Late Asante strike sinks the Spitfires
Akwasi Asante struck in the 85th minute to spring Chesterfield back to winning ways at the Technique Stadium against in-form Eastleigh on Tuesday night.
James Rowe made five changes to the side that were beaten by Stockport at the weekend. New signing Fraser Kerr came straight in to play at centre half alongside Gavin Gunning and Laurence Maguire.
Alex Whittle and Tom Whelan also returned to the side and Jack Clarke and Martin Smith were handed full debuts. Nathan Tyson returned to the match day squad and came on to play his first football since November.
Ben Strevens’ side started brightly but couldn’t find any way through a solid Chesterfield defence.
It was the Spireites who had the first chance of the game in the 17th minute when Asante pounced on an Eastleigh mistake. The striker charged towards goal and laid off to Whelan who couldn’t direct his effort on target.
A few minutes later Whelan and Asante linked up again but a good effort from the latter was deflected narrowly wide.
In the 27th minute Curtis Weston’s effort from outside the area took a big deflection and looked like it was about to sneak into the back of the net but John McDonnell did well to tip over the bar.
Despite a dominant first-half performance and numerous chances Chesterfield couldn’t find a breakthrough. In contrast the visitors failed to muster a shot on target in the opening 45.
Chesterfield nearly took the lead when Asante played Clarke through with a back-heel. Pierce Bird made a crucial block for Eastleigh to prevent Clarke’s shot from going goal bound.
The visitors made another important block minutes later when Asante’s powerful shot was stopped by one of the Eastleigh men.
The visitors had the ball in the back of the net in the 78th minute when Jack Payne’s free-kick was headed home by Danny Hollands but the goal was chalked off for an offside.
Asante went agonisingly close once again in the 84th minute but he was finally rewarded for his persistence a minute later. Substitute Tyson marked his return in superb fashion; he burst down the left with the ball and played back to Asante who turned his man and fired into the far corner.
Asante’s 85th minute goal was enough to seal all three points for Rowe’s men who ended Eastleigh’s eight-game unbeaten run.
Chesterfield (3-5-2): G. Smith; Kerr, Gunning (c), Maguire; Carline, M.Smith (McCourt 72’), Weston, Clarke (Mandeville 72’), Whittle; Whelan (Tyson 79’), Asante
Eastleigh (4-4-2): McDonnell; Green, Bird, Boyce, Tomlinson; Hill (Baggie 72’), Payne, Hollands (c), Smart (Miley 46’); Barnett (Smith 84’), House