Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Chesterfield 3 Bromley 2

National League Match #14

I have a weekend away, and next to nothing happens in the game!

Whilst I was in Ghent, celebrating the 50th birthday of the wife (Ann) of the Godfather of The Belgian Spireites (Sven), Josh Marsh sat in my usual seat to bring the 1866 Sport audience a ring-side seat at a 90 (or 97 or more) minute lesson in everything that the National League represents.

As I sat (well, actually lay down on the bed, there was no room for niceties like seats in our hotel suite, it was the size of an airport Toblerone bar), listening to every facet of the match, half-time comfort converted to second-half sweats, before a relaxed ending after Kabby’s penalty, our first of the season. 

But this is Town, 3-1 on 74 means diddly squat, Bromley pulled one back just after their gaffer was invited to leave the technical area and then the nails began to take some hammer.

Quickly to the quick, then a bit of Star Trek time, Seven of Nine extras as we tried to boldly go where no Town manager had gone before, and finally beat Bromley at home. Job done, ding ding, round two!

Good football, goals, mistakes, black arts, black marks, red cards and raucous behaviour, the National League in a nano-second. Clearly I missed zip.

Ahead of the game, there was a terrific minute of applause and a great Tifo treat, which my daughter Emma brought to me and Sylvia via FaceTime.

And when King Jeff went to the top of the scoring charts relatively early, and the commentary and social media comments all indicated a more than decent performance, with the slightly tweaked formation team-pressing very effectively, the show seemed as smooth as a local Belgian beer. Wake Up Tooley, you must be dreaming, this is Town.

Marriott, a better hotel chain than that we were in, levelled, and I was immediately worried. He’d scored six in seven games previously, but all of them had been in braces, and often our defensive belt isn’t tight enough, so I assumed he’d buckle down and add another.

But my co-commentator from last week, Ollie Banks, popped us ahead again and just as The King was unseated by the Ravens in the box for a pen, the commentary went blank. Horror, only to be immediately followed by delight, as Emma was the cause, once again FaceTiming, and we were able to see Kabby put the game to bed. Absent commentator’s curse.

Bromley’s boss, due to a clash in front of the boxes rather than the pen, was red-carded and that seemed to fire up the visitors. Hotel Marriott hadn’t called last orders, and his inevitable second ensured a last few minutes as smooth as a newly produced batch of illicit moonshine. 

Then seven more minutes, and then two more passed before the beautiful shrill final whistle was heard, but all that seemed to do was stir up a few characters and I listened in to something last seen in Chesterfield outside the Painted Wagon as a queue of merry homeward bound travellers decided, by ballot, who was next for a taxi.

A red for defender Sowunmi, plus two yellows for two more of Bromley’s backroom team were brandished, as Spireites fans and players celebrated a Big W and a move back into the top three after a narrow win over a close rival. 

Not there, can’t comment in detail, but having seen some of the mobile phone videos of the post-match on-pitch reactions, there could easily have been more names noted than was the case.

Tuesday sees Paul Cook take his team to York City and their relatively new stadium. The Spireites’ record against the Minstermen, in the last 18 meetings, has been W11 D7 L0, more than 30 years has passed since York last maxed-out against us. 

Alex Whittle and Fraser Kerr are City regulars for them this term, but key midfielder Alex Hurst was dismissed in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Aldershot Town.

We got the win, we survived a long spell of late pressure, we kept our heads pretty well, but still conceded two and the wrong end of the pitch, which remains our most likely Achilles heel. 

Scoring two goals a game is excellent, but only when you’re not conceding two. With York City (eighth), Boreham Wood (fourth) and fifth-placed Solihull Moors three of our next six NL opponents, that propensity to concede has to be a major area for Cook & Co to work on.

No tea in bed in our bijou hotel room on Sunday morning (no room for a kettle), but listening to an eventful NL game on Saturday will be followed by a leisurely drive north into NL and some Dutch Delights on Sunday.

Then it’s a Monday return and a Tuesday trip to Jorvik, our first visit to that fair city since a certain Gary Roberts scored the second in a 2-0 win as we danced our way to a memorable championship under Paul Cook.

Phil’s Positive: Run of NL defeats ended and we held on for a very tricky last few (or a lot really) tricky minutes, at least it sounded like that!

The Spireites’ next game is the club’s first ever visit to the York Community Stadium, home of York City, on Tuesday, October 25, kick-off 7.45pm. If you’re not one of the many travelling fans, the build up is from 7pm on 1866 Sport.

Chesterfield (4-1-4-1 to start): Fitzsimons; King, Williams, Grimes, Horton; Jones; Mandeville (Cook 90+3), Oldaker (Whelan 83), Banks, Dobra (Cooper 71); Tshimanga. Subs (not used): Uchegbulam, Asante.

Goals: King 12, Banks 60, Tshimanga (pen) 74 (Chesterfield), Marriott 52, 78 (Bromley)

Referee: Danny Middeton

Bookings: Jones, Mandeville, Banks (Chesterfield), Coleman, Smith, Arthurs, Marriott, plus (after whistle) Assistant Manager Alan Dunne & Head Therapist Huseyin Torgut (Bromley)

Red Card: Andy Woodman (Bromley manager) 77 mins, Omar Sowunmi (after final whistle)

Attendance: 5,909 (93 from Bromley)

Netcoms IT 1866 Sport Man of the Match: Jeff King (chosen by Jamie Hewitt)