Chesterfield F.C 3-2 Bristol Rovers
Attendance: 6,330 (934 away)
Rovers took an early lead at Chesterfield through Peter Hartley, but the defender's goal was cancelled out by a brace from Jay O'Shea and a close-range tap in from defender Ian Evatt. Substitute Billy Bodin scored a powerful volley to reduce Chesterfield's advantage fifteen minutes before the final whistle, but Rovers were unable to find a dramatic late equaliser at the Proact Stadium.
Heading into the game Rovers made three changes from the side that took to the field against Charlton at the Mem, with Jermaine Easter, Ollie Clarke and Peter Hartley all come into the starting XI, with Hartley replacing the injured Jake Clarke-Salter at the heart of the Rovers defence.
Luke James, Cristian Montano and Charlie Colkett were included in the substitutes, alongside Billy Bodin, Ellis Harrison, Will Puddy and Mark McChrystal.
Rovers started the game with a high tempo and were awarded with an early goal when Chris Lines was fouled just inside the Chesterfield half, which allowed the midfielder to deliver a deep free kick into the hosts area that wasn't cleared and the ball eventually fell kindly for Peter Hartley who found his way in behind the hosts defence and was able to calmly slot the ball underneath 'keeper Ryan Fulton.
The hosts rebuilt after a shaky start and following a Rovers corner Chesterfield were able to break the entire length of the pitch with Reece Mitchell feeding the ball through to Jake Beesley, who took several touches before firing a driven shot towards goal from twenty-five yards out that was pushed away from danger by Kelle Roos.
Chesterfield were back level midway through the first half when a cross from an O'Shea freekick was angled into the Rovers area and headed clear by Peter Hartley, only for the ball to be fired back into the congested area by Conor Dimaio, where Ian Evatt was on hand to poke the ball home from close-range.
Immediately following the goal Rovers responded by creating a chance which originated from Rory Gaffney battling well out wide to keep possession, before laying off a pass to Ollie Clarke, who took a touch before sending a left-footed volley narrowly wide of goal from the edge of the area.
Just seven minutes before the break, the home side were able to put themselves in front, when a deflected ball into the Rovers area was picked up by Gary Liddle, who was quickest to respond to the loose ball down the right-wing and from the dangerous position the Chesterfield skipper was able to dig out a chipped cross into the box that was met by Jay O'Shea who powerfully headed the ball past Kelle Roos from six-yards out.
Following the half-time break interval, Chesterfield were able to extend their lead just minutes into the second half when Peter Hartley commited a foul on Jay O'Shea twenty-five yards from goal. The midfielder dusted himself off to take the resulting set piece and was able to bend his freekick around the wall and nestle the ball into the top corner, well out of the reach of the diving Kelle Roos, for his second goal of the afternoon.
Genuine chances on goal were hard to come by for Rovers and it took a well-weighted pass from Chris Lines to unlock the Chesterfield defence with the pass directed towards Matty Taylor and with the striker losing his defender he wasn't able to keep his unchallenged header on target. Shortly after Taylor's opportunity Rovers had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down when Stuart Sinclair advanced into the area before going to ground under a challenge of Ian Evatt, but the referee was quick to dispell the appeal for a spot kick from the Rovers players.
With fifteen minutes remaining Rovers were handed an opportunity to get themselves back into the game when substitute Ellis Harrison did well to hold the ball up inside the area and was able to flick the ball to Billy Bodin who fired home a powerful volley from inside the area to cut Chesterfield's advantage.
Rovers enjoyed the majority of possession in the closing stages but were unable to find a way through the resurgent Chesterfield back-four to force a dramatic late equaliser.
Next up for Rovers is a Emirates FA Cup second round tie against Barrow at the Mem next weekend.
Chesterfield: Ryan Fulton (G), Garry Liddle (C), Ian Evatt, Reece Mitchell, Liam O'Neil, Conor Dimaio (69' Jon Nolan), Dion Donohue, Tom Anderson, Jay O'Shea (84' Dan Gardner), Gboly Ariyibi, Jake Beesley (69' Ched Evans)
Subs: Kristian Dennis, Laurence Maguire, Ricky German, Lloyd Allinson
Rovers: Kelle Roos (G), Daniel Leadbitter, Peter Hartley, Tom Lockyer (C), Lee Brown, Chris Lines, Stuart Sinclair (62' Billy Bodin), Ollie Clarke, Jermaine Easter (62' Cristian Montano), Rory Gaffney (69' Ellis Harrison), Matty Taylor.
Subs: Will Puddy, Mark McChrystal, Luke James, Charlie Colkett.