Breathless Clarke is afraid for his health
DARRELL CLARKE accused his Bristol Rovers team of almost giving him a heart attack after they nearly let relegation-bound Chesterfield off the hook.
The manager felt his players should have capitalised fully on a one-sided first half, claiming the second period took years off his life.
With Rovers two up, Luke James had a 40thminute penalty saved by impressive Chesterfield goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann, and a late Sylvan Ebanks-Blake goal for the visitors set up a tense finale.
Clarke said: “The dressing room certainly isn’t bouncing. We are pleased with the win, but the players are worried I’m going to have a heart attack!
“We had umpteen chances to get the third so the manager’s heart rate would calm down and he’d get a few more years on his life.
“Credit to Chesterfield for keeping going, but we should have seen the game out a lot more comfortably.
“It was so frustrating when the whole place got anxious late on. And rightly so because we were not clinical enough to settle the outcome before then.”
Rovers went in front with only half-a-minute on the clock, Ollie Clarke firing home a low shot from the edge of the box.
Rory Gaffney made it 2-0 on 18 minutes with a clinical finish, having been put through by Luke James, and it looked like being a stroll in the park for the hosts.
James had the chance to net his first Rovers goal when pushed by Tom Anderson. But his penalty lacked conviction and Stuckmann stood firm, thrusting out a strong left hand to parry the ball.
It was one of numerous first-half saves from the busy Chesterfield keeper as Rovers surged forward. But the visitors improved after the interval and Ebanks-Blake pulled a goal back five minutes from time with a curling rightfooted effort from the left of the box.
Chesterfield boss Gary Caldwell admitted: “We came to try and win, but you can’t win games starting like we did this afternoon.
“We gifted Rovers a goal start, began to play well and then gifted them another goal. Too often we carry players in games.
“The basics have to be done better, but we will keep going while there are points to play for and no one is giving up.
“It is very frustrating at times because we have some talented players at the club, but we keep shooting ourselves in the foot and make our keeper work too hard.”