Returning to The EBB Stadium after successive defeats on their travels, The Shots came into this game desperate for a change of fortune and a win. It was not to be however, as the home faithful's early optimism soon faded and after a stuttering performance, Shots conceded yet another late(ish) goal, to slip to yet another home defeat. Worse news was to follow, as five of the bottom seven teams in League Two at the start of the day won, leaving Shots occupying one of the two relegation places.
Manager Dean Holdsworth kept with his policy of playing two holding midfielders at home, the idea presumably being that this would allow Scott Donnelly to get into more advanced positions. The Shots made a lively start to the match and took the game to their opponents from the off. Danny Hylton and Troy Brown had early efforts on goal, one saved, one cleared for a corner. Indeed, Shots forced four corners in the opening 15 minutes but were unable to convert from any of them. The only scare in that openinmg period was when Brown, tracking back, headed behind, the ball whistling past Jamie Young's left hand post.
Shots continued to dominate the first half proceedings, with all eleven players working hard for the cause. Hylton was extremely unfortunate to pick up a booking on 30 minutes. He quickly and cleverly repositioned himself to thwart a Chesterfield atack down the right, but the referee decided that he had obstructed his opponent. Surely not a booking?
Moments later, Hylton showed more tenacity in robbing a visiting defender on the by-line and sending over a wicked cross that Alex Rodman came close to poking over the line - the ball just evading his lunge. On 40 minutes, another great chance for the Shots, this time Reid the maker, crossing for Rodman who connected well with his head but O'Donnell was equal to it and somehow Chesterfield remained level at the break.
The second half began quietly, but burst into life in the 57th minute. First Reid combined well with Hylton for the latter to shoot - shot blocked. Then Chesterfield broke to the other end. Atkinson moved nicely onto a chipped ball, only to lob both Young and his crossbar. Two minutes later, it was Shots turn again and this time, Rodman's curled effort from just inside the area was easily held by O'Donnell.
Shots early promise was beginning to fade and on 62 minutes, the largely ineffective Donnelly was replaced by Adam Mekki. Ironically, Mekki's first real contribution to the match was a brilliantly timed tackle in his own penalty area. Mekki's presence certainly livened things up though and on 68 minutes, he went tumbling in the opposing penatly area - far too late though for the unimpressed referee.
On 73 minutes, Rodman was brought down in full flow by sub Clay and fell awkwardly. He left the field clutching his shoulder, replaced by Josh Payne.
Moments laterm, the visitors took the lead. It appeared that danger had been averted when Guy Branston timed a tackle well in his own area, only for the ball to run rather kindly into the path of Chris Atkinson, who finished neatly, firing a low shot across Young from 18 yards.
Shots had flattered to deceive at times, but did not deserve to be losing. The crowd's support was by this stage, beginnig to dwindle and confidence appeared to be draining from the players by the minute. Shots forced two corners in quick succession - only for both to be headed clear by the first defender with ease. Simply not good enough. When finally a chance came for Shots, Hylton spurned it, flicking a header wide from a Payne cross.
Nothing is going right just now for The Shots, or for manager Holdsworth, but Shots must once again try to lift themselves for the next game, away to Plymouth in the Johnstones Paint Trophy on Tuesday.
Shots: Young, Herd, Lancashire. Branston, Tonkin, Rodman (Payne) Donnelly, (Mekki) Brown, Morris(A) (Rankine) Hylton, Reid. Subs not used: Morris(G), Bradley, Anderson, Cadogan. Att: 2006 (237 away fans)