Chesterfield 0 Torquay United 2
- Credit: Steve Bond/Pinnacle
They just keep going! Torquay United battled to their first-ever league win at Chesterfield, with top-quality goals from Connor Lemonheigh-Evans and another Billy Waters 'special', to record their eighth win in nine unbeaten games and move four points clear at the top of the National League.
Gary Johnson's Gulls showed class and determination to defeat Play-Off chasing Chesterfield on merit, a 12th away win of the season equalling the club record they set in the NL South two years ago.
Lemonheigh-Evans drove in his ninth goal of the season, from Jake Andrews' slide-rule pass after only eleven minutes.
A goalline clearance by Dean Moxey, outstanding at left-back, kept United in front midway through a second half spent soaking up steady home pressure into a strong wind.
But then Waters sealed the deal when he volleyed his seventh of the campaign from 20 yards after Sam Sherring and Asa Hall helped on a free-kick by Moxey.
All eyes now switch to tomorrow evening's game between Notts County and second-placed Sutton United, who have two games in hand on Torquay, at Meadow Lane
With loanee Scott Boden not allowed to play against his parent club, Johnson made one expected change from the team which beat Eastleigh at the weekend - Benji Kimpioka in up front.
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Olaf Koszela was added to the bench.
Chesterfield had defender Gavin Gunning fit again, and their manager James Rowe also recalled Kairo Mitchell to partner recent signing Danny Rowe up front.
With a strong wind behind them, United went off at a gallop and Andrews understandably tried his luck with a 70-yard shot which Grant Smith had to watch carefully before catching it - just on target.
Moxey fired just wide with a 25-yard shot before United deservedly took the lead with a top-drawer goal.
In the eleventh minute, Andrews' penetrating through-ball found Lemonheigh-Evans on the move inside the box, and he took one touch with his right foot before whipping a left-foot shot past Smith from ten yards…1-0 to the Gulls.
For a spell United looked as if they might follow up, Andrews shot wide across the face of goal with another shot from a brilliant through-ball down the left by Moxey.
But they then settled into containment mode for the rest of the first half.
They did the job well on the whole, but every now and then Chesterfield threatened to grab an equaliser.
Ben Wynter and Asa Hall had to come up with important tackles to deny Rowe and Mitchell, and Covolan also got down smartly to smother a George Carline cross-shot.
Spireites boss Rowe sent on Adi Yussuf for Mitchell early in the second half, with Johnson introducing Armani Little for Kimpioka - Lemonheigh-Evans pushed on to help Waters up front.
Sherring had another excellent match with Gary Warren at centre-back, but in the 63rd minute he was finally beaten down his right side by Yussuf.
Covolan got down to the shot, and his touch proved crucial - it took the pace off the ball just enough for Moxey to dash back and scoop the ball off the line.
Chesterfield hooked the loose ball back into the penalty area, Rowe nodded it across goal and Liam Mandeville headed wide...Phew!
Matt Buse replaced Andrews in the 72nd minute and it was all starting to get a touch nervy for the Gulls when they struck a second time.
Moxey swung a diagonal free-kick from just inside the Chesterfield half, Sherring flicked the ball on with the outside of his right boot, Hall's challenge knocked it down to the edge of the area where Waters hit a screamer of a first-time left-foot shot low to Smith's right and just inside the post…2-0.
There was no coming back from that.
Lucas Covolan, faultless throughout, came up with an important catch under pressure - not easy in the conditions - before Yussuf sent one final despairing header over for Chesterfield.
But they had been well beaten by a side on a scarcely believable run.
Chesterfield (3-5-2): G. Smith; Kerr, Gunning, Maguire; Carline, M. Smith (Whelan 81), Mandeville (Clarke 75), Oyeleke, Whittle; Rowe, Mitchell (Yussuf 52); subs not used - Rowley, McCourt.
Booked: Rowe 55.
Torquay United (4-4-2): Covolan; Wynter, Sherring, Warren (Umerah 82), Moxey; Randell, Lemonheigh-Evans, Hall, Andrews (Bue 72); Kimpioka (Little 57), Waters; subs not used - MacDonald (gk), Koszela.
Booked: Warren 33.
Referee: David Richardson (Lancs).