The penultimate game of the Vanarama National League calendar finds Chesterfield travel to the south-west to face Gary Johnson’s Torquay United.
The Spireites still need the points to secure a spot in this season’s Play-offs, whilst the Saturday afternoon hosts are no longer in the running for the post-season places as the Gulls sit 13 points adrift with three games remaining.
A disappointing campaign for the Gulls after a rocky start to the season, the club have been unable to challenge last season’s second-placed finish and run to the play-off final.
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Only 12 points separate these two sides in a game that remains crucial to Paul Cook and Chesterfield this weekend. Whilst the Gulls are only fighting for positions at this stage in the campaign, the Devon outfit will be hoping to do all they can to further complicate the Spireites’ hopes of reaching the post-season competition.
In a breakdown of the statistics this season, Chesterfield have managed to win three games extra compared to their Devon rivals, whilst drawing on two more occasions. The main reason for their positional advantage heading into the weekend encounter boils down to the four games less that have been lost for the Spireites.
As for goals this season, Chesterfield have scored seven more than Johnson’s men, with much of the credit going to club talisman Kabongo Tshimanga, who has contributed with 24 goals in 27 appearances.
Despite scoring a third of the club’s goals this season, the forward has been out of action since February having sustained a fractured leg and dislocated ankle in the encounter with Weymouth.
In the way of defence, the Gulls have the second worst record in all of the top half of the National League; only being worsened by 12th-placed Southend (60). In spite of their defensive record this season, Johnson’s men have only leaked three goals in their last five outings, keeping cleans sheets on three occasions during that spell.
(25th September 2021)
(3rd March 2021)
(13th October 2020)
(21st December 2019)
(14th September 2019)
Fans tend to be pleasantly entertained whenever these two face each other. With only one of the last five encounters providing less than two goals, three or more goals have been dished out on three of the five most recent meetings between Chesterfield and Torquay, including a 2-2 draw earlier this season.
In the September meeting this season at the Technique Stadium, Spireites hearts were broken as Torquay netted two goals in the final three minutes of the game. The match started with Chesterfield running out to a 2-0 lead as Tshimanga gave the side a helping hand with a brace; however, with the game heading to the closing moments, Torquay fought back to earn a point as Armani Little began the comeback with it being completed two minutes later through Tom Lapslie.
Denied of three points in the meeting earlier this season, Torquay have now extended their run to three games without defeat when playing against Chesterfield. Heartbreak in front of the home supporters last time, the Spireites suffered two straight defeats against Johnson’s men during the 2020/21 campaign.
Conor Lemonheigh-Evans and Billy Waters were on hand to secure the points at the Technique Stadium last season whilst another 90th minute decider played a key role in the Plainmoor meeting as Asa Hall netted from close range to steal all the points as the club went all the way to a play-off final before dramatically losing on penalties to Hartlepool United.
By Sam Plummer