CHESTERFIELD 1-0 EASTLEIGH: ASANTE THE DIFFERENCE AS CHESTERFIELD SHOCK SPITFIRES
Akwasi Asante proved to be the difference as Chesterfield recorded a much deserved 1-0 win against play off chasing Eastleigh at the Techinque Stadium.
Despite going into the game unbeaten in eight, Eastleigh were thoroughly outplayed by the home side, who got the winner with just five minutes to spare.
Chesterfield had the first chance of the evening as Akwasi Asante slid through Tom Whelan, who couldn’t quite settle his feet and his subsequent shot drifted wide.
It was a good spell of early pressure for Chesterfield as both Asante and George Carline had attempts blocked as the home sides pressed for an opener.
The Spireites came close as the experienced Curtis Weston turned his man with ease before picking out Alex Whittle, but his long-range attempt flew over the bar.
Chesterfield were unrelenting in their search for an opener, as on the 28th minute Weston had another go from range which caused Eastleigh a scare as it deflected off the boot of Jack Payne and forced Joe McDonell to tip the ball over the bar.
The home side dominated the opening half but struggled to create any clear-cut chances as the Eastleigh back four held firm.
New signing Fraser Kerr made a good start to his career at the Technique Stadium as he made a thumping but fair challenge on Ryan Hill as he looked to burst past the Chesterfield defence.
Despite looking confident in the very early exchanges, Eastleigh spent most of the first half in their own half, with James Rowe’s high pressing game seemingly startling the Spitfires.
Chesterfield started the half as they left off as Asante created two chances, one for Carline who headed straight at the goalkeeper and a driven cross which was blocked off by Andrew Boyce before it could reach a blue shirt.
Asante proved to be a real thorn in Eastleigh’s side as he kept picking up space in and around the box, with his physical presence being tough for Boyce and Pierce Bird to handle.
Jack Clarke was next to almost open the scoring as Asante held the ball up well before backheeling it into the path of Clarke whose powerful shot was well blocked by Bird.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first for long periods, as Chesterfield kept Eastleigh penned back, but the Spitfires stood strong.
Eastleigh had the ball in the back of the net, as Danny Hollands headed home from a Jack Payne free kick, but it was ruled out for handball.
Asante must have thought his luck was out as Andrew Joyce stopped two goal bound attempts from crossing the line.
But the Dutchman got a reward for his efforts in the 85th minute as Nathan Tyson played the ball across goal and Asante kept his composure and slotted the ball past McDonell.
The win sees Chesterfield move up to 13th whereas Eastleigh drop down to 7th.