SPIREITES HOLD ON AFTER ‘DIVE’
GBOLY Ariyibi’s disputed dive plunged Chesterfield into trouble but Spireites boss Danny Wilson admits his side showed they are every bit as effective with their backs to the wall.
Jay O’Shea netted a firsthalf opener for Chesterfield and though Rochdale hit back through Iain Henderson, Lee Novak and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake hit quick-fire goals with ten minutes to go.
However, Ariyibi was then sent off – receiving a second yellow for a second act of simulation – before Rhys Bennett’s header made the visitors sweat.
And Wilson said: “It was a terrific performance from us.We had a good shape throughout and we battened down the hatches when we needed to.
“We showed a lot of character and in that respect I am very pleased.But there was a lot of good football played by both sides and some excellent chances created by both sides.
“Before we went down to ten men we were totally in control but thankfully that didn’t end up affecting the result.
“Gboly Ariyibi is a handful but I am disappointed to see him sent off and he is right to feel aggrieved.”
Calvin Andrew’s 14th-minute free-kick almost found the top corner as Rochdale started brightly and a Donal McDermott shot then brought Spireites stopper Tommy Lee into action.
But it was Chesterfield who scored first when O’Shea found the bottom corner, having wrongfooted two defenders from Ebanks-Blake’s 26th-minute pass.
Only the offside flag stopped them getting a second after Novak got a telling but illegal touch on Ariyibi’s ball in. Ariyibi fired inches wide soon after and the unfortunate American saw a strike ruled out for offside just before the break, surprising both teams who were awaiting the restart.
But Rochdale equalised just before the break when Henderson dived in for his tenth goal of the season from Matthew Lund’s teasing cross.
Lee then denied Henderson with an outstretched leg but Dan Gardner stunned the hosts when he crossed from the by-line for Novak to turn the ball in on 78 minutes.
And Ebanks-Blake scored a third when he dispossessed Jimmy McNulty.
But Ariyibi, who looked to have been felled, received a second yellow card for diving before Bennett’s late goal.
Rochdale manager Keith Hill said: “The game was too open for my liking. I never felt comfortable. I thought we were very lucky to come in at half-time just one goal down.
“Chesterfield grew into the game exceptionally well but we gave ourselves an opportunity in the second-half and I don’t think we should lose the game from that point.
“Small margins can make a big difference and we should have defended Chesterfield’s second and third goals better. “It gave us too much of a mountain to climb but our heads didn’t go down and we did have chances to get something from the game.”