Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Chesterfield 5 Kettering Town 0  Emirates FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round

Chesterfield’s biggest wins in the FA Cook, sorry, FA Cup in the last 100 years:

2023 Chesterfield 5 Kettering Town 0 – manager Paul Cook

2014 Braintree Town 0 Chesterfield 6 – manager Paul Cook

2012 Chesterfield 6 Hartlepool United 1 – manager Paul Cook

1925 Chesterfield 5 Wath Athletic 0 – manager Harry Parkes.

That’s three of the four biggest winning margins in the last 100 years, a total of 229 Cup ties, have come under Cookie, and he’s only led Spireites teams 16 times in the competition. And it was the biggest FA Cup home win to a clean sheet since Town won by the same score against the mighty South Normanton Colliery in 1919. Chesterfield were subsequently booted out for fielding an ineligible player, Frank McPherson, who did get two of the five goals (no mention of Georg Margreiter here gaffer).

You may be thinking ‘only Kettering Town’ but at the time we thought ‘only Anstey Nomads, only Curzon Ashton, only Billericay Town, only FC United of Manchester, only Daventry Town, and maybe even only Droylsden.’ But none of those games saw Chesterfield hit five. This was some deal, especially with eight changes.

An FA Cup record was created as well, and the record it beat also included Kettering Town! Notts County played (and lost in a replay) The Poppies in the FAC in 2008, 109 years after their previous Cup meeting in 1899, a record gap between ties involving the same teams. Chesterfield lost to Kettering at Saltergate in 1901 in a replay, making the gap to this game a new record breaking 122 years. Revenge tastes sweet!

No-one will have been surprised that Chesterfield started the game with eight changes to the team that won 2-0 at Boreham Wood, and it took a while for the re-shaped XI to get going, but after around 20 minutes of slow build-up times, the home side began to move the ball quicker and Crackers provided the first of three assists during the afternoon,enabling Ollie Banks to head home. ‘Banger’ could have had three before the break, a worldy save and a post (he should have scored) denied him that honour.

In the second half, the contest was effectively over after a poacher’s finish from the fire-starter and a fantastic DJ strike. Palmer followed up his own saved shot to make it four and Naylor hit in from range to wrap things up for Chesterfield. Very, very comfortable in a contest played in great spirit and reffed so well I can’t remember what the man in the middle looked like or anything he did.

Banks was magnificent throughout, flicks and tricks all over the park, Oldaker grew into the game and must have covered more miles than any other player, Shecks looked sharp after his enforced injury lay-off, whilst Jacobs and Naylor oozed class from first to last whistles. Ryan Boot had a cigar and a whisky whilst he watched the game. He deserved an afternoon off after so many afternoons off.

Kettering never gave up. I liked their two full-backs, Cochrane and Toseland, whilst their two centre-backs had games good enough to enable me to say they kept the scoreline down with some solid, extremely well-timed tackles and general interventions. I’m glad ex-Spireite Leon Clarke was starved of service, it would have annoyed me catching more glimpses of him wearing gloves! (Eagle-eyed social media followers may have spotted me donning a fingerless set, but I have to stay-put in one place for the best part of four hours, in the shade, so that’s allowed).

I write this ahead of Sunday afternoon’s draw, and everyone will have their own favoured opponent and tie location. Cray Valley Paper Mills, home or away, would get my vote, yours maybe Evo’s Bolton, or Derby, or some unbeaten in all matches sort of team, maybe Worksop or Alfreton. We’ll soon know.

But what we already know is that next Saturday’s NL game, at home to Gateshead, who safely negotiated their banana skin (won 3-0 at Stourbridge), will be somewhat tougher. With the league’s top scorer, ex-Spireite Marcus Dinanga on 12 goals (he was on the bench for the Cup game) and goalkeeper Archie Mair, he of off-the-bench at Wembley shoot-out notoriety, things will be far from straight-forward.

Both games with the Heed last season saw Chesterfield come from behind to win 2-1, but the north-east side showed that they could play in both of those matches, so I’d guess the five changes, six changes and eight changes run will continue and we’ll see the likes of Mandeville and Jones back in the squad, plus some of this weekend’s subs back in the starting side.

But what the Kettering game did show, and we all knew it anyway, was that the squad Cook has at his disposal is packed full of quality and everyone is capable of being the match-winner on any one day.

I’ve not studied the line-ups of other NL teams in the Cup, but the first round draw will not have Dagenham & Redbridge (lost at Bracknell), FC Halifax Town (beaten at home by Marine), Hartlepool United (lost at home to Chester), Rochdale (Beaten at Hereford), Dorking (losers at Horsham) or Southend (lost at Yeovil) in it, and I’d suggest that every fan of all of those losing NL clubs expected to be in that hat.

We are in the hat, and I’d like a good draw to either progress or bank a few bob from TV. Either would go down nicely.

Phil’s Positive: Straight forward passage into the hat, no bitten nails, no cards, no injuries, some crown jewels rested, and it was great to see a few leaving before the end because they knew it was all over!

Next Match: Saturday, October 21, when it’s back to the NL. Surprise package Gateshead come to the SMH Group Stadium for a 3pm kick-off game. Coverage starts on 1866 Sport at 2pm. Look out for our granddaughter Pippa doing a spot of mascoting.

Chesterfield (4-2-3-1 to start): Boot; Sheckleford, Palmer, Freckleton, Horton; Naylor, Oldaker; Berry (Colclough 77), Banks (Cook 86), Jacobs; Grigg (Curtis 69). Subs (not used): Tyrer, King, Grimes, Dobra.

Goals: Banks 37, Grigg 60, Oldaker 63, Palmer 78, Naylor 85(Chesterfield)

Referee: Andrew Miller

Bookings: None

Attendance: 5,156 (518 from Kettering)

Netcoms IT 1866 Sport Man of the Match: Ollie Banks (chosen by Jamie Hewitt)