Shields 40


Asante 45+2, Denton 60

WEYMOUTH let a 1-0 lead slip as Chesterfield won 2-1 to deny the Terras on their return to Vanarama National League action.

Playing their first game in four weeks after Covid-19 troubles, the Terras took the lead on 40 minutes when Sean Shields curled in a beauty.

But Spireites’ debutant Akwasi Asante fired home a leveller before half-time and the tall Tom Denton headed past the impressive Weymouth keeper Gerard Benfield – himself making his maiden appearance.

Brian Stock’s men could not fashion a clear chance in the closing stages as new Chesterfield boss James Rowe picked up three points in his first game.

Weymouth made two changes to the side that began the 2-1 victory at Stockport County way back on Halloween.

Jack Bycroft and Josh Wakefield were the men to miss out, with neither player making the matchday squad.

Bycroft missed out with a dislocated finger, while Wakefield was replaced in the starting line-up by Jake McCarthy.

Benfield came in to make his debut between the sticks for the Terras.

Weymouth have also brought in keeper Nick Hutchings, who has assisted with training in recent weeks.

However, there was no place on the bench for the former Poole and Dorchester stopper.

Elsewhere, the Spireites appointed former Gloucester City manager Rowe after a downturn in form under previous boss John Pemberton.

Rowe acted swiftly to secure the first signing of his tenure, bringing in prolific striker Asante to the Derbyshire side.

Dutch forward Asante has already bagged eight goals in nine games for National League North outfit Gloucester this season.

And from the off it became clear Chesterfield have a serious player on their hands.

Only the brilliance of Benfield kept the Dutchman at bay as the striker beat the offside trap but got his feet in a muddle and allowed the goalkeeper to block his effort.

Weymouth were struggling to deal with the height of the six-foot-six-inch Tom Denton as the giant forward created another chance for Asante.

Collecting his strike partner’s knock-down, Asante raced clean through and his goalbound effort was repelled by the outstretched leg of Benfield in the 15th minute.

Away captain Will Evans earned the game’s first yellow for cheaply barging Calvin Brooks into the near touchline barriers before Terras’ top scorer Tom Whelan saw a shot deflected into the hands of Kyle Letheren.

Evans then stabbed wide at the back post before Corey Jordan looped a header over at the other end.

Chesterfield, who fielded England and Manchester United captain Harry Maguire’s brother Laurence, then began to sit back as Weymouth pressed forward.

Shields was the architect, curling in a cross for the unmarked Cody Cooke to glance a header wide of the far post.

Benfield pulled off arguably his best save of the half to deny Asante, who ran on to the keeper’s parry only to be thwarted by a superb reaction stop.

Benfield was rewarded for his heroics as, somewhat against the run of play, Weymouth took the lead through Shields.

McCarthy’s neat footwork engineered space and, although his route to goal was blocked, Shields curled home first time from 20 yards into the top-right corner.

Weymouth piled on the pressure with a succession of corners, but Chesterfield and Asante bagged a deserved goal two minutes into first-half stoppage time.

Unsurprisingly, Denton used his head to create the chance, nodding down for Asante to spin and drill in off the far post for 1-1 at half-time.

A slow start to the second half would manifest itself as the story of the second period as both teams struggled to get going again.

It took 12 minutes for the first chance to come after the break, Chesterfield’s Jonathan Smith volleying well over from 20 yards.

Asante was then denied by a stunning catch from the in-form Benfield, latching onto the striker’s volley from 12 yards when he looked destined to score.

But on the hour the irrepressible Denton headed the visitors into the lead, powering home Jordan Cropper’s right-wing cross with ease.

Josh McQuoid also saw a shot deflect off his back and away as Weymouth struggled to create a clear chance.

Weymouth huffed and puffed in the closing stages but sub Shamir Mullings could not get on the end of a Brooks cross.

In the end, Chesterfield held on comfortably to give new boss Rowe victory in his first game in charge, sending Weymouth into the bottom three in the process.

Terras: Benfield, Camp, Jordan, McCarthy, McQuoid (Murray 69), Robinson, Brooks, Cooke (Mullings 69), Whelan (Thomson 79), Harfield, Shields.

Subs not used: Ngalo, Leslie-Smith.

Chesterfield: Letheren, Buchanan, Evans, Maguire, Rowley (Mandeville 57), Weston, Asante (Boden 64), Smith, Tom Denton, Hollis, Cropper (Yarney 78).

Subs not used: Tyler Denton, Addai.

Referee: Lee Collins