Tooley’s Take

Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

King’s Lynn 1 Chesterfield 2 National League 

The first 20 minutes of the match all looked a bit easy. Chesterfield were on the front foot, dominating possession and territory, but not particularly troubling the King’s Lynn keeper, but the signs were positive, maybe a bit too positive. Was there a little bit of foot off gas? I thought so, but the manager didn’t particularly agree. James Rowe felt a forced change and formation change for home gaffer Ian Culverhouse was the primary reason.

What happened, and there was no disputing it, was home defender Kyle Callan-McFadden limped off and the Linnets reorganised, with big No.9 Michael Gash, who’d hardly had a kick, moving to centre back whilst the speedy and wily Simeon Jackson came off the bench for his seventh games against us for a fourth different club. His record was four wins and a draw in the previous six encounters, he’s always been a pain in the backside! 

His first involvement was to take advantage of a slightly wayward Laurence Maguire header to draw a foul, right on the box-edge, from Gavin Gunning. Up stepped Sonny Carey and Town conceded for the first time in over seven-and-a-half hours. It was the first time in over ten hours on the park that Fraser Kerr had seen a goal conceded – what a start for a defender!

Seeing as the 2-2 draw at Dagenham & Redbridge 12 games ago was the last time both teams scored in a Spireites match, that run had to end if any reward was to be earned in the first ever visit to The Walks, located in a beautiful park on the edge of the town centre. 

Early in the second half, Rowe was able to produce his own thing of beauty, introducing Nathan Tyson and Tom Whelan off the bench, and a little later, still at 1-0 down, Jack Clarke also joined in. In the same way that Lynn’s fortunes changed with a change of personnel, so too did Chesterfield’s. Tyson and Whelan immediately put the visitors back on the front foot and chances began to rain in, a couple of gilt-edged ones weren’t taken, but then up stepped Mr Consistent, George Carline (my MOTM), to deliver two crosses in from the right, within a minute of each other, for Tyson and Whelan to convert with aplomb and turn the scoreline on its head. 

Not since goals from Jamie Lowry and Derek Niven, on 60 & 61 minutes, at nearby Peterborough United, in 2007, had Town scored two in a minute to move from trailing to leading, that day it went from 2-1 down to 3-2 up, a score that remained for the rest of the game, as the 2-1 lead did in Norfolk this time. 

Whilst Rowe has instilled a winning mentality in his squad, only in three of 21 National League matches have Chesterfield conceded equalisers (Wrexham, which the team won 2-1, the ten-man Dagenham match plus the loss at Solihull Moors), the home side showed plenty of endeavour and looked dangerous on the break. Striker Michael Gyasi was a real handful throughout, but fortunately for the Spireites, his final acts each time fell just short of what was needed for his team. He was, of course, denied the opportunity to team up with Kairo Mitchell, Linnets’ top scorer, as he’s chosen to join the Rowe Revolution! 

Five wins on the trot don’t come along too often. Paul Cook’s 2013/14 title-winning season was the last time, whilst if Boreham Wood are beaten on Tuesday, it’ll be the first six-timer since Nick Law’s promotion-winning season in 2000/01, that’s how good a team needs to be to register such runs. And don’t forget, four of the current run of five have been in away matches, that in it’s own right is something special. 

With Kairo on board, can we begin our move up the football pyramid? Smith & Weston (I know it’s Wesson) are Gunning for promotion and they’re led by a manager who, this season in 30 NLN & NL matches in charge of Gloucester City and Chesterfield, has earned 68 points from 30 games, a points per game average over the campaign bettered only by Pep Guardiola in the top five divisions! Not a bad first full season in management so far.

Phil’s Positive: Four points ahead of eighth-placed Wrexham with a game in hand when it seems the team has only been in the play-off zone for five minutes!

The Spireites’ next game is on Tuesday, April 13 at home to Boreham Wood in the National League, kick-off 7.45pm. 

Team v King’s Lynn (3-5-2 to start): G Smith; Kerr, Gunning, Maguire; Carline, Weston, M Smith (Whelan 56), Mandeville (Clarke 67), Whittle; Asante, Yussuf (Tyson 56).

Subs (not used): Dinanga, Yarney

Goals: Tyson 74, Whelan 75 (Chesterfield), Carey 39 (King’s Lynn)

Ref: Daniel Lamport  

Yellows: Gunning (Chesterfield), Fleming, Payne (King’s Lynn)