Chesterfield v Posh Nationwide League Division 2 – 1st Sept 2001
Venue: Recreation Ground, Chesterfield
Score: Chesterfield 0 v Peterborough Utd 1
Referee: Michael Ryan
Posh striker made a dream return at Chesterfield scoring the winning goal as Barry Fry’s side picked up maximum points for the first time this season.
The 23 year old hotshot hit the back of the net after 18 minutes, having only recently recovered from the tendonitis that kept him on the sidelines for the entire pre-season, before a brilliant Posh defensive display in the second half prevented the Spireites grabbing an equaliser.
Posh started the game well and created a couple of reasonable chances on six minutes, McKenzie squaring to the feet of Jon Cullen, but he blasted his effort straight at a Chesterfield defender. Marc Joseph blasted the rebound well over, and just moments later Neale Fenn volleyed an effort towards goal following Cullen’s right wing cross – although Chesterfield goalkeeper Nathan Abbey gathered comfortably.
Mark Tyler showed safe hands on 11 minutes, grasping hold of a Graham Hyde stinger, after the on-loan midfield man had turned delicately on the edge of the box but it was Posh who broke the deadlock.
On 18 minutes, Fenn slipped the ball through to McKenzie and the striker got the better of his marker and slotted past the advancing Abbey to put Posh in front.
David Farrell looked to double that lead with a 20 yard drive five minutes on, although this time the home goalkeeper was equal to the test.
Posh continued to press and on 37 minutes, Fenn curled a free kick around the wall only to see Abbey pull off an impressive full-stretch save to palm away.
The second period began with Chesterfield pushing for an equalising goal and skipper Ian Brecklin should have done better with a header, but he directed his effort into Tyler’s hands.
Posh defenders Simon Rea and Gary MacDonald were both yellow carded for late challenges early on in the half, and from the latter’s resultant set piece, Steve Payne’s header was deflected wide for a corner.
The Spireites failed to make it count and on 53 minutes McKenzie looked to punish the home defence further with a dazzling run and strike towards goal which Abbey managed to punch away.
Tyler did superbly well to thwart Luke Beckett with his feet as the former Chester City marksman bared down on goal, before Posh could have put the game beyond doubt.
Richard Forsyth found Fenn down the left, but the pint sized striker struck his attempt too close to the body of Abbey.
Fenn was immediately involved again as he chased a long Farrell ball forward, just failing to clip around Abbey with the Chesterfield custodian out of his penalty box.
The ex-Luton Town goalkeeper had to be alert again with four minutes remaining and pulled off a fantastic save to push a 25 yard Fenn thunderbolt over the bar.
In the end a second goal was not required. Despite playing five minutes injury time the home side failed to find a leveller and Posh were able to hold on to their first league victory of the season and three very valuable points.
Posh: Mark Tyler, Marc Joseph, Andy Edwards, Simon Rea, Gary McDonald, Jon Cullen, David Oldfield, Richard Forsyth, David Farrell, Leon McKenzie (sub Andy Clarke) and Neale Fenn.
Unused subs: Dean Hooper, Francis Green, Jimmy Bullard and Dan Connor.
Chesterfield: Nathan Abbey, Ian Brecklin, Dave Reeves, Luke Beckett, Roger Willis (sub Marcus Ebdon), Martyn Booty, Keith Rowland, Greg Pearce, Danny Williams (sub Andy Rushbury), Steve Payne and Graham Hyde.
Unused subs: Jamie Hewitt, Jonathan Howard and Andy Richmond.
Goal scorer: The Posh – Leon McKenzie 18 mins.
Bookings: Simon Rea, Gary Mac Donald, Leon McKenzie and Richard Forsyth (Posh). Luke Beckett (Chesterfield).