Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context 

Chesterfield 3 Dorking Wanderers 1

National League Match #21

There’s no substitute for substitutes, and it was the Spireites’ super subs that substantially secured the spoils. Squad success for sure.

Clock on 83, sub Akinola matches, nay beats, the quality of his Solihull burst forward, Assist King Jeff squares and the Albanian Arrow hits the target from close in. Bullseye. Match all but won. With our ears still ringing with the sound of joy, another sub, the Matlock Marauder conjures up some magic to feed The White Pele, who turns on a tanner and it’s three major interventions from the Bench Boys. Good Vibrations!

After Halifax and before Wrexham, Paul Cook made five changes, none enforced, he reverted to 4-2-3-1 and the lads burst out of the traps to dominate for 20 minutes, but despite that, no goals, a tad worrying, especially against the section’s most charitable defence.

Dorking Wanderers, a team with breath of fresh air principles who go gung-ho from kick-off, got into the game after the half-hour mark and threatened, causing a number of problems, so there was considerable relief when, deep into first half added time, Kabby was fouled as he turned inside and he despatched the resulting penalty for his sixth goal of the season in just over eight matches worth of minutes. It was Dorking’s 50th concession of the campaign.

The visitors hit back early in the second half, James McShane getting goal #14 – only Langstaff has more in the NL – with the effort coming just a couple of minutes after Wanderers had to make their third forced substitution. Having had a midweek trip to Halifax (back home at 4am on Wednesday), illness in the camp, a few injuries and Spireite loanee Joe Cooke not allowed to play plus those three unplanned switches, the final half-hour was always going to be about the Chesterfield bench.

Akinola and Uchegbulam are tough enough for any team with fresh legs, so when they come on to face a clearly weary Wanderers, with Quigley following a little later to mix it with a team that are far from the land of the giants, the advantage undoubtedly moved towards the home side.

The clock was ticking down rapidly when the Gunners’ Genius burst through two, past a few more to open up the Dorking defence and allow King to deliver to Dobra, who’d threatened throughout, and he broke the deadlock. When Jes burst forward three minutes later, his chaser was out of fuel, but the purring engine of Uchegbulam glided forwards enabling Big Joe to wrap it up. Super Subs at work.

The personnel changes gave valuable minutes to Banks, Asante and Palmer, whilst 35-year-old Mike Jones was able to rest ahead of the trip west – I bet he plays on Tuesday – so it turned out to be a great use of the squad. The five changes meant that there were inevitable misunderstandings and mistakes, which could have been costly if not for the grandstand finish, but as Danny Webb outlined afterwards, this was a victory for the squad and the rest of the season will also be all about the squad.

On Tuesday, Cookie will be looking to extinguish Phil Parkinson’s Red Dragons for the second time this season after the stunning 2-0 home win in August when King and Banks scored and Wrexham’s first shot of the night came in minute #89, but don’t underestimate how tough it will be.

A full-house will be hoping that Wrexham will continue their 100% home record. If you bring in last season, the Reynolds-McElhennay side has won 20 of their last 21 regular home National League fixtures (Solihull Moors drew there on Good Friday), though the Mariners sailed away with an extra time win in that memorable play-off semi-final last season.

The ask is as tough as a Tonka Toy; you couldn’t smash them with a sledge-hammer, but use the right tools in the right way and you could unpick them and destroy their durability. Palmer versus Palmer, Jones versus Jones, England versus Wales for the 125th time with the Spireites 55-40 up in the head-to-head contests. Bring it on.

Phil’s Positive: Fifteen points from the last fifteen available at The Technique, on the right end of a couple of late goals and confirmation of the squad depth, five changes plus the bench won it.

The Spireites’ next game is on Tuesday, when we cross the border to the city of Wrexham, who’ve P10 W10 at The Racecourse, kick-off 7.45pm. 1866 Sport will be live at the stadium from 7pm, if you’re watching the stream, sync up the commentary with the pictures.

Chesterfield (4-2-3-1 to start): Fitzsimons; King, Palmer, Grimes, Horton; Banks (Akinola 67), Oldaker; Mandeville, Asante (Uchegbulam 67), Dobra; Tshimanga (Quigley 78). Subs (not used): Williams, Clarke

Goals: Tshimanga (pen) 45+3, Dobra 83, Quigley 86 (Chesterfield), McShane 58 (Dorking)

Referee: Aaron Jackson

Bookings: Philpott, Muitt, McShane, Jebb (Dorking)

Attendance: 6,205 (79 from Dorking)

Netcoms IT 1866 Sport Man of the Match: Liam Mandeville (chosen by Jamie Hewitt)