Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context
Chesterfield 4 Barnet 2 National League Match #6
How can I sum this one up? Mad five minutes, Mad Gav finish!
Too much too soon? Two up after eight minutes is a dream start and for 40-odd minutes, the Spireites were in complete control, totally dominant. The Bees then stung the hosts twice, on 44’ 50’’ and then again, on 45+3, with a couple of speculative box-edge shots that turned the game on its head. Rarely has a game potentially turned in such a way at that stage.
Before that unexpected brace, Chesterfield had dominated possession and territory, the midfield pressing well to force turnover after turnover, protecting the back line perfectly, whilst Kabongo Tshimanga and Stefan Payne caused havoc in Harry Kewell’s side’s final third. We looked set to have to check the record books for the club’s fastest hat-trick from the start of a game.
Tshimanga finished off a training ground routine – the gaffer gave credit to Danny Webb and Dave O’Hare for coming up with that move – and he then converted from the spot after the impressive Payne was felled for a penalty.
Just eight played and the floodgates looked set to open. But the National League rarely throws up easy, predictable games and Barnet, hit for six at The Technique last season, found a bit of space, twice, at the end of the first 45 and half-time was very different to what was anticipated a few minutes earlier. Foot off gas, a few lapses in concentration and it’s all square.
The second half gradually started to wind back up and when Liam Mandeville appeared off the bench around the hour-mark, suddenly the Spireites seemed to be moving up the gears again, and before you knew it, another penalty comes along. Pressure kick this time and Kabby hammers home for the first two-pen hat-trick since David Reeves in a crucial relegation battle against Nicky Law’s Grimsby Town at Saltergate, a 4-4 game in 2004. Reeves also got two pens amongst his four goals against Cambridge United in 1999, a 4-2 win for the Spireites.
You have to go back to yet another 4-2 in 1947 for the last pre-Reeves two, which was in fact three, when Bobby & Jack Charlton’s Uncle George Milburn scored a hat-trick of penalties against Sheffield Wednesday in the last match of the season which clinched Chesterfield’s highest ever finish, fourth in the old Second Division, the equivalent of the current Championship! I wasn’t there, but my dad was!
This game ended 4-2 thanks to Gavin Gunning’s long-range free kick, which deflected off the wall, and he celebrated by running all the way from the south end to the north-west corner to hug the Cannonball King, Danny Rowe, who was warming up by the corner flag. When I say running, it was more of a speedy jog! Great camaraderie.
The good news and bad news story was Stefan Payne. Good, as his overall performance was fantastic, James Rowe described him as ‘unplayable at times;’ bad, what must he do to get on the scoresheet? An offside flag and a fine double save from Sam Sergeant, who having saved Jeff King’s header moving to his left then had to rapidly move right to deny Payne what looked odds-on to be his first competitive goal in blue. If he continues to play like he played, he’ll score and create plenty. A big plus for the squad, as was Alex Whittle’s first minutes on the park this season.
The evening ended on a sad note, when the manager announced that Haydn Hollis had suffered a major setback in his recovery. All the best to him.
After two draws, it was great to get back on the winning trail, and it’s sure to be a tough game at the weekend against a Yeovil Town side who’ve not had a midweek fixture and come into the game on the back of three straight wins, including a 3-0 at Stockport County on Saturday. With Grant Smith and Adi Yussuf in their squad, it’s sure to be an extremely competitive game. Dare I say that we’ve won our last three games at Huish Park?
Phil’s Positive: Back on the winning trail, four wins and two draws in six is just behind the five wins and one draw at the start of the 2013/14 championship season. Plus a great show from Stefan Payne.
The Spireites’ next game is on Saturday, September 18, at Yeovil Town, kick-off 3pm.
Team v Barnet (3-5-2 to start): Loach; Kerr, Gunning,Grimes; King, Weston (McCourt 80), Oyeleke, Khan (Mandeville 61), Miller (Whittle 75); Payne, Tshimanga.
Subs not used: Carline & Rowe
Goals: Tshimanga 6, 8 (pen), 63 (pen) (Chesterfield), Tasdemir 45, Granville 45+3 (Barnet)
Ref: Andrew Miller
Booked: Weston, King, Payne (Chesterfield), Richards-Everton, Bloomfield (Barnet)
Attendance: 4,538 (49 from Barnet)