Football: Thorne Strikes Early but Cardiff Forced to Fight All the Way; Cardiff 1 Chesterfield 0
Byline: TONY REES
PETER THORNE'S early strike proved enough to power the Bluebirds back to within one point of Division Two leaders Wigan at Ninian Park.
City's pounds 1.7m club record signing scored his sixth goal of the season after 12 minutes to send a crowd of 13,331 - Cardiff's second biggest of the season - away happy.
But Lennie Lawrence's team needed a large chunk of fortune to secure their seventh consecutive home League victory - Chesterfield's Chris Brandon missed a 23rd minute penalty.
Thorne said: "That was a right battle, we did well to get all three points.
"They played some great football around the edge of our box and it really helped when they missed that penalty.
"We've ground out this result, but you have to do that sometimes."
Lawrence was also relieved. He said: "Credit to Chesterfield, they were so bold. If the spot kick had gone in, who knows what would have happened.
"The game felt strange, maybe because it was being played on a Sunday. I could say it upset our preparation a little.
"Now I'm looking ahead to a busy week. We've got Tranmere here in the FA Cup on Tuesday, before going to QPR in the League next Friday.
"The boys have been sent up to the Vale of Glamorgan Hotel after this game for a swim and a meal together - I need them to relax after this!"
As expected, Danny Gabbidon was ruled out by his back injury but Gary Croft, Willie Boland and Wales hero Robert Earnshaw all returned to the starting lineup.
Chesterfield have not scored away from home since a 1-0 win at Plymouth on September 21.
But jittery Cardiff keeper Neil Alexander's two howlers in the opening 10 minutes almost improved that statistic.
First he made a complete hash of an orthodox clearance in the ninth minute with Mark Allott's drive drifting wide of a gaping goal as Spencer Prior scrambled back to cover. …