Tooley’s Take

Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context

King’s Lynn 0 Chesterfield 2 National League Match #3

It took until James Rowe’s 32nd National League game in charge to see his side awarded a penalty; Danny Rowe converted the late pressure kick in front of the Technique faithful against Dagenham & Redbridge. In three games this season, two 12-yarders have been awarded and both have been converted. Rowe scored at Aldershot Town and with Danny on the bench, Kabongo Tshimanga stepped up after Liam Mandeville had been fouled and, despite a strong touch from keeper Paul Jones’s leg, it gave Spireites a 15th minute lead.

Jak McCourt, in his first start of the season, was on hand to block a Linnets effort on the line and Scott Loach twice (both in the second half) had to save well to keep out a home side that, for most of the game, were controlled pretty well by Chesterfield’s solid shape and high work-rate.

Tshimanga put daylight between the teams a minute after the restart. Gavin Gunning rolled a centre-spot free kick to Laurence Maguire, whose deep ball in was headed back across the face by George Carline and Tshimanga, in space at the far post, bundled it home from close range. Not the cleanest strike of a ball he’s ever made, but he earned the right to bundle when he left his markers in a different time zone. That goal gave Chesterfield the right to play it safe from then on, and they were rarely threatened as a result.

Three wins at the start of the season marks a solid start. It was of course last done at the beginning of Martin Allen’s tenure. After 22 games that season, they remained the only three wins on the board. This season, I predict, there’ll be more points on the board at the halfway mark than back then.

But four straight wins is (at this moment in time) unique for Chesterfield when playing in the football pyramid. Gateshead (away), Darlington (home) and Workington (both home and away) were all beaten in August 1954 before defeat in the fifth match at a ground not too far away, just over the (not then built) M1. Town finished sixth that season in Division Three (North). Bromley at home will provide a stiff test if that once in a lifetime record is to be equalled.

A bit more recently, in 1987, Town didn’t concede in their opening four games in Division Three, the only team in the league that season to achieve that marker. Sadly, game five saw Gillingham knock in 10 (ten) as noted by the long-gone teleprinter (ask your grandad). Makes the superstitious ones amongst us think that a 2-1 win on Saturday would be better!

In our spell in this division, it’s become clear that toughness is a major virtue and for much of our National League spell, we’ve been out muscled and out fought by many. Whilst racking up yellows isn’t particularly a trait that you want to see, 12 in the opening three games shows some level of commitment for the cause.

Our three previous opening three games in this section have seen four (18/19), three plus one red (19/20) and four plus one red (20/21), so plenty of endeavour on show in 21/22. I’m pretty sure that’s a record in our opening three league games (I’ve checked all the card-happy years), though in our final EFL season it was close, 11 plus a red, but that dismissal (Scott Wiseman at Notts) was subsequently rescinded, so doesn’t really count in any bad-books tally-up.

So, we’re tough, we can score and we’re not conceding. Last season, after three games, eventual champions Sutton United had won three, scored six and conceded one, picking up six yellows in the process. Not the same, but along the same lines. Bring on Bromley.

Phil’s Positive: Same old, same old! What’s not positive about three 2-0 wins to start the season?

The Spireites’ next game is on Saturday, September 4, at home to Bromley, kick-off 3pm.

Team v King’s Lynn (3-5-2 to start): Loach; Kerr (Grimes 81), Gunning, Maguire; Carline, Weston, McCourt, Mandeville (Clarke 75), Miller; Payne (Rowe 72), Tshimanga.

Sub not used: Whittle, Khan

Goals: Tshimanga 15 (pen), 46

Ref: Robert Massey-Ellis

Booked: Payne, Miller, Maguire, Clarke, Rowe (Chesterfield), Callan-McFadden, Coleman, Omatayo, Bird

Attendance: 1,806 (770 Spireites)