Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Chesterfield 3 FC Halifax Town 2 National League Game #10

Managers always tell you (well, Cookie does) to not worry too much about the league table until ten matches have been played. Well, Chesterfield’s ten to the top has seen the Spireites bag more goals and more points than the average contestant on BBC Radio 2’s new mid-morning pop quiz.

Pop-Master was a simple, easy to understand format, but like Vernon Kay’s new Ten to the Top, we’re all still getting used to a format that you can never quite tell how many points you’re going to notch up right until the very end.

Will Grigg and Tyrone Williams got the first couple of questions bang on, with Barry Manilow and 10cc providing assists, Mandy was flying. A couple of wrong answers followed, Milli Van-Alli and then it all went a bit Tom Petty on Spotify, the other guys nailed it, and the hosts were free falling. Another incorrect answer, The Wichita Lineman was never still on the line, and it all looked over. Three Simply Red moments before Big Joe, with virtually the last question, along with a little help from his friends, put the side back where we belong, in the #1 position. Well done, cocker.

During the rare quiet bits in the contest, and wholly unrelated to the events, many interested parties debated if the law enforcement officer Judge Dredd was in fact a real person, or a comic book character. Apparently, it’s the latter.

Undoubtedly, this unconventional start to a season has led to every Spireite starting to suspend disbelief, the action of avoiding logic in understanding something that is unreal or impossible in reality. If you’ve not suspended disbelief yet, please do so as soon as possible, it will make things much clearer!

Ten games, 25 points from a sequence of WWWDLWWWWW. The last time as many points were garnered from the opening ten games was in the controversial 2000/01 season, when off the park activities shaped the narrative of the (ultimately successful) season. That side was, until the fan was switched on by the Brown fella, head and shoulders above any other in the section. The opening ten game sequence? WWWDLWWWWW, a perfect DNA match, though Nicky Law’s team scored 27 goals in those games to the current side’s 26. Games 11 – 22 were all unbeaten, and the run saw just a single defeat in 31 games. Yes please.

‘Quigs’ (who had to work his socks off even before he started) has scored three goals this term, all off the bench, all last-gasp winners in multi-goal thrillers, worth six additional points to the team. Grigg has five in nine, all in Chesterfield wins, Mandeville has six assists in his locker whilst central defenders have notched up five goals between them. Lots of bits working well, lots of bits for Paul Cook to continue to improve. This was far from a vintage 90.

First 25 minutes of the game? Sublime. A lapse at the back and a clumsy challenge and it’s all change. Halifax then looked the most likely victors, a view enhanced when Naylor picked up a second yellow for what looked like some chelp.

Adam Senior’s lunge at Berry with 17 minutes left plus stoppages evened up the numbers and the balance of the game changed again, enabling another late show to guarantee the points. Logic says you can’t keep getting away with that sort of stuff, but I’ve suspended disbelief, so I can happily accept it!

It’s my wife Sylvia’s birthday next week, a milestone one, and she says she hopes to get more cards than were dished out in this match. Doubt it chuck.

Support. Good or what? More home fans there than for any other Tuesday night game on Whittington Moor, maximum noise from even before the first whistle. The home goals scored tally is now 14 from five, that’s entertainment. A bit Jammy? Four of the games have been won, everyone to a stoppage time winner, whilst the draw against Oldham Athletic saw that well dodgy stoppage time equaliser. (Advice; don’t leave early!)

Wealdstone come to us on Saturday, one win in six (including losing their last three away games) as we seek the joy of six straight wins in points offering games for the first time since the 2000/01 season mentioned earlier. They were without their injured leading scorer Tahvon Campbell in Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat at Dorking Wanderers. He destroyed us for Woking on my wife’s birthday a couple of years ago, but I’ve not established the extent of his injury to determine if he’ll miss the weekend trip.

As we host the Stones, chasers Barnet and unbeaten Solihull Moors are both at home as well, against Halifax and Bromley respectively. That’s the first of five games in 15 days for National League teams, squads and suspensions are bound to come into play, as they are already.

Jacobs will be available again as Naylor will miss out. Clements is back in the reckoning as Paul Cook, not sure where he may be standing or sitting for the game, has all bar ‘Shecks’ to choose from (that’s assuming no bumps and bruises from the encounter with the Shaymen), with a group of players who are clearly working extremely hard for the cause. I’ve heard that one of the match sponsors will be Defibrillators R’Us.

My mind remains all frazzled, but I’ve managed to get through my Take without using the word referee. Doh!

Phil’s Positive: We do seem quite good at scoring more than the others! We do seem to be physically and mentally fit. We don’t ever seem to give up and we don’t ever seem to want to fail to win.

Next Match: Home again on Saturday, September 23 when Wealdstone visit the SMH Group Stadium. The match kicks off at 3pm with 1866 Sports coverage starting at 2pm.

Chesterfield (4-2-3-1 to start): Tyrer; Mandeville, Williams, Grimes, Freckleton; Naylor, Jones; Dobra (Banks 80), Oldaker (Berry 70),Colclough; Grigg (Quigley 70). Subs (not used): Palmer, Curtis.

Goals: Grigg 2, Williams 23, Quigley 90+1 (Chesterfield), Alli 26, Summerfield (pen) 69

Referee: Aaron Jackson

Bookings: Williams, Colclough, Grigg, Quigley (Chesterfield), Cummings, Hunter, Alli (Halifax)

Red Cards: Naylor (Chesterfield, two yellows, second on 76), Senior (Halifax, 86)

Chesterfield manager Paul Cook received a red card on 73 minutes

Attendance: 6,772 (285 from Halifax)

Netcoms IT 1866 Sport Man of the Match: Joe Quigley (chosen by Jamie Hewitt)