The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Sam All­sop

NOT many would have pre­dicted sec­ond-placed Bolton slip­ping up at strug­gling Ch­ester­field, who found them­selves sec­ond from bot­tom be­fore yes­ter­day’s game.

But a mo­ment of in­spi­ra­tion from Gboly Ariy­ibi set up mid­fielder Liam O’Neil to sweep home his third goal of the sea­son mid­way through the first-half.

It was the first meet­ing be­tween these two sides since 1997 when the Spireites knocked Wan­der­ers out the FA Cup on their way to a mem­o­rable, fairy­tale semi-fi­nal ap­pear­ance.

Yes­ter­day was also the Trotters’ first visit to Ch­ester­field’s Proact Sta­dium and thanks to O’Neil’s first-half strike it wasn’t a pleas­ant one.

And Spireites man­ager Danny Wil­son could not hide his de­light.

“Ev­ery­one knew how im­por­tant it was to put a per­for­mance in against a very, very dan­ger­ous side,” ex­plained Wil­son.

“You can see why Bolton will be chal­leng­ing up there come the end of the sea­son, they’re strong, com­mit­ted and have qual­ity around some of the more phys­i­cal play­ers.

“We had to deal with dif­fer­ent facets of the game but I felt we dealt with them very well and played some good stuff our­selves.

“We didn’t sit back and drain our­selves of en­ergy, we still posed a threat go­ing the other way.

“It is some­thing that we have worked on (the goal), we need to get more play­ers go­ing for­ward from mid­field and get more goals.”

The Spireites were full value for their vic­tory de­spite Bolton hav­ing the ma­jor­ity of the ball through­out the game. The away side got into good po­si­tions on sev­eral oc­ca­sions with tal­is­man Zach Clough but he couldn’t make the most of any of the chances that came his way.

The most no­table of those was just be­fore the half-time break when he raced in be­hind the Ch­ester­field de­fence only to be thwarted by Spireites’ keeper Lloyd Allinson, who was mak­ing just his sec­ond league start.

The visi­tors’ best chance of the game came just past the hour mark.

Tom Thorpe laid the ball wide to that man Clough who shaped to bend the ball home but could only

fire into the trav­el­ling Trotters’ sup­port­ers.

Sammy Ameobi also threat­ened Allinson’s clean sheet when he cut inside on his favoured left foot but his ef­fort flashed just wide of the post ten min­utes from time.

Full-back Dion Dono­hue al­most dou­bled the Spireites lead late on when his cross from the left-wing al­most de­ceived Ben Al­nwick but the Bolton keeper just scram­bled back to tip the ball away from dan­ger.

The last chance of the game fell to for­mer Liver­pool man Jay Spear­ing who ran onto Gary Ma­dine’s knock down but the mid­fielder could only smash the ball high into the away end from 12 yards out and vic­tory was se­cured for the Spireites.

It marked the last home game of 2016 for Ch­ester­field and the Proact Sta­dium erupted at the full-time whis­tle in ap­pre­ci­a­tion of a fully com­mit­ted and bat­tling per­for­mance from the home side.

Bolton host Shrews­bury on Boxing Day as they look to get back on track and man­ager Phil Parkin­son was quick to pay trib­ute to a plucky per­for­mance from their hosts.

“They did play like a team fight­ing for their lives in fair­ness to them,” he said.

“But whilst we didn’t play at our best we still had enough op­por­tu­ni­ties to win the game.

“Once they got the lead they played with a real hunger to keep hold of it.

“It be­came a very bitty and scrappy sec­ond-half and that’s how you’d want to make it from their point of view.

“Some of the lads think I’m just say­ing it for ef­fect when I say ev­ery game is so tough.

“We are play­ing teams who have ev­ery­thing to play for so we cer­tainly didn’t un­der­es­ti­mate them.”

SCRAPPY: Ch­ester­field striker Ched Evans holds off Bolton de­fender David Wheater

PIC­TURE: Aaron Lup­ton/ProS­ports

ON THE UP: Ch­ester­field mid­fielder Liam O’Neil cel­e­brates scor­ing the open­ing goal

BLANK: Zach Clough strikes in vain at goal

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