Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context
Chesterfield 0 Boreham Wood 0 National League
It shows just how far as a team Spireites have come in a little over four months, when there is an air of disappointment having kept a clean sheet against one of the National League’s toughest, most uncompromising, hardest to beat sides to earn a point to move up to fifth place in the table, a position that has been unthinkable over the last few miserable seasons.
The match itself will hardly be remembered at the end of the season, but the point earned could be valuable, especially on a night when Notts County, Eastleigh, Halifax and Sutton all lost.
The real disappointment will undoubtedly be the injury to Akwasi Asante, who may not have scored for a while, but his overall play has been a major element of Chesterfield’s move from drop zone to play-off zone. That said, his chance a few minutes before half-time was the sort of chance he was readily accepting a few weeks ago, but you have to admire the fact that he was the only player to anticipate what could happen after Curtis Weston’s crackerjack was parried by Nathan Ashmore.
From the start, all eyes were on James Rowe’s 15th and 16th signings, Kairo Mitchell and Manny Oyeleke. Both players showed plenty of positive attributes that will be extremely valuable in the run in over the next few crucial weeks, whilst Gavin Gunning and Laurence Maguire both looked back on track in their second games back after injury.
Perhaps most frustrating of all was the lack of Chesterfield pressure in the final ten minutes of a second-half that had been frustratingly stop-start, with Boreham Wood slowing down the tempo, only to really step things up at the death, during which time they earned several corners which threatened Grant Smith’s goal, one of which flew straight into the net only to be ruled out for a push. Palpitations abounded at that point!
The final result shouldn’t have been a surprise. The visitors are the section’s draw specialists, and this stalemate was the 10th single point they have picked up in their last 13 games, and there has been just one loss in that sequence. The Spireites’ clean sheet shouldn’t have been a surprise either, the sole goal conceded in the last six games came direct from a free-kick and keeper Smith will be kicking himself if he didn’t negotiate a clean sheet bonus into his contract!
Supporters will already be playing out the ‘who’ll be up front’ scenario assuming Asante will be out for a while. Questions like ‘can Tyson last 90 minutes or is he best used as an impact player? Yussuf or Dinanga? Mitchell on his own? Will Rawson get a chance? Will there be another signing?’ All of these conundrums and many more will be topics of beer garden or social media conversations over the days ahead of chasing team Bromley’s visit to the Technique at the weekend.
The positive element is that Rowe now has choices, not something there’s been an abundance of in recent history. And it’s not just up front where those choices are; midfield is now overflowing with talent and the onus will be on that group to provide the opportunities for the as yet unknown strike force over the next few vital weeks. Strikers can only score if they’re given the chance so, rest assured, that will be the training ground aim.
Conceding, at last, isn’t a major worry, but with Asante joining Tom Denton on the treatment table, supporters will rightly be concerned about the sharp end of the team. Rowe has sorted the defending and I trust him to sort the strike force in a similar manner, despite the current injury travails.
Whilst many will be understandably frustrated in the aftermath of the Boreham Wood game, all I can say is, get a grip, we’re fifth!!
Phil’s Positive: Clean sheet in a game that for most of our time in the NL would have seen us lose.
The Spireites’ next game is on Saturday, April 13 at home Bromley in the National League, kick-off 12.30pm.
Team v Boreham Wood (3-5-2 to start): G Smith; Kerr, Gunning, Maguire; Carline, Weston, Whelan (Mandeville 71), Oyeleke, Whittle; Asante, (Tyson 65), Mitchell.
Subs (not used): Yussuf, Clarke, Yarney
Ref: Martin Woods
Yellows: Whitely, Rhead, Smith (Boreham Wood)