Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Chesterfield 1 Maidenhead United 2 National League Match #11

I blame Akwasi Asante! His fault. Back in March, he scored a 76thminute goal to enable us to beat Maidenhead United for the first time, therefore making all of us gullible Spireites feel that the dreadful hoodoo had been terminated. Alan Devonshire knew different, and came back to triumph. 

I should have known different, especially as driving to the game, when we passed Mill Lane in Wingerworth, there was a single magpie feeding on scraps at the side of the road, a sure sign of sorrow, especially on a day that our visitors were the Magpies. All Town did all afternoon was feed on scraps, whilst the coveted shiny bright moments predominantly nestled in the Chesterfield net. 

The point at Yeovil Town (equaliser 88 minutes) and the win at Maidstone United (winner 90+4) were both welcomed with glee and excitement, but neither game saw Paul Cook’s side reach any significant heights in quality, but we’d all take four points from two away games. 

Despite the home side enjoying plenty of first/half possession and territory, the solid wall of Maidenhead defenders and midfielders wouldn’t budge, and Spireites looked a yard off the pace, slovenly and, particularly with crosses, wasteful, unlike much of what we’ve witnessed this season. 

When the Magpies scored right on half-time, there felt an inevitability about it and when the visitors doubled their advantage, the way back felt all but impossible and the following half hour or so was as flat as anything we’ve seen for a while. 

Once it was gung-ho time, the tempo lifted, there were corners galore, the speed of movement and anticipation returned, good to watch, exciting, but far too late in coming. Tyrone Williams gave brief hope with another late show, but it wasn’t enough and the club’s proud record of ten unbeaten came to a sad and very disappointing end. 

As is always the case when your team loses when it wasn’t anticipated (a Chesterfield win in this game offered the shortest odds of any result in the National League on Saturday), everyone dissects every element of the game, the performance of every player, the formation, why did he start and why didn’t he start? 

Fact is, it was just one of those cyclical days that you get at every level, but more frequently the further down the pyramid you go, when no-one put in a seven out of ten (or better) shift. My co-commentator Jamie Hewitt really didn’t want to name a Man of the Match. Ty got it purely because he’d scored, and to be fair, I would have struggled too. 

The good news is that, back on post-match duties as he promised when a defeat came along, the gaffer gave his views on the game and they matched those of every blue in the stadium (and there were a lot of them). 

Slow, lacklustre and not good enough, but with an average of two goals a game this season plus more than two points a game in the right hand column, there’s nothing too much structurally wrong with the team, the approach, the outcomes. 

But we’ll all be out to judge again on Tuesday against a Dagenham & Redbridge side that scores and concedes for fun. The 26 goals they’ve leaked this season is a divisional high. 

Between now and then, there’ll be plenty of debate about starting Kabby, King, Clarke and co, and there’ll be a big two-up-top discussion and why we’ve only kept three clean sheets this season. 

As we host the Daggers, it’s 2 v 1 (Notts v Wrexham), 4 v 5 (Boreham Wood v Bromley) and 6 v 8 (Solihull v Wealdstone), so the top of the tree looks likely to be reshaped in the next few days and a solid show under the lights will go a long way to shaping our thoughts once more. 

Phil’s Positive: I’m sitting in bed on Sunday morning with a pretty blank screen. I don’t want to waste too much time on this positive thing as it’s Pippa’s birthday party this afternoon, and I don’t want to be late! She was one of three mascots yesterday, and they all did a fantastic job, so the performance of the mascots is my positive for this game. 

The Spireites’ next game is at home to Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday, October 4, kick-off 7.45pm. Can’t get, or even going? Full match build-up on 1866 Sport Live starts at 7pm, so listen via the App, Smart Speaker or online. 

Team v Maidenhead (4-2-3-1 to start): Covolan; Sheckleford, Williams, Grimes, Horton; Oldaker (Akinola 72), Banks; Mandeville, Asante(Tshimanga 53), Miller (Uchegbulam 53); Quigley.

Subs (not used): Maguire, Clarke

Goals: Williams 90+3 (Chesterfield), Arthur 45, Nathaniel-George 50(Maidenhead)

Referee: Andrew Miller (Wayne Gray 38)

Booked: Acquah, Adams (Maidenhead)

Attendance: 7,511 (51 from Maidenhead)

Netcoms IT 1866 Sport Man of the Match: Tyrone Williams (chosen by Jamie Hewitt)