Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context
Chesterfield 4 King’s Lynn 1 National League
Chesterfield chief executive John Croot asked me after the game, ‘When was the last time we won back-to-back games 4-1?’ I have to confess I didn’t know the answer and I’ve not yet trawled through the many seasons of history to find out if it’s ever happened before.
Sadly though, I instantly remembered losing consecutive games 4-1 back in 1976, at Hillsborough and Joe Shaw’s final match as manager, home to Lincoln City, which followed a 6-0 home loss against an Arfon Griffiths & Billy Ashcroft inspired Wrexham. As Spireites, we seem better programmed to remember the bad times!
The results sequence may be as rare as a referee using his own initiative to do the right thing, regardless of the laws of the game! Hats off to Andrew Miller, who whistled for the last time bang on 90 minutes as biblical proportion rain, hail, thunder & lightning held sway over The Technique. No one in the Linnets’ camp seemed too worried about losing a potential extra five minutes.
Hats off to King’s Lynn as well. Despite an eight-match winless run, they gave it a right go on their first visit here, previous rainstorm excepted (bit of a theme here). Michael Gash was a handful throughout and 20-year-old Sonny Carey, who equalised on 33 to add to his goal against the Spireites a few weeks ago, looked as good a prospect as I’ve seen at NL level. Keep an eye on his career.
For the second match on the trot, the manager rang the changes. There were five at Woking and five more for this game. Some may wonder about the logic of that, others will see it as an opportunity to keep more players match-fit as a potential season extension gets ever closer. Whatever your view, the results speak for themselves.
There was also a switch back to three at the back, with Josef Yarney stepping in to replace the injured Fraser Kerr, with the seemingly indestructible Gavin Gunning hanging on in there. Gav looked set to be replaced by the returning Will Evans, it looked like he’d passed the armband on to Laurence Maguire as Evans was set to enter the fray, only for a change of heart and the skipper metaphorically booted off Alex Whittle and reclaimed the armband! Foolhardy or fantastic? Either way, it’s the leadership quality we’ve craved for some time.
A couple of early chances, with McCourt hitting the post the closest, followed by a solid show from the visitors and an eventual lead when a right sided corner routine saw my Man of the Match Manny Oyeleke deliver for Adi Yussuf to stoop in and head home. The lead was short-lived, a howler at the back was all Carey needed, but credit to Chesterfield who were back in front two minutes later. George Carline received the ball back after his throw in and hammered in through the forest of legs for his third in five games. The ball took a slight deflection, with Yussuf claiming his toenail got a touch. One for the dubious goals panel, but for me Carline deserves all the credit!
The intensity at the start of the second half saw two more Spireites set-piece scores, with Yarney and Danny Rowe, with an evening appropriate thunderbolt, becoming the 23rd and 24th different NL scorers this season. Back in 1920/21, Chesterfield had 20 different players score in the season, the only previous time 20 has been reached, so this is a clear new record! Oyeleke, Curtis Weston, Martin Smith & Joe Rowley could all still add to that tally.
After those goals, the result was never in doubt. Weary legs could be rested as the weather became the centre of attention and Wealdstone’s first visit to our home at the weekend became the new focus. The Stones showed some resolve by only losing to Bromley 1-0 on Tuesday, an eighth straight defeat, but that goal was the 93rd they’ve conceded this season, so it’s another great opportunity for Chesterfield to maintain the play-off push we all crave, and wouldn’t it be fantastic if we can then clinch it in front of 3,000 supporters against the Daggers!
Phil’s Positive: Back in the play-off zone ahead of the weekend game against Wealdstone on a day when Notts host Bromley whilst FC Halifax Town and Wrexham both have tricky away days.
The Spireites’ next game is on Saturday, May 15 at home to Wealdstone in the National League, kick-off 3pm.
Team v Woking (3-5-2 to start): Montgomery; Yarney, Gunning, Maguire; Carline, McCourt (Whelan 70), Oyeleke, Clarke, Whittle (Evans 75); Yussuf (Dinanga 66), Rowe.
Subs (not used): Mandeville, Mitchell
Goals: Yussuf 28, Carline 33, Yarney 47, Rowe 54 (Chesterfield), Carey 31 (King’s Lynn)
Ref: Andrew Miller
Yellows: Denton (King’s Lynn)