Paul Cook saw his side pick up their first points of 2013 thanks to a three-goal deluge in a seven-minute first-half purple patch.
The Spireites’ overall 90-minute performance was excellent, but their mid-half scoring salvo was sensational.
Jay O’Shea, signed permanently until the end of next season after his loan from MK Dons, began the rapid scoreboard activities. He flicked the ball wide to Danny Whitaker, who initially looked like he was going to shoot .But with a forest of legs between him and the target, he squared for O’Shea who still had to show some neat footwork and a three-quarter turn before rifling home from six yards.
The lead was a welcome, well-earned boost for the home side and it was doubled within a minute thanks to the first of two Northampton defensive assists.
Tommy Lee’s upfield kick was headed away by Joe Widdowson. But it was knocked back in to the danger area by Northampton’s midfield and then Clarke Carlisle erred, allowing Marc Richards to gather, hold off Carlisle’s challenge and slot the ball home against the club he played for between 2003 and 2005.
Richards then bagged a brace after Luke Guttridge’s loose ball fell between Tendayi Darikwa and Widdowson. The Chesterfield man was more determined and his slide in to win the ball turned into a perfect pass for his strike colleague who raced away from Kelvin Langmead to left foot beyond Lee Nicholls and all but wrap up the points.
He’s now scored six goals in his last nine league starts, no bad return for any striker.
Cook’s squad was somewhat depleted ahead of the game. With Luis Boa Morte and Brennan Dickenson, who both played in the previous game at Wycombe, no longer with the club, Conor Townsend suspended and Drew Talbot nursing a broken toe, the manager had to give transfer-listed Neal Trotman his first game since October.
Playing alongside Liam Cooper, who’d missed most of the pre-match training with flu, the big centre-half didn’t let anyone down and the manager singled him out for praise. Cook said: “I thought Neal Trotman was absolutely magnificent today. He was a credit to himself, to come back in after being out of the side for so long and give a performance like he did. He deserves a special pat on the back.d. Liam didn’t train all week, that’s something that people don’t see.”
The pairing silenced Northampton’s vaunted front pairing of giants. Adebayo Akinfenwa and Clive Platt hardly had a sniff. Midfielders Chris Hackett and Ben Harding were the only visitors to threaten in an attacking sense, hitting the post and forcing a Lee save respectively. Both of those efforts came after the scoring had been completed.
Teenager Jonathan Wafula came on to make his senior debut in his first year as a professional.
Chesterfield (4-2-3-1): Lee 6, Hird 7, Trotman 7, Cooper 6, Smith 8, Clay 7 (Randall 76), Togwell 7, Darikwa 7, O’Shea 9 (Wafula 90+1), Whitaker 8, Richards 8 (Lester 85). Subs (not used): O’Donnell, Boden, Whittaker, Broadhead.
Northampton (4-4-2): Nicholls 7, Tozer 7, Carlisle 5, Langmead 5, Widdowson 5, Hackett 8, Guttridge 6, Harding 6 (Demontagnac 82), Robinson 5, Akinfenwa 6 (Hornby 74), Platt 5. Subs (not used): Snedker, Wilson, Moult, Dias, Turnbull.
Bookings: Carlisle, Robinson (Northampton).