounce, and then being smothered by Ben Hinchliffe who marked the approach of Spring by sporting a newly-acquired, all-yellow ensemble for the first time.
Hinchliffe’s opposite Number One (or, rather, 27), Grant Smith, parried away a well-struck free-kick by Tom Walker, and Akwasi Asante headed beyond County’s right post, before time was called on a half at which chances had been at a premium.
HALF-TIME: County 0, Chesterfield 0.
Having waited nearly 30 minutes to witness a shot in the first half, the assembled few behind closed doors saw County go close within 10 of the resumption when Walker’s free-kick to the right of the visitors’ box was deflected past the far upright.
But cometh the hour – more or less – cometh the man. Jennings fired home from close range after latching on to a flick from John Rooney to score his first competitive goal as a Hatter, and, moreover, County’s first in some eight hours of play.
The visitors made some attacking substitutions, as they strove to restore parity – but, with 10 minutes remaining, County doubled the advantage after Jennings’ cross from the left by-line fell on the edge of the six-yard box to Reid, who volleyed in to make sure of the three points.
FULL-TIME: County 2 (J. Jennings, 59; Reid, 80), Chesterfield 0.
Team (4-4-2): Hinchliffe; Minihan, Palmer, Hogan (Capt.), J. Jennings; Walker (Collar, 69), Croasdale, Rooney (Keane, 73), Gilmour; Dalby (Cardwell, 62), Reid.
Unused Subs: Barnes, Newby.
Booked: J. Jennings.
Man of the Match: Croasdale.
Reporter: Gareth Evans.
Photographer: Mike Petch.