Burton Albion 0-2 ChesterfieldAnother party atmosphere at the Pirelli Stadium for the final home game of the League campaign but it was visitors Chesterfield celebrating as a 2-0 victory courtesy of a brace of goals from Jay O'Shea sent them up to League 1 and one game away from being crowned as League 2 champions. Albion were second best on the day and now face a fight on the last day to secure home advantage in the second leg of the play-offs with their opponents to be decided by the final round of games next weekend. O'Shea profited twice from Albion losing possession and on both occasions striker Eoin Doyle was on hand to play a big part in setting up his team mate.
With Jimmy Phillips sidelined for the remainder of the season there was a change on the wings as Alex MacDonald came back into the side with Matty Palmer asked to fill in on the right side as Ashley Hemmings dropped back down to the bench. The flourishing partnership of Gary Alexander and Billy Kee were reunited in attack and Robbie Weir also returned after missing the Newport game on Easter Monday with his wife in labour.
Chesterfield burst out of the blocks and a series of early corners tested Albion's defensive mettle but Dean Lyness remained relatively untroubled.
Burton were struggling to create chances for themselves and there was only a Billy Kee overhead effort that failed to cause Tommy Lee any real concerns.
The visitors were forced into a change on twenty minutes when on loan midfielder Daniel Kearns went to ground and after treatment he took no further part with Dan Gardner brought on to replace him.
Prior to the change skipper Ian Evatt had launched himself at a corner from Gary Roberts but there was more danger to the cars in the car park that there was to Lyness' goal.
With less than half an hour played Chesterfield were forced into a second change. After a coming together with Billy Kee inside the Chesterfield penalty area Liam Cooper stayed down but despite trying to run if off on the touchline as play restarted manager Paul Cook took the decision to bring on Ritchie Humphreys in his place.
The Spireites forced the first real save of note on 33 minutes when Eoin Doyle managed to find space on the left before aiming a shot at the top corner that Lyness clawed away.
With Albion increasingly finding themselves increasingly pegged back their woodwork was rattled on forty minutes when Gardner's corner was headed goalwards by Sam Hird and only a combination of the underside of the crossbar and Dean Lyness kept the game scoreless.
Albion were probably more relieved when the half time whistle went with a chance to regroup and look for a way to make the breakthrough in the second period.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-0 Chesterfield
The goal that the Spireites had been threatening in the first half came seven minutes after the restart. A slip by Robbie Weir on the edge of his own penalty area surrendered possession to Eoin Doyle and he quickly fed the ball forward to Jay O'SHEA who made no mistake slipping the ball past Lyness to send the hoardes behind the goal into raptures.
Kee quickly had a chance to equalise but Lee was off his line in a flash to narrow the angles and deny the Burton man. It was the last action for Albion's leading scorer as he was part of a double substitution on 55 minutes. Zeli Ismail made his long awaited return to action at the expense of Weir and Kee was sacrificed for Ashely Hemmings.
Gary Roberts was not far from a second for Chesterfield on 63 minutes when he curled a free kick just off target after Alex MacDonald had blocked the midfielders run.
Lee Bell lashed a superb volleyed effort goalwards shortly afterwards. A yard either side of the keeper and it would have been a certain goal but as it was the ball flew straight at Tommy Lee who gratefully clung on to the ball.
Having twice changed his shirt due to a bloodied ear picked up conceding an earlier corner Bell was the subject of Albion's third substitution with Dominic Knowles tasked with trying to rescue at least a point for the Brewers.
O'SHEA grabbed his and Chesterfield's second with a little over ten minutes left. MacDonald it was who lost possession and in the blink of an eye Chesterfield were on the attack and when the ball deflected through to Doyle on the right he sent in a teasing low cross that looped up and gave the former Birmingham man an easy close range header to seal victory and hand the Spireites the top spot in the league heading into the final weekend of the season.
The remaining minutes were a celebration for the visitors whilst the final whistle could not come quickly enough for Gary Rowett's men who now have the task of lifting themselves for the play-offs once they have been to fellow promotion contenders Southend United next week.