Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Chesterfield 2 Dagenham & Redbridge 3

National League Match #12

Ten games unbeaten; lose to Maidenhead. Ten games unbeaten against Daggers; lose. Ten halves of football against Eastleigh without conceding a goal; best not mention that! 

Four points from the last four games, the Spireites leading for just six minutes of the 360 plus stoppages played in those matches, with only occasional glimpses of what we know this squad is capable of.

Not what we expected, not what we wanted in what we all know will be an extremely competitive and tight National League. On Saturday morning, the table had Chesterfield at the top. On Saturday evening it was Wrexham and by Tuesday night, Notts County ruled the roost. 

We can be all positive and say a two points a game and two goals game average is the champions’ benchmark. Town are bang on target for that, but the 16 concessions (and only three clean sheets) in the 12 games to date is the main worry.

You have to travel down the table to tenth placed Dorking Wanderers and their refreshing (but unlikely to win this league) gung-ho style to see a defence that has let in more. 

Dagenham & Redbridge, like Maidstone United, had a plan. Pack the back and break out. Worked perfectly for both teams. The Daggers’ counter-attacking, predominantly through Junior Morais, worked perfectly and by the break it was all-but game over.

Their cause was somewhat helped by a far too generous defensive unit which has now conceded eight goals in the last four home games. Well off the required pace. 

There will be plenty saying, after a LL run, that the team has been sussed, especially as both visitors were long-odds winners, and credit to both, they had a plan that worked. But it worked mainly because Chesterfield had a team-sheet packed with players who underperformed all over the park and conceding what the gaffer rightly said were soft goals. 

There will be plenty more saying we should have started Kabby, or we should jettison so and so, but most of the two dozen points garnered this season have been as a result of a team turning up, and for me, that’s what we need to see return more than anything or anybody. 

We’ve purred over Banks/Oldaker and King/Mandeville for much of the first quarter of the campaign, Quigley and Williams have been rejuvenated, but the circle of life has (we hope, temporarily) turned against the team in the last few days when all we want to do is to feel the love, any night, definitely on Saturday afternoon at Eastleigh. King and co will be back!

Warning to self – just four more minutes until breakfast! What? Ridiculous.

Branden Horton’s goal, his first for the club, made him scorer #13 for Town this season. It was his fourth career goal, the previous three for Donny Rovers, and every time he’s scored, his team has lost. Best stay on one for the season Branden!

Tyrone Williams’ now traditional stoppage time giving us some hope goal was his third of the season, making him joint-top scorer alongside King, Kabby and Akwasi. 

But what we need now, more than anything, is a run of clean sheets, putting some steel into our currently too soft an underbelly. Whether that means changes, or just more hard work on the training ground, only the manager will know.

Weekend hosts Eastleigh sit 14th in the table with a W4 D4 L4 record, with only one of those W’s in their last seven games. The only time they scored more than one goal in those seven games, they lost 3-2 at Oldham Athletic.

They’ve not scored against Town in 485 minutes of football and the last time they won, 1-0 against FC Halifax Town in their last home game, former Spireite (and new Dad) Charlie Carter was the scorer. Since then, a 1-1 draw at Gateshead and a goalless game at Aldershot Town have been played out. 

Finally, the draw I wanted most of all, away at Anstey Nomads, came out of the FA Cup hat. The Leicester based team’s home ground looks unlikely to be able to host the tie (but it almost certainly won’t be transferred to the Technique), the manager Tony Blanchard told me they only have one turnstile. The whole team travelled to the Daggers game and no doubt travelled home thinking they’ve got a great chance! 

Phil’s Positive: 12 played, 24 points; Town’s last championship, in 2013/14 under Paul Cook, 12 played, 23 points, game 12 was an ‘I didn’t see that coming’ 2-0 home defeat against Burton Albion. That season started with seven wins and a draw from eight before an LLDL run. parallel lines. Strap yourselves in!

The Spireites’ next game is at Eastleigh on Saturday, October 8, kick-off 3pm. Can’t get, or even going? Full match build-upon 1866 SportLive starts at 2pm, so listen via the App, Smart Speaker or online. 

Team v Dag & Red (4-2-3-1 to start): Covolan; King, Williams, Grimes, Horton; Oldaker, Banks; Mandeville, Clarke (Miller 75), Uchegbulam(Asante 64); Quigley (Tshimanga 64).

Subs (not used): Maguire, Akinola

Goals: Horton 55, Williams 90+2 (Chesterfield), Morias 4, McCullum 17, 44 (Dagenham & Redbridge)

Referee: Matt Corlett

Booked: Oldaker, Grimes (Chesterfield), Onariase, Johnson (Dagenham)

Attendance: 5,643 (25 from Dagenham & Redbridge)

Netcoms IT 1866 Sport Man of the Match: Branden Horton (chosen by Steve Williams)