Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Torquay United 1 Chesterfield 5

National League Match #18

Basil Fawlty, Penny Mordaunt, Peter Cook, Agatha Christie, this was Murder on the Plainmoor Pitch, Manuel, are you listening Manuel, Town are from Barcelona, Miranda Hart, we’re having a what we call laugh, your boys took one hell of a beating! I would have ended the 1866 Sport commentary with that had my Paul Cook style gravelly throat held out!

Minutes 1 – 29, excellent control, but Town needed to have reinforced that dominance with a return better than 1-0, thanks to Skips’ early header from assist King’s corner. Then a potential game changing moment when, for the first time ever, a concession from a Sri Lankan full international, which preceded 15 minutes of pressure from the resurgent Gulls. 

No Cookie on the touchline, four yellows equals a game in the Directors’ box, but there was clearly some gaffer magic in the changing room as The Spireites stepped out for the second half with a deadly determination and in the blink of an eye, it was different gravy and the lead was regained with a Dobra set up Oldaker edge-of-the-D cracker. 

As you’d expect from a host whose three home November games previously had ended 6-1, 2-2 and 3-3, United created openings, they squandered a few and Fitz saved well a couple of times (one on each half). But when Bailey Clements scored his first senior goal just before the hour-mark, another Goal of the Match contender, right footing home after a DJ pass and Dobra dummy, the result was not really in doubt, even taking into account Torquay twice coming back from being two behind in the previous week and Town’s propensity to chuck away two-goal leads. 

Torquay, melting away, were then toasted by the subs, Uchegbulam and Tshimanga adding to the quality goal fest; the only thing certain in the Spireites Goal of the Day competition was that Grimes’ header (aka The Temple of Doom) would finish fifth in any poll.

Five goals away from home is not standard. The last time that sort of tally was experienced in a points offering game was also in Devon, a 6-1 win at Exeter City in 2008 (Braintree & Burton have been blown away since in cup games). Before that, it was a 6-2 triumph at Carlisle United in 1980, a win that was followed up four days later with a magnificent 3-0 home victory over Colchester United, the finest back-to-back performances I’ve ever witnessed. 

As Johnny Nash (and others) said, there are more questions than answers, like when was our last away 5-1, when did we last score five with five different scorers, when did we last score four in a half in an away game, when did someone last score and have two assists (as DJ notched up), but as I’m writing this whilst watching the T20 World Cup Final, I’m going to have to leave you wanting more! Now is not the time, sorry. 

After that out of the blue three straight defeats, Paul Cook’s side have responded in near perfect fashion. Two FA Cup wins, four wins and a draw in five NL games (and we should have won at York) with 13 scored and five conceded in that 13 points haul. Solid. 

Bailey Clements (Played 4 Won 4) became the 14th different scorer this season, another assist for Dobs (Played 12 W10 D2) and more ‘I’m always there’ football from Mike Jones (seven starts, six wins and a draw, and we won in his two sub appearances). Jes showed more of his potential, Kabby was back on the scoresheet, Whelan’s successful return to the team continued (P6 W5 D1 since his return from loan at Aldershot), all successful individual statistics but the most impressive element of late has been the solid team, or rather squad showing, week after week from first whistle to last. 

All of that solidity and discipline will be needed next time out. Whilst Solihull Moors may have hit a bit of a slump (two points from the last 12), there’s plenty of unfinished business for the Spireites. Two-up, Weston off, McCourt crocked, lost here at The Technique last season, and then there was the play-off defeat at Damson despite Town taking the lead through Joe Quigley. Moors 5 Spireites 2 is the wins comparison with three red cards in the last five encounters. Be prepared. 

It’s all T20 now, come on England!

Phil’s Positive: Don’t have to think about this too much about this when your team has just won 5-1 in an away match!

The Spireites’ next game is on Saturday, November 19 at home to Solihull Moors, kick-off 3pm. Full coverage on 1866 Sport from 2pm and the game is also on BT Sport. The match is a designated Women at the Game fixture – see the Community Trust website for details. 

Chesterfield (4-1-4-1 to start): Fitzsimons; King, Williams, Grimes, Clements; Jones; Mandeville, Oldaker, Whelan (Akinola 72), Dobra (Uchegbulam 72); Quigley (Tshimanga 81). Subs (not used): Maguire, Cooper.

Goals: Grimes 8, Oldaker 49, Clements 57, Uchegbulam 77, Tshimanga 87 (Chesterfield), De Silva 30 (Torquay)

Referee: Jason Richardson

Bookings: Dobra, Oldaker (Chesterfield), De Silva (Torquay)

Attendance: 2,223 (333 from Chesterfield)

Netcoms IT 1866 Sport Man of the Match: Darren Oldaker (chosen by Nick Johnson)