This match did what derbies often do.
The winners were the team that hadn’t won in the league in seven since its last derby game against Blades whilst the vanquished were the team that went into the contest on their best run of the season.
From the off, it looked like both teams had gone into the game in confident mood and all of the early play was even with five minute periods of domination here and there from home and away sides.
Then up stepped 26 year old Irishman Eoin Doyle. The striker entered the game on 17 goals for the season but with none in the last half dozen league games. He was starting for a team that hadn’t scored a league goal in a minute shy of seven and a half hours.
He opened the scoring on 42 with a great finish from a move not wholly typical of his team. Tommy Lee kicked the ball away from a free-kick towards the right flank; Sam Clucas jumped with Joe Dudgeon, the ball diverted towards the Barnsley goal and was picked up by Doyle, who’d gambled and dissected Lewin Nyatanga and Peter Ramage.
He let the ball do the work before hitting it on the up, over Ross Turnbull, and there seemed to be a long gap before it began to fall, eventually bouncing on the line and then hitting the back of the net.
Doyle’s second, just before the hour mark, saw another long range pass undo the Reds. Charlie Raglan, who’s slotted into the side with aplomb, delivered from the right side of his own half to the left side of Barnsley’s. Doyle took the ball well before teasing Ramage, biding his time and shooting an angled effort beyond Turnbull.
Two exceptional finishes took Doyle’s tally to 19 for the season and 28 for the calendar year and he looks odds-on to become the quickest Spireite to bag 20 goals in a season in 88 years when Jimmy Cookson reached that landmark by mid-November.
Barnsley created chances before the opener, between the goals and after Doyle’s second, but it took until five minutes before the 90 mark for them to penetrate a defence that had enjoyed three straight clean sheets coming in to this game.
Dudgeon, not for the first time, burst down the left and crossed in. Opposite left-back Daniel Jones got a block in and Ian Evatt was just unable to get a clearance in allowing the ball to eventually find its way to sub Keith Treacy who was able to slot home his first goal for the club.
With Marcello Trotta and Leroy Lita joining Sam Winnall and Devante Cole for the final frantic minutes, Barnsley pushed hard for an equaliser but Spireites defence held firm to do enough to bag the points and leapfrog Danny Wilson’s side in the tight regions of the mid-table.
Barnsley’s huge following, in excess of 2400 fans were there for the club’s first competitive game at the Proact, made the atmosphere terrific and that energy fed onto the park. Paul Cook brought in Ollie Banks, son of Reds hero Ian, to cover for the suspended Sam Morsy whilst Barnsley were unchanged from their win against Colchester United.
International returnees Trotta and Paul Digby were on the bench whilst the third man missing due to last weekend’s international break, Ryan Williams, was absent due to a minor groin problem. Wilson hopes he’ll be available for selection for Saturday’s home game with Scunthorpe United.
Chesterfield began the stronger but it was Conor Hourihane that delivered the first shot that was saved by Lee following the first glance of the afternoon of Cole’s blistering pace. Doyle showed that he couldn’t be ignored, heading on target and shooting wide in quick succession.
Nyatanga had a great chance but his towering, downward header was dealt with well by Lee whilst Evatt headed high for the hosts just before Doyle’s opener.
Lee’s leg denied Kane Hemmings and the ex-Cowdenbeath man was crowded out by Evatt but still managed an effort that needed the Chesterfield keeper’s intervention.
Doyle then put daylight between the old rivals and Lee again had to act to preserve the gap, clipping a Cole effort wide of the post and Winnall’s header from the corner was headed firmly by Winnall, it beat Lee but Tendayi Darikwa was well positioned to head off the line.
Treacy blew one good chance, shooting wide from a great position, just before he pulled one back.
Despite Barnsley’s plethora of strikers on the park for the final few minutes, Chesterfield rarely looked like capitulating and they saw out the game successfully to bank the points.
Chesterfield: Lee 7, Darikwa 8, Evatt 7, Raglan 8, Jones 8, Ryan 7, Banks 6 (Humphreys 60, 6), O’Shea 8 (Gnanduillet 80), Roberts 7, Clucas 6 (Margreitter 90), Doyle 8. Subs (not used): Wright, Gardner, Boco, Ariyibi.
Goals: Doyle 42, 58
Barnsley: Turnbull 7, Crainie 8, Nyatanga 7, Ramage 6, Dudgeon 8 (Lita 90), Berry 7, Hourihane 7, Bailey 6 (Trotta 63, 6), Hemmings 7 (Treacy 66, 7), Cole 7, Winnall 6. Subs: Davies, Digby, Mvoto, Abbott.
Goal: Treacy 85
Ref: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Bookings: Doyle, Darikwa (Chesterfield), Hourihane (Barnsley)