The Pirates failed to maintain their unbeaten streak after a heavy defeat to Bury. Chesterfield went away with a point after a tense 3-3 draw against Peterborough United.
Bristol Rovers travelled to Gigg Lane on Tuesday where three changes were made to the starting squad. Lee Mansell remained in the starting lineup for suspended Ollie Clarke. Within just under 40 minutes of play, Stuart Sinclair was sent off the pitch after receiving his second yellow card of the night for allegedly diving, according to referee, Ben Toner.
The Pirates then had to make a substitute just before the half-time whistle due to an ill-James Clarke was unable to play on the pitch. Chelsea loanee, Jake Clarke-Salter made a return on the pitch after a long recovery to an injury he sustained back in November.
The 10-men side were under more pressure after a penalty was given to the Shakers as Greg Lee accidentally caught the foot of Lee Mansell. After 25 minutes of play, George Miller and Greg Leigh went on to score two more goals for the home side.
Chesterfield shared six goals between them and the Posh at the Proact Stadium on Tuesday. The Spireites took the lead after four minutes of play with a goal from Sylvian Ebanks-Blake outside the penalty box.
However, it didn’t take long at all for Peterborough to equalise. Craig Mackail-Smith fired from close range into the left side of the net, just three minutes after Chesterfield’s opening goal. Tom Nichols broke the equalising deadlock in the 17th minute with a similar goal that pushed them for the equaliser.
The Spireites came fighting back just before the half-hour mark as a powerful shot from Kristian Dennis flies over Luke McGee into the top centre of the net.
The Posh hadn’t given up and pushed themselves back into the lead following a low shot into the right corner from Craig Mackail-Smith – his second goal of the evening.
Chesterfield equalised once again after 54 minutes of play after Dion Donohue shot from close range, resulting win both teams walking away with one point.
The last time these two teams went head to head…
Both teams met back at the Proact Stadium in Derbyshire in November. The Spireites took home the three points after Jay O’Shea’s firing free-kick strengthened the home side’s lead.
The goalless deadlock was broken after former Spireite, Peter Hartley scored within the first three minutes of the game for the pirates; a small tap from close range from Rory Gaffney’s header.
Chesterfield equalised after 25 minutes with a goal from Ian Evatt following a set-piece situation assisted by midfielder, Connor Dimaio. Minutes before half time, Jay O’Shea pushed the Spireites into the lead; A clear header from Gary Liddle’s far right cross.
The home side pushed their likelihood of chances following Jay O’Shea’s free-kick which was fired into the bottom right corner. Bristol Rovers tried to make a comeback with a volley from Billy Bodin in the 76th minute but was not enough to gain a point.
Ellis Harrison was not to be seen in the squad on Tuesday due to a knock he picked up back last month against Bolton Wonderers. James Clarke is currently being monitored by the club’s medical team after he was taken ill and was referred to hospital for treatment during their match against Bury. It is unlikely that he will start for Saturday’s game.
The Spireites are without Ian Evatt, Ched Evans and Angel Martinez as all three have been ruled out to injury. Evatt was stretchered off during Chesterfield’s game against Shrewsbury Town where it was announced that he had sustained a knee injury and would be out for the remainder of the season. Evans is currently out for a few more games as he is still recovering from an ankle injury. The Spaniard, Martinez has been suffering from a knee ligament problem since 2015 and has sustained many setbacks since.
My predicted XI:
Bristol Rovers (4-4-2): Lumley (GK); Leadbitter, Clarke-Salter, Sweeney, Brown; Bodin, Lines, O. Clarke, Montano; James, Gaffney.
Chesterfield (4-4-2): Stuckmann (GK); Hird, Anderson, Kakay, Donohue; Nolan, Dimaio, Jones, Mitchell; Ebanks-Blake, Dennis.
My prediction of the game…
We took a quite a heavy defeat post-Bury on Tuesday. However, we shouldn’t dwell on it too much. We have eight more games to go before the end of this season and anything could happen. The Spireites still sitting comfortably in the relegation zone and in order for them to stand a chance of remaining in the league would be if they started winning match after match, which Chesterfield fans can agree that there isn’t much of a chance of that happening.
I’m predicting that the score will be Bristol Rovers 1-0 Chesterfield. I have a positive feeling that we can maintain a strong midfield, with the faces of Lines and Bodin. I really would like Luke James to score on Saturday. His performances in the last few matches have been brilliant and you can see the improvement he has made since the beginning of the season.