Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context
Chesterfield 1 Maidenhead United 2 National League
If ever there was a game of two-halves! Chesterfield’s performance against in-form Maidenhead United, who notched up their fifth straight National League win to move up to fourth place, was a perfect example of that oft-used cliché; chalk and cheese.
John Pemberton, the players and Spireites watching or listening from afar must have been over-the-moon at the break and sick as parrots by the end.
With midfield dynamo Joe Rowley making his first start in a few days short of a year and goal-poacher Scott Boden in for the first time since the season opener, the home side’s opening 45 was much more than decent. The two recalls plus the third personnel change, Jordan Cropper, were all giving the Magpies plenty to think about. Rowley seemed on fire, here there and everywhere, running with the ball and finding space when he didn’t have it.
Boden demonstrated his finishing abilities with an early Goal of the Season contender and his anticipation of Tom Denton’s flick-ons reminded us all that the two of them form a more than decent partnership.
Cropper’s runs down the right and whipped in crosses offered ammunition for the blue shirts in the box. Laurence Maguire headed against the bar from close whilst, at the other end, Kyle Letheren only had one decent save to make, getting down low to his left to paw away a header. Best 45 of the season so far? If not, it was pretty close!
After the break, the fluidity, movement and swagger from Spireites wasn’t there from the start and Maidenhead began to turn the tables. That said, Boden was inches away from making it 2-0 only to see his effort scooped off the line and that disappointment was amplified within a minute or two.
The National League’s top scorer, Sam Barratt, had been pretty anonymous before the break but his scoring boots were located in a somewhat innocuous moment when a bobbling cross in from the right wasn’t dealt with by the collective rearguard of Chesterfield and the ball crept in at the far post for a real body blow of a goal.
David Buchanan saw a spectacular angled shot defy the law of physics by proving that every action does not have an equal and opposite reaction, his crackerjack of an effort rattled the woodwork but rather than fly where it should have done, it ricocheted straight back from whence it came.
The visitors rode that piece of luck and soon punished the hosts even further and the in-form Barratt’s goal-touch moved from boot to head as he glanced in a near post corner to turn the tables and leave Chesterfield with another mountain to climb.
Despite plenty of effort, the Spireites were unable to match their first-half level of play and the game slipped away, a fifth loss of the National League season, all of them by a single goal and the third of them which had seen Chesterfield score the vital opening goal.
The players will need to get up, dust themselves down and work their socks off on Tuesday for the club’s first visit to Altrincham’s Moss Lane; now there’s a name that conjures up some magic, so let’s hope Spireites can notch up back-to-back league wins on the road.
Phil’s Positive: Joe Rowley showed glimpses that he’s determined to take his chance
The Spireites’ next game is on Tuesday, November 17 at Altrincham, kick-off 7.45pm.
Team v Maidenhead (3-5-2 to start): Letheren; Sharman (Rawson 79), Evans, Maguire; Cropper, Rowley (Kiwomya 89), Butterfield, Weston, Buchanan; Boden, Tom Denton.
Subs (not used): Wharton, Hollis, Smith
Goals: Chesterfield – Boden 30, Maidenhead – Barratt 54, 71
Ref: Paul Marsden
Yellows: Evans, Sharman (Chesterfield), Donnellan, Massey (Maidenhead)