PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 0 CHESTERFIELD 1
ARGYLE paid the price for not taking any of a number of chances as they were beaten by Chesterfield at rain-lashed Home Park today, writes Chris Errington.
The Pilgrims were the better team for long periods but still slipped to a sixth defeat in their last seven League Two games.
Chesterfield striker Marc Richards grabbed the decisive goal in the 66th minute with a clinical finish to heap more misery on struggling Argyle.
They have failed to score in their last three matches and still not kept a clean sheet since early September.
Under-pressure manager Carl Fletcher will be wondering where the Pilgrims' next win is coming from.
Argyle's starting line-up showed one change from the 1-0 defeat at Bradford City on Tuesday.
Former Chesterfield midfielder Jamie Lowry was replaced by new recruit Mark Molesley, who was signed on loan from Bournemouth on Thursday.
It was Molesley's first competitive match of the season after recovering from an Achilles injury.
Lowry was among the substitutes for the Pilgrims, along with striker Rhys Griffiths, who returned to duty after hamstring trouble.
Molesley played in the centre of midfield with stand-in skipper Conor Hourihane.
Either side of them were Paris Cowan-Hall and Andres Gurrieri, with Alex MacDonald behind Nick Chadwick in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
Despite all the recent heavy rain the Home Park pitch was in good condition, with the ball rolling smoothly across it.
Cowan-Hall had the first chance of the contest in the 11th minute when his low shot with the outside of his right boot was saved by 'keeper Tommy Lee.
Soon afterwards, Chesterfield conceded a corner as Chadwick almost got on the end of a cross from Cowan-Hall.
The visitors could not clear their lines and the ball broke to Argyle centre-back Curtis Nelson, whose powerful shot was blocked by Spireites' defender Liam Cooper.
Chesterfield threatened for the first time in the 23rd minute when a shot-on-the-turn from Richards flew wide of the left post.
Argyle forced a series of corners around the half-hour mark as they applied some sustained pressure on the visitors' defence.
MacDonald had a fierce shot beaten away by Lee at his near post, and from the resulting corner Nelson's goalbound header was cleared by Richards.
Gurrieri then went close to scoring with a sidefoot volley which Chesterfield's Sam Togwell headed onto the top of the crossbar and over for a corner.
Argyle had another chance in the 38th minute when Cowan-Hall found the side netting from a tight angle after a free-kick from MacDonald.
Chadwick headed over the bar on the stroke of half-time from Molesley's cross as it remained goal-less.
Argyle had been the better side in the first period, but it was more even after the interval.
Chesterfield substitute Luis Boa Morte, the former Arsenal midfielder, shot across the face of goal from 35 yards early on.
Argyle responded to that with a series of crosses which Lee flapped at but did not lead to any chances.
MacDonald fired over the bar from 25 yards in the 59th minute after the ball broke to him when Berry was tackled by Tendayi Darikwa.
Molesley was booked soon afterwards for a foul on Chesterfield left-back Nathan Smith.
Argyle's Rene Gilmartin saved shots from Darikwa and centre-back Liam Cooper before the visitors opened the scoring in the 66th minute.
Richards slotted home from close range after the ball was touched off to him by substitute Jack Lester.
MacDonald shot narrowly wide from 20 yards almost immediately after play restarted as Argyle tried to recover from the setback of conceding.
Winger Joe Lennox, plus strikers Rhys Griffiths and Guy Madjo, were all sent on as substitutes by Fletcher.
Gurrieri, Cowan-Hall and Chadwick all made way for them, respectively.
Argyle had loud appeals for a penalty waved away by referee Graham Scott in the 81st minute after what seemed to be a clear handball.
Lennox's right-wing cross hit the outstretched arm of Smith but no spot kick was awarded.
Argyle poured forward in the closing stages but could not come up with an equaliser, despite four minutes of stoppage time being added on.
ARGYLE: Rene Gilmartin; Durrell Berry, Curtis Nelson, Maxime Blanchard, Onismor Bhasera; Paris Cowan-Hall (Guy Madjo 76 mins), Mark Molesley, Conor Hourihane, Andres Gurrieri (Joe Lennox 73 mins); Alex MacDonald; Nick Chadwick (Rhys Griffiths 76 mins).
Substitutes (not used): Jake Cole (gk), Jamie Lowry, Jamie Richards, Tyler Harvey.
CHESTERFIELD: Tommy Lee; Drew Talbot, Sam Hird, Liam Cooper, Nathan Smith; Chris Atkinson, Sam Togwell; Tendayi Darikwa, Danny Whitaker (Jack Lester 62 mins), Brennan Dickenson (Luis Boa Morte h/t); Marc Richards (Craig Clay 83 mins).
Substitutes (not used): Terrell Forbes, Richard O'Donnell (gk), Conor Townsend, Jay O'Shea.
REFEREE: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)
ATTENDANCE: 5,711 (261 away)
GOALS – Argyle: None; Chesterfield: Richards 66 mins